Sunday night we wanted some good pizza. My husband looked up some nice pizzerias and was led to La Volpaia Pizzeria. Located in Ichigaya (Ushigome-Kagurazaka area), it is an offshoot of the fancier Carmine Restaurant, which is the first Italian restaurant to be opened by an Italian chef in Japan. This restaurant is great -very laid back style, delicious food, open atmosphere.
We arrived at about 6 pm on Sunday night. Surprisingly, the restaurant was full and there were two people waiting ahead of us. We decided to wait (must be good if it is worth lining up for, right?!) and it was definitely a good decision.
Unfortunately, the food was so delicious that we ate too much and left with achingly full stomachs! 😉
We started off with the daily recommended appetizer: marinated olives and vegetables. I was sad to see that the toothpicks were speared with anchovies, but my husband greedily gobbled them up, so it was all okay. The vegetables were zucchini, onions, and bell peppers. Although the olive oil and spices used were first rate, and the olives delicious, I hate bell peppers! The olive oil was infused with their taste, so I couldn’t really enjoy this dish (but that’s my fault!). My husband assured me that it was truly delicious.
All customers are served a basket of bread, and we dipped some of this divinely fresh bread (no pics, sorry!) into the leftover oil of the appetizer. I mostly used the self-service bar of olive oil, spicy chili/tomato paste, parmesan, and salt/pepper as my dipping sauce.
Next, we got our pizza. This is the 4 Stagioni pizza. Originally, it is served with olives, artichoke hearts, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and ham. We asked for “hamu-nashi” (without ham), and to our incredulous surprise, they agreed! Not only that, they offered to replace the ham with something, and we chose mushrooms.
Those of you who have lived in Japan will understand how truly shocking it is for a restaurant to agree to change a menu item, let alone substitute something!! Not only that, but having artichoke hearts and olives on my pizza was enough to bring tears of joy to my eyes. The dough was absolutely perfect – chewy, springy, light.
Next, we had our pasta dish. This dish doesn’t take good pictures, but it tastes phenomenal! It is the Tagliatelle al Pomodoro e Mascarpone (Tagliatelle pasta with tomato sauce and mascarpone cheese). The pasta was freshly made, and that makes all the difference!
By this time, we were full! But we still had our second dish: another daily special. It was Risotto with 4 Cheeses and Rucola. Again, doesn’t take such an aesthetically-pleasing picture, but I can assure you that it was absolutely fabulous.
The only thing to detract from the food was the music. It was only August, and already the restaurant was playing Christmas songs! That was so awful that we both wanted to hurry through dinner and get out. Maybe next time the music will be better…
La Volpaia Pizzeria:
Address: 162-0838 Saiku-machi 1-1, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Mon-Sun Lunch: 11:30 AM-2 PM; Dinner 6 PM-10:30 PM; LO 9:30 PM
Japanese Website: http://www.carmine.jp/