Italian Restaurants in Tokyo are not a rare sight at all, similar to French, Sushi and Ramen eateries, you can even find a few in the same area. So, putting together a short-list of some of the best was a challenging task! Luckily, I could consult my connoisseur and Italian/Aussie friend John, and together we came up with 3 finalists.
So here are our 3 favourite Italian restaurants in Tokyo. As authentic and delicious as you can get, but in no particular order:
Torattoria Il Lupo (トラットリア・イル・ルポ) – Monzenakacho, Tokyo
Trattoria Il Lupo based in Monzenakacho, or more affectionately known as downtown ‘monaka’, is a local favourite. In fact, you cannot get much more authentic than the Italian bred and born owner Angelo. He was raised in Sicily, Italy, and will take care of your culinary needs to ensure you are truly satisfied. In addition, he speaks Japanese and English. So, language barriers are truly a non-issue.
Starting off the night, you can choose from a range of Italian sourced beers, wines and liquors. Combine this with his warm, soft and freshly baked bread as an appetiser, and you’re halfway to creating that genuine Sicilian vibe.
Some fan favourites include his creamy lemon pasta, of which he has still hasn’t revealed his secret recipe. The delicious bolognese pasta is also a treat. Yet, when it’s too difficult to choose between the two, solve the problem and choose both. In addition, his assorted appetizer plate is heavenly with a range of flavours to boot.
Desserts are also a forte of his, with our personal favourite being the tiramisu. He has a selection of other choices too, or you request a mixed plate too.
To secure your seat, make sure to book ahead, as he can get very busy especially towards the weekend. He is also happy to cater for parties and has very reasonable courses available. These are guaranteed to not only fill you up but are great value for money too.
You can also find them here on google maps here.
Red Pepper Italian Restaurant – Ebisu, Tokyo
Red Pepper Italian Restaurant is based in the trendy district of Ebisu, one stop from Shibuya Station on the Yamanote line. Basically, a short walk from the station’s East Exit. The 4-star rating on google maps’ reviews is difficult to argue with.
With seating for about 40 people, we were able to walk in off the street on a Friday night around 8 pm. The restaurant was fairly full at this time, but we could still walk-in without a reservation.
The staff were particularly friendly on our initial visit, and with an English menu also available ordering was a breeze. Drinks came out quite quickly once ordered, food, on the other hand, did take a little time. However, the waiter had warned us initially about this. It was due to the numbers in the restaurant and it was perfectly understandable.
Even after a little wait, we were quite impressed. Highlights included the Margareta Pizza which was superb, and the San Gria was equally refreshing, sweet and easy to drink. The lasagne was also quite good with a nice balance between spices and creamy melting cheese.
In term of prices, we also thought they represented good value. Between two people the bill came to around 6,000yen including a few drinks.
Yet, we still recommend you make a reservation to guarantee a spot at this appetising location, so check out their website now to book.
You can also find them on Google Maps.
Elio Locanda Italian – Hanzoumon, Tokyo
Elio Locanda Italian Restaurant is synonymous not only in Italy but now as a brand and dining experience in Tokyo too. Sitting practically in the centre of Koujimachi (Yurakucho Line) and Hanzoumon (Hanzoumon Line) Stations. It is a premium yet memorable dining experience and one of the best premium quality Italian restaurants I have tried during my time in Tokyo.
The restaurant’s concept and cuisine are based on ingredients and flavours straight out of Calabria, Italy. Elio Orsara states that a lot of the inspiration and creations made in his restaurants are a direct influence from his grandmother. She herself was a gourmet chef and had her own restaurant based in the motherland (Italy).
If you come for their lunchtime menu you have several options starting with the basic offer at 1,600 yen. The standard course provides you with soup, salad and pasta or lasagne, dessert and coffee. This still represents good value from a premium restaurant. If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, then you can step up to 2,500yen business lunch. Alternatively, at the top is the even more premium Chef’s special at 3,800yen. The premium option gives you the choice of 2 kinds of pasta and a main (fish or meat) dish.
From my perspective Dinner is where this restaurant really shines. You can select either A la carte, from one of their fine courses starting at 5,500 yen or a special set course menu with the chef. The standard 5,500 yen course is also decent value, including two kinds of pasta, a main meal, appetizers, desserts and coffee.
Check out more of the restaurant here at their official website or to make a booking.
You can also find them on google maps here.