While Japan is well known for its glorious food, no matter how much you love sushi, tempura, or shabushabu, there is a good chance that you will find yourself craving food from back home. For me, it’s pizza. I’m totally hooked on the circular discs of cheesy joy.
Fortunately there are loads of fantastic pizza places around our fair city of Nagoya, and below we have listed a few of them. Keep in mind that this is just for information purposes, and that Japan Info Swap does not endorse any of them.
Nestling amongst the crazy clothing outlets of the Osu shopping arcade you will find Pizzeria Trattoria Cesari, perhaps the best known pizzeria in the city. Part owned by Pasquale Makishima, Cesari was opened in 1993. What makes it so famous is that Makishima, who trained in Naples, won the prestigious World Pizza competition in 2010, something that surprised the Italian pizza press at the time. The pizzas are cooked in a wood fired kiln oven, and the restaurant is recognised by the Association for Genuine Neapolitan Pizza, one of only 23 restaurants in Japan to be so. It is advisable to book ahead as lines can be looooong!
Address: 3-36-44 Osu, Naka-ku (map)
Okay, this is kind of a cop out entry as it is actually the sister restaurant to Cesari, and is in fact next door in Osu. However, there are two good reasons why it gets a separate entry: one is that, while Cesari is more of an upmarket restaurant, Solo is laid back, much like any drop in restaurant you are likely to find around Italy. The other reason is that it serves the best pizza in the world. Sound like hyperbole? It’s not. Chef Mayo Ota has been working with Makishima since she was 19, and in 2014 she won the coveted first place in the World Pizza championships, the same prize her boss had won four years previously. It’s a dynasty well worth checking out.
And now, if you can’t make it over to Osu, there is a new branch that has opened up in the Dai Nagoya building, a stone’s throw from the Nagoya Station. It serves up the same great food, and has the added bonus of having an al fresco dining area that looks like you could be sat in a beautiful Italian piazza.
There are various restaurants set up by the famed Italian chef around Nagoya (the one in Kanayama is particularly pleasant to sit outside of on a sunny Spring day), but perhaps the pick of the bunch is the one on the 12th floor of the JR Nagoya station. The restaurant is centred around its open Neapolitan kitchen, and is fine Italian dining in the extreme. Either choose their deluxe lunch buffet for 2,380 JPY, or go in the evening and enjoy the lively atmosphere as you await your mochi-mochi light pizza to arrive.
Address: 12F JR Central Towers Office, 1 Chome-1-4 Meieki, Nakamura Ward (map)
There are various Italian restaurants called Bambina around Nagoya (mostly part of the Sora group), but don’t let the fact that this one is called ‘seconda’ fool you into thinking that it’s not in the top bracket. If you are a fan of the authentic Italian dining style: a lively atmosphere where you are virtually sitting in each other’s laps, then you’ll like it here. The pizzas cooked in their stone baked oven are simple and classic, and there is an extensive menu to choose from, though their special boards sometimes throw up something a little on the different side to keep regular diners on their toes.
Address: 3 Chome-23-14 Meieki, Nakamura Ward (map)
Another member of the Sora Group, there are two Diavolo e Bambinas in Nagoya. The original one in Meieki is a stylish classic Italian restaurant whose wood burning stove can get a little busy (get your orders in quickly!). But even if you have to wait, the pizza, the calzone in particular, is definitely worth it. However, if you happen to be in Kanayama you can find the Diavolo e Bambina Due in the MPLAT shopping complex, and at 1,000 JPY for a soup, pizza and drink lunch set, you can’t really go wrong.
Tel: 052-433-9966 / 052-212-5022
When a restaurant is located in the swanky Midland Square building, you tend to expect high quality food, and this is precisely what you get at Pizzeria Isola. The wood-burning oven was designed by Neopolitan craftsmen and all of the ingredients are as fresh as they come. The atmosphere is lively and bustling like a true Naples trattoria, though it offers the Japanese-style course menu, which is perfect for big groups.
Address: Nakamura Ward, Meieki, 4 Chome−7−1, Midland Square 4F (map)
For five years, Piacere Mio has been serving up southern Italian cuisine to the lucky residents of Chikusa. The Italian chef who runs the kitchen certainly knows his way around a pizza kiln, with toppings that bring up reminiscences of warm nights on the Mediterranean. If you are after pizza and are east of the city center, this is where you should head.
Address: Chikusa Ward, Okutecho, 5−16 Morita Bld 1F (map)