After Hours: Japan's Pizzeria Kunugi No Oka is a pizza lover's dream
Everyone knows how healthful the Japanese diet of fish and vegetables can be, but sometimes it feels good to just scratch that itch for fresh bacon and melted cheese.
Pizzeria Kunugi No Oka is a pizza lover’s dream, located in the snow-capped mountains of Yufuin, a perfect stop on the way to the renowned onsen city of Beppu.
The restaurant resembles an American pizzeria, with a focus on Italian cuisine and quality brick oven pizza using fresh local ingredients. Its concept was to create a pizzeria where one can eat outside with a mountain view that is enjoyable in all four seasons.
Not only does it use fresh bacon and local mozzarella cheese, but Pizzeria Kunugi No Oka also blends local wheat with that imported from Naples, Italy, giving the pizzas a supremely delicious crust.
Its staple pizzas are as big as they are affordable and generally cost between 1200 and 1600 yen ($12 to $16). The top sellers include the capricciosa, which features tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, salami, tomato slices and olives; the quattro formaggi, which features cream, mozzarella, blue and parmesan cheeses; and its patate formaggi, which features cream and mozzarella cheeses, potato, oregano, rosemary and black pepper.
Customers also can order half pies.
The magicians at Pizzeria Kunugi No Oka also know pasta, which generally ranges from 1200 to 1500 yen ($12 to $15) per entree. Highlights of the menu include pasta with mushroom, fresh bacon and a cream sauce for 1200 yen and shrimp pasta in a cream sauce for 1500 yen.
Another staple of Pizzeria Kunugi No Oka is its fresh spare ribs, with huge hunks of meat that can be gnawed off the bone.
Its homemade bacon is as divine a swine as one will find. The bacon is clean and lean and more like straight pork when compared with fatty store-bought bacon.
The menu also includes red and white wines and Italian beer.
The restaurant features many options, ensuring that each dining experience is unique. It has a seasonal menu, daily specials and a course menu.
In addition, it offers take-out, piping hot or frozen so you can be the oven-master at home.
Pizza is an art at Pizzeria Kunugi No Oka, and the tastes are as breathtaking as the view. For American patrons who have trouble swallowing pizza in Japanese cities with doughy crust and adorned with corn and shrimp, its brick oven is a hot cheese time machine to your favorite pizza joint back home, wherever that might be.