Hearty and affordable Italian dishes
Pasteria Chichukai, MishimaCuisine: Italian
On a visit to Mishima one time, I picked up a guide to the town's restaurants, which has proved useful since in finding places to eat. I used it one night when looking for dinner in the main downtown part around Mishima-Hirokoji station, and found Pasteria Chichukai, a friendly, unpretentious and reasonably priced Italian restaurant.
The first thing I noticed as I went up the steps was a small terrace overlooking the main street: I asked to sit there, but was told it was reserved, only to see it as empty when I left as it had been when I arrived. (Imagine a frowny face emoticon here.) Otherwise, the staff were helpful and attentive: the waitress brought me the comprehensive English menu straight away, and brought me the packets of pasta from the kitchen to show me the options other than spaghetti.
Inside, it's pretty authentically like a down-to-earth Neapolitan trattoria. There are prints and posters around the walls, Moretti beer mats, corks from bottles of sparkling wine, a pyramid of industrial-sized tomato cans, even a display on one wall of the many varieties of pasta that never feature in most Italian restaurants in Japan.
Here, they do have more options: I chose to have orecchiette ("little ears") with the house special Isonoka sauce, shrimp and black olives in a tomato cream sauce. This was very good, smooth and full of flavour, but not so oily, and with a good number of plump shrimps. I had it as the main dish of a ¥1600 "Prefix Set" (don't ask me why it's called that), which also included a starter - in my case, a slice of tasty bacon and mushroom quiche - a drink and, for an extra ¥300, a dessert. Here I went with sherbet made from hyuganatsu, a Japanese summer citrus fruit, which was satisfyingly tangy, served with a dab of cream, and so much bigger than I expected that I had to waddle pretty quickly back to the station to catch my intended train.
The menu has a lot of different pasta dishes, costing around ¥800 to ¥1200, among them Boscaiola (tuna, onion, mushrooms), carbonara and snow crab. There are also pizzas from ¥500 to ¥800 for seven-inchers, ¥300 extra for nine inches, including bacon and salami, beef and mushroom, and capricciosa. There's no English on the dessert menu, which features cakes, sherbet and ice cream for between ¥250 and ¥400.
The drinks menu is also only in Japanese, which suggests they're not totally familiar with European dining habits. Cocktails are ¥550, house wine ¥290 for a glass or ¥490 for a decanter, beer from ¥300 for a small draft to ¥600 for La Rossa, a strong dark beer from the Moretti brewery. Bottles from the wine list are from ¥2200 to ¥5000, while if you're driving, soft drinks and beverages cost ¥300-¥400.
As well as the second-floor restaurant, they have three private rooms on the third floor, holding six, twelve or forty people. They also have a range of fixed-course meals and drink plans, making these rooms good places to hold a special event or private dinner.