Tasty authentic Italian near Hardy Barracks

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

Tasty authentic Italian near Hardy Barracks

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

In search of a casual Italian dining experience with homemade dishes at a reasonable? Mingo has you covered. And to make it even better, Mingo is within a stone’s throw of the Hardy Barracks in Tokyo and is perfect for a quick, cheap lunch.

This place isn’t stuffy. No fancy Italian restaurant seating here. Mingo’s seating involves a wooden bar and wooden picnic tables for a casual, cozy dining experience. The restaurant accommodates 46 diners and is a great spot for hosting a party or large group. They even offer various party menu options, including all-you-can-drink options.

Mingo’s owner and chef, Ikuhito Ono, opened the eatery in 2006 after learning authentic dishes in Sicily. He carefully hand makes Sicilian-based dishes using fresh seasonal ingredients every day, so you can sample the best possible Italian dishes throughout the year.

“I am trying to employ a good use of my cooking experience and expertise to make Mingo a restaurant where any guest can enjoy,” Ono said.

Ono said he can accommodate diners on specific diets. Are you vegan or need a gluten-free meal? Ono has you covered, just ask!

Among the regular four lunch sets that are available throughout the year (at prices ranging from 800 and 1,300 yen), the “Great” lunch plate for 1,300 yen is a recommendation, as it contains 8 items - daily pasta and main dish, a slice of bread, mini appetizer, salad, soup, dessert and soft drink.

Since Ono’s menu revolves around what is available at the market, the main dish and pasta vary every day. On the day I visited, my “Great” lunch plate came with sautéed tender pork rib with mustard cream sauce as the main dish, and spaghetti puttanesca with bacon and shrimp tomato sauce for the pasta dish.

The carefully sautéed pork rib had an extremely tender texture and rich taste. Hot and sour mustard cream sauce along with garnished mashed potato, stir-fried arugula and bell pepper really brought out the flavor.

The pasta featuring tomato, cream and cheese, had sweet and sour taste with stir-fried onion, tomato and olive oil. The slightly salted bacon and plump shrimp paired well with the rich cheese and cream on the noodles cooked al dente.  Along with salad, appetizer and dessert, the lunch set nicely arranged in a plate actually reminded me of a luxurious full-course of Italian dishes.

For my soft drink, I had many to choose from. Mingo offers coffee, teas, juices, soft drinks and even drinks like lattes or cappuccinos.

I went for the cappuccino, a good choice to accompany the tangy panna cotta dessert included with my set.

Another option at Mingo is upsizing your meal to a larger portion for an additional 100 yen. Definitely worth it to go big because the food is delicious, and you’ll wish you had more.

If you are off duty, enjoy a lunch beer (Premium Malts or Carlsberg) or lunch wine (red or white) for only 300 yen.

The next time you’re looking for some tasty Italian food, or just need that glass of wine, check out the unique atmosphere at Mingo. If you’re bringing a crowd, make sure to reserve ahead.

takiguchi.takahiro@stripes.com

Italian Dining Mingo Nishiazabu

Hours:
Mon 5 – 11:30 p.m.; Tue, Thu and Sat, 11:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. 
Dinner: 5 – 11:30 p.m.
Wed and Fri, noon - 3:30 p.m. 
Dinner: 5- 11:30 p.m. (close Sun and holidays)
Location: 1-10-16 [1F] Nishiazabu, Minato-ku, Tokyo
URL: http://www.mingo.co.jp/
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mingo.nishiazabu/​​​​​​​
TEL: 03-6913-1511

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