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Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I asked the staff at the JR Nikko Hotel Nara to recommend the best restaurant in the city.  Initially, it was a traditional Japanese establishment, but the chef just left.  So on a wild experiment, I was sent to i-lunga, an Italian-Nara restaurant.  The chef is Junichiro Horie:

The menu was only in Japanese and Italian, so to be safe, I ordered conservatively.  I started with a sparkling Chardonnay from Umbria (not quite a Prosecco, for this can only be made from Glera grapes) at 11.5%.  I also had a 2007 Lemocchiole Bolgheri Rosso, a Tuscany meritage, a melange of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese (14%) .  Riedel glasses were used.  There were five breads:

I together had a spaghetti ali' aglio, olio e pepperoncino, enhanced with basil leaves and raw onions, with Junichiro's Verdure di stagione e bagna Caoda, a different kind of salad, where you dip the vegetables into a hot (red ceramic below) anchovy-cheese-garlic-olive oil dressing, like a fondue:

Cold and hot. Nice.  The agli olio was perfectly al dente, but, was served a bit cool, not a big deal because it was cold anyway by the time I finished eating.

This is a smallish restaurant with six tables and a visible staff of ten.  I noticed that even here, the first drink is generally beer.  As I was thirsty, with the entre I ordered a glass too.

The main course was a Tagliata di "Yamato-ushi" con sparagis spadellato, with wakame mushrooms, vegetables and a balsamic salad:

The ushi (cattle) was from Yamato, and the dish combination excellent.

All in all, a good example of Italian cuisine using Japanese products, not really a fusion as such.  I was full but not stuffed.  I can highly recommend i-lunga.


1 comment:


Dear Mr.Takahashi it was a pleasure to meet you. We are looking forward to welcoming you again in Nara

Hotel Nikko Nara