Pizzeria Il Palio – Numazu
Amendment: It appears that I am the one that should be replacing his big Coke bottle glasses. I am pleased to say that I stand corrected. My friend, let’s just call him ‘Mr Awesome (formally known as Mr Lost) ‘ was indeed correct in his directions. I just couldn’t find it. I owe him a pizza and I owe you a review of the real place he recommended. Read on below and laugh mockingly at my over confidence.
I should have known better, trying to get directions from a friend with the navigation skills of…well let’s just say someone who is geographically challenged was bound to be a disaster waiting to happen. But you just get plain excited when you hear of an exceptional pizzeria in town that you haven’t yet visited.
My wife and another friend of mine were riding through town one afternoon last week trying to decide what we would have for dinner. We conducted our usual procrastination over our choice of eats with gusto as we made our way south towards the station area and the centre of town.
Suddenly I remembered about my pizzeria conversations and begged some time to search it out. My wife, knowing exactly what ‘some time’ means, restricted my search to ten minutes. My friend who had tried to give me directions to this place (let’s just call him Mr. Lost for some clarity) had told me that he thought the place was on the north side of the station in the Snack Bar district. I had asked if it was near Ito Yokado, to which we was not sure until I mentioned that it was a shopping center and then he readily agreed.
I shared this information with my wife and friend as we set of in search for the pizzeria and we all concurred that it should probably been in the snack bar area in the north west relatively close to the station.
We were wrong.
Our ten minutes were up and we had not found the restaurant so we headed to the south side in search of an alternative and resumed procrastinating over where to eat. It was mid afternoon by this time and most of the restaurants were closed so this led us to wandering aimlessly from restaurant to restaurant in search of something open.
By now we were on the south side between the station and the library. As we were walking in search of a restaurant I casually looked up to see a Pizzeria sign. It suddenly dawned on me that this must have been the pizzeria that Mr. Lost had recommended. It was close to the station as he said and it could be very loosely described as being in a Snack Bar district and I guess that the Seibu could be described as a shopping center. I also should have remembered that he had mentioned a bar that foreigners frequent being somewhat nearby. Yep I missed the obvious. Here I am rabbiting on about my friend’s lack of direction all the while I am having conversations as if my big fat ears were painted on.
The Pizzeria we had found was the Il Palio. By the time we had found it the restaurant was not quite open so we went and had a coffee at a nearby café until its dinner opening time at 5:30.
The Pizzeria Il Palio was a rare treat. The restaurant has a large covered terraced area that blends into the restaurant and the open kitchen proudly displays a pizza oven you would sell a kidney for.
We wanted to chill out before the main meal so we had a few snacks over an excellent bottle of Ameroe Red that my friend, the ever astute culture buff, recommended. For snacks we ordered a plate of mixed cured meat of suprising quality far beyond the usual bland massed produced rubbish that you find in most Italian restaurants in Japan. The meat dish included Mortadella, Proscuito and Salami. We also ordered a cheese and mushroom creamy baked casserole and some bread and olive oil on the side.
It was a quiet night in the restaurant so we did not feel compelled to rush our dining experience. We picked through out snack and chatted over our wine as the sun went down and our hunger returned.
Ready for dinner we called over our slightly nervous fresh young waitress. We opted for one of the dinner courses which gave us a starter, a selection of pizza, pasta and meat dish for a main and dessert and coffee or tea to finish. We asked our waitress to leave our dinner to what ever the chef recommends and proceeded to enjoy our wine. A little perplexed our waitress went to ask the chef if this was okay.
For our starter we had a mixed plate of delights. A deliciously spiced pork pate on oiled toast was my favorite, but I also enjoyed the baby octypus with real balsamic vinegar, the tomato and bocconcini, sashimi white fish in olive oil and a little more proscuito.
First of our mains out was our pasta. A concoction of prawns, scallops, a Japanese style spinach in a tomato sauce with shavings of dry cured smoked salmon on top. This was a exceptional mix of texture and taste with identifiable flavors in each bite. I would have loved to have seen it with some home made pasta but this just does not seem to be done in most Italian restaurants in Japan.
As we made our way through the pasta a large pizza appeared on the table with a small bowl of honey. I could see that the pizza crust was light and crunchy and stippled with spots of brown that is the signature of a good pizza oven. One half of the pizza was smeared with tomato sauce with big globs of mozzarella cheese and topped with a basil leaf. While a slice of this was incredible the other half of the pizza stole the show. On this side were large melted slices of rich gorgonzola. I would have been overbearing on its own but with a spoon full of honey to balance it we were met with an exotic delight. Upon the first few bites you are struck by the two intense flavours of the cheese and the honey until they blend into a remarkable flavor in your mouth.
Next was our meat course. My wife and I ordered the fish and my friend, the meat. For our fish dish I was met with a beautiful plate of what appeared to be perch lying on a bed of mussles in a buttery liquid sauce. The succulent flakey fish was done perfectly and eaten with a guilty dip into the sauce. Begging a bite of my friends I was pleased with the tenderness of the meat.
Dessert was a not too rich tiramisu with a side of super creamy mascarpone cheese. The tiramisu was exceptional and not too overbearing. We finished the night discussing the exceptional food over a treat of Amarula.
Numazu’s Pizzeria Il Palio is one restaurant that I will not have trouble finding again.
Style: Italian Pizzaria
English Menu: No sorry Italian and Japanese. Well, at least you can kinda work out what it means.
Picture Menu: No sorry.
Hours: Lunch 11:30 – 14:00 Dinner 17:30 – 22:00
Price: lunch starts at 900yen for pasta and 1000 yen for pizza. Dinner starts at 850yen for pasta and 1100yen for pizza. Courses start at 1800yen.
Directions: Numazu South Side close to Speakezy