Into the Dream.
Where: It is on the corner of the major underpass near the Numazu Train Station on the southern side. From the southern exit of Numazu station take a right and follow the path around the construction site to the Nakamise Mall. As you head across the pedestrian crossing you should have the railway line underpass on your right and the entrance to the Nakamise Mall directly in front of you. Instead of heading down the mall turn right towards the Joyland cinemas. Just past the cinemas is a flight of stair heading up to Into The Dream. There should be a flight of stairs heading down to a pub as a reference. http://www.mapbuilder.net/users/burpwind/42289
Style: Itallian Spagetti restaurant
Average cost: between 600-1200yen a meal
Recommendation: Excellent! Wonderful food, good value and friendly staff. 8/10
We like to watch movies. In particular we like to make a night of it. My wife and I had just cased out the movie times and we had a few hours to wait. Although the microwave dinners were a novelty when we first started frequenting the cinemas here, their rubbery plain flavour had worn our taste buds down somewhat. So we started to scout around for a place to eat. We had scouted around a bit trying to decide what we were in the mood for. Neither of us committing to a decision we wondered aimlessly looking for an affordable bite to eat. After return to the Joyland cinema entrance we decided to head out towards the rail underpass road. We first looked at the Japanese restaurant on the corner but after a few uncomfortable moments when we stepped inside and realized that we could not read the kanji riddled menu and were not in the mood for charades we stumbled back out again.
Feeling my impatience begin to creep in I decided to check out the menu of the Italian restaurant. The meals were cheap. I was a bit dubious about the actual size of the meals considering the price but we decided to ascend the stairs regardless. There is something about having to take stairs to a café or restaurant that is a little bit daunting and exciting. Perhaps it is the reduce chance of a quick getaway or the feeling of exclusivity but my heart always pounds a little faster.
Upon reaching the entrance of he restaurant we were met by a very friendly waitress. The restaurant certainly had the family run air about it and the warmth from the waitress and the chef were quite comforting. The décor of the place was plain and definitely appeared that the owners were on a budget. However, with the clever use of table cloths as wall decorations and dividers really enhanced the family atmosphere in the restaurant. While the chairs were a little uncomfortable the view of the street certainly kept us distracted until we placed our orders.
Our glasses were filled with cool barley tea as we perused the picture menu. Fortunately for us most of the menu had accompanying pictures. The range in food was also enticing. Their menu offered soups, pizzas, any number of spaghetti dishes, bakes and casseroles, desserts and a wide variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Still being dubious about the size of the meals in relation to the cheap prices I ordered a Cream spaghetti, mushroom and bacon bake, and my wife ordered a tomato based seafood spaghetti. We also though to share a large pizza. A few soft drinks were also added to the order.
The waitress shuffled off with a warm smile and returned a few moments later with a cabbage and carrot salad each and a small bowl of popcorn for us to share. My wife and I shared a glance wondering if we somehow managed to order some extra salad by mistake. We shrugged our concern off and got into the salad and popcorn. At each table in the restaurant there was two salad sources. One was a sweet sesame and soy mix and the other a mustard and Japanese mayonnaise (which I am addicted to). These salad dressings seemed to be home made and tasted delicious.
About five minutes after finishing these appetizers our mains came out. To my delight they were big meals, before even trying the food I was impressed by the value. During the interval between appetizer and main I had found a container full of parmesan cheese. I put a liberal amount on my spaghetti bake and let it melt in while I attacked the pizza.
The pizza was delicious. Many pizzerias try and excuse away their lack of topping by saying that it takes away from the overall experience of the pizza. What rubbish filled spin-doctoring. Into the Dreams pizza were amply filled with chunks of onion, mushroom, capsicum and ham with a liberal spread of mozarella cheese on top. The pizza sauce was sweet and rich and added to the overall flavour of the pizza.
After taking my 3/4 of the pizza, I got stuck into the creamy spaghetti, mushroom and ham bake. I was delicious. The cheesy top was well crusted with even patches of browned cheese. The sauce was rich and creamy and flavorsome and the spaghetti worked great as a bake over the preferred potatoes.
My wife’s seafood tomato sauce based pasta was likewise a wonder to the taste buds. There was plenty of seafood in the dish, definitely ignoring the traditional Japanese ethos of ‘less is more’. The sauce also tasted different from the pizza sauce indicating to us that the chef had not used a premix sauce that he adapted to all meals.
Feeling well stated after our mains we were confronted with a Barley tea jelly and a dollop of ice cream. We were so surprised by these added extras that we forced ourselves to polish them off. We walked out of Into the Dream feeling full, happy and only 3200yen lighter in the pocket.
All in all, Into the Dream was a great dining experience. Perhaps it is not the most formal restaurant in the world but this casual dining adds to the overall feel of a home kitchen that is often missed by traveler and foreign citizens abroad. The sheer good value of the meal and the wonderful extras definitely put a smile on our face. So much so that we had to try it again the following week to make sure it wasn’t a fluke and again were shown the same great service. We will certainly be returning to Into the Dream.