Tokyo-quality Italian food, right here in Tsukuba!
I just wanted to introduce a restaurant to you TsukuBlog readers out there. It is not really a formal restaurant review but I will say that I was impressed by the place!
Faro, is an Italian restaurant located in the middle of some rice fields (this is a pretty accurate description!) which looks much like Tottoro’s house…or a scene straight out of a Miyazaki animation movie! Apparently the restaurant moved from Tsuchiura to Tsukuba sometime ago, for expansion reasons. That being said, it is still a relatively small place – reservations for lunch are a MUST, unless you want to end up dining on the now-chilly outdoor terrace area.
I have not found any official website or advertising…probably because the place sells itself! People go there because of recommendations from friends or colleagues and it is clear that most of the customers know about the restaurant by word-of-mouth.
The focus is authentic Italian cuisine and there is much proof of it…in the back of the restaurant, I spotted a pig’s leg displayed on a dolly – probably smoked prosciutto rolled out to be cut on demand. Somewhat grotesque yet all-the-while impressive! A well-stocked wine cellar can be seen from the dining area, too.
It was said (by my friend) that a famous sashimi/sushi shop owner in Tsuchiura highly recommends this Italian shop because he knew the owner buys seafood from the same purveyor as him. My friend’s seafood pasta was loaded with incredibly fresh delights: JUMBO scallops, mussels, abalone, shrimp, squid…in tomato sauce cooked up with spaghetti. (Though it came at a price of around 1800yen)
The entrees all come with freshly baked bread - I dipped it in generous amounts of garlic-flavored olive oil, very tasty! My entree was the chicken, roasted with a twig of rosemary, generously salted and spiced…I was surprised to find the chicken plate included both a big piece of white meat as well as dark meat (skin-attached), chicken liver, chicken inners, along with spinach, round of potato, round of nagaimo mountain root, and giant button mushroom. They offer shirako au gratin, tomato cream seafood pasta, and a variety of dishes…it was VERY hard to choose! It is said that the chef goes to the market every day and whips up a menu the very same morning.
Dishes here range from 1400 to 2100yen at lunchtime. A nice leafy (fancy greens, not plain lettuce) salad is included in the meal but drinks are not included. (though non-alcoholic drinks are very reasonable…oolong tea and other drinks at 200yen…my freshly squeezed grapefruit juice was 300yen, banana juice, blood orange juice, other juices are also priced at 300yen) One can expect lunch to cost around 2-3000yen per person.
Desserts are not exceedingly decorated - they keep it simple here. Tiramisu, small creme brulee, seasonal Mont Blanc (with a HUGE glace chestnut!), gateau chocolate cake, banana tart, caramel flan, and so on. The prices are not listed but I am guessing the cakes are all around 600yen while seasonal fresh fruits are pricier, around 800-1000yen. One should expect dinner here to come to at least 5-6000yen/person, so it is an ideal place for celebrations like birthdays and anniversaries.
HOW TO GET THERE: going North on Higashi-odori…go toward the Sakura technopark area…when you see the big green dragon and CHINRAI ramen shop, take a right (east)…then at the T-intersection, take a left…then a right…until you see a small greenhouse (onshitsu) and take a right there…go down the narrow somewhat winding road…and you will see the restaurant on your left. Remember what I said: looks like a scene out of a Miyazaki movie! The road there is very very narrow and might be a wee hazardous at night…be careful not to roll your car into the rice fields on the way there. ^_~
This is a website I found with some limited information in Japanese…keep in mind that the address is no longer the one listed (in Tsuchiura) Oh, and the restaurant is closed on MONDAYS.