Yamate-dori in Naka Meguro is one of those unrelentingly ugly suburban thoroughfares that Tokyo seems to be full of. However losing faith completely in the aesthetic potential of Tokyo can be a little hasty, which Naka Meguro goes to show. Running through the middle of the suburb, parallel to Yamate-dori, is a sakura-lined river that makes for a veritable oasis in the urban jungle.
Among the trees is an Italian restaurant called La Luna Rossa. The main attraction here is the leafy view which, though commonplace in most other cities of the world, is a treat here in Tokyo. Ah, but then we face the problem common to all restaurants with a view - the food can tend to take second place.
After a recent Sunday lunch here I'm not prepared to say this rule has been disproven. It's not that there's anything wrong with the food per se, it's just that I felt a certain sense of underwhelment (is that a proper word?) that was pretty hard to shake. To start with, the prosecco that I ordered as an aperitif only filled half the reasonably sized glass it was served in (note the curvature which to my greedy eyes indicates the fill limit). It's not as if proscecco is an expensive wine that we need to be sparing with, is it?
The 2,500 yen pasta set includes an entrée, pasta and dessert and you can judge from the photos as to whether you think this represents value. Following a little amuse of cold pork, the soup with baby pork "dango", gourd and consommé could be best described as a dieter's special. Actually, to be frank, the cooking came across to me as the type of food you might cook at home when you're on a budget.
For my main I ordered the fusilli with corn and meat. This was tasty enough but again I couldn't shake the "feed a family on 1,000 yen" kind of image. The little square of chocolate tart as dessert was ok in itself but the squirt of banana sauce almost made me jump when I tasted it (I am pathologically hostile to banana but I can't blame them for thinking this would go well with chocolate).
I would come here just for the view, so it's probably best to try to arrange a table with a nice outlook when you book. Underwhelmed? Well yes, but the setting is pleasant enough so you might still like to give it a try. Also I have to give then some marks for writing a little welcome message on the tabletop paper - I'm a sucker for things like that. Let me know how it goes!
The Michelin Guide has consistently awarded more stars to Tokyo dining establishments than any other city in the world. I created this blog as my personal Tokyo restaurant guide, but I hope you will also enjoy reading it. If you have been to any of the same places feel free to leave some comments about your own experiences.