"Who, better than an Italian (an Italian who loves good food especially when accompanied by a bottle of full bodied red wine ) to review "Il Figo Ingordo", one of the newest additions to the already large number of Italian restaurants in Tokyo? If you also love Italian cuisine, and you live - or are going to spend some time - in Tokyo, you should read this review. And try the restaurant."
"Il Figo Ingordo" is a restaurant with a funny Italian name (for the translation, just use Google Translate, it is simple, and it is free ;) ) and a very central location (in the heart of Roppongi, just a few minutes walk from Roppongi Hills).
We visited the restaurant on a Wednesday evening, without calling first for reservation, but keeping our fingers crossed. A very good friend (thank you Aldo) suggested we try the restaurant during our trip to Tokyo, and we did.
He also suggested we call for a reservation because the restaurant is always very busy, especially for dinner. And we did not. And - in fact - the restaurant was 'almost' completely full when we arrived. There was just a very nice table for two, in a very quiet corner of the restaurant, free, waiting for us. Our usual lucky star assisted us. Again ;)
Takamidori, the manager of the restaurant, welcomed us and accompanied us to the table. The restaurant was now 100% full, but we were seated. And hungry.
Takamidori is a young man, but with a long experience in Italian restaurants having spent seven years of his life in Italy, working for some of the most important 5 stars hotels in Milano. He moved back to Tokyo a couple of years ago, and together with Hatanaka, the chef (Hatanaka also lived and worked in Italy) opened 'Il Figo Ingordo' at the beginning of 2010.
The interior decoration of the restaurant is very "Italian", nothing would make you think you are in the heart of Tokyo. Maybe the fact that all the other guests of the restaurant, and all the waiters and kitchen staff looked unmistakably Japanese would be the 'only' hint that we are not in Italy. The kitchen is open, so you can see what usually happens 'behind the curtains'. Open, but there is absolutely no smell in the dining area, and they must be very careful when moving around pots, pans and dishes, because you hear absolutely no noise. How do they do that?
Food. Of course, when you go to an Italian restaurant, you want to eat, a lot, and eat well. And possibly drink some good wine. At "Il Figo Ingordo" this exactly what you will do. Yes, we expected some high quality Italian food, because the friend who gave us the tip on the restaurant disclosed that already, but we did not expect such a good dinner. And such a complete wine list.
Takamidori advises all the guests of the restaurant, those who are not familiar with Italian food at least, and very clearly introduces the special dishes of the day. He can give you very good advice on the best wines, or on the food, and you see he knows what he is talking about.
That night we decided to follow his advice. His Italian is very good, and he knows the names of all the typical Italian food even better than we do... So, following his advice, we ordered "Bigoli con salsiccia e spinaci" and "Gnocchetti sardi ai frutti di mare, pinoli e uvette" for starters, followed by "Maiale alla griglia" (delicious) with "spinaci" as side dish, and "Orata al cartoccio con rosmarino e limone". Closing the dinner, the best tiramisù I have ever had - almost better than the one I make - and "Torta meringata", all original recipes, all secretly re-interpreted by Hatanaka, the chef.
Wine. A very good bottle of red Italian wine, followed by two complimentary glasses of red wine from San Marino, courtesy of Takamidori.
Total price: for a dinner for two at "Il Figo Ingordo", around 13.000 ¥.
Our opinion: if you are in for a real, tasty and more than original Italian dinner in Tokyo, follow our advice, and go. But call before for reservation.
Trattoria "Il Figo Ingordo"
Roppongi, Tokyo - For the map and instructions on how to reach the restaurant go to their website at http://www.figo-ingordo.jp/
Lunch: 11:30-14:00 last order
Dinner: 18:00-22:00 last order
Closed on Sunday