Sunday, July 29, 2007


July 28, 2007 - Portofino (Italian Buffet)

On Saturday, we decided to go to Yokohama to get some Italian food at Portofino.
Portofino is located inside the Cial mall on the 6th floor on the first of two restaurant floors in Cial. There are a few other Portofino Restaurants in the Tokyo area that are operated by the same company but that are not the same Italian buffet-style restaurants.

We arrived at around 11:30 or so, because we wanted to make sure we beat the Saturday lunch crowds! This restaurant is quite popular amongst women because it is a pizza, pasta, salad AND dessert buffet. The large menu showing the kinds of food they have on their buffet line stated that they just increased the number of desserts they offer to a total of 16 different desserts!

The entrance to Portofino

A few slices of pizza (eggplant, egg, shrimp) and
two different kinds of pasta (squid and olive pasta, carbonara)

Regular margharita (mozzarella cheese/basil/tomato sauce) pizza
and sausage pizza.

While I was eating, I glanced over at the two girls sitting to the right of me and wondered why their plates only had a couple pieces of pizza and a little bit of pasta. Then, they stood up to get some dessert and they had a large plate filled with desserts! I think they had taken one of every kind of dessert - I think the desserts are what makes this place so popular amongst women!

Just a few of their desserts: chocolate cake, berry cake,
caramel cake, acelora jelly

Walnut and maple cake, blueberry chiffon cake, pana cotta, acelora jelly

This is one of my favorite places to eat because for about 1400 yen, you can have their all-you-can-eat buffet and by adding another 210yen, you can have their all-you-can-drink (which includes cold teas, juices, sodas, hot teas and coffee). They always have at least four different kinds of pizza, four different kinds of pasta, a few different salads and their ever-popular 16 different kinds of desserts! Whats also great is that they keep changing out the different food and desserts so technically you can have many different kinds of pizza, pasta and dessert! It is such a great deal =)

Cial Yokohama 6th Floor
Buffet price: 1380yen + 210 yen(all-you-can-drink)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Pitta 00

July 26, 2007 - Pitta 00 (zero zero), Ikspiari

During our day at Disneyland, we decided to go to Ikspiari to eat some pizza at one of my favorite pizza restaurants in Japan.

Pitta 00 is located on the third floor of Ikspiari and was pretty empty when we went to eat lunch around 11:30 on Thursday.

When we entered the restaurant, I noticed that they had a large framed certificate on their wall stating that their pizza had been officially certified "Napoli pizza" because they had passed all of the requirements given by Vera Pizza Napoletana (the Italian group that certifies that the pizza is officially Neopolitan pizza).

The menu consists of various pasta and pizza dishes but I opted for the pizza lunch set (of course!) which includes bread, salad, pizza and tea/coffee. The pizza I selected was the pizza of the day - shrimp and zucchini.

The entrance to Pitta 00

Warm bread and olive oil


Pizza of the day

The pizza was absolutely delicious. The dough was crispy on the bottom and the top but moist and doughy on the inside.. perfect amount of tomato sauce and a little bit of mozzarella cheese on top.

The pizza filled me up and was the perfect lunch! At 1680 yen for the pizza lunch set it was a great deal!

Pitta 00
Ikspiari 3rd Floor

Kakiyasu Sanshaku Sansun Bashi

July 25, 2007
Kakiyasu Sanshaku Sansun Bashi - Yokohama Bay Quarter

My friend wanted to eat Japanese food so we decided to go eat at Kakiyasu inside the Yokohama Bay Quarter mall. When we arrived, it was a little after 12:30 and there were about 5 or 6 groups on the waiting list before us. We wrote down our name and walked around the mall for a bit and when we came back to Kakiyasu about 20 minutes later, our name had already been called and they sat us right away.

One of the things I love about this Kakiyasu is the fact that their concept for this restaurant is "trustworthy, safe and healthy" food. Their menu consists of Japanese, Western and Chinese food but I consider all of their food very Japanese. It is a really popular lunch place for women because the restaurant offers lots of health options on their buffet line. It may not be enough sustinance for men though because there aren`t that many meat or even fish main dishes.

When we arrived at the buffet line, I saw they had a few different salads, potato croquette, pork katsu, egg rolls, hamburg, curry (spicy thai and black curry), oden, egg dishes, and lots of other food! The hamburg plate was actually empty and we went around the buffet table loading our plate with each kind of food and sat down to eat. I warned my friend that at Kakiyasu, they like to switch out their dishes a lot so sometimes you will eat something that you really like and then go back but it will be gone!

My first plate of food with some cold oolong tea

Doesn`t everything look yummy??

Everything was very good, as usual but I especially liked the bean sprout salad, the cabbage and pork salad with goma (sesame) dressing and the nikomi daikon (japanese radish). The daikon is my absolute favorite and I probably could have sat there and eaten daikon after daikon! I also like the fact they offer at least two different kinds of hot tea, two different kinds of cold tea, various juices, coffees and hot teas.

Since both times we went up to the buffet line, the hamburg plate was empty, we kept a watch on the kitchen door and made a mad dash for the buffet line again when we saw the waiter bringing in the plate of hamburgs. We grabbed one, took one bite and both thought it was way too sour! The sauce was supposed to be a sweet and sour sauce but the sour part of the sauce was way too much for our taste. The hamburg itself was good but I wish there had been a different sauce for it!

My second plate of food

The hamburg, blueberry jelly and chinese steamed bread

Since red bean paste and other Japanese sweets are not my thing, the only thing I ate for dessert was the blueberry jelly and the chinese steamed bread. They also had mochi, manjyu and other Japanese sweets for those who like that too. When I got my first dish, there was a little bit of this strawberry lemonade jelly left but was gone by the time I went for dessert! I should have taken some when I had the chance!

Overall, this place is another one of my favorite places to eat!

Kakiyasu Sanshaku Sansun Bashi
Yokohama Bay Quarter 3rd Floor

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Ocean Dining

July 19, 2007: Ocean Dining - Hotel Nikko Tokyo

Since my mom and I decided to go to Odaiba, I looked around at some of the hotel websites to see if they had any good lunch buffets. The Hotel Nikko Tokyo (Odaiba) had a lunch buffet at their Ocean Dining Restaurant so I made reservations online.

We arrived at the Hotel Nikko around 12:40. Both of the Odaiba hotels (Hotel Nikko and Le Meridian) have a special hotel shuttle that circles around to both of the hotels and the Tokyo Teleport Station on the Rinkai line. There is also another shuttle that goes around to the different shopping malls and Fuji TV but the hotel shuttle came right when we were waiting so we hopped on that and five minutes later, we were in front of the Hotel Nikko Odaiba.

The entrance to the hotel is actually right by the Yurikamome line as well

The entrance to the restaurant


Ocean Dining is a mediterranean restaurant and so we were expecting a lot of seafood. As we entered the restaurant, the large windows had an absolutely beautiful view of the surrounding Odaiba area including the Rainbow bridge.
When we sat down, the waitress addressed us by name (because of our reservation) and told us a little about the buffet, filled our water bottles and gave us some bread with three types of olive oil and some bread sticks.

Main dishes: grilled veal, chicken picata, potatoes, stuffed vegetables

The view of Rainbow bridge from the tables is probably
what makes this restaurant popular

Some cold capellini pasta with tomato sauce,
seafood in tomato soup, pumpkin salad, various cheeses

The buffet area had the large portion of the food on the central area, with salads and appetizers on the window side as well as desserts and soups on the outskirts. They also had a counter where you could have the chef make a bean soup, bean curry, apple crepe or sandwiches. What impressed me was the amount of appetizers and salads they had! They probably had over ten different kinds of appetizers - all very delicate and delicious! They included pumpkin salad, cold pork salad with daikon, tomato ratatouille - like salad, etc.
The main dishes included tomato tarts, chicken picata, grilled veal, stuffed chicken, stuffed vegetables and other smaller dishes.

Vegetables, chicken picata, chocolate danish

Custard pudding (top right) and apple crepe

The food was very good - I especially liked the chicken picata .. the chicken was tender and flavorful and probably the best chicken picata I have ever had! They also had different appetizer/salads and had a lot of variety. The buffet also came with either tea or coffee at the end (free refills) and was the perfect leisurely lunch at Odaiba.

A couple of days later, I received an email from the hotel asking how the lunch was and that from September, they would be doing a Spanish themed lunch buffet. I thought that was a very nice touch!

Ocean Dining
Hotel Nikko Tokyo (Odaiba) 3rd floor
Lunch buffet 3360yen (weekdays)

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Fiore - Courtyard by Marriott Ginza

July 17, 2007
Fiore - Courtyard by Marriott, Ginza

While I was browsing the internet last night, I came upon a restaurant inside the Courtyard by Marriott in Ginza that does a lunch buffet for 2000yen (approximately $17). Since there are very few buffets in the Ginza area, curiousity lead me to try out this hotel buffet!

Located a few blocks behind the Matsuzakaya, this Courtyard by Marriott used to be called the Tobu Ginza hotel. Right when we walked up to it, there was an airport limousine bus waiting at the stop right in front of the hotel - how convenient!

The entrance to the hotel

So, we walked into the cafe located towards the back of the hotel and were seated quite promptly. Their hotel website said that they only accepted reservations between 11:30 and 12:00 so I was a little worried that it might be a little crowded but it looked like maybe only 60% of the seats were full - mostly of young housewives in large groups.

My first few dishes

After we were seated, we got up to go get some food. The buffet line is pretty small compared to the ones you might see in the US but consisted of a good variety of food. Some of the warm food included roast beef, hamburg, pasta, fried squid balls, spring rolls, sausages in pot au feu, curry, onion soup, fish and scallops in a cream sauce, chicken and paella. There was also a good amount of salad. My absolute favorite were the japanese pumpkin (kabocha) creamy salad and the cold shabu shabu salad. The pasta had a simple clam sauce and was quite good as well.

Shabu shabu salad, kabocha salad, bread

Hand carved roast beef

Their roast beef was very tender and juicy and was served in a small portion. Served with two small side potatoes, it was probably the most popular dish on the buffet line and every time a staff member stood by the roast beef to slice it and plate it for people, there was a small line waiting for the meat. The roast beef was absolutely perfect and I could have probably eaten pounds and pounds of it!

Soft cream, mango pudding, lychee, pineapple

The buffet also had some dessert including various fruit, almond jelly, a few different cakes and a make-your-own-soft-cream area. The soft cream was actually in a little plastic cup which you placed inside the machine and the machine would swirl it for you. It was pretty good but I would have preferred a little more flavor (like chocolate or strawberry instead of just vanilla).

Overall, for 2000yen this was a wonderful lunch. You can eat salad, main dishes, dessert and get something to drink (coffee, tea, juices) all for this price! In an area where lunch could easily run much more just for a main dish, I think this place was a great find!

1st Floor Courtyard by Marriott
6-14-10 Ginza, Chuo-Ku, Tokyo

July 15, 2007 Mano Magio

July 15, 2007 - Mano Magio, Shibuya

While a typhoon was heading towards the Kanto region of Japan, I went to Shibuya to meet up with my mom to eat some Italian food inside Mark City, which is connected to Shibuya station.

Mano Magio is located on the fourth floor of Mark City, right in between a sushi restaurant and a dessert cafe. There was a large sign outside advertising their "2 person special" which included two appetizers, two main dishes (pasta or pizza) and dessert for 2500 a person. We decided not to get the special and instead just ordered from their regular menu.

Even thought it was 3pm, there were quite a few people eating inside.
On weekends, the restaurant is completely smoke free!

We first ordered their crostini appetizer which consisted of 6 pieces of crostini. Two were covered in a whipped butter, another two had tuna and the other two had tomatoes (like bruschetta). I liked the tomato bruschetta the best - it had the most flavor.


Then for our main dishes, we ordered pasta with a tomato sauce with clams, mussels and shrimp. And we also ordered the pizza with the egg, bacon, olives and mushrooms. There was a picture of a salad pizza on the sign in the front, but I guess they didn`t have that for lunch because we asked about it and they didn`t have it - maybe they change their pizza flavors for lunch and dinner.. hmm not sure...

Tomato sauce with clams, mussels and shrimp

The "everything" pizza - egg, olives, ham/bacon, mushrooms

The pizza was very thin and crispy and was quite good. The tomato sauce was absolutely delicious and I ate every last drop! The pasta was just okay, I think they undercooked the pasta just a bit. The lady who was sitting next to us had been given the wrong pasta dish and I think they had given her ours by mistake - maybe the chefs were trying to make our pasta dish in a hurry and undercooked it! eek!

Overall, the Italian food here is pretty good - not the best, but pretty good =)

Morozoft`s White Chocolate and Peaches cake

Then on our way home, we stopped by the Tokyu Food Show where they had cases and cases lined with desserts and could not resist buying something to take home! So we stopped by Morozoft and bought their new peach and white chocolate cake! It was perfect =) Not too sweet, the perfect blend of peaches and white chocolate. YUMMY!!!!

Mano Magio
Shibuya Mark City
4th Floor

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Uoyatei - Higashi Totsuka

July 14, 2007 - Uoyatei, Higashi-Totsuka

On Saturday, we went to visit my grandmother`s grave in Higashi-Totsuka (a very residential area in Yokohama) and on the way back, we decided to grab some lunch at Uoyatei - a revolving sushi restaurant inside the Aurora Mall right by the station.

The entrance to Uoyatei

The front of the store also has an area where they sell packaged
sushi that you can take home

When we got inside the restaurant, there were a couple of people waiting before us, so we took a seat and waited for four seats to open up. After about ten minutes of waiting, the waitress called out our group and led us to four seats at the counter. While some people are turned off by the fact that sushi revolves on a conveyor belt in front of tons of people, in Japan, its quite normal and a great, casual way to eat sushi. The sushi at Uoyatei is actually pretty good and you can always ask the sushi chef to prepare dishes fresh for you as well, if what you want is not on the conveyor belt. Most places start taking off dishes that have been revolving for too long and area always adding new dishes.

The sushi revolves on a conveyor belt

One of my favorite - tuna salad maki!

Another favorite - crab miso soup

This was new - seafood salad maki

Aburi salmon (seared salmon)

Their version of a california roll
(avocado, tuna, mayonaise inside with salmon on top)

The colored dishes are displayed so that diners know exactly
how much each plate costs

Toro salmon


Overall, this revolving sushi is one of the better ones in the area. The rice is small, the fish a pretty good size. Sometimes in the US, the rice tends to be a bit big and the fish a little small. Size-wise, these were perfect.
Anytime you are in Japan, its something you should try! Out bill came out to about 8000yen total and we probably had a total of about 30 dishes. Its a affordable way to try different types of fish and everyone should try it at least once!

Aurora Mall 7th Floor
Higashi-Totsuka Station

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cafe Du Monde - Yokohama

July 13, 2007: Cafe Du Monde, Yokohama

Now that I am in Japan, I can start blogging about the food in Japan! On Friday, I went to Cial in Yokohama and stopped by the Cafe Du Monde to have a little snack.

Drinking iced tea while waiting for the beignets to come out!

After we ordered our beignets and drinks, we sat down in their smaller "no-smoking" section and waited for our beignets to arrive. The cafe was actually quite crowded with most people searching for a seat in the "smoking" section. Whats interesting is that the cafe is about 70% smoking seats with just about 30% of the seats in the front designated as their "non-smoking" area. Why people want to smoke while drinking tea/coffee and eating yummy beignets is beyond me! I wish they would close off the "smoking" section more so that the "non-smokers" don`t have to inhale their deadly fumes!

The wonderful cinnamon sugar beignets

About five minutes later, the beignets arrived, hot from the fryer! They were covered in a nice layer of cinnamon and sugar. They were a little bit crispy on the outside and super soft on the inside and were absolutely perfect! You cannot get beignets like these in California! The beignets are not oily at all and are very light and sweet. I always wonder if the ones in New Orleans at the original Cafe Du Monde are as good as the ones I eat at the Cafe Du Mondes here in Japan!