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Delizioso! Italian Fix in Minami Uonuma City

Photo: Dominic Lockyer on Flickr

Delizioso! Italian Fix in Minami Uonuma City

PH Chua

If I am a protagonist in a TV series, I would certainly have most of my scenes taken in this place. It is a perfect location for meetings, inner monologues, and social gatherings. Jazz music in the background, dim lights for an inviting mood, and dishes that will soothe a homesick heart – La Grassa certainly is my Nuovo Vesuvio in the real world.

La Grassa


Combine two of the best things on earth – meat and cheese! Gorgonzola and prosciutto plate for only ‎¥500. Best way to start your meal while enjoying a glass of wine.

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As testified by my Italian friends, La Grassa’s Caponata is legitimately as authentic as those served In Italy. I am guessing it is because Minami Uonuma City produces quality eggplants. (And a lot of varieties as well – 24 kinds!) Price: ¥600

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La Grassa’s take on Carbonara is very creamy and you can certainly taste the freshness of the eggs. This is a must-try for first-timers. Price: ¥1,200

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Craving for a heavy fix of juicy meat? Try their Tsunan Pork Roast Steak for ¥2,000!

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Access: 1622-4 Urasa, Minami Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, 949-7302
Telephone/Fax:  025-777-4339
Operation Hours: 11:30~22:00; Closed on Mondays and third Sunday of the month

Budou no Hana: Wine Restaurant


I dedicate this place to all the wine lovers out there. This is a special haven for you – quality wine, a wide selection of Japanese and Italian food, and a spacious stylish ambiance. Next to this restaurant is the winery itself where the wines they served are produced and stored.

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Right: 2013 Produced and stored using the snow storage system; 2012 Echigo Premium. Both are red wine and great for an intimate dinner of catching up with friends.

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Caesar’s salad with the city’s freshly picked vegetables.

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Budou no Hana’s unique take on Carbonara – mentaiko (i.e.  marinated roe of pollock and cod) cream sauce, seafood pieces and flakes of seaweed on top.

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Finish a good dinner with their cheesecake. It is exactly how it looks. Lovely and filling!

Access: 5531-1 Urasa, Minami Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, 949-7302
Telephone/Fax: 025-777-5888

Izumi Village’s Taverna Gozzo


Taverna Gozzo is popular among locals as a great location for wedding receptions. It is a little more costly than the other Italian restaurants but if you are in the mood for a sophisticated dinner gathering, it is just the right place. Moreover, you can never go wrong with their dinner course for two.

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The restaurant has a magnificent atmosphere which will draw you in. It would make you feel like you are in a movie setting of a romantic comedy but it also has the ambiance of earthy warm colors for a more serious genre. It has huge windows where you can view the scenic view of Hakkai-san and the Sanzan Mountains.

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Antipasti – roast beef, pancetta quiche, caponata and bread.

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Tofu salad. The green sauce (behind the plate) is amazing. I am not sure what it is made of but I will certainly ask the chef the next time I visit.

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Maitake (Grifola frondosa) mushrooms Pizza. Another good thing in this city is that they have fresh vegetables at reach and that includes mushrooms! I am a fan of maitake because it goes well with anything – tempura, pasta and pizza!

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Soybean pudding topped with strawberry syrup and moist chocolate cake – best way to end the course. Not too heavy and the sweetness is just right, not too sugary and not too bland. For more details check their website.

Access: 564-1 Izumi, Minami Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, 949-7114
Telephone: 025-775-3939; Fax: 025-775-3739
Operation Hours: 10:30~22:00 hours; Closed on Thursdays from December to March

Minami Uonuma City may be far off from the metro but it certainly can satisfy your palate!