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.
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.
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
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
Craving for a heavy fix of juicy meat? Try their Tsunan Pork Roast Steak for ¥2,000!
Access: 1622-4 Urasa, Minami Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture, 〒949-7302
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.
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.
Caesar’s salad with the city’s freshly picked vegetables.
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.
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
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.
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.
Antipasti – roast beef, pancetta quiche, caponata and bread.
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.
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!
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!