Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Italian Café Marinara, Monzennakacho

Hey, what kind of place is this? Oh, right.

Marinara has been on my 'occasional visit' list since I moved to Monnaka, and recently was about the 4th time (which would mean yearly visits!). It's a long time between visits for two reasons - there are an awful lot of Italian places in Monnaka, and I keep not remember Marinara that fondly after I go. I'm not sure why, because it was pleasant this time, and I'd go back sooner.

I think they've redecorated a bit, and the interior has some nice features - that sealed cement flooring that passes for cool (like the bare cement walls in my apartment building. I know they're supposed to be cool, but I can't help feeling that they go all the way to cold, and they depress me.) There's a nice counter with lots of empty wine bottles on it, some retro-styled tables, a semi-open kitchen with a big, old-and-Italian-looking pasta short, a lot of touches that you're supposed to think are hip (and be willing to pay more for in Omotesando, I think).

The menu's not bad - antipasti, pasti, pizzas, some mains (I think - didn't have any this time). Some wines by the glass and in carafe, nothing exciting or enticing, but if when in Monnaka... We had a pizza (Bismark! That's standard in Japan, isn't it? Like corn and mayonnaise.), we had some grilled vegetables in a sweet-and-sour oil (tasty! Available by the gram, in increments of 100 grams. I know this because I asked for 150 grams and was declined. Strangely, my request for 155 grams was also declined...). We had beef carpaccio, which I've forgotten the taste of. We had a scallop and octopus oven-bake-with-breadcrumbs thing, which was surprisingly forgettable. So 2 out of 4, with the others being OK but forgettable - I think this is OK when the total bill with a carafe of wine and another glass or two totaled out at Y7000.

Service...I'm a broken record, but a little weird. C'mon girls, snap it up!

Anyway, tolerable for a Saturday night if you're at home, pretty good and priced right for a weeknight. Possibly better than the other weeknight options, which include La Nesta (chain?) and Pappatoria (chain? 2 in Monnaka alone).

No web site. It's kinda behind Mosburger, across from Akafudado, near the Spain bar. 03-5547 0202

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