Sources close to the writer (a very pizza-knowledgeable 12-year-old who I adore, but is not my child) insist that the best pizza in the city is at Pizza Strada in Azabu Juban. He might very well be right. The crust is thin and alternately soft and crunchy in the right spots. The sauce has a touch of sweetness but not overly so. The best part is the place itself. It has a beautiful terrace and inside the atmosphere is cozy and warm. The pizza chef makes each pizza to order and apparently loves to chat as he shifts the yummy goodness in and out of the stone pizza ovens. There are only four pizzas on the menu and the ingredients in them are very specific. If you want cheese on the marinara pizza, it’s 500 yen extra. If you want sauce on the Tamaki or pepperoni, it’s 500 yen extra. Like most menu items in Japan, there are no substitutions. The way it’s written is the way it comes, and asking for it otherwise is generally quite an ordeal. In fact, the night I went with my favorite pizza-buff, I ordered the Tamaki pizza, which is an interesting mix of smoked mozzarella, peccorino cheese and cherry tomatoes. As I mentioned, it does not come with sauce. When I asked to add sauce, the waitress went to ask the pizza chef if that was possible. I felt terrible, as if I was insulting the chef. But the waitress came back and replied in the affirmative that it would be okay to add the sauce – for the extra charge. Of course.
Pizza Strada has a few wines, a few beers and a great sangria. The menu in general is not extensive, but each item is made to perfection with a fair price to boot. Be sure to look at the menu pictures carefully – they’re very specific. And then look at the rules – only in Japan could a joint post rules like that and expect them to be followed. Almost anywhere else, they’d be laughed at – really – let’s not drink too much?? Who ever heard of pizza without a few beers? Well, perhaps my twelve-year-old, but he’ll learn in time. Enjoy!