Italian restaurant Ristorante i-lunga is located close to Futako-Tamagawa Station in Setagaya, Tokyo. The owner-chef Junichiro Horie showing his respect for both traditional Italian cooking techniques he employs and Japanese ingredients and producers.
Tokyo-born owner-chef Horie left for Italy at the age of 25. In 2002, after being the opening chef of Ristorante Pisterna in the Piedmont region, he became the first Japanese chef to be awarded a star by the Italian Michelin Guide, a crowning achievement. He spent 9 years in Italy before returning to Japan in 2007 to open La Gradisca in Nishi-Azabu, Tokyo. The renowned restaurant unfortunately closed its doors when Horie moved to Nara in 2009, where he opened Ristorante i-lunga in front of the gates of Todaiji Temple. He relocated the restaurant to Futako-Tamagawa, Tokyo, in 2019. "I was born and raised in Setagaya, and studied at Komazawa University, which is also in Setagaya," explains Horie. "When I began thinking of returning to Tokyo, I chose Setagaya because it's a nice location with the Tama River nearby, and it's my home."
Owner-chef Horie pays respect to Italy, Italian ingredients, and Italian cooking, while teaming up with Japanese producers to add a spice of originality to his dishes. Some of his innovations include providing chopsticks for foreign guests and his use of "umami", or savory flavor. With the children's taste training program "A Week of Flavor" gaining traction in Japan and France, the fifth basic taste umami has become increasingly recognized internationally. Owner-chef Horie uses soup stock made from kelp and shiitake mushrooms to add an extra layer of flavor to his Italian cuisine. His specialty is Agnolotti del Plin. A local dish from Piedmont, with no doubt, this dish is the very soul of the region. "It was difficult for me, a foreigner, to master this simple, unfussy style of cooking, but I'm proud to have received recognition from Italians," remarks owner-chef Horie. The restaurant also offers a wide selection of wines—mostly natural wines from Italy. Along with Grand Vin and Super Tuscan old vintage varieties, wine pairing is also available.
The restaurant's building itself is constructed of wood, uncommon in Japan. Located on the bottom floor, the restaurant's striking design—with its thick wooden beams and pillars—will capture your attention. The cozy interior offers table seating for up to 14 people. The wooden decor and lighting creates a natural atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a moment of luxury. English and Italian speaking staffs are also available. A great choice for a relaxing sit-down meal with family, friends, or foodies, or even a meal out with foreign guests.
*The availability of this webpage does not guarantee that the restaurant presented provides services in English, unless otherwise stated. Please be aware that English services may also depend on staff availability at the restaurant.
A 5-minute walk from Futako-Tamagawa Station. (Tokyu Den-en-Den-en-toshi Line, Tokyu Oimachi Line )