A short 20-minute drive from the center of Nanao City in Ishikawa Prefecture transports visitors to Villa della Pace, a one-star Italian trattoria nestled in a tranquil grove near the seashore of the Noto Peninsula. Chef Meiju Hirata, who has fallen in love with the nature of Noto and the flavors of its mountains and surrounding sea, offers dishes to celebrate the bounty of the region.
Chef Hirata trained at several Italian restaurants in Tokyo for a total of eight years and established relationships with producers around Japan. In September 2016, he opened Villa della Pace in Nanao, Ishikawa, in the Noto Peninsula, which he selected for its unmatched bounty of natural produce including meat, fish, and vegetables. Then, in 2020, he fulfilled his long-cherished dream of opening an auberge as he relocated the trattoria to a nearby location while retaining its name.
“I would like to open an auberge so that our guests can enjoy the nature and food of Noto to their heart’s content,” he says. Located at the head of the Gulf of Nanao, Villa della Pace boasts a 180-degree panoramic view of the sea which appears as still as a lake. Guests visiting the auberge have this spectacular view all to themselves as the beach, previously crowded with bathers 30 years ago, is now secluded without any buildings as far as the eye can see.
A 30-minute drive away from the auberge is the fishing port of Nanao, where fish are sold straight from the catch every morning. At the port, chef Hirata often sees chef Takayoshi Yamaguchi from Sushidokoro Mekumi, a two-star sushi restaurant in Nonoichi, whom he consults for advice on local marine products, fishermen, and the fishing port. In addition to the fish purchased at the port, Hirata also uses vegetables grown in his kitchen garden, edible wild mushrooms and plants collected in the hilly groves behind the establishment, and other locally sourced, natural ingredients to prepare dishes.
Chef Hirata has developed his own original Noto cuisine, which is based on Italian cuisine but features salt and water to highlight the flavors of ingredients and celebrates the bounty of the region’s natural larder. His simple dishes, beautifully executed dishes are best appreciated when paired with wines and sake selected by the sommelier.
Take a trip with family, close friends, or food friends to feel the unique ambience of Noto and explore local flavors through the scenic vistas and delicious dishes offered by chef Hirata to share his love for its natural surroundings.
* 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 15-minute walk from Kasashiho Station on the Nanao Line of the Noto Railway
Wakura-Onsen Station on the JR Nanao Line, and Wakura-Onsen Station on the Noto Railway Nanao Line
15 minutes by taxi