By JJ Walsh
Dining as a group doesn't have to be a pain, Totide wine bar offers easy group meal plans or all-you-can-drink or eat deals at reasonable prices- around ¥3,500 for some eating and drinking plans with a time limit. Even if you order off the menu, prices are very reasonable and you can eat and drink your fill and still easily come out under ¥5,000 per person. We went as a group and drank a lot of great tasting glasses and bottles of wine as well as shared quite a few tasty dishes of pasta, pizza, salads and appetizers over a few hours and it was less than ¥4,000 per person at the end of the night.
Totide wine bar opened in July, 2011 and is listed on the facebook page as a Romanga wine bar, working in partnership with Japanese owners and one of the biggest Italian wine producers, Gruppo Cevico.
Totide has some bilingual staff, but the electronic tablet menu on the table is easy to navigate and order from. I tried the 3 cheese pizza, margarita pizza, the anchovy rich bagna cauda dip and vegetable appetizer, the steamed platter with mussels, a cheese platter, a few plates of pasta and a few extra servings of bread to help finish off all the lovely sauces and dips.
Although this has happened to us before in Japan, we were surprised when they told us there was no more bread as there were still quite a few dishes on the menu that were either made with bread or were rich and saucy and wouldn't be as good without bread. It was the only disappointment of our experience. Hopefully an Italian restaurant like this, so close in proximity to great Hiroshima bakeries like Andersen, might soon make efforts to improve it's bread supply chain. I'd love to see a sign in the window of European eateries in Japan that say- "English menu, Great wine & Lots of Bread!" That would surely attract groups of us carb lovers.
The Totide wait staff were great- very friendly, courteous and helpful and the food and drink was delivered very quickly. They were also able to adapt to order requests from vegetarian diners in our group. The wait staff seemed to speak a little English, but there was a wonderful bilingual menu on a tablet computer on the table for us to refer to as well.
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I've been living in Hiroshima since the mid 90's & still discovering new things to enjoy. I'm a big fan of both the old "wabi sabi" as well as modern and new designs, Japan offers both of these type of places to explore and enjoy. Even after many years here, I am still discovering surprising, fantastic and wacky things about this strange and wonderful land. I hope you enjoy your adventures around Japan- feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about traveling with kids, vegetarian dining or anything specific to Hiroshima.