By Mandy Bartok
After a leisurely coastline drive in southern Oita Prefecture, hungry, and heading for the southern tip of the Higashi Kyushu Expressway to get home, I discovered Saiki and it’s culinary gem, Pizza Savoy.
Friendly owner Junichi Takaji has run Pizza Savoy since 1989. His love for Italy, cooking, people, and music shows itself with a walk through the front door. Believing that one must do things right from the start, he traveled to Italy and began importing ingredients to Kyushu before even the basics were available in specialty stores here. The taste is genuine Italian, and even the spices are grown in his home garden from seeds he bought in Italy.
Take a step over to the bar and look over the world beers (including Carlsberg on tap), the nice wine collection, cocktails, and Italian liquors and you’ll see Mr. Takaji’s love of music. The whole wall is lined with an extensive collection of R&B, jazz, and soul on vinyl that dates back to his college days. Get him talking and he’ll challenge your knowledge of each genre at an expert level, showing off albums from the popular Jackson 5 and Miles Davis to his personal favorite, the Chi-Lites.
Pizzas here are made from scratch Rome-style. You can watch as the chefs roll out each crust by hand at the front window, and then bake it in the wood-burning oven. They also have a full pasta menu and take special requests. For the discriminating gourmet, you can even get your pasta hand-made on location if you like. Moreover, there’s a fine selection of antipasti, salads, and soup. And to sum it all up, they provide a detailed and interesting English menu written by a local fan of the restaurant.
If you’re anywhere near Saiki, this restaurant’s “Pizza, pasta, vino e buona musica” is worth a visit. In warm weather, the outdoor café in the back is open too. Say hello to Mr. Takaji and you’ll brighten his day—or perhaps he’ll brighten yours.
Name in Japanese
ピッツァ・サボイ—pittsa saboi—Pizza Savoy
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I'm also known as Faer Out. I love learning about people and nature all around the world. I've traveled throughout Japan and visited some 40 countries on 5 continents and hope to continue seeing and experiencing the wonder of this planet as long as I live.Based in Japan for nearly two decades, I'm the Regional Partner here for Fukuoka and Saga Prefectures. In addition to my work at JapanTravel, I have a language school called Rainbow Bridges English Academy in Fukuoka and am very interested in teaching, languages, communication, and photography, among other things. Recently, I've been a guest host on NHK World's J-Trip Plan for Caving Adventures in Western Japan as well as Exploration for Black Gold.I love heading downtown to meet up with friends for a night out as well as being able to hop on my motorcycle and be riding through forest-covered mountains or to sandy beaches in 20 minutes. This area is very photogenic and even after years of exploration, there are still plenty of places to discover each weekend! My photographs are available for purchase on iStock, Shutterstock, and Dreamstime or by contacting me.Please contact me if you have any questions about travel in Japan. I'd also be grateful for any follows on social media!