By John Carter
Kuromon markets. Giant rainbow hued fluorescent tubes that look like a Nissan Cedric in Sennichimae. Ma and Pa polishing their kitchen utensils at Doguyasuji Shopping Street. You could almost transport yourself to 1969, for that is not too far from the truth, with the Sennichimae Subway line opening that year, and some of the stations looking unchanged from that time. Some folks may say that Nipponbashi is Namba’s poorer or less fashionable cousin, but between the retro okonomiyaki diners and the smoke filled lounges you will find not just a pizza, but some of the most delightful servings of this Italian staple this side of the Midosuji.
Despite the reputation of this place as being yesterday's child, it is often the younger generation that is recommending eateries in this historic district, and A Pizza is no exception. While its non-descript name will not take your breath away, it does not surprise me that Japan has some of the best pizzas in the world, with Trattoria Cesari winning the world awards in 2010.
Here at A Pizza, they stick to the traditional recipes that have been tested with time, serving them in delightful rectangles with simple toppings, with universal names like Margherita and Pepperoni, the former topped with the freshest basil and a snip at just ¥430. There are no new world fusion tastes like tandoori chicken pizza here, just simple recipes cooked to perfection in their 500C stone oven, making it accessible for connoisseurs and first timers alike. They pride on the quality of their ingredients, from flour and olive oil is to natural yeast aged at the foot of the Alps which is luxuriously mixed with the dough. The only concession they make is with their optional toppings, such as soft cooked runny eggs, a nod to oyakodon or the coriander and tomato chicken that my mother would make.
It is also popular with overseas visitors, but without any feelings that this is a tourist trap. The two hour all you can eat and drink special starts at ¥3,500 on weekdays, and you can book this special online as well (minimum 2 people).
In my search for the secrets of longevity, I am reminded that it is not just about hiking in rainforests, or searching for those hard to get introductions with centenarians in Ogimi, but also about ikigai, or reason to live. Celebrating community and life with people you know and love, will add years to your life. A group dinner here under the moonlight at this home to Italian cuisine at Nipponbashi will give longevity in spades.
The restaurant is two minutes walk to Kintetsu Nipponbashi Station, or six minutes walk from Namba Nankai Station, with direct services to Kansai Airport.
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I knew my future was destined to be with Japan the moment I flew from Sydney to experience the atmospheric lane ways of Kyoto last century. From the skies above Sapporo to the old charm of Naha's alleyways, I have been enchanted by the beauty and variety on every island. I am humbled to have met many distinguished people in my role as Regional Partner, especially the national living treasures of Japan, such as the doll maker to the Imperial Family. From sushi cooking classes to Ninja training grounds I welcome your ideas on what you like from JapanTravel.com. Please visit us in Kyoto or Osaka and have some green tea or sake with us.