Looking for dinner one early evening in Mishima, I saw a sign on the main road south of the station that said 'Mishima Terrace' but pointed towards what looked like a car park. It didn't look that promising, but I followed it anyway, and round the corner I found a little terrace that looked like a Neapolitan street cafe transplanted to Japan. The menu looked pretty reasonable, and I always enjoy eating outside, so I chose a table and sat down.
The restaurant is close to Mishima-Hirokoji station on the Izu-Hakone Sunzu line, but also within easy walking distance of the main Mishima station. It's easy to spot as there's a big windmill in front, almost certainly the only one in town, and there are terraces both front and back: I was at the back, with metal tables, plastic chairs and colourful parasols, which contrast with the stylish minimal fountain. The front terrace is a little noisier as it's not away from the road, and has higher tables and metal chairs for you to perch on while you watch people walking by.
The interior has a warm European feel: there are wooden tables and comfy-looking seats and couches, an open kitchen where you can watch the chef slicing meat off a big ham, and wine bottles artfully arranged around the room for decor. The music was jazzy Balearic when I was there, uptempo but mellow, creating a nice, relaxed atmosphere.
The staff were both friendly and flexible: the menu said spaghetti with salmon cream sauce, but they happily changed it to penne for me. The amount was a bit smaller than I'd hoped for, but the pasta was cooked nicely al dente, the sauce was smooth and full of flavour, and the salmon deliciously tender.
The menu is only in Japanese, and there aren't many pictures to help you. It's mostly Mediterranean food, with pasta dishes costing from ¥1000-¥1200, among them arrabiata, carbonara, basil tomato sauce, or mushroom and pancetta in white wine sauce. Soups are ¥600-¥800, fish and meat dishes between ¥1300 and ¥2400 (or ¥4200 for a 200g steak), and desserts such as pain chocolat or daily sherbet or ice cream specials are from ¥500 to ¥700. If you're hungry and want to make ordering simple, then a full seven-course dinner will set you back from ¥3800 to ¥5000.
Wine costs ¥500 for a glass, ¥1500 for a carafe, or from ¥1800 to ¥9000 for a bottle, including sparkling varieties. Other alcoholic drinks are from ¥500 for a beer to ¥1000 for some of the whiskies, while soft drinks and beverages cost between ¥400 and ¥600.
So the food is good and the prices reasonable, but the main appeal for me is the chance to enjoy some relaxed, al fresco Mediterranean style dining, sitting back and taking my time.