By Mandy Bartok
Looking for unique, delicious Western-style cuisine in Tokyo? Look no further than L'Ignis in Ebisu.
For me, this restaurant was a random find. I was strolling through Ebisu (one of Tokyo's best areas for bars and dining), and two things drew me into this place: reasonably priced wine and wood-fire oven cuisine. When I went, the house wines were an unbelievable 3 yen per glass (it was the restaurant's anniversary), but the waiter assured me that the price was still very reasonable on normal days (and yes, the wine was delicious despite the low cost).
The other interesting thing about this restaurant is that they cook nearly all of their dishes in a wood-fire oven. Fish, chicken, meat, vegetable dishes--all of it has its time roasting to smokey perfection. I later learned that the name, L'Ignis, means "hearth," and the restaurant is the first in Japan to specialize in wood-fired cuisine. I can honestly say that I have never eaten anywhere in Japan like it.
L'Ignis has plenty of food options for those who prefer western cuisine, though the restaurant focuses on using Japanese ingredients. I started on the Kanpachi carpaccio, which was so good I couldn't resist trying the Bonito carpaccio, too. After that, the waiter talked me into trying the Shamo chicken. Shamo chicken is a leaner, gamier member of the poultry family, but after roasting in that wood-fire oven, it came out tender and delicious.
There are tables and couch-style seating for smaller groups, though the restaurant has space to accommodate larger parties as well. You can make a reservation online (in English or Japanese) on their website.
As with any restaurant in Tokyo, the busiest nights tend to be Friday and Saturday, but it is not difficult to get a reservation as long as you reach out a few days in advance. If you have a smaller party (1-4), finding a table on normal nights should not be difficult.
L'Ignis is only a two minute walk from Ebisu Station's East Exit. It is located on the ground level on the corner of the Ebisu 4-Chome Intersection.
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