Ad’acchio, Kita-Senju: All Those Subtle Scents of Fresh Basil And Dough

This Pizzeria e Trattoria Is Worth Any Long Train Ride

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With a gust of hot air on our backs guiding us inside as we step in from the busy highway, the aroma swiftly transitions from warm city smog to the subtle scents of fresh basil and dough. Ad’acchio, a rare gem we recently found in Tokyo’s Kita-Senju area, is proud of its house-made pizza, the pleasant smell of which you can quite literally feel from distance. I catch a glance of Pizzaiolo Primo Satoshi Okada focused on his dough, as we make a beeline for our table.

Ad’acchio was launched by the “pizza craftmen” behind Koishikawa’s famous Aoi Napoli and you can find it after just a little walk from Kita-Senju’s main area — on a rather busy road.

Although we were glad to see the main menu was bilingual, the daily seasonal menu was not, so we let our kindly, slightly sheepish, waiter Shuma, choose our dishes for the evening. Under his recommendations we were guided through the best Ad’acchio has to offer, and we were certainly not disappointed.

The food

As soon as we’re settled at our table and sipping on our Blood Orange San Pellegrinos, a waiter arrives and presents us with a silver tray of the evening’s fresh ingredients: lamb chops, onions, mushrooms, eggs, cheese, and an Aomori rockfish looking back at us. Not at all what I was expecting from a pizzeria, but the effort to describe (in English) the details of each item was really endearing.

Our special ingredients for the night.

It’s not long before our first dish, Caprese Salad antipasto (¥980), arrives, and at first bite, we glance at each other with exaggerated wide eyes and telepathically communicate the same thought “Real cheese! In Japan!” The olive oil is fresh — light, but flavorful — and it’s all over far too quickly for my liking.

Ad’acchio is the closest thing to authentic Italian food I’ve experienced in Japan.

Glancing over the menu again in anticipation, my inner Welsh girl is curious to know more about the “Welsh-onion” topping on their award-winning truffle cream and porchetta pizza (I giggle to find out it’s actually Japanese leek dressed up with ristorante jargon) but my interest is piqued to see that despite a lunch menu and take-out option being available, this pizza is only on offer during the evening sittings and at double the price of the basic Marinara (¥1,050).

Ad’acchio’s award-winning Welsh onion pizza “Porchetta e Friarielli” which we will try on our next visit!

No matter, because our classic Margherita (¥1,300) arrives to get a true taste of Ad’acchio’s expertise — the crust is exactly what you expect from a Neapolitan pizzeria.

 

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Next, Shuma-san delivers us a Fresh Spaghetti alla Chitarra with Crab and Tomato Cream Sauce (¥1,420, pictured below) dish — the sweetest crab I’d ever tasted, set on a bed of perfectly al dente pasta. The pizza might be Ad’acchio’s crowning glory but I would travel to Kita-Senju once a month just to eat this dish alone!

The interior

Ad’acchio has a warm atmosphere for such a cool place. Candle-light (so rare for Japan that I’d almost forgotten it was a thing in non-earthquake prone countries) casts a glow on daters holding hands across their tables, and the painted concrete floor muffles the sound the open planned space, adding to the intimacy. The kitchen is designed to be seen, with a row of bar stools facing the grand wood-fired pizza oven, which has “Ad’acchio” pressed into its mosaic tiles and a tall wooden paddle perched alongside it.

Once inside, you’d be forgiven for mistaking the restaurant as being in a major Mediterranean city. I almost forgot I was in Japan at all, if not for a few spatterings of kanji around the place — it feels like you’ve stepped into the classic example of a modern European establishment.

A casual place during day-time, with candles lit and slow ambiance, Ad’acchio turns romantic after sunset. 

Relaxed tables of off-duty salarymen and happy groups of friends celebrate quiet thirty-something birthday celebrations beneath paintings of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her words of affirmation. The upbeat music, whitewashed walls with dark beams, and high ceilings make it a calm and collected trattoria experience.

 

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Ad’acchio is the closest thing to authentic Italian food I’ve experienced in Japan. Upstairs has a second bar which is spacious, sophisticated, and ideal for entertaining or celebrating in groups. Across the two floors, parties of up to around 75 guests can be reserved, which is seemingly unusual for Tokyo where I’d usually struggle to sit ten of my closest friends.

Ad’acchio is the kind of place you’d head out to for a low-key celebration or date-night, in a modern, independent Italian setting. And even if you live in central Tokyo or beyond — that train or car ride is, by all means, totally worth it!

The Deets

Ad’acchio

Address: 1-29-12 Senju-azuma, Adachi-ku, Tokyo
Access: About a 10-minute walk from Kita-Senju station.
Hours: (Mon-Fri) Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-2:30(l.o.)Dinner: 6 p.m.-10 p.m. (l.o), (Sat,Sun&Holidays) Lunch 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.(l.o.)Dinner: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. (l.o)
Average price: (Lunch) From ¥980, (Dinner) Appetizers from ¥400, Pizza from ¥1,050, Pasta from ¥950, Desserts ¥500 Smoking/Non-smoking: Non-smoking



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