Italian Cuisine and Wagyu Beef at La Goccia, Shirokanedai
Something was vaguely familiar about this restaurant on Meguro-dori. Friends had raved about this relative newcomer to the Shirokane area and we were keen to try it. But for some reason the location just didn't add up. The huge frontage leaves no doubt that this is La Goccia, with an Italian flag declaring its cuisine, a wine barrel referencing its main tipple, and a huge knife and fork just in case you missed the idea that this is a restaurant. And plants. Slowly it dawned on us that this had, once upon a time, been a huge florist shop that had furnished many of our now-deceased houseplants.
La Goccia is the passion of owner Tatsuhana Kazuteru, a third-generation owner of the building on this site. His forebears had been in the flower trade, but growing up he had always wanted to be a restauranteur. When his turn came, he took five long years turning the florist shop into La Goccia.
The name means “to the last drop”—a sentiment that we freely embrace when dining. Yet La Goccia is no ordinary Italian restaurant, just as Tatsuhana san is no ordinary owner. The specialty here is not the pasta or the risotto, although both feature on the menu, but rather wagyu, more specifically Tokyo wagyu.
Sourced from southwest of Tokyo at Akikawa in Kanagawa prefecture, the wagyu is served in weighted amounts allowing individual diners to choose just the right size for them. Accompanied by a roast potato and simple salad greens with a dollop of tapenade, this could be the perfect main dish and is simply divine. Cooked to perfection, seared on the outside, rare in the center but with not a drop on the plate, it is so tender that it cuts like butter and predictably, melts in the mouth. Accompanied by a delightful Brunello di Montalcino 2008 Col D’Orcia, this was an excellent dining experience.
But La Goccia doesn’t forget its Italian focus. The menu offers appetizers, primo and secondo of seafood, salads and pastas, all in the great Italian tradition. We opted for one of the appetizer platters, which featured marinated mushrooms and tomatoes, a potato frittata and a selection cold cuts, all of which were delicious.
The desserts also did not disappoint. Classics such as tiramisu and affogato (the drowning man: espresso poured over vanilla ice cream) were a great way to end the meal. Tatsuhana, both affable and approachable, was on hand to explain the courses and the produce if needed.
All in all, La Goccia is a wonderful experience for lovers of both Italian cuisine and Japanese wagyu.
Address: 4-8-10 Shirokanedai, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Open: Lunch, Tues–Fri 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m.; dinner, Tues–Sun, 6–11 p.m.