Light and Modern Italian Fare at Fiorentina, Roppongi Hills

By Leilani R. Gobaleza
October 31, 2014
Food & Drink

After a 7 a.m. start in Tokyo, my partner and I settled on the idea of something easy, romantic, and Italian for dinner. Luckily, we were able to secure same-day reservations at Fiorentina. Conveniently located on the lobby floor of premier hotel the Grand Hyatt Tokyo, Fiorentina is a modern Italian restaurant with a café concept in a much larger space. We often reduce our understanding of Italian dishes to large portions, heavy carbs, and the guilt that follows, but Fiorentina offers much lighter options combining both Italian and local ingredients for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. In doing so, the café reminds us of the simple, rather than the overindulgent, qualities of Italian cuisine.

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We stalled through the heavenly smells of the restaurant’s award-winning pastry boutique before arriving at our table. Due to its spaciousness, Fiorentina looks a lot more like a decorated hall—the place can serve up to 124 guests—than a restaurant. In the daytime, plenty of natural light serves the grand space well. You can also opt for outside terrace seating to enjoy some fresh air and a fuller Roppongi Hills experience. Come night, Fiorentina turns its lights down for a beautiful setting with a charming arrangement of green plants and bottled wine at the restaurant’s center.

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The menu offers seasonal soups, pasta (gluten free pasta is available upon request), pizza, risotto, and snacks. There are creative options such as the pumpkin gnocchi pasta with gorgonzola cream sauce and some more traditional ones like penne alla bolognese. Fiorentina is fancier than your average café, but it’s a lot more flexible than your average dinner date place. So, don’t be afraid to order dishes just the way you want them. Our server was more than happy to customize our dishes due to both allergies and personal preferences. We ordered a summer version of the homemade fettucine with cream sauce, seasonal vegetables, shrimp, and clams (¥2,650) and the pizza del pescatore, a medley of shrimp, scallops, squid, pepperoncino, and mozzarella (¥2,400). The waitress also offered to split our entrees for us to share. Though it wouldn’t have taken much to do so ourselves, having the dishes plated separately sustained the romantic mood we started with that evening.

Beyond its colorful presentation, the pasta was nothing new, but I wasn’t looking for any surprises and was completely satisfied with the dish. The pizza, however, brought an unexpected star to our meal. Scallops. I hardly crave scallops—I’ve been made a skeptic by one too many rubbery servings—and I never imagined having them on pizza, but Fiorentina’s reminded me of a superb dish I had in seafood-famous Hokkaido. The creamy scallops melted nicely in my mouth with each bite.

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As I sat listening to the slow music and light chatter, I quickly realized that with a café concept, a much smaller space would’ve been more appropriate. There is something about being in an intimate space when eating Italian cuisine that gives you the illusion—one that you expect and love—that you are eating something homemade. And while I very much enjoyed the food, I was missing that element. Still, the service was warm and professional, and the food well delivered.

To make the most of your time at Fiorentina, consider making it part of a full package experience that also includes a stop at the pastry boutique and walking around the nearby Mori Art Museum. I look forward to returning to this Italian restaurant to test out some of the menu changes, but I will probably make it a lunchtime appointment.

The Deets

Address: Grand Hyatt Tokyo, 6-10-3 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo

Tel: 03-4333-8780

Open: Daily, 9 a.m.–10 p.m.