Pizza lovers, be sure to make a stop at Pizzeria Ciro in Higashi-Nakano. Just a few minutes from Shinjuku, Ciro serves craftsman pizza with the freshest ingredients. Their chefs are trained in Naples to assure the highest quality of flavor from their blazing brick oven pizzas.
Families and couples came together at the small shop to share a casual dinner night. The small restaurant has a very lively and energetic atmosphere with an outside terrace and bright indoors seating. A canopy and small electric fan buzzing over the tables kept the terrace cool during the summer evenings. If the heat is too much for you to take, try sitting inside with the loud sounds of friends talking over their wine. The interior is very family-oriented with the menu written in rainbow colors on a mural sized chalkboard. The huge red-brick oven dwarfs the large board with its fires and sizzling pizzas.
I sat outside with the cicadas humming as I people-watched from my seat. With over thirty pizzas to choose from on their Japanese-only menu, I took my chances and pointed at the two most appetizing looking photos. Before the surprise pizzas came, I had a glass of their house wine and their marinated salmon. A mystery to most wine drinkers, Japan chills their red wines, but on that hot August night, the cold wine was welcomed. The salmon was cool and tart from the marinade with hints of vinegar in the olive oil.
When the pizzas came, I couldn’t hide my excitement. I ended up with the Parmigiano (tomato sauce with salami and eggplant) and Puttanesca (Mozzarella-based with anchovy and capers). The two pizzas couldn’t have been more different. The Parmigiano had a smoky edge from the roasted salami and crispy eggplant. The anchovy from the Puttanesca gave a strong, gutsy flavor to the melted pools of Mozzarella.
With two pizzas on opposite ends of the spectrum, one thing remained constant—the crispy, golden brown crust. The superiority of the brick oven can be tasted with the crusts of the thin-based pizzas, but when you bite in, the bread is soft and fluffy. Ciro’s combination of melted cheese and crispy crusts are a true tribute to the pizzas found in Italy.