Tasting Saitama grown European Vegetables at Trattoria Azzuri in Musashi Urawa
Hi everyone! This is Love Saitama Ambassador Jessica.
There’s a very special restaurant that I would like to introduce you to today: Trattoria Azzuri! Located at Musashi Urawa Station on the Saikyo Line it is a 30 minute trip from Shinjuku or Shibuya. Their delicious food and world class pizza is loved by local residents and visitors alike. Today however I’m going to introduce you to another wonderful reason to come and eat at Trattoria Azzuri!
Started in 2004, Azzuri makes and serves Italian food however the produce, vegetables, fruit and rice used in their menu are grown locally in Saitama Prefecture! The restaurant prides itself on growing interesting and unique European varieties of vegetables most of which are difficult to find in a regular supermarket or wholesalers market.
Located about 5 minutes from Musashi Urawa Station, the restaurant can be tricky to locate so I will give directions.
Going out the wicket gates and walking left there is a bridge which leads towards a bookstore. Part of the way on the bridge there is an elevator and a flight of stairs both on the left hand side. Walking down the stairs and towards Coco Ichiban Curry you will notice the railway tracks are above you.
Continue walking in the same direction of the tracks and you will come to Trattoria Azzuri!
On the way to Azzuri I came across a bicycle rental area which operates within Saitama City too! After registering the bicycles are available for hiring using your Suica or Pasmo card. There is more information on the Chokotabi Saitama page about bicycle rental.
There is a large sign with Azzuri’s name on the side of the brick wall and is very easy to spot.
On the day I visited Azzuri, I came for lunch. Open for both lunch and dinner the restaurant offers a large selection of wine and beverages to compliment their menu. The interior of the restaurant is spacious and seats approximately 46 people.
The kitchen is visible to the dining area which is makes for an interesting atmosphere. The beautifully tiled pizza oven produces award winning pizzas!
This time I was served with a delicious iced tea made locally in Sayama City which is famous for its tea industry. Instead of the usual green tea the grower had blended a black tea (Kocha) with Azzuri in mind!
Next I was served bread and a salad with beautiful striped Golgo radish and kale, together came an amazing pizza with locally grown white cauliflower on top!
The restaurant Manager Mr. Sekine talked to me about the reason for growing vegetables in Saitama. He said that even though delicious vegetables are plentiful throughout Japan the restaurant found it couldn’t replicate authentic Italian recipes as the specific and unique vegetables that the recipes called for were simply not grown in Japan.
Japan specific temperatures and humidity coupled with specific local knowledge on Italian vegetable cultivation made the idea of growing locally seem very difficult. Until one day the restaurant owner happened upon a local newspaper article in which a Saitama based seed company (Tochita seeds) had been dealing specifically with bringing foreign seed into Saitama.
After excitedly discussing with the restaurant chefs the restaurant owner Mr Kita and several of the chefs found local vegetable growers willing to take the chance and start to grow these unique European vegetables! Saitama European Vegetables was born! Presently there are approximately 10 vegetable farmers selling 40 types of European vegetables to approximately 1000 wholesalers Japan wide. Presently about 120 different restaurants in Japan are using the vegetables in their menu or stocking them in their shops. It’s just amazing to think that what started as a search for a better tasting menu has evolved into a whole organisation servicing the country with vegetables made in Saitama!
Anyway, back to the delicious lunch!
Next I was served an amazing looking pasta which had asparagus and broccoli together with tomato berry type tomatoes. The flavour was just amazing! I really loved this combination of Saitama and Italy!
Afterwards dessert came too! A selection of three small desserts with Autumn flavours. A Tiramisu, a pudding topped with locally grown Persimmon and vanilla ice cream topped with nuts.
The menu for weekday lunch tends to be a set menu that changes depending on price, whereas you will be able to pick and choose with the dinner menu on weekdays and weekends. Azzuri is a smart casual restaurant and is ideal for couples, families and is very welcoming to mothers with strollers.
The company which owns Trattoria Azzuri: North Corporation, is very involved in giving back and working with the local community here in Saitama also. In addition to running regular cooking classes for adults and children, chefs from the restaurants owned by North Corporation (4 in total) make school lunch for local school children in an effort to connect locally grown vegetables with the younger generation of children living in Saitama.
Access: Trattoria Azzuri
7-1-16, Bessho, Minami-ku, Saitama-shi, Saitama, 336-0021
Located 1 minute from Musashi Urawa Station on the Saikyo Line
Monday – Sunday Lunch: 11:30 – 15:00 (Last Order at 14:00)
Monday – Friday Dinner: 18:00 – 23:00(Last Order at 22:00)
Saturday Dinner: 17:00 – 23:00(Last Order at 22:00)
Sunday Dinner: 17:00 – 22:00(Last Order at .21:00)
*Please note that inquiry by phone may only be available in Japanese
Lunch 1,300 yen
Dinner 3,800 yen
The following credit cards are accepted:
VISA, MasterCard, JCB, American Express, Diners Club, MUFG, UC, DC, NICOS, UFJ, SAISON
Reposted with the permission of Saitama Travel Magazine (Saitama Prefecture, Tourism Division).
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