We’ve long admired Carmine Cozzolino, one of Tokyo’s best-known Italian chefs, for his efforts to introduce authentic European dining to Tokyo. It turns out that Carmine’s brother Andrea is pretty talented in the kitchen as well. At the newly opened Ristorante Cantare, located near the base of Tokyo Tower, Andrea Cozzolino whips up Tuscan fare in a lovely space that shimmers with class. On a recent visit, we were treated to an overview of the wide-ranging menu. Insalata caprese and marinated octopus with capers and mushrooms both shone with the simplicity and quality of their ingredients—the highlight being a rich buffalo mozzarella that, says Carmine, he’s able to source thanks to his connections in Italy. Chewy coppa ham, hard to find in Tokyo, was another hit, as was a surprising spaghetti dish of zucchini, fresh basil—and anago. By the time the tender and peppery strips of iberico pork steak with seasonal vegetables arrived, Andrea had won us over. Our meal concluded with a dense banana tart and a perfectly made cappuccino. A surefire date spot, Cantare has a classy interior that’s brightened by the colorful paintings of Madrid-based Japanese artist Chiaki Horikoshi; a semi-private dining area in the rear allows for more intimate get-togethers. The prices are right, too: lunch starts at ¥1,000, course dinners at ¥5,500, à la carte items are ¥1,200 and up, and pasta and entrées can be had from ¥1,400.
2-2-12 Azabudai, Minato-ku. Tel: 03-5545-1617. Open 11:30am-2pm and 6-10:30pm. Nearest stn: Kamiyacho, exit 2.