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Pizzeria Tonino: Some of the best Italian pizza in town

by Robbie Swinnerton

Any al fresco seating is good now that the weather’s warming up. If there’s a view, that’s an added bonus. At Pizzeria Tonino, you get to watch colorful streetcars going past from the luxury of your terrace seat.

Of course, you don’t go to Tonino for the trainspotting. You’re there for the fresh-made pasta and hearty gnocchi, the considerable selection of antipasti and, more than anything, the wood-fired pizzas that have made it such a draw since opening in Shimo-Takaido 11 years ago.

Tonino was set up by (and named for) a trained pizzaiolo of considerable skill from Ischia, in the Gulf of Naples. Although he has left now, his influence lingers in the quality of the pizzas. There are 14 on the menu, from simple Margherita (¥1,400) or Romana (¥1,500) to more elaborate constructions topped with prosciutto, fresh rocket and plenty of mozzarella (up to ¥2,000).

Thanks to that Neapolitan connection, there was a time when some touted Tonino’s pizza as the best in Tokyo. These days there are many worthier contenders for that crown. Even so, plenty of Tokyoites would give their eyeteeth to have a pizzeria this tasty, honest and welcoming in their own neighborhood.

3-28-10 Matsubara, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3324-3090; www.pizzeria-tonino.com; open 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. (LO) and 6-9:30 p.m. (LO); Sat., Sun., and hols lunch till 2.30 p.m. (LO); nearest station Shimo-Takaido; no smoking; lunch from ¥1,300 per head, dinner around ¥3,000 (plus drinks); major cards OK; Italian menu; a little English spoken.