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Acquavino

Acquavino is more than just a chic, up-to-the-minute lunch spot. It also functions as a caffe and, later in the day, as a casual neighborhood trattoria-cum-wine bar. The range of possibilities are detailed on four separate blackboards. There are the food specials, all rather more orthodox Italian dishes priced over 1,000 yen; a dozen or so wines, available by the glass or bottle; seven Chinese teas, including some rare and pricey varieties; and more than a dozen different grappa.

All these make it feasible to drop in for a drink and a snack on your way home from work. Or you can settle in, as we did, with a bottle of good wine for a lengthier meal. We began with two of the specialties of the house — bagna cauda,delicate vegetable sticks served with a pot of warm garlic-anchovy sauce; and a delectable fritti of mixed small fish, shrimp and a whole (though small) octopus, its bulbous head full of rich ink.