It took us more than six months to get around to checking out Eataly in Daikanyama. With a name like that, we still couldn’t believe it was anything other than a gimmicky Italian food theme park. We’re still not convinced, but it certainly boasts one of the most pleasant al fresco eating spots in the neighborhood.

The original Eataly store in Turin is a vast emporium set up to promote and sell high-quality artisanal foods — the kind of products endorsed by the Slow Food movement. In Tokyo, the scale is more modest but it’s still ambitious. On one side of a spacious courtyard there’s a caffe with gelateria and pastry counter, plus a formal sit-down restaurant. On the other side is the store, its aisles packed to the ceiling with gourmet products; a bakery producing regional Italian breads; a wine cellar; and an ample cheese and prosciutto counter.

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