Da Yuki: An authentic Neapolitan pizzeria

by J.J. O'Donoghue

Special To The Japan Times

Da Yuki is an authentic, bijou Neapolitan pizzeria opened 10 years ago by Yuki Kamada, who, like many Japanese, is not prone to doing things in half measures.

After graduating from cooking school he traded Kyoto for Napoli and spent a few years working in pizzerias before returning to Kyoto to open his eponymous restaurant.

Da Yuki really does feel like a pizzeria — it’s narrow and sparsely outfitted, with bottles of liqueur and wines lining the wall. Up front is the tiled pizza oven with Yuki’s name engraved in it. The pizza line-up changes with the seasons, but there’s also a decent a la carte menu. I got a last minute booking late in the day, and although much of the a la carte menu had been devoured, I started with a generous plate of scampi that included baby sweetfish, shrimp and a generic fish cake. In tempura country, fresh scampi was a nice change.

From there it was pizza all the way: We made our way through Diavola, Napoletana and Quattro Fromaggi. Kamada’s pizzas are what you would expect from someone who has gone the extra mile: thin bases and sauces that complement the toppings, with rich and creamy Marrandino buffalo mozzarella.

Da Yuki sits right in the middle of Kyoto’s museum quarter and it’s also included in the Michelin Guide’s Bib Gourmand section, so book ahead before you bounce up.

Nearest station: Higashiyama subway; pizzas from ¥950; English and Japanese menu; some English spoken