Sunday 21 October 2018



When it comes to popular Japanese food, pizza doesn’t usually top the list. Japan is better known of course for, well, Japanese food. However there is something of a love affair in Japan with Italian food, often in the form of yoshoku: Japanese-style Western food, e.g. spaghetti with ketchup, chopped up hot dogs and onions (naporitan). Whilst yoshoku is a delight, it definitely isn’t actual Italian food, which is why it’s a treat to stumble across somewhere that serves up Italian food and wood-fired pizza.

Baloricco is more than out for the way. It's perched somewhat precariously at the bottom of the cliff inside a former marina warehouse in the small quiet fishing village of Ena, Wakayama Prefecture. It could strange that somewhere like this place exists in this sleepy town; most people in the village either make money from fishing or farming oranges, but the views out across the indigo blue of the Seto Inland Sea, punctuated with the curves of tree-coated islands, make this a scenic spot for a slice of pizza or ten. It’s surprising that more entrepreneurs haven’t set up shop here.

In its repurposed old building the restaurant feels likes a portal into a enclave of cool, a promise of what this town could be with a dose of fresh blood and creative ideas. The Japanese-run Baloricco is decked out with distressed sofas, incongruous armchairs, varnished plywood tables, industrial lighting, and driftwood, reflecting the industrious sea-worn surroundings.

We went for a margherita, for a taste of traditional Italian pizza toppings. There’s an open kitchen here so you can, like we did, eagerly ogle your food being created and then cooked in the huge pizza oven.

The pizza arrived: molten mozzarella with a golden crisp to it, a nicely charred crust and a scattering of fresh basil. Resisting the urge to eat the whole pizza in one mouthful, we sat and savoured the first delicious bite. The base was thin and the crust had a rich and chewy texture; everything came together, the savoury of the dough, the salty cheese, the tangy tomato. There was also homemade chili oil to drizzle and tabasco (a staple Japanese pizza accompaniment).

Chilled skater beats and up-tempo rock filled the space as we finished our beer. The understated Baloricco isn’t just a chance to eat out in Ena - it’s a haven, a hideaway for young couples and friends to enjoy food in a part of this countryside coastline that’s for them.

🏞 PLACE Seaside seclusion
🛋️ VIBE Slackers hangout
TASTE Tantalisingly melty
👛 PRICE Almost expensive

đŸ—ș Where is Baloricco? Here it is. đŸ—ș

Baloricco [バロăƒȘッコ] Internet Presence ☟

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