TOKYO — It’s taken me a while, but I’ve learned the cold truth that other equally passionate, pizza-eating gaijin have long since known: there’s little to be had in the way of good pizza in Japan.

Pizza can be flawed, but as long as the sauce can attain a certain level of thick, spicy hotness, it gets a pass with me.

My newest hope was Pizzakaya in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. I was encouraged by the Web site, which listed various familiar pizza concoctions such as "Hawaiian Luau," "Tangy BBQ Chicken" and "Sausage Fest."

Pizzakaya tailors itself to the 20- and 30-something crowd looking for a loud, sports bar feel with a touch of home. The chefs behind the counter get into the extreme sports being shown on the big screen as much as anyone. Adding to the atmosphere is decor sprinkled throughout that includes Napoleon Dynamite, Darth Vader and Elvis.

Looking over the menu, there are some attractive options for each course. My wife and I went with the Two Person Set, which gets you a medium pizza, salad, appetizer and two soft drinks for 4,725 yen.

The gentleman sitting next to me recommended the Caesar salad, which was great. Next came the garlic marbles, which are baked, garlic buttery bread balls. Not a lot of surprises between those elements, but they were done perfectly and the circular presentations won me over.

As for the pizza, I ordered a half "Fresh Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella" and half "Pizzakaya Gourmet Combo," in which they load up the pizza with every traditional topping they have. The toppings were delicious, the crust was thin but decent. The sauce, sadly, was more of what I’ve come to expect from Japanese pizza: unnoticeable and secondary at best.

Taking it all into account, Pizzakaya is great for a night out with the buddies, but it’s kind of expensive, it takes a while to get your food and I could honestly say I prefer Japanese Domino’s pizza.

To see previous After Hours reviews, go to:

Pizzakaya, Roppongi, Tokyo

Hours: Monday-Saturday: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Sunday: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Prices: Appetizers, 680-950 yen; salads/non-pizza dishes, 1,050-1,890 yen; medium pizzas, 1,510-2,510 yen; large pizzas, 2,560-3,530 yen; drinks, 350-800 yen

Specialties: Pizza, Italian dishes

English menu: Yes

Dress: Casual

Clientele: All, but noisy atmosphere probably best suits groups

Location: 3-1-19 Nishi-Azabu, second floor of the Dai-ichi Koyama building on Roppongi-dori between Roppongi Hills and the Gaien-nishi-dori intersection


Phone: 03-3479-8383

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now