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After Hours: Zushi Beach’s Cantina: Waves, wine and pizza

By CHRIS FOWLER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: September 13, 2007

ZUSHI, Japan — As an American living in Japan, I appreciate the special charm of a restaurant with easy parking and food designed to be eaten with a fork and knife.

Those combined with my lifelong love affair with Italian food and the hypnotic effect of ocean vistas serve to make Napori Pizzelia Cantina Italian Restaurant a winner on several fronts.

Established in 2004, the interior has a distinct Tuscan feel, with wood floors and a wood-burning pizza kiln that would look spectacular in my apartment. Warm lighting bathes the dinning room in a rustic glow and compliments the dancing flames inside the kiln.

Pasta is served al dente in Japanese portions, which leave room for the generous selection of proprietor-made confections, cakes and torts sold individually in the foyer.

The white-chocolate raspberry squares — fudge-like and yummy — come twelve to a box and, after several visits, have yet to survive the two-mile car ride home.

The wine selection is modest, offering three or four Italian reds and whites each. The only detractor — and this may just be me — are the petite wine glasses. Their smallness may be customary for this neck of the woods — where a 0.03 percent blood alcohol level will get you in legal trouble if you drive — but they stand in stark contrast to the gladiator-size goblets I routinely swim to the bottom of at home.

On clear evenings, Mount Fuji is silhouetted behind the setting sun. And for storm watchers — I happened to be there a recent evening as a typhoon was approaching the Tokyo area — the Cantina is a great place to dine while watching waves on steroids trying to obliterate everything in their path.

Parking is a five-second run in the rain from the front door, and the restaurant validates.

To see previous After Hours reviews, go to legacy.stripes.com/afterhours.


Know and Go

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.
Prices: Pizzas and pasta dishes range from 1,280 yen to 1,700 yen. Wine by the glass is 400 yen, and a bottle of Sangiovese, an Italian red, is 1,800 yen.
Specialties: Pizzas, pasta and homemade desserts.
English menu: Yes.
Dress: Beach trendy, casual cool.
Clientele: Mostly Japanese, occasionally Americans.
Location: Zushi is west of Yokosuka Naval Base. From Highway 16, turn west onto Route 24. Take the Zuyo Shindo tollway (100 yen) until it intersects with Route 134, which follows the coastline. Turn right and look for a Red Lobster restaurant. The Cantina is about block farther, on the side of Route 134 across from the ocean.
Telephone: 046-870-6440
Web site: http://cantina-zushi.com

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