After more than two decades away, honing his skills overseas and in Japan, Naoyuki recently returned to Fukuoka to open, appropriately enough, “La Casa di Nao,” (Nao’s house) on Josui-dori just a few kilometers from where he grew up. After graduating from a culinary school in Osaka, Nao got his big break as a chef working in the Japanese embassies in Switzerland and Italy. Upon returning to Japan, on behalf of companies and others, Nao planned and opened dozens of restaurants. A few years ago he gained notoriety winning the “TV Chef” competition for best pizza. At Casa di Nao you can enjoy his award-winning Roma-style pizza for lunch or dinner, baked individually in a wood-burning oven. Nao recommends trying this thin-crust pizza as a starter, and you should trust his expertise as there are plenty of other mouth-watering Italian dishes to be enjoyed here. Especially recommended is his fresh pasta, Fettuccine Mare Monte or Tagliatelle verde alla carbonara con uova semi cotto. If possible, ask for a seat along the counter where you can enjoy a chat with Nao and watch the action in his open kitchen. Foreign clientele should be pleasantly surprised with the European-sized portions, and the prices are reasonable, especially considering the quality of the food and service.
La Casa di Nao
4-8-6 Yakuin, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Lunch 11:30 ~ 14:00, Dinner 18:00 ~ 23:30 (L.O. 22:00)
Lunch: Pizza & Pasta Lunch ¥2,000, Dinner A: amuse, appetizer, main, pasta or pizza, or risotto, desert, and tea or coffee ¥3,800. Pizza Margherita ¥1,600, Glass wine: ¥600.
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn118, Oct. 2008)