You won’t struggle to find a great place to eat in Shimokitazawa, but I was particularly impressed when I came across Palazzo, just a few minutes walk from the train station’s south exit.
Hunting for an inexpensive post-work meal with a friend on a Wednesday night, Palazzo first caught my eye when I spotted the plastic fish and chips in the window.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had fish and chips, so we ducked inside and grabbed seats near the back of the spacious restaurant.
One whole wall is decorated like a large blackboard, and there is plenty of art scattered around the other walls. There are also TVs on which they were playing Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’ to a soundtrack of Chili Peppers.
We couldn’t decide what to order off the large, plastic menu, so we decided to split the margarita pizza, taco rice and, of course, the fish and chips. With a glass of wine and a beer it came to a very reasonable ¥1200 each.
It’s an ‘order at the counter and grab your own cutlery and sauce’ kind of place, but when we missed the cutlery step, the staff were more than happy to bring us some, and they anticipate our need for Tabasco.
The food was quick to arrive, and when it did, we were equally quick to tuck in.
The pizza was ultra thin and crispy, with sauce, cheese and a handful of basil leaves spread liberally right to the edge.
The taco rice was a good filler; a hefty serving of rice, meat, tomato and lettuce, with a dish of salsa to go with it.
The fish and chips was surprisingly authentic; the chips were thin style instead of real chunky ones, but the fish was battered and fried to perfection, with a big dollop of tartar sauce, and it made me feel a little bit homesick.
It seems to be a venue for later in the night; as we were eating, the restaurant slowly filled with small groups of young people.
I was surprised to find a cheap and cheerful place so close to the station, with such great food and great prices, and I will definitely be back.