Il Pappalardo (Kyoto)

Location: Kyoto, Japan
Address: 451-1 Myohoin Maekawacho, Higashiyama
Type of Meal: Dinner 

When you’re visiting Japan, finding freshly made pizza and pastas generally isn’t high on the list of priorities.  But, eventually you may tire of delicious fresh seafood or hearty noodles and want something different.  Enter Il Pappalardo, a quaint Italian restaurant on a quiet street a short cab ride from Kyoto Station (cost us ¥640), which was well worth it; especially if you’re tired of the bustling crowds near the station area.

Having been in Japan for a week, we missed white bread, so when a basket arrived with chewy French loaf, soft & salty focaccia that wasn’t greasy and crunchy bread sticks we were delighted. Paired with a fragrant olive oil, available for sale from the restaurant, it was heaven.

Thankfully, we shared the parma ham with buffalo mozzarella (¥2,000) as a starter because it was a surprisingly big portion. The thinly sliced prosciutto seemed “younger” than most as it wasn’t overly cured and the meat's texture less waxy than when it's been drying for long periods of time; it was nice and fresh. As you’d expect, the buffalo mozzarella was soft and delicate but had an interesting tangy taste which complimented the ham’s saltiness quite well.  All this along with the peppery arugula was a good start.

My linguini with scampi shrimp (¥2,200) was absolutely delicious and reminded me of one I had port side in Positano, Italy. The pasta was al dante and smothered in a non-tangy tomato sauce which likely was mixed with olive oil and shrimp stock to give it that depth of flavor. While the shrimp were a tad overcooked, they still retained their natural sweetness and other than this slight slipup the linguine would have been perfect.

With a variety of pizza on their menu, my husband opted for one; I forgot to jot down the name but it consisted of cheese and spicy salami (¥1,900).  The Neapolitan style crust was chewy and airy with lightly scorched air pockets, yet the bottom had been cooked long enough to allow the pizza to be picked up with one hand.  The salami added a nice heat without being over powering and the fresh mozzarella, according to Il Pappalardo’s website which is flown in from Naples three times a week, was gooey and stringy. 

All in all, I was impressed with the quality of ingredients used, the relatively affordable prices and decent portion sizes. If you’re in Kyoto and in the mood for something Italian, I’d certainly recommend checking out Il Pappalardo.

Overall mark - 8.5 out of 10

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!