Le Bar a Vin 52
Azabu-Juban: Wine bar
Le Bar a Vin 52 (Azabu-Juban: Wine bar)
Le Bar a Vin 52
Open 11:30am-2, 5-10pm (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays
no smoking: No smoking

As the name implies, wine is the main focus at this bustling bar-restaurant, with a food menu designed to play a supporting role. Wine prices are extremely reasonable (the shop is run by the Seijo Ishii grocery chain), with quite a few wines priced at Y2800 or Y3200 per bottle, although you can certainly spend more if you're so inclined. There are usually around twenty choices by the glass, and the ever-changing three-glass tasting flights are a nice option.

Wine goes with cheese of course, and the menu offers several different assorted cheese platters. One unusual dish is the camembert fondue - basically just a whole grilled camembert served with roast vegetables. The four-cheese gnocchi is an excellent delivery vehicle for good cheeses, and it's put together with a perfect balance of pecorino, blue and wash cheeses.

Simple meat dishes are the other strong point here, starting with a plate of six different hams and salamis. The grilled-meat platter makes a nice followup, and with ample portions of grilled beef, pork and chicken it's big enough to share among three or four people. Grilled Australian lamb chops are another highlight.

The dining room is quite stylish in a Parisian bistro sort of way, with wood furnishings, tiled walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. Most seating is on high stools, although there are some regular-height chairs as well. Service is friendly and competent, and wine advice is spot-on.

The atmosphere is casual, so it's comfortable to just drop in for a glass of wine and a snack, or you might want to stay for a full, multi-course meal. Budget around Y3000-4500 or so for a full dinner with drinks, or around Y1000 at lunchtime. Reservations are recommended if you're coming at peak dinner hour.



Azabu-Juban
Minato-ku, Azabu-Juban 2-2-10, Azabu-Juban Square 2F.
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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended