Harajuku: International
Spica (Harajuku: International)
Open 11am-2, 6-9:30pm (LO) daily.
Sun: Open Sundays

Maybe it's the luxurious atmosphere of the dining room or the beautifully presented, innovative cuisine, but dinner at Spica feels like a night out. The food definitely takes center stage, as Spica's two talented chefs turn out exciting Italian-inspired dishes made with top-quality ingredients and their own creative flair.

One especially entertaining dish is their Risoni Carbonara - made with a small pellet-shaped pasta called orzo (aka risoni) rather than spaghetti. Instagram-ready, it comes with a soft-boiled (onsen) egg, whimsically presented in a bird's nest, which you crack open and add to the pasta yourself. The classic combination of sharp cheese, fresh egg and black pepper works its magic, with the orzo providing a chewier texture than the usual spaghetti.

The excellent Seven-Vegetable Terrine is brimming with bold flavors and is equally appetizing to the eye. Sauteed Scallops aren't as big as one might typically find, but they're nicely paired with roast cauliflower, which adds an appealing texture.

If you want something more traditional, Pate de Campagne will reliably meet your pate expectations but still deliver an extra punch of meaty flavor. As will the delightfully plump and juicy Dutch-style lamb meatballs from the main-dish section of the menu.

Spica's wine list features around three dozen bottles and nine wines by the glass, plus a few dessert wines hidden behind the bar. Wines are mainly Italian, though France, Australia, South Africa and Chile are also represented. Wines start at Y900 per glass and under Y5,000 for a bottle. You can also choose from original cocktails, low-alcohol cocktails, mocktails, and several types of tea.

Like many new restaurants Spica is experimenting with QR-code online ordering, but the waiters will bring you paper menus if you ask, and can take your order directly.

At lunchtime there's a set menu for Y2,500 which includes a salad bar, a pasta and coffee. The prix-fixe lunch (Y3,500; 2 or more people) adds on a main course. Budget around Y5,000-7,000 for dinner with drinks.

by Robb Satterwhite

Shibuya-ku, Jingumae 4-12-4, Omotesando Hills 3F.
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Venue listing from Bento.com5 Star Rating: highly recommended