Tree-lined Keyaki-dori is one of Fukuoka’s most pleasant streets and also home to a growing number of fine eateries. This month we’re pleased to introduce Al Baccarat, a Venetian-style cafe featuring cichetti (finger foods), as well as a fine selection of directly imported Italian hams and cheeses. It’s easy to find, just look for the bicycle shop near the Akasaka 3-chome bus stop and then a florist, which is actually located on the first floor of the cafe. Next to the florist, there’s a refrigerated glass display with cold meats, cheeses, freshly made delicatessen dishes and desserts for take-out. The caf・is a renovated old Japanese house split into three tiny areas; the front room, counter and upstairs. A smart mix of Italian, modern furnishings adds just enough style to the simple interior. But onto the food, which will make you want to come back again and again. Start with a selection of the dozen or so cichetti. Avacado, shrimp with cocktail sauce, peppers and anchovy or how about a skewer of banana and bacon? Sets of three (787yen), five (1,260 yen) or seven (1,680 yen) are the way to go especially when accompanied by a glass or bottle of Italian wine. Speaking of which, here you can order a bottle of wine and just pay for the portion you drink! The colorful menu then moves onto soups, pasta, risotto, vegetables, specialties, cheeses and desserts. Pictured here is the Piedmont Bagna Caoda which resembles cheese fondue but is actually a much lighter dip made of anchovy, garlic, cream, and butter. Delicious on vegetables and bread sticks. Yum! Baccala Mantecate, a plate of mashed cod and corn pur仔, is another Venetian favorite you won’t find elsewhere. The friendly staff welcomes custom orders; just tell them your budget, likes and dislikes and leave the rest to them. Open for lunch and tea time too – and don’t forget the take-out deli!
3-7-11 Akasaka, Chuo-ku, Fukuoka
Open: 12:00~14:30 (lunch) / 14:30~17:00 (tea time) / 18:00~23:00 (dinner)
Prices: Piedmont Bagna Caoda 1,050 yen, Baccala Mantecate 893 yen, Minestrone 525 yen, House Wine 525 yen (glass), assorted cheese 1,260 yen (3 kinds)
Originally published in Fukuoka Now magazine (fn68, Aug. 2004)