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Lion Midori in Naha City serves great food with fresh vegetables and fine ingredients from all over the world. Enjoy casual French cuisine with a glass of wine here!
post : 2016.10.26 09:00
Lion Midori is located somewhere from Makishi station towards Rout 330. I said “somewhere,” because this French restaurant is a bit of a hole in the wall. The small and casual French restaurant’s wines and pastas are all delicious.
Izumi Noguchi, the owner uses all manner of great ingredients from all over the world. His wine selections are usually stored after being tasted and their flavors confirmed. Typically, there are about a hundred wines in stock.
Today, I tried the assorted cheese plate (1,280 yen), Rillettes of eggplant with guinea fowl (680 yen) and pasta with Japanese tomato sauce (1,000 yen). Izumi uses mostly local vegetables and herbs in his cooking.
Vegetables and herbs are from Yasaiya Gen (organic vegetable shop) and his wife, Miwako’s home garden in Okinawa City. Izumi stops by the garden to obtain the fresh herbs every day. During summer in Okinawa, only certain vegetables are available locally, such as bitter melon, squash and some herbs. “In a tropical climate,” Izumi said. “We need to import some vegetables from the mainland in summer,” Izumi said.”
Cheese and wine are selected very carefully and served only after being tasted. Cheeses in particular are all from honest farmers in Europe. Gouda cheese (fermented 36 months), Fourme d' Ambert, a mild blue cheese, goat milk cheese and Bûche de Luçay are available here. Cheese lovers trust his selections.
Wines go well with his French dishes. Bruschetta, foie gras mousee, dip and other appetizers are served with slices from a baguette. If you are hungry, spaghetti is as great a choice as the French dishes because Izumi’s spaghetti was very popular at his restaurant in Koza, Okinawa City. Sauce choices are Japanese tomato, Gorgonzola Cheese, mushrooms with brown butter, with dried mullet roe from Sardegna Island (Italy) and more!
“I chose French because the multiple processes before serving aspect was very appealing to me as a chef,” Izumi said. When he was in high school, he wanted to be a musician. But he became a photographer specializing in musicians instead.
Soon after, he got into cooking through a job. He trained and gained cooking experience in Gunma and Tokyo, then studied French cuisine in France. As the restaurant where he worked in France was small and he got along well with the owner, he had opportunities to learn everything including appetizers and desserts much sooner than expected. He says he is very lucky to have worked with this owner.
Izumi still goes to France every year. The reason for this annual trip is not to study cooking so much as to enjoy eating, walking or collecting movie-related items. He thinks it is very important to “feel and touch France “to improve his cooking. And of course he never forgets to drop in on his friends and his former mentor.
“People I met in France took good care of me,” Izumi said with smile. Izumi and Miwako are very heart-warming people. I am sure to come back here with my parents-in-law.
Address: 3-18-23 Makishi, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: Mon-Sat (and holidays) 18:30-24:30
Sunday: lunch 12:00-15:00 (L.O. 14:00); dinner 18:00-24:00
Lunch not available in August
Okinawa CLIP Photo Writer: Noriya Fukuda