Among many foreign cuisines, Italian and French have especially become widespread in Japan since early days. Italian has been popular as a home-cooking meals, and French has a strong image of high-class course meals in Japan.
The histories of Italian and French cuisines in Japan
There was a huge Italian cuisine boom in Japan in the late 1980s, and a lot of Italian restaurants opened at the time. Since then, Italian cuisine has become familiar to the Japanese, and we see many Italian restaurants as we walk in towns. On the other hand, French became widespread around 1960, when the number of Japanese chefs of French cuisine increased. It was established as a high-class cuisine, in contrast to Italian cuisine. In recent years, there are more reasonably priced French restaurants opened.
Standard dishes in Japan
Spaghetti is a popular Italian food. Although spaghetti is a kind of pasta, it is so overwhelmingly popular that when we say pasta, it means spaghetti in Japan. Japanese unique spaghetti using cod roe and mushrooms seasoned with soy sauce has become a standard dish. In French cuisine, dishes like sauteed foie gras are popular. Because foie gras is known as a luxury ingredient in Japan, it is the dish many people want to eat at French restaurants.
How to enjoy Italian and French cuisines in Japan
Every town has Italian restaurants, from those serving general Italian dishes to spaghetti and pizza specialty shops. There are many famous specialty spaghetti restaurants in Shinjuku and Ebisu in Tokyo. Many of French restaurants are of high class. The restaurants rated as the highest in the international restaurant guide are also in Ebisu and Kitashinagawa. In recent years, there are increasing number of bistro, where you can enjoy French cuisines at relatively low prices.