Okinawa Eats: Kajinho, Pizza in the Sky


 

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12425307123_d8a0d3f94d_bAmbiance: Local establishment situated high on a hillside in the Motobu peninsula.  With beautiful views and open-air seating on nicer days, the place is hugely popular and thus often very crowded.

Service: Although very crowded, the service during our visits has been impeccable.

Food Quality: Average-to-above-average, except for presentation.

Features: Minimal outdoor seating around the restaurant’s perimeter, with rustic bench-type seating inside.  Overflow seating in a type of circus-tent, an area that I would recommend diners attempt to avoid.

Cuisine: Pizza, one kind, house salad, and a wide array of tropical drinks and desserts.

Price/Value: Average.

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Getting to this restaurant is not easy, even with instructions, printed maps, and pins on your iPhone (make sure it is right!). Luckily for us, being a car-load of gaijin climbing the surrounding hillside roads, the locals knew where we all wanted to go, and a woman actually approached and assured us of the way…think goodness!  Finally, just over the rise of the hill and down a narrow road into a gravel parking lot stood “Pizza in the Sky,” in all its rumored glory gleaming proudly in the bright afternoon sun.

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Pizza in the Sky, like many other of the quaint style of eateries on Okinawa, appears to be operated within a traditional Japanese home. There is the expected indoor seating, but a really charming patio around the perimeter of the main building.  Watch out though:  as stated above, there is one seating area that I recommend diners avoid, a covered area set off to the side utilizing picnic table-like seating.

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There are some really fine touches at Pizza in the sky. Their simple and short menu is printed on beautiful Asian fans.  What you will find is exactly what you’ve heard:  two sizes of pizza (and only one kind), salad, and various drinks.  Note that there is no choice in the pizza, rather, everyone gets the pizza of the day at Kajinho!

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12357997233_839c53d102_b12425295503_b4daa3aee2_bThe pizza is not bad, and the salad was quite nice. The pizza crust is thicker than what I prefer, and takes a bit of chew to get through easily.  The cheese is not exactly what I would call “Italian,” but the chefs are not shy with it!  The salad is served in a large bowl easily enough for two, and is topped with a Japanese-inspired tangy vinaigrette.  The fresh juices, while delicious, are quite expensive.  It seems that their menu draws mixed reviews from the American public.  The real star, edibly speaking, was the tea that most of us at our large table ordered. Kajinho serves theirs with a bouquet of flowers and in rustically Okinawan pottery.  Regardless of what you think about the food, the fantastic views of the East China Sea are always satisfying.

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Although the food is not to die for, in my opinion neither is the ambiance. Contrary to the urban legend of mythical proportions that has arisen around Pizza in the Sky, the mass of crowds that can share this hilltop location with you are enough to cancel out any romantic or rustic notion of dining here.  Crowds seem to crush at lunch, combining trips to the Aquarium or Butterfly Garden with a stop for a bite to eat.  I have heard that the dinner wait is much, much shorter, but watch the clock:  they close early with last order at 1830.

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Beware there are a lot of bugs here, especially at night or near sunset. The staff does provide some bug-repellent coils to burn at your outdoor tables, but just be prepared for mosquitos and no-see-ums.  And come prepared:  Yen only!!

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Hours: Open 12:00 – 19:00 (Last Order 18:30), closed Tuesday & Wednesday

Address:  1153-2 Yamazato, Motobu-cho

Phone: 098-047-5537

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