Fine pizza at rock-bottom prices is the modus operandi at Sempre Pizza, the Koenji-born chain that's taken the city by storm over the last few years and now operates more than 20 locations in the Tokyo area, plus a few joints as far off as Hokkaido and Kagawa. Sempre's success story has even forced some competitors to lower their prices in order to stay in business – a relief for pie-loving Tokyoites tired of having to fork out up to ¥1,500 for decent Neapolitan-style product. For fans prepared to pay a little extra to escape the ultra-basic surroundings of your average Sempre, this Ogikubo joint offers nice value: ¥100-or-so markups on the pizzas are made up for with a brief but focused appetiser menu (don't miss the Bruschetta Mix plate, pictured above), average-priced alcohol and a casual atmosphere.
Although not exactly the kind of place you want to book for a first date, Bar Sempre works perfectly as a Friday-night hangout, and was packed with cheery groups of friends and/or co-workers on our recent visit. As for specific pizza picks, you can't go wrong with the flagship PCR (¥990, the most expensive food item available), its chewy, tomato sauce-covered base topped with ample amounts of rucola and palm-sized slices of prosciutto, while the subtly spicy Salame (¥680) is another safe choice. Our red wine was utter plonk, but paying only ¥1,500 for a half-litre pitcher sure softened the blow.
|Venue name:||Bar Sempre Pizza Ogikubo|
4-29-8 Ogikubo, Suginami-ku
|Opening hours:||Mon-Fri 11.30am-3pm, 6pm-11pm (last orders at 10pm); Sat, Sun & holidays 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-11pm (10pm)|
|Transport:||Ogikubo Station (Chuo, Sobu, Marunouchi lines)|