UPDATE: This venue has closed permanently.
You can tell from the location that Maggii has its sights set high – a Porsche showroom sits a few doors down, while Ebisu Garden Place towers at the top of the hill. Things are less grand inside this trattoria, however – one of our group remarked that it looked like it may have been a hair salon in a former life. A quick look on Google Maps shows he wasn't far wrong; until fairly recently the Maggii premises dealt in rather dowdy women's clothing.
As Italian restaurants in Tokyo go, Maggii manages to break from tradition by doing without the usual faux fittings. The walls are a plain white, and the upholstery an odd shade of light brown, while large, plate glass windows face an open kitchen and well-stocked bar. A cooler sits in the middle of all this, presumably housing a selection from the stock of 100 Italian wines they boast of on their website. While the designer may have been going for a cool minimalism, what we are left with looks like an upmarket refectory – by no means awful, but not particularly homely either.
The menu offers an attractive array of Italian favourites, from herb-grilled ribs to a tempting fish carpaccio, but the litmus test of any decent trattoria ought to be the most basic dishes. We plumped for a tuna and black olive tagliatelle, and – seeing as the owners had taken the time and money to install a large, bright red stone oven in the corner (and a pleasantly varied pizza menu to go with it) – a simple Margherita for good measure.
A dull pasta is always a crime, for the simple fact that most people could make the same thing at home for a fraction of the price. Sadly, Maggii plated up a dish memorable only for its use of what looked (and tasted) like tinned tuna. Blandly flavoured, we waited patiently for the waitress to bring the parmesan and black pepper (neither of which arrived) and quickly realised that the tables lacked condiments. This wasn't going too well at all.
The pizza managed a little better. While smaller than others we've tried in the vicinity, the crust was suitably bitter and had the requisite stone-oven aftertaste. It was also a tad thicker than your average Neapolitan, which helped in mopping up the plentiful sauce. In all, a perfectly adequate pizza; no more, no less.
We're not quite sure what they were aiming for with the house 'dolce', but what arrived was a basic blancmange. The raspberry, chocolate and vanilla sauce dots dripped artfully around the plate seemed a hopeful touch, but by this point all hope was lost. In an area plush with decent Italian restaurants, something special is required in order to stand out. Maggii needs to find out what they can bring to the table, or there'll be a very handsome looking hair salon available for rent next to the Ebisu Porsche shop soon enough.
|Venue name:||[CLOSED] Maggii||Contact:|
2F Blume, 4-23-9 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku
|Transport:||Ebisu Station (Yamanote, Saikyo, Shonan-Shinjuku, Hibiya lines), east exit|