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Marchio di Ospitalità Italiana

AQI certified Spacca Napoli chef's interview

We had the pleasure to interview Mr. Noriyuki Suzuki, chef of Spacca Napoli, a welcoming and elegant restaurant and pizzeria in Shinjuku.  In 2015 Spacca Napoli received from the Chamber the Adesivo di Qualità (AQI), in recognition of the attention in the menu and ingredients choice and the capability to create an authentic Italian atmosphere.

The name of this restaurant is very original; how did you choose this name?

‘Spaccanapoli’ is a famous road in Naples but for me it has also a deeper meaning. I wanted the name to remind customers of ‘pizza’; as a result, I chose the name Naples (the town where ‘pizza’ was invented).  I have also added the word ‘spacca’:  literally it means ‘to separate’ and reminds me the choice of opening separately an Italian restaurant and a pizzeria. In Italy, there are many restaurants that are also pizzeria as well, but they are more casual in setting. I believe that a cosmopolitan place like Tokyo would better appreciate a more formal setting with, of course, high quality dishes. As a result, I decided to combine the casualness of the pizzeria with the elegance of a restaurant to create an elegant pizzeria. Also the location – on the 52nd floor - helps to strengthen this purpose: although prices are not high and customers are at ease, they can experience a luxurious, welcoming and warm place. I wanted to open a restaurant that reminded customers of Italy, but also to go above and beyond the usual Italian style.

How many staff members work at the restaurant? What is toy experience?

There are 8 people working in the kitchen, 3 full time waiters and some part timers. The chef, Noriyuki Suzuki, was born in Shizuoka in 1963. When he was 18 he started studying Italian food at “Trattoria Vino e Pasta” in Harajuku. In 1986, he moved to Italy where he strengthened his cooking skills and knowledge of Italian cuisine, thanks to his direct experience in many Michelin-star restaurants in Piedmont, Tuscany and Sardinia. In 1989, he came back to Japan and started working as deputy chef at “Enoteca” in Nagoya. After that, he worked in Ginza under the guidance of chef Muroi in Seyo hotel’s restaurant “Attore” as a deputy chef. He also worked in Maronouchi as a chef for “Mikuni’s Cafè”. In 2004 I became head chef of Spacca Napoli restaurant pizzeria.

There are many criteria planned by the ICCJ for the selection of AQI restaurants (i.e. the authenticity of recipes, the selection of Italian ingredients and wines, the welcoming, the skills of the chef…). What were the points of strength that helped you in obtaining the AQI? What challenges did you face in obtaining the AQI?
I think that it is important to understand customers’ needs, ranging from if they ask for a 900 yen salad or if they order a 8500 yen menu. In addition to this, we aim to showcase the authentic taste of all of Italy. I studied mainly in the northern and central regions of Italy; therefore, in order to produce authentic Neapolitan pizza, we’re collaborating with a chef from south Italy. I would say our number one dish is the Neapolitan pasta “spaghetti al cartoccio”.

What benefits did you notice after receiving the AQI in the short and long term? (i.e. regarding the affluence of customers, the availability of the services and facilities provided by the ICCJ, the AQI website’s promotion).
I am honoured to receive this recognition award. I consider AQI to be an award for our efforts throughout the past 11 years since opening. For our customers, AQI’s certificate is the guarantee that my restaurant uses only original Italian ingredients. It is very important, from using 100% extra virgin olive oil, to using authentic wine, cheese, and other ingredients.

Did you notice any particular feedback coming from customers after the AQI affiliation? (for example, as a AQI member you can show the AQI certificate in your restaurant).

Thanks to the AQI certificate, customers can understand and see first-hand the authenticity of the restaurant. There are many Italian restaurants in Japan: some of them are profe

ssionally managed, some others not at all. Through the AQI, customers can finally distinguish authentic Italian restaurants. In my case, AQI helps me to promote Italian cooking and my restaurant.

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