Taverna Balena

This is a long overdue post about one of our go to restaurants, a little gem just south of Fujisawa station called Taverna Balena (バレーナ). While a bit difficult to find, the Italian inspired cuisine, service and vino make the hunt worthwhile. One caveat to be aware of is that there is no english on the menu. While it would probably be best to make your first visit with a Japanese speaking host, we had a great experience defaulting to the tasting menu (“chef の おまかせ コース” if you find yourself staring blankly at their all Japanese menu). After that experience, Mimi and I gathered a general taste for what we liked and it has been clear sailing ever since. I finally got my act together and brought my camera along so here you go.

A little vino to ease us into the mood.

A little vino to ease us into the mood.

Chef's featured appetizer platter to start the evening. Notable items were the squid ink calamari, fried smelt and saffron/chile arancini.

Chef’s featured appetizer platter to start the evening. Notable items were the squid ink calamari, fried smelt and saffron/chile arancini.

Italian sausage calzone. Best crust ever.

Italian sausage calzone. Best crust ever.

Mozzarella and eggplant appetizer.

Mozzarella and eggplant appetizer.

Mimi and I absolutely love their fried /A-ge (揚げ) pizza.  Topped with a house made mascarpone and basil.

Mimi and I absolutely love their fried /A-ge (揚げ) pizza. Topped with a house made mascarpone and basil.

A taste of smoked cheese on the house. :)

A taste of smoked cheese on the house. 🙂

First bottle didn't last long.

First bottle didn’t last long.

Chigasaki beef under a bed of arugula, heart of palm and parmesan

Chigasaki beef under a bed of arugula, heart of palm and parmesan.

Love the tobiko and clam spaghetti.

Love the tobiko and clam spaghetti.

Mimi couldn't hold back and took my clam!

Mimi couldn’t hold back and took my clam! (She actually donated one of hers for the picture since I almost forgot to take a shot)

Tomato and mozzarella risotto.

Tomato and mozzarella risotto.

Their delightful almond semifreddo. Like a fluffy cloud bursting with creamy almond flavor.

Their delightful almond semifreddo. Like a fluffy cloud bursting with creamy almond flavor.

Lemon and rosemary granita.

Lemon and rosemary granita.

Our friends (from left) Namika, Stephanie and Rie joining us for the evening.

Our friends (from left) Namika, Stephanie and Rie joining us for the evening.

A rare shot of Mimi and I.

A rare shot of Mimi and I.

The small sign outside is well offset from the actual entrance and partially obscured by the lamp post.

The small sign outside is well offset from the actual entrance and partially obscured by the lamp post.

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