We discovered Cafe I-Lunga halfway through our amazing exploration of deer-filled Nara back in December. With our faces pretty much freezing off in the 3°C wind, coming across Cafe I-Lunga was a great relief. The cosy, casual little Italian-inspired café provided us with a welcome respite from the biting cold outside and gave us the chance to recuperate and regain our energy. Pleasant location, well-organised space, attentive staff and, best of all, lots of natural light for great food photography.
Prices here are a little steep for the simple food you get, but the presentation is lovely and the place does invite a wonderful, relaxing ambiance. The café also has open-air terrace seats with a view of Mount Wakakusa and Tōdai-ji Temple’s Nandaimon (Great Southern Gate), Daibutsuden (Great Buddha Hall).
We ordered two pasta dishes. I had their spaghetti with ragout and wild boar meat (¥2000). It was filling and comforting and absolutely delicious all at once. James had the spaghetti with anchovies and mushrooms (¥1400), which I believe he very much enjoyed.
Both meals came with a side of fresh organic salad, some focaccia and a choice of either coffee or tea. For such a tiny little café, the quality of the food they serve is actually surprisingly decent!
For dessert, I picked the baked hazelnut and ricotta cheese cake (¥650). James typically went for the tiramisu (¥650). They were both very well-presented and made for a great way to end our meal.
Before you go, don’t forget to check out the lovely blog post that we did on Nara’s fantastic deer haven. You won’t regret it!
Nara 630-8212, Nara Prefecture
Opening hours: 11am-8:30pm (weekdays), 10:30am-8:30pm (weekends)