Balena, Ishiuchi Maruyama, Niigata, Japan

Balena (バレーナ) is an Italian restaurant near the summit of Ishiuchi Maruyama (石打丸山) that required skiing to and going up several ski lifts, so it wasn’t quite an everyday restaurant that I could just pop in to try. The group had been there before and told me the food was really good; actually, they used it as the main motivation for me to get to the summit. tongue

Balena: Decor
Balena the Italian restaurant (interior) near the summit of Ishiuchi Maruyama

There weren’t a lot of people at all when we went there a little late for lunch.

They had a large menu with various Italian dishes. We ordered at the counter and food was brought to us to the table. I got the cheese pizza; the rest of them got various pasta dishes. Yummers!

Balena: Food
Balena: our order of pasta and cheese pizza

I wasn’t going to have dessert, but the rest of them were so I thought might as well while I was there! I got the tiramisu and an iced black coffee.

Balena: Tiramisu and Iced Black Coffee
My dessert at Balena: tiramisu and an iced black coffee

I couldn’t help but noticed a very odd sign on the walls: it actually said that smoking is prohibited during lunch hours. Odd, because I didn’t think Japan cared!

Balena: Self-Serve Area
Balena: self-serve area with two signs that say smoking is prohibited(!) during lunch hours

Absolutely enjoyed the food and environment there. Of course the fact that it was near the summit and I made it to the summit, their no-smoking-sometimes policy, as well as the wonderful company also helped. smile



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