January 19, 2024
Casa del Cibo
Italian cuisine that conveys the appeal of Hachinohe
The Italian restaurant Casa del Cibo is located in Hachinohe, Aomori Prefecture, which despite its northeastern location enjoys much sunshine and has relatively little snow. The city also has a thriving fishing industry and a morning market that has become quite popular with tourists.
Casa del Cibo’s owner-chef, Ryohei Ikemi, was born in Kanagawa Prefecture and trained at restaurants in Tokyo, but the abundance of high-quality local ingredients inspired him to open a restaurant in Hachinohe, the hometown of his wife, Etsuko.
When the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011, happened, the building housing Ikemi’s home and restaurant remained intact thanks to its elevated location, but an area on lower ground just a few minutes’ drive away suffered extensive damage from it. It was in these difficult circumstances that Casa del Cibo opened its doors at the end of April that year.
Offering lunch and dinner at ¥1,500 and ¥2,800 ($10 and $18), the restaurant got off to a promising start, drawing many customers in its first year. But this changed completely in year two, when business faltered to the point of near-bankruptcy.
At that time Casa del Cibo took part in an event featuring around 20 of the city’s hotels and restaurants. During the two-month event period, Ikemi served bouillabaisse made with Hachinohe seafood, thus bringing his restaurant to the attention of many locals. From that time on, the restaurant steadily gained fans, mainly from nearby areas, while simultaneously reinforcing its fine-dining side and gradually raising its prices.
Guests are served by Etsuko — Casa del Cibo’s sommelier — and staff. Ikemi prepares all the dishes by himself. Combined with house-made desserts prepared by Etsuko, who is also a pastry chef, the cuisine is truly refined and elegant.
Governor of Aomori Prefecture
I would like to congratulate Casa del Cibo on being selected for the Destination Restaurants List 2023.Aomori Prefecture — and Hachinohe in particular — is blessed with an abundance of sea produce. Chef Ryohei Ikemi uses an extensive variety of local ingredients, and uses his excellent technique to serve Italian cuisine that conveys the flavors of the ingredients, widely promoting the appeal of Aomori Prefecture’s food. I hope that this award will encourage more people to visit Aomori Prefecture and experience its delights.
Mayor of Hachinohe
I am very honored that Casa del Cibo in our city has been selected as one of the Destination Restaurants 2023.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Hachinohe is blessed with a wide variety of fresh seafood and other ingredients from its thriving agricultural, livestock and fishing industries.
It is my hope that this award will be an opportunity for many people to visit Hachinohe and enjoy the city’s rich culinary scene, including chef Ryohei Ikemi’s excellent creations featuring local ingredients.