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Casa la Tida Harmonizes European and Okinawan Cuisine

By: "Grand Chef" Keizo Nakasone

Date Posted: 1999-12-10

With its neat brick-roofing and European-style structure in the tranquil and serene farmers and fishermen’s Village of Onna, Casa la Tida is fast becoming an attention-catcher in the area. Since its opening in October, the restaurant has probably lured many passengers on their way to the north .

As the combination of Spanish and the Okinawan dialect in its name indicates, the restaurant offers dishes that harmonize the Okinawa and European culinary arts. This concept of dining is probably not very new. However, the restaurant projects its statement of purpose and raison d’etre into customers’ dishes in a very bold and innovative way.

Goya De Pizza (Bitter melon Pizza), Herb flavored Soki (herb flavored Okinawan spare Rib), and Soba de Pasta (Okinawa Soba spaghetti with meat sauce) are, among over 80 items, unique dishes that are lined up on the menu. And they are all the restaurant's original dishes.

"We want to entertain our customers with dishes offering Okinawa food items such as Goya (bitter melon) and Soba (Okinawan noodles), with a European touch ," Satoru Shinya, the main chef of Casa la Tida said. Beacause of the desire to indulge his customers with better and more innovative foods, and also to challenge his own culinary imagination and creativity limits, Shinya pushes himself hard. There were times when the chef, with 13 years of experience, spends whole nights in the kitchen alone to complete his new weekly lunch menu.

"When I complete the dish, I feel so happy,” the chef said. “But the happiest moment for a chef is when his customers come and say to him: ‘I enjoyed the dish’. Recently, I ran into one of those occasions. An American couple came to our restaurant for their anniversary, and they said they enjoyed our food very much and thanked us. And the very next day they came back to the restaurant!"

To accompany the dishes, nearly 120 kinds of wine from wine producing countries like Italy, France and Chile, can be also enjoyed. The restaurant owns a wine storeroom, which holds a variety of wines of about twenty degrees, and diners are welcome to go inside it and select their own favorite wines. The dining rooms are also unique. Each dining room has a different ambiance. There are old European style dining rooms, Sunken Kotatu style dining rooms, and cafe style dining tables on the terrace. Guests are advised to look around the restaurant before picking the their table. Even the bathroom is full of playful minds. Don't forget to take a look before stepping out of the restaurant.

After 7:00 p.m., the bar opens and a variety of alcohol beverages (beer, Awamori and other Okinawan spirits, cocktails, etc.) are available. A wide selection of Hon-Awamori, which is Awamori that contains more than twenty degrees of alcohol, and also original Awamori-based original cocktails are offered. The restaurant opens daily from 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Orders are taken until 11:00 p.m. The bar opens from 7:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m. For payments, the restaurant accepts only yen.

Directions: "Casa la Tida" is located right across the street from Sunset Hill Hotel in Onna Village. From Kadena, take Route 58 and head north. Go along the street and slow down close to the end of the two-lane street and look for a small white sign with the picture of a king on it. That's the entrance of the restaurant.

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