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Flavors well worth the out-of-the-way drive

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2005-06-10

The pizza is delicious, but the restaurant is not like Burger King, and you cannot have it your way!!!

Pizza is something each person wants a certain way. Cheese, pepperoni, sausage, onion, peppers…you know the drill. Well…usually that works. At Kazin Oh Restaurant on the island’s northwest side, that is certainly not the case. This is a restaurant where the chef is king, and your choices are limited.

You want pizza? Okay. You get pizza. The chef’s way.

You want salad? Okay. You get salad. The chef’s way.

Why then, you ask, would someone go to a restaurant where you have no choices? Easy answer: because it is most delicious!

Kazin Oh Restaurant is not someplace you’ll get to by accident. In fact, you must really, really want to go there. It is miles from anywhere, practically, and you must drive up the side of a mountain to experience the savory salad and pizza with pizzazz.

The restaurant is located on the Motobu Peninsula west of Nago City. We mention this because you don’t decide to go there when you’re already hungry. The food is worth the drive though. Once on the final leg, past Nago and enroute to the Ocean Expo Park, you’re almost there. A strategic right turn and a spin up the mountainside following very small Japanese signs in kanji (don’t worry, they’re the only signs along the roadside) brings you to Kazin Oh.

The view is spectacular as well, and you will have time to soak up and enjoy to panoramic view across to Ie Island and several others as well. There is always a waiting list for Kazin Oh. Always. Figure a half-hour average, but again…well worth it.

The two primary menu items are pizza and salad. One kind of pizza, and one kind of salad. Delicious. The composition varies from visit to visit, as the chef tweaks and alters the tastes (and uses whatever is in the refrigerator, we think). You won’t be disappointed.

Portions are large, particularly with the salad. Specify the number of people to share, and you’ll soon have a large bowl in front of you. The pizza is stone oven baked on parchment paper. Each is roughly an American medium 10” pizza. One pizza for 2-3 people was sufficient for the tribe of adults and kids making the trek with me.

The choices on drinks are yours. Beer, awamori, tea, juices and soft drinks are available.

Prices are reasonable. Even after making the extended drive, you will find yourself pleased with the decision.

Getting There

The drive to Kazin Oh Restaurant is easier than it sounds. Drive north on the Expressway, exiting at the north most point and following the highway into Nago City. The more patient drivers can take Highway 58 north to Nago City. Drive through the city, then turn left / west onto the Motobu Peninsula, following signs for Ocean Expo Park.

As you pass through Motobu Town, look for the left turn to Ocean Expo Park. Turn right instead, heading up the mountainside. You’ll first pass a new looking community center (actually it is new, as is the road itself) and wind to the right. Look for small white on black signs in kanji. They say Kazin Oh Restaurant, but you won’t know that. First a left turn, then up the mountain, with the road getting narrower and narrower. You’re on the right track.

Finally, as you approach the summit, you’ll round a left-hand curve and find dozens of cars. To nobody’s surprise, you are there. Park, get your name on the waiting list, and appreciate the excursion.

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