An amazing little café with a great atmosphere, Vio Bell is tucked into the hills of Anamizu by Noto Wine. The shop offers a variety of cookies and two kinds of soft-serve ice cream (紅芋, beni-imo, purple sweet potato; and milk) for dine-in or carry-out. The front of the shop sells jams, herbal teas (with bilingual packages), postcards, and jewelry.
The real draw of the place is the dining room. The wall-to-wall windows provide a beautiful view of the flower garden and the rolling hills of Anamizu.
The entrees of Vio Bell are Italian and Italian-style dishes. The pizza have mainly Japanese-style toppings—bacon, salami, onion-and-potato, and the mysterious “honey.” Pasta dishes include Genovese and meat-sauce. The a la cart dishes include Camembert cheese, marinated smoked salmon, and there are also a few uncategorized dishes like gnocchi and “tortilla” (a quesadilla-like entrée with cheese and basil). Teas include Darjeeling, rose, chai, and chocolate; there are a few blends of coffee and cappuccino; juices (including yuzu); and some alcoholic beverages.
Anamizu’s website recommends the cookies, the curry, and the Genghis Khan, a family-style dish of mutton and vegetables. I had the gnocchi in mint cream sauce, which I highly recommend. The mint works well with the cream sauce, the gnocchi are delicious, and, best of all, the sauce merely coats the gnocchi instead of drowning them. The beni-imo ice cream has a more complex flavor than most soft-serves; the yuzu juice packs a punch, and the Italian coffee was good and strong.
Entrees run from 700-1000 yen (with the exception of the family-size Genghis Khan dish, which is 2600 yen and serves 2). Drinks are 300-500 yen. Cookies are 130 yen for two.
Anamizu-machi Asahigaoka RI-1-3
From Anamizu, take the 249 toward Noto-cho; or, from Noto-cho, take the 249 toward Anamizu. Turn at the large sign for Noto Wine on the stacked barrels. Follow the road until you see another sign for Noto Wine and one for Vio Bell; turn right to go to Vio Bell. Free parking.
Open from 10:30 am until sunset.
Menu is in Japanese only.
Leah Zoller is a second-year CIR in Anamizu and the editor of this blog. She enjoys culinary adventures and proving that Anamizu does have some excellent dining options.