Anyone who’s been in Japan long enough knows that Japanese pizza isn’t exactly … well, pizza. Even looking past the unusual toppings, pizza basics such as crust and cheese have never quite been up to standard in a country otherwise at the top of the international culinary game.

While international pizza chains provide the convenience of home delivery, dining out for a pie is often a challenge in Tokyo. Luckily, 800 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria is bringing the city into the future with their authentic-style pizzas and comfortable dining atmosphere. Their first location in Japan is conveniently located opposite Shinjuku Station, and promises to fulfill cravings.

(Photo by Emily Lombardo)

(Photo by Emily Lombardo)

Founded in Los Angeles by Chef Anthony Carron, who previously worked at Michael Mina as the chef de cuisine, 800 Degrees has become famous for their authentic Neapolitan-style pizza. In 2012, the restaurant was awarded the title of “True Neapolitan Pizza” by the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana. With their success, 800 Degrees has expanded into the international arena, recently opening locations in Japan and Dubai.

While 800 Degrees remains focused on traditional pizza basics, their menu’s flexibility is appealing to anyone who likes the doughy classic. While they offer pre-made pizza combinations like the classic “Quattro Formaggi,” all of their pizzas are entirely customizable. You can choose everything from sauce base and cheese—including ricotta, gruyere, and bufala and regular mozzarella—to toppings that range from the likes of roasted garlic and salsiccia, to American classics like ham and pineapple.

(Photo by Emily Lombardo)

(Photo by Emily Lombardo)

800 Degrees also offers several pre-made combinations designed for the Japanese palate, including the Squid Ink Pizza (¥1,600) and the Lotus Root and Tomato Basil (¥1,600). They also offer “Japan Original” toppings such as chia seed or paprika and honey vinaigrette pumpkin (each an extra ¥200).

The ordering process at 800 Degrees can be a little confusing on the first visit. You are required to order each section of your pizza at a different station, while an assembly line of cooks prepare your pizza in front of you. First, you pick out your base from five options, including classic margarita style or a tomato-less bianca pizza, before moving to cheeses and then toppings.

In addition to pizzas, 800 Degrees also serves classic Italian side dishes, such as the Calamari Fritter (¥680)—a lightly fried squid served with fresh lemon—and a variety of Burrata dishes served with toasted Ciabatta and arugula (¥1,200-1,400).

If you’re looking for a healthy option, 800 degrees serves well-portioned and flavorsome salads, such as the Asparagus and Fennel Salad (¥780).

While outdoor dining is limited, summer is the perfect time to grab a slice and take in a little people-watching at Shinjuku Station. Buon appetito!

Newoman Shinjuku Ekisoto 2F, 5-24-55 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku. Open daily, 11am-11pm. Tel: 03-3353-1800. Nearest Station: Shinjuku.