Have an authentic Neapolitan pizza: Magna Magna
Although it’s been open for only 15 months, Magna Magna is one of the most popular take-out pizza shops on Okinawa.
That’s probably because although the restaurant is relatively new, the pizza it serves is old school. Yoshihide Uezato, the executive chef of Costa Vista Hotel and Spa where Magna Magna is located, is known as a pioneer of Italian pizza on Okinawa. In fact, Uezato first introduced the island to the Italian stone oven 18 years ago.
Uezato was originally a French chef, but he started baking pizza when he met a prominent Italian chef in Tokyo and became fascinated with authentic Italian pizza. The Italian master, whom Uezato remains close friends with, would eventually teach Uezato the tricks of the Italian pizza trade.
“The Italian chef actually named our shop with his native Neapolitan dialect,” Uezato said. “Magna Magna literally means ‘eat eat’ in his dialect.”
So, there is no doubt that the pizza at Magna Magna mirrors what is dished out in Naples, albeit with touch of Okinawa.
“We offer high-quality authentic Neapolitan pizza using local Okinawan ingredients,” Uezato said, explaining that because Costa Vista has its own farm and food processing facility, Magna Magna can use selected local fresh and pesticide-free ingredients throughout the year.
Among 11 types of pizzas currently available, Focaccia for 1,000 yen is the most popular and is highly recommended by Uezato.
“Focaccia is a prototype and the simplest form of Italian pizza,” Uezato said. “Only olive oil, garlic, parsley and cheese are applied. The dough offers a really crisp yet chewy texture and flavor, which goes along with any type of cuisine.”
Margarita for 1,800 yen is another recommendation by Uezato, as he says it conveys the authentic taste of Naples with two types of Italian tomatoes, plenty of mozzarella cheese and fresh local basil.
If you have a sweet tooth or are in the mood for a dessert-type dinner, Uezato bakes up two special pizzas that will leave you smiling.
“We serve up two types of dessert pizzas, Banana Caramel Pizza and Pear and Brown Sugar Pizza” Uezato said, adding that both run 1,300 yen. “You can eat them deliciously by refrigerating them or serve them hot and add a scoop of ice cream.”
The pizza at Magna Magna isn’t baked until an order is made. You can call in your order or order at the counter. All the pizzas are available in two sizes, 8-inch and 12-inch. Uezato said the pizza is ready five minutes after entering the brick stone oven.
Uezato said that all are welcome to see how real Italian pizza is made while awaiting their order.
“You can see how the dough is processed, stretched and baked on the stone oven through the transparent glass window while waiting,” said Uezato, who mentioned that many from the military community frequent the restaurant.
Although Magna Magna is a take-out pizza shop, there are two tables available right outside the shop if you can’t wait to dig in.
Hours: 1 p.m.-10 p.m.
Address: In EM Wellness Resort Costa Vista Okinawa, 1478 Kishaba, Nakagusukuson, Nakagami-gun