(Photo by Shoji Kudaka)

Following a recommendation from one of our readers, I was on a quest for some good eats at Pizza Sun Okinawa.

The restaurant serves up what it calls “California-style pizza." Stephanie Landaverde, who herself hails from California and sang Pizza Sun's praises, however, declared she’d never had pizza like this before.

“Pizza Sun is so good. They really are. You’re gonna like it,” Landaverde said, adding that the pepperoni pizza, house salad with vinaigrette dressing and garlic knots are her favorites.

Though I’d never heard of this eatery, Landaverde’s enthusiasm convinced me I needed to make my way to Mihama American Village and give Pizza Sun Okinawa a try.

I found the restaurant with its modern and casual California-vibe on the north side of American Village. The menu has many options and offers take out, another plus for the current circumstances.

I ordered a large 16-inch pepperoni pizza to go. While I waited, owner Kazuyuki Kuroki and I had a little chat about his shop.

“Americans are my target customers from the beginning,” Kuroki said. “I want to serve up pizzas that suit their taste”

To attract American customers, Kuroki said quality pizza is key. A quick look at the menu prices, and you may notice these pies are a bit pricy (a 16-inch large pepperoni pizza is 3,580 yen or nearly $35). For Kuroki, the price matches the quality ingredients and quality hand-made product he serves up, which he says keeps his customers coming back for more.

Kuroki let me try some of the other menu items while I waited for my pizza. I tried Landaverde’s favorite salad with vinaigrette and the garlic knots.

The vinaigrette dressing, which got Landaverde hooked, surprised me with its punchy and garlicky flavor. The garlic knot, on the other hand, with its soft but chewy texture, I couldn’t get enough of. Both elevated my expectations for the pizza.

I also tried the spicy and creamy jalapeno cheese poppers and the crispy lumpia— both equally delicious options if you’re looking for appetizers to munch on before you get to the main event: the pizza.

By the time I was done sampling the sides, my takeout order was ready, and I was looking forward to giving the pizza a try.

Back home, my parents and I were surprised at the size of Pizza Sun’s large pie. Then, after the first bite, we had a second surprise: this pizza was delicious.

That chewy but soft dough was the perfect base for the rich cheese and juicy tomato sauce, which balanced out the glossy, flavorful pepperoni slices on top. I can usually only handle a few pizza slices from the chain restaurants, but not this time. Both my elderly parents and I couldn’t get enough of this pizza!

As my family and I devoured this pizza, something Landaverde told me during our phone conversation came to mind: “When we first got here on the island, the hotels on the base were full, so we were at Hilton. The Pizza Sun was our first family meal together (in Okinawa). It was and will be, our last family meal together,” Landaverde professed.

Whether you’re American, Japanese, from California or from anywhere else, Pizza Sun Okinawa is a good option for takeout and, when the time is right, dining in.

The restaurant also offers discounts on takeout orders, including 1,000 yen off large pizzas and 500 yen off medium pizzas. Additionally, check with the store about discounts for placing pre-orders up to 24 hours in advance.

Pizza Sun Okinawa GPS coordinates: N 26.316781499730748, E 127.75486756747307 Hours: Regular hours are 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Open seven days a week *Through Feb. 7 hours are 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. *Hours may change in case of State of Emergency, so call ahead for more information. Tel: 098-936-0042 Facebook Instagram

*Pizza Sun Okinawa offers a 15% military discount when you show your Military ID. Takeout discounts are also offered. Plus, you can get up to 50% discount by preordering a day or more in advance. For more info, check out their SNS pages.

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