Review: Itani Ramen

San Francisco and Oakland’s ramen scene used to be positively *dismal.* If you wanted good ramen, you had to trek out to the ‘burbs. But in the last few years, that's begun to change. Several new legit ramen restaurants have recently opened up – and I’d argue they are just as good as some of the options in San Mateo, if not better. The only issue is that they all typically attract crazy long lines.

So you can imagine my relief when I paid a visit to Itani Ramen in Oakland, which I’d heard fantastic things about. Not only is the space modern, playful and gorgeous (they’ve repurposed a historical hotel building and maintained many of the original features), but the dining experience was also low-fuss – you order at the counter and it’s relatively easy to find a seat because the restaurant is so massive.

The ramen also did not disappoint. I’m ordinarily a ramen traditionalist, but I couldn’t resist trying some of chef Kyle Itani’s more playful interpretations, such as the California roll-inspired cold ramen (perfect for a hot spring/summer day) and Peking duck ramen (with light but rich broth and crispy duck skin).

I also loved the little snacks, particularly the crispy pig ear (with lime and house-made shichimi pepper) and salmon donburi (rice topped with butter poached salmon + salmon sashimi + salmon roe = heaven).

So the next time you’re craving ramen, run don’t walk to Itani <3

 

Itani Ramen. 1736 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94612