Uptown restaurant Itani Ramen (1736 Telegraph Ave. at 18th Street) now offers full-service dinner with an expanded selection of appetizers and small plates for sharing.
In addition to standard ramen and donburi rice bowls, the new menu includes gindara hobayaki (miso black cod grilled on magnolia leaf) and small bites like “cucumbers n’ kimchi," house-made gyoza and crispy pig ears.
Originally dubbed "Yonsei,"—the word for a fourth-generation Japanese immigrant and a nod to owner and chef Kyle Itani—the izakaya-style eatery began as an after-hours pop-up at Hopscotch, his other Oakland restaurant.
After opening as a brick-and-mortar restaurant, he changed the name to reflect the location's focus.
In Japan, customers head to an izakaya after work for a casual bite with friends or co-workers, notions Itani has incorporated into the restaurant's new design.
In the new layout, Japanese design mixes with historic Oakland, including the original raw terrazzo floor in the main dining room, 1930s Woolworth’s plaster columns, modern birch plywood walls, and a long concrete-topped bar.
In the rear, a newly-designed private room is available for reservations that accommodates 20 seated and 30 standing guests.
“We are building on what has worked well for us and responding to the overall popularity of what guests have loved at the restaurant,” said Itani in a statement.
“We’re thankful for the support from the local community and our regulars. Now over a year in, we’ve been able to get to know what locals and visitors want and we’re addressing those things with the updates we’ve made to the restaurant.”
Itani Ramen will continue to offer a menu of rotating ramen inspired by different prefectures of Japan. This month, a take on Okinawa’s soki soba, a pork rib broth with thick chewy noodles.
This fall, Itani Ramen expects to have a full liquor license and will expand its bar program from its current selection of sake, shochu, and draft beer.
Itani Ramen (510-788-7489) is located at 1736 Telegraph Ave., across from the Fox Theater. Open daily for lunch from 11:30–3:00 and for dinner from 5:00 until midnight.
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