Due Italian in Tokyo's Yotsuya district provides a creative twist on ramen – fusing elements of Italian cuisine with the Japanese classic dish.
Owner chef Ishizuka-san's background in Italian cooking combines delightfully with Japan's love for ramen, with the signature bowl, Fromage Cheese Ramen (¥980), drawing clear inspiration from Italian cuisine and garnering the most interest from first-time visitors.
With this bowl, homemade noodles are enveloped by a salt/chicken-based broth with a large cream cheese/Gorgonzola blend topping in the centre, flanked by Prosciutto ham on the bowl perimeter.
You might be forgiven for thinking you've just ordered a bowl of pasta, but this is very much a bowl of ramen – with the flavours combining to mimic the classic carbonara. In a further twist, a side serving of Genmai rice is provided at the end once you run out of noodles – the idea being to create your own very own 'risotto' with the remaining soup. It's a novel idea and reminds me you that it's fine to finish the soup – this being far healthier than your average ramen experience.
Other options exist too—Tomato Ramen, Lemon Ramen and a White Ramen—with the distinctive menu helping put Due Italian on the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand list since 2015.
Special mentions also go beyond the menu too, with Due Italian's interior better resembling an elegant European-style cafe—complete with waiters in uniform on hand—far from a regular ramen shop vibe.