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  • Mapo-gu
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

Japanese ramen with basil-based broth— interesting or simply strange? Either way, it makes you wonder just what it is, which is probably why the restaurant has a decent waiting line during lunchtime and on Saturdays. The name, Ittengo, which translates to "1.5" in Japanese, is meant to symbolize the owner’s philosophy of cooking, that process is more important than the result. 

With its dark interior and central dining/serving area, the atmosphere feels like a scene from the Japanese drama Midnight Diner. The ramen served here are given animal names (signifying the varying color of the broth): Kitsune (wolf) for the Tonkotsu Ramen, Midori Kame (green turtle) for the Basil Ramen and Kayomasa (red tiger) for the Spicy Ramen. Whichever animal ramen you choose to have, it will be served pretty quickly since they take your order while you are in the waiting line.

The basil ramen, which is unique to Ittengo, was brought over by the chef from Japan. To make it, the basil pesto is mixed into the broth right before being served, as basil’s scent is known to disintegrate if boiled. With the traditional pork bone broth, the ramen retains fragrance from the leaves. The noodles (hosomen) are on a thinner side, so there's a enough basil and broth for each slurp. So, what's our verdict? Interesting, still, but the noodles here aren’t exactly what we can call a light meal. The base (pork bone marrow broth) was extremely thick, and almost gooey from all the collagen. While the side pickles dipped in yuzu sauce might help create a better balance and texture in your mouth, the broth still is a bit too salty. The added salt and parmesan cheese that go into the basil pesto seem to make the broth too crowded, while the thick salty chashu (marinated braised pork belly) slices served atop do not help.

Written by
In-jeong Park


11, Poeun-ro
Kitsune 7,000 won, Kayomasa 8,000 won, Midori Kame 10,000 won
Opening hours:
11:30-21:00, last order 14:00, 20:00. Break Time 15:00-17:00. Closed Sundays and every last Monday of each month
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