Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas

Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas: Memorable Japanese Eats in a Chic Environment
Local Expert's Rating:
4 / 5
The Bottom Line:

Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas proves that great broth can be the making of a spectacular ramen-eating experience. In addition to enticing ramen dishes, this downtown gem offers a variety of intriguing tapas, as well as a trendy atmosphere that should appeal to all types of visitors. 

- The Local Expert Team

Are you craving a global dining experience in the Asheville area? Look no further than the beloved establishment known as Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas. This local staple has three editions, but the Biltmore location is the most conveniently situated when you want to check out the trendy downtown scene.

There should be no question as to what Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas serves — it’s all in the name. The tapas are distinctively Japanese, although fusion vibes bring a variety of flavors to the mix. The ramen broth, however, is where this restaurant really shines. Try it yourself, and you’ll quickly see why the Itto team puts so much effort into something that seems so simple. Desserts are also available, so be sure to leave room for mochi ice cream or tempura cheesecake.

Visitors with dietary restrictions will be thrilled by the selection here, especially as gluten-free and vegan dishes are often an afterthought for so many ramen-oriented establishments. Whether or not preferred dishes include meat, they’re even more enjoyable alongside a craft cocktail. Several enticing options are available, including drinks with lychee sake and even prosecco with edible hibiscus flower.

The setting is as pleasant as the ramen and tapas served here, so you’re in for a visual treat. Keep an eye out for lovely Japanese artwork. The service is friendly, albeit slow at times. With an atmosphere this inviting, however, you’ll be happy to have the opportunity to relax as you enjoy your meal.

A few of our favorite menu items include the following:

Tempura Onion Rings
A great appetizer option for vegan visitors, these onion rings stand out due to their tempura batter. These jumbo rings can be dipped in a special sauce that will quickly have you craving more.

Grill Squid
If you’re feeling adventurous, you’ll definitely want to try this grilled squid dish. If you order this, you’ll receive an entire grilled squid. Black pepper, Japanese chili powder, and an Itto special sauce create an explosion of flavor. This is one of the multiple gluten-free options worth trying.

Itto Miso Ramen
As the go-to ramen selection on a menu chock full of enticing meals, this favorite features an original broth that has been cooked for over seven hours. This lends the entire meal a wonderful mix of flavors. These are further complemented by fresh ramen noodles. Other highlights include both ground and chashu pork, as well as seasoned boiled eggs, scallions, corn, and bamboo shoots. Extra soup or noodles can be added for a small fee.

Stuffed Shishito Peppers
While this restaurant provides the simple option of enjoying blackened and seasoned shishito peppers, they’re even more enticing when stuffed. If you opt for this approach, your peppers will be tempura-fried and served with an amazing mix of ingredients: crab, chashu pork, and cheese. The restaurant’s signature Itto sweet chili sauce takes this to the next level.

Grilled Salmon
As delicious as it is healthy, this dish is served with tomato and asparagus. Chef choice greens are also available on a seasonal basis. A spicy miso sauce sets this apart from the many other salmon dishes found at Asheville and Arden restaurants.

Whether you think of yourself as an adventurous eater or realize that you often struggle to branch out, you’ll find something to appreciate at Itto Ramen Bar & Tapas in downtown Asheville. This is your chance to expand your culinary horizons and try something inventive while also making the most of a wonderfully trendy environment.

Insider Tips:
-Because Itto’s downtown location can be so busy during the evening, it may be worth your while to make reservations. The wait varies a bit from one location to the next, however, so reservations aren’t always essential. Either way, these can easily be made over the phone.
-As is often the case in the downtown district, parking can be a pain. There are multiple paid parking facilities within walking distance of the restaurant, as well as limited street parking.