After gaining a cult following during its two-year run as an exclusive, invite-only pop-up, pastaRAMEN is debuting its first brick-and-mortar restaurant in Montclair, N.J., in early February.
The first-ever Italian ramen shop perfectly marries Japanese and Italian cuisines in a style called “Wafu-Italian,” which blends ingredients, textures, and techniques from both worlds.
Co-founder and chef-partner, Robbie Felice develops deep, umami-rich flavors to captivate guests and create a modern culinary adventure for the new age of fine dining.
At the forefront of the developing Wafu-Italian movement – which directly translates to “in the style of Japanese and Italian” – Felice’s expertise is showcased through an à la carte menu of decadent dishes such as cacio e pepe gyoza, a hand-folded, deep-fried dumpling filled with imported parmigiano Reggiano and fresh cracked black pepper; mochi ramen carbonara tsukemen, a signature pastaRAMEN standout delicately balanced with limone, sesame, togarashi, parmigiano and egg yolk; tonkotsu ramen with porchetta and the crowd-favorite udon alla amatriciana which combines guanciale, tomato, miso, black pepper, chilli, scallion, and pecorino romano.
For beverage pairings, pastaRAMEN offers an extensive craft mocktail list.
For those looking to imbibe, the restaurant is BYOB with no corkage fee, taking on a “dinner party” feel and inviting guests to bring their favorite beverages, gather around the table, and celebrate any occasion.
pastaRAMEN is part of Montclair Hospitality Group – the chef-driven, global hospitality company focused on curating unique restaurant brands and experiences.
The elevated dining concept is a partnership between James Beard Rising Star Chef semifinalist Robbie Felice, chef-owner of the critically acclaimed Viaggio Ristorante and Osteria Crescendo, and Luck Sarabhayavanija, MHG’s Founder who recently announced new additions, bringing on new CEO Joey Simons, previously of sbe and Blue Ribbon Restaurants.
Sarabhayavanija and Simons have built a team that includes a who’s who of the culinary world. Chef Robbie and Luck are two longtime friends that came up with the idea for pastaRAMEN in 2020 as a way to support restaurant staff during the pandemic and maintain the ability to dine in an intimate setting.
The concept combines a love of Japanese and Italian food to define a new culinary category.
Felice, who has worked in multiple Michelin-starred kitchens across the globe, helms the kitchen, while MHG helms operations.
Located about 30 minutes outside of Manhattan in downtown Montclair, the town’s epicenter for art, culture, and entertainment, pastaRAMEN seats up to 65 guests in an 1800 square foot space.
Envisioned by local design firm Gidich + Sepulveda Architecture the restaurant’s edgy interior brings a modern feel to the otherwise historic building.
Walking through the wood-paneled entrance, guests are greeted by a vibrant, pop-art graffitied wall by local artist Victoria Poplaski, with playful nods to the team’s other restaurant concepts woven throughout its imagery.
A second eye-catching mural, by Juan David Henao, pays homage to the streets of Tokyo, setting the scene for diners to be fully immersed during their meal.
Black leather booths, natural wood textures, dim-lit ambiance, and an open kitchen create dimension while staying true to pastaRAMEN’s speakeasy-style roots.