MaMa-Ya Ramen in Rome, Italy

A bowl of steaming hot ramen in Rome? The picture that a friend posted in Facebook got me. It got my full attention alright and I made sure that my schedule was clear the following night so I myself can slurp (well, you do slurp the ramen right?) my own steaming hot bowl of ramen. It has been a long time since I've last had my ramen fix in Asia and I was more than excited when I heard that there was a new ramen bar in Rome, and a good one too. Mama-Ya Ramen just opened a few months ago and looking at the reviews of the diners and reading about the people behind the place, I was convinced that it would be a good place to strike for a bowl of ramen bowl on a cold, rainy evening.

Ramen bars have become a sensation in a lot of countries and for understandable reasons because they open the doors in enjoying the delicious genuine Japanese cooking (if you want to stay away from sushi for once). A good ramen has a nice firmness and chewiness in the noodles and broth, which is the soul of the ramen, is based on meat (can be chicken, pork or beef) or fish. The broth is unique in every region in Japan and even for every cook but one thing they have in common is the long duration of cooking and as a result, they are rich in flavors. And a little advice in eating the ramen, don't take too long before digging in because the noodles are at their best when they still retain their firmness before they soak up the broth and soften.

Gyu tail ramen with aji tamago and buta kanuni (Oxtail ramen with boiled egg marinated in soy sauce and pork belly stewed in star anise and sweet soy sauce)

So here we have Mama-Ya Ramen, created by two ladies whose lives are attached to food and Japan. Mama is the acronym of the names of the two owners, Margherita Savarese and Mariana Catellina. Margherita has studied and worked in Japan for so many years and worked in a Japanese restaurant in Rome afterwards. Whereas Argentian-born Mariana developed a big passion for the Italian cuisine, is a personal chef and worked as a food coordinator and chef for Gucci and Ferragamo Portrait Suites events. 


Functioning as the chef consultant, Michelin-starred Kotaro Noda of Bistrot 64 guides the kitchen into making a healthy alternative to ramen using simple ingredients free from sodium glutamate, preservatives and other additives. All components of the ramen are prepared daily using fresh ingredients from Lazio.

The menu has three kinds of rich and nutritious broth to choose from for the ramen: vegetables with miso, chicken and oxtail and you can also choose your own toppings. There are a few varieties of onigiri, gohanmono, gyoza and a couple of dessert options which are daifuku and matcha tiramis├╣. They also have new entries for their monthly menu. To accompany the food, there are different kinds of Japanese beer, sake, canned tea, and hot green tea.

Shake Onigiri (salmon onigiri)
Being a lover of powerful flavors, the gyu tail (oxtail broth) ramen was the perfect choice for me while the mamaya (chicken broth) ramen has a lighter tang but still well pronounced. I am thinking that the miso vegetariano (vegetable broth with miso) yields distinct flavors too. Treated like sandwiches in Japan that you can actually eat even in picnics, the shake onigiri is an interesting alternative to munch on - only the bread is replaced by compact rice. Gyoza may be in all Japanese menus and I think I might have even tried them in all the Japanese restaurants I've been to but MaMa-Ya's version warranted a second order because, yes, it was very good. With warm Japanese food, I best enjoy accompanying it with hot tea because its neutral taste allows me to savour all the rich tastes of the dish and it clears my mouth with every sip.

The dessert choices of MaMa-Ya may be limited to two (plus the third one from the menu of the month) but both that I've tried were scrumptious.


MaMa-Ya Ramen

Via Ostiense, 166A
00154 Rome, Italy
Tel: +39 3938123386
Opening Hours: Open daily for lunch and dinner except Sunday lunch and Tuesdays. (Book ahead as the place has a limited number of tables.)

Matcha tiramis├╣

More Restaurants in Rome:

Daifuku (Glutinous rice cake filled with red bean paste)

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