For loyalists, a bowl of ramen isn’t just a noodles, broth, and meat. It’s a sacred meal, best eaten when it’s just been served and slurp it in loudly to appreciate the astonishing goodness it brings. It was hailed as one of Japan’s greatest inventions, beating its technology because really, who wouldn’t love a bowl of ramen after a long day at work or when you just want to indulge in something savory and delicious? There are a lot of variations of ramen from which you can choose and it’s also best enjoyed paired with its equally delicious companion, gyoza. Be it beef, pork, or seafood, ramen is also a dish that you can easily whip up at home. With just a few ingredients involved, you can enjoy this rewarding meal in minutes. A quick, satisfying meal, some people even compare it with American pizza, in which they patiently wait for their turn around to sit down, order up, and enjoy their ramen. It’s an instant hit, a meal worth lining up and once you’ve found your favorite bowl of ramen, you’re going to be hooked for the rest of your life.
Listed down are some of the places where you can score one of the best ramen in Tokyo. Keep in mind that most of these restaurants can hold up a lengthy line of guests waiting for their turn and can last for half an hour to an hour. But of course, good things happen to those wait and a bowl of ramen is worth waiting for.
- Shinasoba Tanaka
Owned by a surfer, you can almost taste the sea bursting in your mouth with their delicious menu. But what’s really interesting in Shinasoba Tanaka is their one of kind kakesoba. You’d think that this is like any other ramen but kakesoba has a mouth-watering broth made with abalone and Japanese spiny lobster which is served with plain noodles. Aside from kakesoba, you should also try their shikou no shio kakesoba (supreme soba in salt-based soup) which is made with turban shells, Japanese spiny lobsters, and abalone from Boso region. This delicious ramen, alongside with their kakesoba, is so good that you will mostly forget about any other ramen you’ve known. Located in 3 Chome-4-1 Sotokanda Chiyoda-ku, Tōkyō-to 101-0021, Japan.
When Tenhou had just opened for business, they used drums in making their soup and have since then became a trademark of them. Their bestseller, ichisango which basically translates to 1-3-5, has raved reviews from its patrons. Best paired with rice, ichisango is made of firm but chewy noodles, rich broth, and a delicious saltiness which gives off its solid flavor. Aside from that, they recommend menbari which is equally delicious too. They also offer free serving of rice every lunch. Located in 7 Chome-8-5 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tōkyō-to 106-0032, Japan.
- Mensho Tokyo
It’s one of those restaurants that will surely leave a mark on you as you take in all the goodness it gives from their delectable ramen dishes. Popular across Japan and even in America (they have a branch in San Francisco), Mensho Tokyo is a crowd favorite. They serve some of the best ramen dishes and probably unique ones too. Like their limited edition Chocolate Lamb Ramen that was in their menu last Valentines which probably raised a lot of eyebrows but get yourself a bowl of this and you’ll know why it’s a click to a lot of people. They added dark chocolate to the broth which made the ramen extra solid and the flavors are distinct and pretty much surprising. Their noodles are made in the house which makes every bowl of ramen unique and hearty, almost like being home. Fun trivia: they have a research laboratory made especially in creating new ideas and variations for ramen, which even makes Mensho Tokyo an innovative ramen-ya restaurant. Located in 1 Chome-15-9 Kasuga, Bunkyō, Tokyo 112-0003, Japan.
- Yamaguchi Ratsushiki
If you’re into something light and fulfilling, then this one’s for you. They serve some of the best-lighthearted shoyu bowls that most guests keep coming back for more. But if you’re courageous enough to go on an extra mile – and we mean extra mile for that matter – they also have their special mabo mazesoba, which is basically the best kick in the gut. It features Sichuan pepper, a special kind of pepper that is unlike any other. It leaves off a numbing feeling in your mouth and tongue even if you just took a small bite of it, which is something that most masochist patrons live for in this restaurant. But if you’re not sure of the level of spiciness you’re into, just let the staff know and they will gladly help you. located in 4-6-3 Toyo, Koto-ku, Tokyo.
- Menichi Kiccho
A restaurant that has been around for ages, it may seem ancient but that’s what makes this restaurant extra special. With their rich historical background in making noodles, they are the only ones who still use bamboo in kneading the dough, which was once a tradition. It makes the noodles chewier and firmer in texture, which sets them apart from the others. Their menu consists of traditional, soy sauce based soba that is pretty much well loved by their patrons. It’s made with a rich, fatty broth made with chicken and flat noodles. An alternative choice that is seafood-flavored based is also a crowd favorite which burst in your mouth with its fresh yet deep aftertaste. Located in 5-6-6 Higashi-Oi, Shinagawa-ku, Tokyo.
It’s one of those restaurants that will make you agree that there is art in making food. They make their noodles right before your eyes with simple ingredients such as flour and water, kneaded until it all came together and served to perfection. Handmade noodles may not be uncommon in Japan but Shichisai makes it right after you’ve placed your orders, which basically a feast in the eyes. It also doesn’t hurt that their soup is some of the best which is deep and smokey but surprisingly light and crisp too. Interesting, right? It’s a party in your mouth and we’re pretty sure your tummy will thank you once you’ve taken a serving of Shichisai’s ramen. Located in 2 Chome-13-2 Hatchobori, Chūō, Tokyo 104-0032, Japan.
Sansato serve some of the most unforgettable ramen in town but in order to taste some of these delicious bowls of ramen, there’s a catch: they are only open 2 ½ hours day from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. which may sound mad but go here in that time of the day and you’ll understand why. The owner, Gotou-san, makes everything fresh and on hand. From making the noodles, toppings, and soup, it’s all him. He puts his heart and soul in every bowl he makes which make take time but wait a little longer and you’ll get your hands on his creations. Each bowl is a classic with light and sweet-salty flavors that makes you think of good old times. Sansato offers a limited seating capacity so be sure to come as early as possible. Located in 3-16-15 Nakajujo Kita, Tokyo.
A tsukemen specialty shop, Michi opened last 2009 and has since then been making waves in the ramen scene. Tiny and intimate, the shop only seats up to eight people and a beeline of guests usually lines up at 10 a.m. (Michi opens at 11:30 a.m.). Once you’re seated, you’re in for a show. You’re going to witness your ramen being prepared for you. The master, Nagahama-san, prepares and makes everything meticulously and the result is a fine bowl of ramen that is just right up your alley. What’s interesting in his ramen is the egg he puts on top of them. They are infused with a vanilla essence which may sound odd but mix it up with your noodles and broth and you’ll understand why the flavors work and it works wonders in your mouth. It’s the ultimate tsukemen experience you need to feel. Located in 5-28-17 Kameari Katsushika, Tokyo.
An extra special place which may come off a bit hard to find, Kinryu is the kind of restaurant that will feel like home once you’ve sat down and already digging in your ramen bowl. A family-owned business which has been running for years, they have been serving the same menu which consists of miso ramen, its companion gyoza, and menma which is best paired with an ice-cold beer or sake. Everything in the restaurant hasn’t changed and it’s probably one of the reasons why most people enjoy their food because it reminds them of the past in which is forever with them. Kinryu’s ramen is made with red miso and they noodles are handmade. It’s topped with mitsura, a Japanese herb, which makes the ramen even more flavorful. Order up a beer and your menma is free but you can always order it up as a side dish. Located in 3-20-14 Nishioizumi, Nerima 178-0065, Tokyo.
This hip, easygoing ramen restaurant is popular among youngsters. Outside, you’d see skateboards and bikes parked and once you’re inside, you’ll be amazed by the simple yet beautiful art designs drawn on the wall. Their menu consists of three delicious ramen dishes: shamo soba (chicken based shoyu ramen), niboshi ramen, and maze-soba but it’s shamo soba that is popular among their guests. It is made by using a fighting cock instead of regular poultry which may sound strange even to loyalists but give it a try and you’ll understand why. It makes the soup even richer and more flavorful. Pair it with beer and you’re good to go. It also doesn’t hurt that they top their ramen generously. They also serve menma which is good with your ramen. located in 3-37-22 Shoan Suginami Tokyo.
She’s cooking and baking for her family and friends. She finds grocery shopping therapeutic, always takes the longest time in the Asian section and debates with herself whether she needs that extra pack of instant ramen. A lover of sweets, she dreams of owning a patisserie and publishing her book but most of the time, she’s just really thinking of what to eat for breakfast the next day.