【2018 Edition】 Classic or Unique! Top 10 Must-Try Ramen Shops in Tokyo
Tokyo is a metropolitan city that is filled with an almost countless number of eating and drinking joints. This article will feature the 10 most recommended ramen shops that are very popular, even among foreign tourists visiting Japan.
1. Takano (Nakanobu)
Listed in the Michelin Guide Tokyo 2015 (Bib Gourmand), Takano is a popular shop that has a line of customers outside its doors every single day. Customers, especially the locals, love this place for its homey atmosphere. They use homemade noodles made of locally sourced wheat, and for the egg on top of the ramen, you can choose from “ni-tamago” (egg that has been boiled in soup stock, soy sauce, or other seasonings), soft-boiled “onsen tamago”, and “kunsei tamago” (egg that has been smoked in hojicha (roasted green tea)). Recommended at this shop is the Chuka Soba (700 JPY (incl. tax)) – soy sauce-based ramen with the robust flavors of local chicken and small fish. The Aguni no Shio Soba (750 JPY (incl. tax)) is a dish in which fragrant sesame seeds in a faint-smelling yuzu (citrus) sauce bring out the refreshing and salty taste of the soup. This shop closes when the day’s soup has run out, so if you really want to taste their ramen, it is best to come early so you can get in as soon as it opens.
2. Bushikotsumen Taizo Hirai Branch (Hirai)
Bushikotsumen Taizo is located within a short walking distance from Hirai Station in downtown Tokyo. It serves 10 kinds of ramen with different flavors that range from strong to light. Each ramen uses a special thick soup that is made from seafood, and pork and chicken bones. The noodles used are chewy medium-thick noodles with a robust flavor and sweetness. Recommended at this shop is their famous Bushikotsu Kotteri Taizo Ramen (800 JPY (incl. tax)). This ramen comes with generous servings of spring onions and special char siu (roasted pork fillet) that has been simmered in seafood broth.
3. Due Italian Ichigaya Branch (Ichigaya)
Due Italian is a popular shop that has been selected by the Michelin Guide Tokyo for three years straight. The shop owner, who used to work as an Italian chef, has created a variety of ramen with the techniques and innovative ideas that he cultivated over his long culinary career. The pride of this shop is its transparent soup that is made from various types of chicken bones, kombu (kelp), scallops, and other ingredients. It is seasoned with a blend of salts from different areas, such as Okinawa and Italy, and the chicken oil adds a certain degree of richness to its taste. Aside from the Ogon no Shio Ramen (salt-based ramen) (1,000 JPY (incl. tax)) that is written on the signboard, there are also many other creative ramen dishes available, such as the Lemon Ramen (980 JPY (incl. tax)) that has a refreshing kind of acidity. You can even change the noodles to ones made from low-calorie (12kcal) konjac.
4. Soranoiro Honten (Kojimachi)
Soranoiro is popular for its healthy dishes that will let you enjoy the delicious tastes of vegetables and ramen at the same time. Here, the noodles are kneaded with bell pepper, and the soup has a cabbage and carrot base, topped with a salt-based sauce that draws out the flavors of shellfish and dried fish. The ramen is also overflowing with vegetables. Recommended at this restaurant is the Tokusei Veggie Soba (special vegetable soba) (1,100 JPY (incl. tax)). It also serves Vegan Veggie Soba (1,100 JPY (incl. tax)) that does not use any animal-based ingredients, which vegetarians and vegans love. Every bowl is a refreshing salt-based masterpiece that comes with 265g of vegetables. You can also change the noodles to gluten-free rice noodles.
5. USHIO UENO EAST (Ueno)
A 3-minute walk from Ueno Station, Ushio is a popular shop that has the unique concept of “ramen and bistro”. Aside from its extensive Western menu that includes wines and cheese fondue, its course meals are also famous for incorporating ramen as the final dish You can enjoy the ramen a la carte, and if you do, the recommended types are the Ushio Tori Paitan Soba (ramen with white chicken broth) (870 JPY (excl. tax)) and the Ushio Shoyu Soba (ramen with soy sauce-based soup) (870 JPY (excl. tax)). Both dishes are rich and flavorful, and customers are raving about them!
6. Ito Ginza Branch (Ginza)
This ramen shop has been fascinating lots of ramen fans. Here, they use soup extracted from high-quality niboshi (small fish that’s been boiled and dried) and forego any chemical seasonings, so while every bowl of ramen may be simple, they are actually filled with the condensed flavors of the ingredients. The use homemade noodles that are made every day. These low-water-content, medium-fine, straight noodles come in three sizes – small (140g), medium (210g), and large (280g) – and they are boiled while retaining their unique texture and chewiness. The soup and noodles are exceptionally delicious, so the toppings are just shredded spring onions (Chuka Soba Small (prices start at 600 JPY (incl. tax)). For those who feel that their ramen is lacking, you might want to order the Niku Soba Small (prices start at 750 JPY (incl. tax)) that has an additional four thickly-sliced char siu.
7. Daishin Jinbocho Shop (Jinbocho)
This popular restaurant with a friendly atmosphere is operated by its owner, who hails from Beijing. Here, the recommended ramen dishes are the Tantanmen (noodles with sauce made from sesame paste and chili oil) and Shirunashi Tantanmen (tantanmen without soup), whose key ingredients are the handmade mayu (garlic oil) and sansho (Japanese pepper) from Sichuan Province. Both ramen dishes are priced from 750 JPY (incl. tax), and the price varies depending on the level of spiciness. The restaurant has Chinese-speaking staff.
8. Wakura Shinjuku Kabukicho Branch (Shinjuku)
Situated within walking distance from Shinjuku Station, Wakura is a shop in Kabukicho, the leading nightlife spot in Japan, that is open 24 hours a day. It is famous for bringing to Tokyo the taste of authentic tonkotsu ramen, which originates from Hakata, Fukuoka. They use extra-fine noodles, and the tonkotsu soup (made from pork belly and bones, as well as other ingredients) that is simmered for 100 hours has a rich, delicious flavor. Recommended here is the bestseller, the Tokusen Ramen (special ramen) (1,150 JPY (incl. tax)).
9. Poppoyya Suidobashi Branch (Suidobashi)
Located in Suidobashi, which is known as the battleground of ramen, Poppoyya is a popular restaurant that can create a line of customers outside. It takes pride in its extra-thick noodles that are chewy and elastic. The noodles are kneaded with bare hands upon order, and then exposed to air in order to make the sugar and other elements contained in the wheat flour age. The soup is thick and has a rich taste. It has a soy sauce-based flavor that has a sweetness from slow-cooking chicken feet, vegetables, and other ingredients like pork bones. It matches the noodles really well. If you want to enjoy that kind of deliciousness, then it is best to start with their standard Ramen (700 JPY).
10. Kaze Wa Minami Kara Gakugei Daigaku Shop (Tokyo Gakugei University)
Just a 2-minute walk from Gakugei-daigaku Station, Kaze Wa Minami Kara is a shop that takes pride in its thick, soy sauce-based ramen. Its deeply-colored soup is filled with delicious flavors, and the soup completely sticks to the thick noodles to create a taste that you won’t get tired of. Here, recommended dishes include the Toku Shoyu Ramen (950 JPY (incl. tax)) and the Shoyu Char Siu Men (950 JPY (incl. tax)). There is also an extensive list of side dishes and snacks, so this shop is also recommended if you want to have a drink.
This article featured 10 ramen shops that have extremely unique noodles and soups. If you happen to tour Tokyo, please try to drop by any one of these restaurants!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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