Food & Drink

Readers' choice: Tokyo's best ramen shops

Last month, The Japan Times published its curated list of Tokyo’s five best ramen shops. But Japan’s capital city is a truly massive metropolis boasting restaurants galore, so we wanted to know: What did we overlook? And where are your favorite ramen shops?

Many readers came through with replies to our inaugural “Top 5” survey. Some waxed poetic about a shop’s broth or noodles, while others kept their praise short and sweet. So without further ado, here are 10 of our readers’ favorite ramen shops in Tokyo.

Ramen Kai's palak paneer mazesoba ('mixed noodles') | ISHRAEL GARCIA
Ramen Kai’s palak paneer mazesoba (‘mixed noodles’) | ISHRAEL GARCIA

Ramen Kai

“This ramen shop is near my office so I tend to go here often. The tsukemen (dipping noodles) are your typical tonkotsu gyōkai (pork bone-broth) variety, but Ramen Kai’s is up a notch from the others. What sets it apart is its shio (salt broth), which uses clam as a base and has really good toppings. What I really like, though, is that it seems to have a rotation of gentei (limited) bowls. My colleague once had duck shoyu and he dug it, and I had a palak paneer mazesoba (“mixed noodles”) and I always look forward to more specials.

If you follow Ramen Kai on Twitter then you’ll know what’s on the menu, but I don’t so I let myself be surprised. They had a nōkō (thick) version of the tsukemen one time. I’ve heard it’s had a clam chowder ramen before. I’d like to try that!” — Ishrael Garcia

Miyauchi Bldg. 1F, Kuramae 4-20-10, Taito-ku 111-0051; 03-3864-6055; bit.ly/kainoodles

Bassanova's Green Curry Soba is made with a soy milk base, so it's also pescetarian- and vegan-friendly.
Bassanova’s Green Curry Soba is made with a soy milk base, so it’s also pescetarian- and vegan-friendly.

Bassanova

“The green curry ramen is why I love this restaurant. It calls to me in my sleep. It is the only combination of green curry and ramen that I have tried that actually properly combines ramen with green curry (most simply dump noodles in curry). It is creamy and yet thin enough to truly be a soup. They just combine these two disparate dishes so well that you will wonder how it hasn’t existed for a century. The noodles are fresh. The ingredients are tasty. The atmosphere is really cool as well. It is a simple and clean yet pretty hip spot.” — Jay Dimmer

Hanegi 1-4-18, Setagaya-ku 156-0042; 03-3327-4649; bit.ly/bassanova

Ramen Gutara's namesake noodle is made with a white tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and comes topped with black sesame and and other nuts.
Ramen Gutara’s namesake noodle is made with a white tonkotsu (pork bone) broth and comes topped with black sesame and and other nuts.

Ramen Gutara

“Gutara is the favorite place to eat for most students at International Christian University (ICU). The restaurant is in Fuchu, near the ICU campus. It offers various options of miso ramen, as well as shoyu. The miso-chāshū (pork) broth is just something else, I haven’t eaten a broth this delicious before or after.

Side dishes like chāshū donburi (pork rice bowl) and gyōza dumplings are also available. There’s free ōmori (large portion) for students. The owner was a student at ICU himself, he is super nice.” — Teoman Eronu

Osawa 3-3-6, Mitaka, Tokyo 181-0015; 0422-30-0307; bit.ly/ramengutara

Jurumen Ikeda's house-made spicy mazesoba ('mixed noodles')
Jurumen Ikeda’s house-made spicy mazesoba (‘mixed noodles’)

Jurumen Ikeda

“This shop’s speciality is tsukemen, or ramen noodles with a dipping soup. But it also serves ramen noodles in chicken or pork broth. The noodles are made with domestically sourced flour and other ingredients are chosen specially from around Japan. The owner also serves a special ramen now and again such as Thai-style soup noodle and even Jamaican-style curry on certain days. Check out his Instagram for updates.” — Kim Collins

Meguro 1-6-12, Meguro-ku 153-0063; 03-5740-6554; bit.ly/zurumenikeda

Tsujita's Noko (Rich Broth) Tsukemen, with a soft-boiled egg
Tsujita’s Noko (Rich Broth) Tsukemen, with a soft-boiled egg

Tsujita

“It’s hard to describe the taste of the soup since it’s made from a variety of ingredients, such as chicken, pork and seafood, which makes the flavor rich and wonderful. The soup alone is outstanding in quality, but when paired with a unique, chewy noodle, it makes Tsujita one of the best tsukemen stores in Tokyo!

The Noko (Rich Broth) Tsukemen is my recommendation. I think it’s one of Tsujita’s standard menu items, but when the grilled pork, fermented bamboo shoots and seaweed come together, it’s a great way to enjoy that classic Tsujita flavor!” — Haruka Murayama

Various locations in Tokyo; www.tsukemen-tsujita.com

Tori no Ana's Shirotori (White Chicken) Ramen
Tori no Ana’s Shirotori (White Chicken) Ramen

Tori no Ana

“Excellent chicken ramen, lovely little shop. The Shirotori (White Chicken) Ramen is delicious, comforting and nice.” — Paula Fermin

Higashiikebukuro 1-39-20, Toshima-ku 170-0013; 03-3986-2811; www.torinoana.com

Hakata Furyu's classic Tonkotsu Ramen, which comes with two free kaedama (noodle refills)
Hakata Furyu’s classic Tonkotsu Ramen, which comes with two free kaedama (noodle refills)

Hakata Furyu

“Super rich broth, nice and garlicky, and two free refills of noodles. No frills, cheap and after three serves of noodles you waddle away very full and content. Perfect for winter!

(Get the) standard tonkotsu ramen: Why go for anything other than the basics when this ticks all the boxes!” — Troy Stade

Various locations in Tokyo; www.fu-ryu.net

Yakimen Tsurugi grills its noodles on an iron plate and serves them in a thick, rich soup made from pork bone and potato.
Yakimen Tsurugi grills its noodles on an iron plate and serves them in a thick, rich soup made from pork bone and potato.

Yakimen Tsuguri

“Tsurugi is a pretty fantastic balance of a wide range of different qualities: convivial but not overwhelming; cozy but not crowded; relaxed but not unrefined; and delicious for a price that belies its quality. Fantastic ramen, comfortable ambiance and more polite, friendly and helpful service than most (ramen shops) I’ve had before or since.

The pan-fried ramen is Tsurugi’s poster child for good reason. It is every bit as vibrant and striking to the palate as it is visually appealing. The slightly crisped noodles contribute not only novelty but a smoky flavor and textural counterpoint to the rest of the dish that puts it above and beyond its competition.” — Andy Van Heuit

Takadanobaba 2-6-10, Shinjuku-ku 196-0075; 03-3200-5911; tsurugi-men.com

Ginza Kazami

“Outstanding ramen in the heart of the Ginza. Wonderful chef and the service is fantastic. The oyster ramen’s flavors are deep and pure umami.” — Aaron Battista

Ginza 6-4-13, Chuo-ku 104-0061; 03-3572-0737; bit.ly/ginzakazami

Menya Oto's Noko Tori Shio Soba is made with chicken and simmered root vegetables for a rich and flavorful ramen.
Menya Oto’s Noko Tori Shio Soba is made with chicken and simmered root vegetables for a rich and flavorful ramen.

Menya Oto

“Very rich ramen that leaves you full to the point of immobility. No-nonsense atmosphere.” — Andrew McKirdy

Senju 3-60, Adachi-ku 120-0034; 03-3882-3922; bit.ly/menyaoto

Some responses have been edited for clarity. The opinions expressed are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of The Japan Times.

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