Noodles are a dish that is familiar and loved by all of us. This comfort food is found in many different cuisines and Japanese ramen is a dish that uses the carbohydrate to its maximum potential. With Aucklanders being so spoilt with Japanese food, it can sometimes be a little overwhelming to choose where to go and what places are actually good. But fear no more as we are here to guide you on where to find the tastiest and most authentic Japanese ramen in town to smash that craving in a way no instant packet can.
Without further ado, here’s where to find Auckland’s best ramen.
Browns Bay and Ponsonby
Shore people don’t have to cross bridges to get their ramen fix as they’re blessed with a great restaurant of their own. In fact, city locals found themselves making a trip to the North Shore for this place before it opened up in Ponsonby as it’s just that good. Ramen Takara is known for their Spicy Black Tan Tan Ramen as the spice adds an extra kick and sourness to the ramen without taking away the Japanese authenticity. If you were looking for something a little more experimental, they do a tom yum ramen dish which jam PACKED with flavour. Ramen Takara also do a fresh salad ramen for those who want something a little lighter and cater to vegetarians as well!
Purveyors of fine Japanese food and owners of the swanky Kazuya bring us Zool Zool. With a huge selection of ramen, you could find yourself struggling a bit on what to order. Their specialty is the Paitan Ramen and it can only be ordered from Thursday till Sunday. It’s the perfect mix between cheap noodle joint and sophisticated date stop or fine foodie haven. It’s the little things that set Zool Zool apart—the cute sesame-grinding contraptions on your table, the wine list matched to the different broth options, and the valrhona chocolate truffles for a seriously happy ending. Bonus points to Zool Zool for offering a short list of Zool Men—a ramen bowl with only a tiny quantity of broth, just perfect for these humid Auckland evenings.
If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese ramen experience, Ichiban Ramen on Albert Street is the place for you, as here you’ll find some of Auckland’s best ramen. This gem is tucked away on the busy streets of Auckland CBD and has stools rather than tables to make eating alone feel completely normal and nothing to be ashamed of, staying true to the Japanese dining culture. Ichiban’s most popular dish is their Spicy Ramen which you can control the level of and is topped with some of the tastiest and smokiest roasted pork. We dare you to order it to the spiciest level to experience the heat with full force.
Another North Shore gem is Ramen Lab in Takapuna. This place has earned the reputation of having the richest pork broth in town, giving their ramen depth and authenticity. To really get a taste of their pork broth, make sure to try out their Tonkotsu Ramen as you’ll get to receive the FULL experience. It’s rich, it’s creamy and it’s absolutely delish. Ramen Lab is also famous for its crispy Karaage Chicken and no, it’s not just fried chicken. It’s an authentic Japanese dish with ten times the crispiness so do yourselves a favour and add that order to the table to elevate your ramen feed.
Mentatz Japanese Noodle Restaurant & Bar
This one is for all those university students in Auckland who want something close by, cheap and of course, delicious. Mentatz is a Japanese restaurant that is located on Lorne Street and they have a huge range of ramen with different broth bases. Mentatz isn’t just a place that satisfies ramen cravings as they also cook up some bomb tasting Japanese nibbles to share. They don’t stop at edamame beans, we’re talking takoyaki and gyoza’s which are not to be missed as they add the cherry on top to your ramen experience.
It would be a crime to write an article about ramen and not mention Tanpopo. The absolute OG ramen hub in Auckland which has been around for 19 years owned by a man from Tokyo named Michio Kurihara. Tanpopo allows us to customize our ramen to our own liking which is how a lot of ramen restaurants do it in Japan. Tanpopo may not have a huge menu when it comes to sides but they absolutely kill the ramen game and put all their focus into those big bowls of heaven. Don’t hold back on adding some cheese to your ramen as it makes it richer and so much more indulgent.
Genzui Ramen Bar
Only the ramen connoisseurs of Auckland know about this place as it is tucked away in the Crowne Plaza on Elliott Street. Don’t let the low-key location fool you as some people claim that this place is one of the top ramen eateries in Auckland. Genzui Ramen Bar is known for not only their tasty ramen but also their extremely generous portions. Have you ever tried butter with your ramen? Try out the miso butter corn ramen to take the creaminess to the next level. If you’re looking for something a little different to other ramen restaurants, try their charcoal ramen which is extremely beneficial when it comes to detoxing the body. Yes, charcoal, pitch black ramen.
A good miso-based ramen is rich, slightly spicy and fatty without being overwhelmingly creamy or salty and Ramen Do knows how to do this, perfectly. In fact, these guys brew their broths for 48 hours to ensure they have an insane level of richness and depth. Their Hokkaido miso ramen is the perfect balance of creaminess, spiciness and saltiness, rich but doesn’t leave you feeling sick. Ramen Do also reminds us the versatility of ramen with their popular cold wasabi ramen when you’re feeling like something fresher without compensating the kick from the spice and is easily one of the best places to get ramen in Auckland.