Hopeless Ramen-tic’s listen up. The Japanese staple of ramen reigns supreme in Toyko.
It has everything you could dream of: noodles, tender pork, creamy broth with packed with veggies—seriously, we could live off of the stuff. If you’re heading to, dreaming of, or already in Tokyo…. you’ll want to listen up and get your stretchy pants at the ready, cause we ain’t fooling around with this one.
Here are ten places that you have to hit up if you want ramen in Tokyo.
When Afuri first opened in the back streets of Ebisu, people were delighted. Now they run more than ten stores all around Tokyo, still donning their iconic black and white uniforms, tailored menu and stylish décor.
With a focus on a seasonal menu (lighter broths for the winter and all the heavy stuff for the cold snap season), Afuri focuses on tsukemen (dipping noodles), shio (salt), and shoyu (soy sauce) style broth, which you can top up with thick hand-pulled noodles, chashu pork and a special touch: a garnish of fresh yuzu (Japanese citrus).
Another one on the slurping list, Basso is known for their extensive, yet traditional menu—try out their Aburasso (broth-less ramen) in the summer months or their spicy onion and garlic Basso (soup).
The noodles are made with domestic flour and the interior is disguised as a wooden, western style cottage, be sure to line up early—the queues are out the door for this one.
3. Chukasoba Suzuran
This place may be hard to find (it has no signage and no stairwell) but the adventure is worth it. With creamy bowls of stewed pork broth with chasumen being your final destination, and, of course, it’s filled with thick cut in-house noodles. You know where to find us.
4. Ippudo Roppongi
Known as some of the best ramen in the land, Ippudo’s queues for their piping hot bowls of ramen are out the door, and rightly so—their Hakata style ramen will have you pawing your way through the queue for more.
Their founder won the “champion ramen chef’ title three times, so you know you’re in good hands with their long-standing tonkatsu broth recipe. They also provide an English speaking menu, if your Japanese is not fully up to scratch! いただきます!
Opening in 2016, Kai is known for their shellfish ramen—something quite out there compared to their traditional broths. It’s located just outside of Asakusa, so you can check out the traditional temples in the area and then sit down for a feast.
Mensho is one of the first of it’s kind to offer ‘farm to bowl’ services of their ramen—paying close attention to the production and the detail of every ingredient. They’re known for their western approach (with the interior being based on San Fran).
The main chef, Shono-San travels to different regions in Japan to hand-pick the best produce from local farmers, as well as putting an emphasis on hand-ground barley to produce the noodles that arrive in your steaming bowl of the good stuff. Deeeeelish!
7. Torisoba Nanahasu
Located in a back alley in Kanda Station, Tori (meaning chicken) Soba (meaning noodles) is exactly what the name suggests; a Japanese take on Chicken Noodle Soup. Count us in.
Other specialities include duck ramen and mixed seafood, although their speciality here is all things bird—and that sounds pretty good to us.
8. Tanaka Second
This place is limited to only thirty (yes, you heard us right) bowls a day—so you better get in quick for this one.
With delicacies like spiny lobster, abalone and a ton of veggies, you’re getting all your protein in one hit with this one. The perfect spot to refuel after walking around the city all day.
9. Gyukotsu Ramen Matador
This one hikes up to be the most expensive on the list, with one bowl of their zeitaku yakigyū costing ¥1,150 (or $14)—it comes with stewed tender roast beef, a marinated egg and light shoryu broth.
Splurge a little and treat yo’ self.
Trying to find a place to bring ten of your closest friends for a dinner out? Probably skip this place as they only have tables for six. However, waiting in line (hint: you might need some mochi to snack on in line if you’re waiting) makes it all worth it. The miso and spice blend makes it popular with diehard slurpers.
Keen for a good cup of coffee while you're in Tokyo? Check out our guide to Tokyo's best coffee here.
Image credit: Afuri | Annika Kafcaloudis