2019 was another great year for ramen in Tokyo. Variety is the theme this time, with styles to suit any taste. From light seafood ramen to heavy pork ramen topped with grilled meat, it seems that local chefs are experimenting with flavors while still keeping things consistent and classic. With the Olympics just around the corner, can Tokyo bring the world into a ramen frenzy?
CLAM & BONITO 貝節麺 RAIK
2 Chome-21-21 Honan, Suginami City, Tokyo
1 minute from Honancho Station
Clam and Bonito is the second shop from the RAIK group. This one goes all-in with, as you would expect, shellfish and fish. Each day the menu is different, based on what bones they could find at the local market.
金色不如帰 - Hototogisu
Tokyo, Shinjuku City, Shinjuku, 2 Chome−4−1
New location in Shinjuku
Hototogisu, one of Japan's most celebrated ramen shops, was given a Michelin star in 2019. They also moved to a new, more convenient location in Shinjuku. Refined clam ramen with homemade mushroom and truffle pastes to add new levels of umami. Despite the long lines, this shop is a must-hit when in Tokyo.
中華蕎麦 にし乃 - Nishino
Tokyo, Bunkyo City, Hongo, 3 Chome−30−7
Chukasoba descended from Koike, a famous ramen shop on Tokyo's west side. This soup is topped with sansho oil for a citrus aroma and slightly numbing taste.
龍朋 - Ryuho
123 Yaraicho, Shinjuku City, Tokyo
Ryuho is an old school Chinese-style ramen joint with one of Japan's original cold noodle dishes. Summer months are brutal in Tokyo, and sometimes a bowl of vinegary cold noodles is the only way to cool down.
MENSHO San Francisco
Shinjuku Station Mylord 7F
Mylord Department Store - Shinjuku Station
MENSHO opened a shop in San Francisco in 2017, and this San Francisco inspired shop in 2019. The menu is similar, with creamy tori paitan as the main style. They serve few limited bowls of the shop's A5 wagyu-topped ramen as well. Conveniently located above Shinjuku Station.
らぁ麺 鳳仙花 - Hosenka
1 Chome-24-6 Kabukicho, Shinjuku City, Tokyo
In Kabukicho, Shinjuku.
Hosenka takes light chicken ramen and enhances it was a kinmedai (金目鯛) dashi. Kinmedai is one of Japan's most luxurious fish, often reserved for high-end sushi shops and exclusive kaiseki restaurants. Great location in the middle of Kabukicho.
おとど餃子食堂 - Otodo Gyoza Shokudo
4 Chome-3-7 Minamiyawata, Ichikawa, Chiba
Technically Chiba, Moto-Yawata is very convenient to central Tokyo
Famous ramen shop Otodo won many, many awards for their juicy gyoza and it was only a matter of time before they opened a gyoza shop. Go for the gyoza made with fresh ground pork and backfat, and stay for a bowl of classic Tokyo-style ramen.
海老丸らーめん - Ebimaru Ramen
Tokyo, Chiyoda City, Nishikanda, 2 Chome−1−13
Just north of Jimbocho Station
Lobster bisque ramen. The soup is thick and flavorful. You can even top it with an entire grilled lobster. Some say this is pushing things too far, but if you want lobster, this is the spot to go.
丿貫 - Hechikan
Nakadori-2-4 Fukutomicho, Naka Ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa
Down Yokohama way
Niboshi fans should check out Hechikan, maybe even multiple times. Their menu constantly changes, using different dried seafood in their thick niboshi ramen each day. On top of that, they have constantly limited bowls for repeatability. Expect a line, as this one is quite popular.
ののくら - Nonokura
Tokyo, Katsushika City, Kameari, 3 Chome−11−11
Upper East Side Tokyo
Super slippery noodles, four kinds of dried fish, refined soy sauce, sous-vide meats. This is many people's rookie of 2019 ramen bowl.
せんだが家 - Sendaga-ya
3 Chome-30-4 Sendagaya, Shibuya City, Tokyo
Steps from the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Station
Mazesoba, aka mix-em-up noodles are all the rage in Tokyo these days. Sendagaya offers a few styles, including spicy Nagoya-style Taiwan mazesoba. Side dishes and drinks make this a fun spot to hang with friends.
銀座八五 - Ginza Hachigo
3 Chome-14-2 Ginza, Chuo City, Tokyo
Ginza Hachigo wanted to make a high-end bowl for 850 yen. They cut costs but skipping the tare seasoning that most shops use to flavor ramen, opting for salt instead. Nothing was cut in terms of soup and the final bowl is as elegant as the neighborhood it lives in.
麺GARAGE 肉ヲ見ル - Men Garage Niku wo Miru
1 Chome-32-6 Sangenjaya, Setagaya City, Tokyo
Trendy Sangenjaya neighborhood
Thick homemade noodles. Thick tonkotsu gyokai soup. Topped with six kinds of churrasco. Either you aren't interested, or you are already on a train to eat this one.