In 2017, my pace picked up significantly. Though I ate around the same number of bowls in total as in 2016, I really hit the new shops with gusto. Here are 23. I tried to keep it below 15, but there were just too many amazing bowls.
Keep in mind that this list is not a definitive best-of list, but the bowls that I personally tried for the first time this year and loved.
楓 - Kaede
Tokyo, Suginami-ku, Kamiogi 2-40-11
10 minute walk from Ogikubo Station
Kaede is an offshoot of the famous miso ramen shop Hanamichi. This one is just as good, if not better for the touch of ginger sauce on top.
Tokyo, Bunkyo-ku, Otowa 1-17-16
6 minute walk from Gokokuji Station
One of the latest (he keeps opening new shops!) from the MENSHO group. Farm-to-table is the concept, and this one is as close to a fine-dining bowl as you'll get for under $50.
季織亭 - Kioritei
Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Uehara 1-42-4
5 minute walk from Yoyogi-Hachiman Station
A crowd sourced ramen shop from a legendary master. Basically a home cooked ramen course in some guys home kitchen. Reservations are a must.
麺屋福丸 - Fukumaru
Tokyo, Shibuya-ku, Hatagaya 1-9-6
6 minute walk from Sasazuka Station
Duck ramen is the style here, including a unique kamo paitan; creamy duck soup that often runs out before service ends.
Kanagawa-ken, Yokohama-shi, Minami-ku, Yoshinocho 4-20
1 minute walk from Yoshinocho Station
The king of chicken. Beautiful. Judge this one by the photo.
らーめん 改 - Kai
Tokyo, Taito-ku, Kuramae 4-20-12
5 minute walk from Kuramae Station
There was a trend over the last few years to use more shellfish in ramen broth. Kai uses plenty of clams for an overload of ocean umami. Noodles made on site.
鳴龍 - Nakiryu
Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Minamiotsuka 2-34-4
6 minute walk from Otsuka Station
The Michelin people handed Nakiryu a star most likely for their shoyu ramen. Personally, I think their tantanmen is the way to go. Very mild, with hints of oyster in the soup.
麺魚 - Mengyo
Tokyo, Sumida-ku, Kotobashi 2-5-3
5 minute walk from Kinshicho Station
Tai soup blended with creamy chicken soup, topped with smoked chashu and an egg injected with snapper dashi. Next level.
つけ麺 道 - Michi
Tokyo, Katsushika-ku, Kameari 5-28-17
6 minute walk from Kameari Station
One of the most famous tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen shops in Japan. It lives up to the hype. Arrive an hour before opening if you want to save time in the long run.
みつヰ - Mitsui
Tokyo, Taito-ku, Nishiasakusa 2-10-4
10 minute walk from Asakusa Station
Clean, simple Kitakata-style ramen. Mukacho (no chemical seasoning) for people who really think that is important. The Michelin guide does, as this is one of the newcomers to their bib gourmand list.
博多一瑞亭 - Hakata Issuitei
Tokyo, Shinjuku, Shinjuku 1-4-12
1 minute walk from Shinjuku-Gyoenmae Station
Solid Hakata ramen in the middle of Shinjuku. If you want to check this style off your list, go here instead of the chain shops that all the tourists line up for.
北大塚ラーメン - Kitaotsuka
Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Kitaotsuka 1-14-1
3 minute walk from Otsuka Station
Massive slices of seasoned chashu pork and some serious soup to match. If it looks like something you want, you should go here. Old school shop.
さくら井 - Sakurai
Tokyo, Musashino-shi, Nishikubo 2-15-27
12 minute walk from Mitaka Station
My pick for off-the-beaten-path ramen. Mitaka isn't too far, but most people wouldn't go there, or walk 15 minutes into a residential neighborhood for ramen. You should, though.
カシムラ - Kashimura
Tokyo, Minato-ku, Shinbashi 2-10-2
6 minute walk from Shiodome Station
Creamy chicken ramen spiked with fresh fish bones. The bones used are different every day, based on what the master can find at nearby Tsukiji Fish Market each morning.
べんてん - Benten
Tokyo, Nerima-ku, Asahicho 3-25-2
7 minute walk from Narimasu Station
Benten is one of Tokyo's most famous old-school tsukemen shops. They closed, but the throngs of fans convinced them to reopen in a new location.
山雄亭 - Sanyutei
Tokyo, Kita-ku, Akabanenishi 1-4-15
1 minute walk from Akabane Station
Meticulously crafted toppings, with a price to match.
Tokyo, Shinjuku-ku, Toyama 2-33
3 minute walk from Higashi-Shinjuku Station
Mounds of seabura backfat to die for.
さんじ - Sanji
Tokyo, Taito-ku, Higashiueno 3-25-12
7 minute walk from Ueno Station
WARNING - This shop is currently not accepting foreign guests. I am really disappointed that a shop I sent many people to is now not available.
桑嶋 - Kuwajima
Tokyo, Setagaya-ku, Daita 6-3-26
2 minute walk from Shimokitazawa Station
Creamy chicken, bold niboshi, or subtle yuzu shio. Everything here is fantastic. As a bonus, Shimokitazawa is an awesome neighborhood in Japan.
八咫烏 - Yatagarasu
Tokyo, Chioda-ku, Kudanshita 1-9-2
3 minute walk from Kudanshita Station
A beautiful bowl made with a bold shoyu blend and high-quality ingredients.
タンタンタイガー Tantan Tiger
Tokyo, Taito-ku, Toritoge 2-2-1
3 minute walk from Kuramae Station
Soupless tantanmen. Choose your levels of spices, but beware the sansho. This numbing Chinese peppercorn blend is intense!
篠はら - Shinohara
Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Ikubukuro 3-1-4
13 minute walk from Ikebukuro Station
Chicken, pork, beef, and fish heads all go into this remarkably deep bowl of shoyu ramen.
Tokyo, Toshima-ku, Minami-Nagasaki 5-26-15
2 minute walk from Higashi-Nagasaki Station
Refined soup, homemade noodles, and a mountain of excellent toppings. Come on an empty stomach!