Ramen is a very popular noodle dish in Japan which is known to have originated in China. Through the decades, ramen has emerged into different variations in taste, noodles used, toppings, and soup base. (Photo from seriouseats.com)
Listed below are the top 10 ramen shops in Tokyo (2013) based on the rankings of Tabelog Japan users which can be found here. The shops are judged based on the following: 1) menu and taste, 2) promos and special service, 3) shop ambience, and 4) customer service.
1. Menya Itto
Specialties: Ramen, Tsukemen
Since 2010, Menya Itto has rapidly emerged as the shop with the best tasting ramen and tsukemen in Tokyo. The shop is popular for its signature dish, Seafood Tsukemen, which features homemade chewy noodles and a rich seafood soup. With a budget of more or less 1,000 Yen per person, you are guaranteed to enjoy a very satisfactory noodle dish at Menya Itto.
What is the difference between ramen and tsukemen?
Read it here.
2. Tsukemen Michi
Opened on 2009, Tsukemen Michi is one of those rising popular ramen restaurants in Tokyo. Getting high back to back ratings with Menya Itto, this famed ramen house at Kameari will satisfy your taste buds with the taste of their specialty tsukemen.
Tsukemen Michi is popular for its tonkotsu-based (pork bone) tsukemen soup. The tonkotsu soup is dense and very rich in flavor which delights the taste buds of both locals and tourists alike. Unlike any other ramen shops, Tsukemen Michi serves their toppings such as chashu, menma, eggs, and onions on a different plate.
3. Tanaka Shoten
Specialty: Tonkotsu ramen
If you are looking for that nostalgic taste of tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen you have probably tasted in Fukuoka, Tanaka Shoten is the place to go. Situated in the outskirts of Tokyo, Tanaka Shoten is known to serve one of the best Hakata/Nagahama-style ramen in a distance just outside the boundaries of metropolitan Tokyo.
Koukaibou has a variety of ramen on their menu such as shouyu (soy sauce) ramen and tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen. Similar to other ramen shops, koukaibou offers additional toppings and noodles for a fee of less than 300 Yen. You can also opt to have your noodles served in a separate bowl from the soup, which is what we call the tsukemen-style. Aside from ramen bowls, Koukaibou also serves ramen sets complete with a bowl of your choice of ramen, sides, and rice.
5. Chuka Soba Minami
Chuka soba, which literally means “Chinese soba”, is just another name for the famous ramen. It has no difference or whatnots, and is just a preference in naming by some ramen shops in the region.
Chuka Soba Minami is one of those ramen shops less known by foreign tourists and some locals. The soup at Chuka Soba Minami is quite bitter as usual, but is very rich in taste you’ll find it hard to not drink the soup after slurping the noodles.
6. Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta
Specialty: Soba noodle ramen
Japanese Soba Noodles Tsuta is a ramen shop that is favored by the people for its strangely delicious ramen. The taste of their ramen is quite similar to that of soba, but its not. Tsuta has quite the range for a menu, from the usual shoyu and miso ramen, to some unusual ones like red chili and tomato ramen.
7. Niboshi Iwashi Ramen En
Specialty: Niboshi ramen
Another ramen shop which made it to the top rankings of Tokyo ramen in 2013 is Niboshi Iwashi Ramen En. Situated within the busy streets of Hachioji, Tokyo, Niboshi Iwashi Ramen En's specialty is their Niboshi (dried sardines) ramen.
Starting with the ramen's seafood broth soup which is rich in taste, the restaurant uses thick noodles for their Niboshi ramen. Their wheat noodles is not soggy and has good texture you would not want to stop slurping it in.
8. Menya Kisso
Toyocho Station, Kiba, Tokyo
Specialty: Ramen, tsukemen
Menya Kisso is another one of those ramen shops in Tokyo which offers a simple menu of either ramen or tsukemen. Know the difference between ramen and tsukemen
With their handmade noodles, and soup flavored in a mixture of pork and fish, customers usually do not mind falling in line for atleast 45 minutes to have a taste of Menya Kisso's famous ramen. It is topped with your usual ramen toppings: egg, menma, onion, pork, nori. You can opt for either a big bowl, or a small bowl if you think you can't eat that much in one serving.
9. Chuka Soba Itou
Located near Ouji-Kamiya Station in Kita, Tokyo, Chuka Soba Ibushi serves plenty of soup with their ramen that leaves a memorable and intensely unique taste despite its very simple look.
With firmly cooked buckwheat noodles, customers have nothing more to ask for its simple mix of ingredients: soup, onion, braised pork, and green onions.
With the shop's name, Shinagawa, a lot of people often think that the shop is located in Shinagawa, Tokyo. However, it is actually located in Kanamechou station somewhere around Toshima, Tokyo.
Their ramen looks simple with its soup and minimal fancy toppings (2 slices of chashu, menma, nori, egg). Although the appearance of their ramen are unlike that of the usual fancy ramen restaurants, just sipping their ramen soup will give you a good sensation of balance with the neat noodles that will slip through your throat.
More delicious ramen shops all over Japan!
These are just some of the must-go ramen shops in Tokyo. There are lots more, some of which are still underrated as of now, but serve very delicious ramen beyond thought. Ramen or tsukemen is indeed a must-try food in Japan because the taste of authentic is way different from how it seems.