Your Official Boston Ramen Calendar
Here’s how to eat a steaming bowl of Japanese noodles three times a day, seven days a week, and never repeat yourself.
Over the past couple of years, Boston has been morphing from a ramen desert into a city teeming with bowls of hot broth, chewy noodles, and tender pork. For this, we can thank a combination of new specialists—like Yume WoKatare, Snappy Ramen, and, soon, Totto in Allston—as well as some enterprising non-traditionalists, like Newton’s Sycamore and Fenway’s Sweet Cheeks, that are all putting their own creative spins on the Japanese comfort food. We’ve reached a ramen saturation point where it’s actually possible to slurp the stuff three times a day—for lunch, dinner, and late night*—for a full week, without ever doubling up on locales. But how, you ask? Herewith, our unofficial Official Boston Ramen Calendar. –Panicha Imsomboon
Hidden inside of the Super 88 food court in Allston, this small ramen shop offers three kinds of soup: shoyu, shio, and miso. Toppings for the homemade noodles are varied, but basic ones are sliced pork, corn, wakame, nori, and scallions.
Ramen starts at $7.99, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m., 1 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-789-4818, pikaichiboston.com.
Sweet Cheeks, Fenway
Plan far ahead of time to try this barbecue destination’s take on ramen—although it’s served between 9 and 10 p.m., lines tend to form around 8 p.m. Ramen styles change often, and you can call the restaurant in advance to inquire what’s in store (past iterations have included fried chicken and duck).
$15, Monday 9 p.m.-10 p.m., 1381 Boylston St., Boston; 617-266-1300, sweetcheeksq.com.
If you start at Sweet Cheeks early, there’s still time to zoom over to Sycamore for one final bowl. The Newton bistro serves its own scratch-made tonkotsu-style ramen (complete with Berkshire pork chashu, chicory kimchi, and seaweed butter) on its Monday-only “Big Trouble in Little Sycamore” nights, which goes from 9 until 11 p.m.
$15, Monday 9 p.m.-11 p.m., 755 Beacon St., Newton; 617-244-4445, sycamorenewton.com.
Myers + Chang, South End
This South End staple added shrimp, fermented tofu, and quail egg ramen to its menu a little over a year ago. Pro tip: the number of available bowls varies from day-to-day, so arrive early to guarantee that you get one.
$13, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m., 1145 Washington St., Boston; 617-542-5200, myersandchang.com.
Snappy Ramen, Davis Square
Having converted from “Snappy Sushi” to “Snappy Ramen” last year, the place is one of the only (if not the only) places in the area that currently sells tsukemen—a style of ramen that separates the broth and noodles—on the menu. Chef Youji Iwakura, an alum of Uni and Yakitori Zai, also offers dashi assari ramen, which has a tonkotsu base.
Ramen starts at $9, 5 p.m.- 10 p.m., 420 Highland Ave., Somerville; 617-625-6400.
Myung Dong 1st Avenue, Allston
If the thought of ramen isn’t enough to keep you up late, consider Myung Dong’s Korean-style ramen served alongside giant fruity soju bowls. This Allston bar specializes in soju cocktails and a heartier style of ramen with components like rice cakes, pork dumplings, and cheese.
$6.99, 5 p.m.-12:30 a.m., 90 Harvard Ave., Allston; 617-206-3229, myungdong1stave.com.
Blue Dragon, Fort Point
Ming Tsai’s Fort Point restaurant serves a lunch-only, miso-based ramen topped with roasted pork, pickled daikon, soft-boiled egg, and a handful of watercress.
$12, Monday-Saturday 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 324 A St., Boston; 617-338-8585, ming.com/blue-dragon.htm.
East by Northeast, Inman Square
On Wednesday nights, this modern Asian spot in Cambridge serves hand-cut noodles in a pork broth topped with smoked pork confit and monkfish liver butter. Yes, you heard right: monkfish liver butter.
$12, Wednesday 5 p.m.-10 p.m., 1128 Cambridge St., Cambridge; 617-876-0286, exnecambridge.com.
At this Brighton izakaya, start your meal with a few skewers of smoky grilled yakitori and a glass of sake, and end it with a pork broth-based ramen topped with two slices of chashu pork and chopped scallions.
$8, 5:00 p.m.-11 p.m., 1414 Commonwealth Ave., Allston; 617-608-3630.
With a variety of ramen options—including a chilled hiyashi chukka version and pork-topped shoyu-style ramen—this Brighton Ave. storefront was a welcome addition to the Allston neighborhood last year.
Ramen starts at $8.95, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m., 72 Brighton Ave., Allston; 617-562-1668.
Back Bar, Somerville
Plan on an early dinner —between 4 and 6 p.m., that is—of ramen comprised from overnight-cooked pork broth, and toppings like pork belly, soft-poached eggs, black garlic oil, nori, bamboo shoots, and add-ons like kimchi and bacon.
$14, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. (and on Mon.-Tue., 4 p.m.-10 p.m.); 7 Sanborn Ct., Somerville; 617-718-0249, backbarunion.com.
The Sinclair, Cambridge
Alongside the small plates and bar fare at this music venue-meets-restaurant, there is also ramen with a decidedly southern twist, thanks to toppings like butter-braised collards, brisket, egg, and a jalapeno-sofrito.
$15, 5 p.m.-11 p.m., 52 Church St., Cambridge; 617-547-5200, sinclaircambridge.com.
Fugu Truck, BU West
This season, the Asian food truck has introduced two new ramen bowls: hot shoyu ramen topped with thick slices of pork belly and chilled hiyashi chuka ramen topped with soy-ginger sauce.
$9 for shoyu ramen and $8 for hiyashi chukka ramen, 11:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m., BU West; 646-309-6841, fugutruck.com.
Itadaki, Back Bay
Beer lovers will rejoice for Itadaki’s ramen combo deal, where you can pick your bowl—choose from varieties like miso ramen and shoyu ramen—and it will come alongside gyoza and a Kirin draft beer.
Start at $12, 11:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m., 269 Newbury St., Boston; 617-267-0840, itadakiboston.com
Uni Sashimi Bar, Back Bay
Uni’s ramen is the latest of the late night options—you can’t order it until 11 p.m, on Fridays and Saturdays only. Options consist of traditional, veggie, and squid ramen.
$10, 11 p.m.-1:30 a.m., 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston; 617-536-7200, unisashimibar.com.
Sapporo Ramen, Porter Square
Located at Cambridge’s “Little Japan,” (more commonly known as the Porter Exchange Market) Sapporo Ramen offers both miso and shoyu-style ramen. If calories aren’t an issue, add a cube of butter on top—it’s a game-changer.
$9.95, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5 p.m.-9 p.m., 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-876-4805.
Yume Wo Katare, Porter Square
Check Yume Wo Katare’s website before making the trek to Porter Square, because they aren’t always open. But if they are, you’re here for one thing only: super rich jiro-style ramen, with chewy wheat noodles, and toppings of chashu pork, pork fat, and garlic. Can’t finish your bowl? You’ll get a “good job” from the staff. Slurp every last drop of the stuff? You’ll get a beyond-satisfying “perfect.”
$12, 5 p.m.-11 p.m., 1923 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; 617-714-4008, yumewokatare.com.
Abby Lane, Theater District
This proves that you can truly find ramen everywhere in Boston—from a food truck to a Theater District spot like Abby Lane, which charges a cool $24 per bowl. What does this get you? A bowl of noodles with toppers like baby bok choy, a two-hour egg, and a side of Chinese-style boneless spare ribs.
$24, 11:30 a.m.-12:00 a.m., 253 Tremont St., Boston; 617-451-2229, abbylaneboston.com.
Pop Ramen, Porter Square
This sporadic veggie miso ramen pop-up is only served for lunch on Sundays, when its host, Yume WoKatare, is closed. Keep a close eye on their Facebook page for updates.
$10, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 1923 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge; facebook.com/popramencambridge.
Blue Ginger, Wellesley
Blue Ginger launched a series of “Sunday Night Specials at the Lounge” earlier this year, and the first item in this series is ramen. As a result, miso ramen, spicy-kimchi-broth ramen, and Sichuan-style-mala-broth ramen will be served throughout April.
$13, Sunday 5 p.m.-9 p.m., 583 Washington St., Wellesley; 781-283-5790, ming.com/blue-ginger.htm.
Vegetarians can get in on the noodle action with vegetable ramen, served in a spicy broth. Not a vegetarian? Try the kurobuta pork ramen (which, we’ll add, also contains vegetation in the form of seasoned mushrooms, bean sprouts, carrots, and broccoli ).
$14, 11:30 a.m.-11:00 p.m., 1338 Boylston St., Boston; 617-262-1338, bashosushi.com.
BONUS RAMEN ROUND:
In case 21 bowls of ramen in a week wasn’t quite enough, it’s now possible to try ramen in its more outlandish forms: 1) Coiled into a burger bun at Ki Bistro in Allston; and 2) Stuffed into spring roll wrappers—along with pork belly and scallions—and deep fried for the brand-new “ramen spring rolls” served at Davio’s.