Where to Find Ramen in Boston
Ramen noodles, the iconic Japanese meal-in-a-bowl, is having a major moment in Boston. But up until recently, there wasn’t much quality ramen to speak of. But then came hard-to-come-by Guchi’s Midnight Ramen, followed by versions at Uni, Myers + Chang, and even Moksa, Patricia Yeo’s just-opened Central Square Izakaya.
Whether you’re looking for haute, fancified ramen or just want to slurp some decent noodles at a total hole-in-the-wall joint, consult our list for authentic, atypical, and it’ll-do-the-trick sources for the sought-after noodle dish.
Ramen from Sapporo. Photo courtesy of Flickr/snowpea&bokchoi
SAPPORO RAMEN: Located in Porter Square, this noodle-centered eatery may serve Boston’s most authentic bowl. Their broth is made from chicken and fresh vegetables that are boiled over high heat for more than ten hours, and it’s filled served with premium wave noodles. There’s ten different ramen dishes here, all around $8, with the House Ramen containing pork, egg, bean sprouts, nori, corn and scallions. To mix it up, try the Tantan Men, a sesame-flavored soup topped with spicy ground pork. $8/person, Mon-Sun 11:30 am-9 pm, 1815 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02140,617-876-4805.
WAGAMAMA: The Japanese, Asian-fusion international chain restaurant may not serve up the most authentic ramen noodles, but if a craving hits while your at the Pru or strolling around Faneuil Hall, the dishes here will suffice just fine. It’s $12 a dish, but the bowls are huge. The chili ramen brings the heat, while the salmon ramen provides a more mild, seafood-starring version. $12/person, hours vary, 1 Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market building, Boston, MA, 617-742-9242; 800 Boylston St., Boston, MA, 617-778-2344; 57 John F. Kennedy St., Cambridge, MA, 617-499-0930; wagamama.com.
PIKAICHI: This hidden ramen joint in Allston’s Supper 88 has to make the list. Only three different kinds of ramen dishes are on the menu, all around $8, but each bowl features homemade pikaichi ramen and six oz. of custom noodles. Different flavors, proteins, and veggies give the dishes variety. Throw a few extra dollars for add-ins like a boiled egg or extra corn. $8/person, Mon-Sun 11:30 am-4 pm; 5 pm-9 pm, 1 Brighton Ave., Boston, MA 02134, 617-789-4818.
Pastrami Ramen at Pigalle. Photo courtesy of Michelle Zippelli
PIGALLE: Pigalle’s chef Marc Orfaly stumbled upon a new take on ramen after he added braised corned beef on a whim to his broth one night after a long shift. As a result, there’s now pastrami ramen on the bar menu. Corned beef is braised in a broth with root vegetables, and kombu mushroom stems and a bit of miso are later added. The noodles are traditional and boiled in the broth. The dish is topped with the beef, bamboo shoots, Coleman’s mustard syrup, a deep-fried egg, scallions and bean sprouts. The deli-meets-ramen bowl rings in at an affordable $10. $10/person, Tue-Fri 5-10pm; Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sun 5-9:30, 75 Charles St. South, Boston, MA 02116, 617-423-4944, pigalleboston.com.
THE GALLOWS: Ok, so this is a soba noodle soup, not ramen, but The Gallows gang admitted to being inspired by Guchi’s success when they added this to the menu. Plus, it looks so good that we couldn’t not include it. It comes filled to the brim with short ribs, oxtail meatballs, pickled Macomber turnips, bean sprouts, and aromatic herbs. $24/person, hours vary (see website), 1395 Washington St., Boston, MA 02118, 617-425-0200, www.thegallowsboston.com.
UNI: Chef Ken Oringer had been looking to add ramen to his menu at Uni for some time, but he had to wait until his sashimi bar got a more modern, casual renovation in order to do so. Available at Uni and at the Clio bar after 11 p.m. from Thursday through Saturday, there’s two types of ramen served–Umami and traditional–for only $10 apiece. The Umami ramen features a broth fortified by pig feet, ten types of mushrooms, caramelized onions, white miso, and carrots and is topped with barbecued eel, a 2-hour soft-poached egg, daikon, scallions, enoki mushrooms, and shredded nori (queue mouth-watering). The traditional version has the same toppings as the umami, with roasted pork instead of eel and a more standard broth of chicken stock and dashi. $10/person, Sun-Thu 5:30pm -10pm; Fri-Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm, 370 Commonwealth Ave., Boston, MA 02215, 617-536-7200, www.unisashimibar.com.
MYERS + CHANG: If staying up after 11 p.m. is not your cup of soup, don’t fret–this South End eatery recently added ramen to their weekday lunch menu (and may consider it for dim sum or the dinner menu). Originally available as an on-and-off special, Myers & Chang wisely decided to feature it as a permanent menu item. Their ramen is $12 a bowl and features Kyushu-style noodles (long and thin, rather than crinkly) in a fermented tofu broth with shrimp, tofu, a six-minute egg, nori, miso, and scallion butter. $12/person, Sun-Thu lunch 11:30 am-5:30pm, dinner 5:30pm-10pm; Fri–Sat dinner served until 11pm, 1145 Washington St., Boston MA 02118, 617-542-5200, www.myersandchang.com.
GUCHI’S MIDNIGHT RAMEN POP-UP: This may be a more sporadic chance to grub some serious ramen, but it’s worth looking out for. O Ya chefs Yukihiro Kawaguchi and Mark O’Leary (with help from O Ya alum Tracy Chang) collaborated on the project; their dishes feature house made noodles for the ramen in the different versions available, including shouyu (soy-flavored broth), chicken-shio (savory chicken broth), and an all-vegetarian version. The first pop-up dinner featured bowls with char siu pork, handmade noodles, bamboo shoots, egg, and scallions all in a salty broth. This may be a toughie to actually get to, but at least it helped get ramen on the scene in our city. $25 for three courses: steamed pork buns, ramen, and dessert. The location and date of the next pop-up is as of yet decided, but keep tabs on twitter: @guchiramennight, guchismidnightramen.com, or email [email protected] for updated info.
MOKSA: The newest addition to the ramen scene comes courtesy of Patricia Yeo at her new Asian Izakaya Moksa, which after several delays finally opened to the public yesterday evening. Yeo’s version is on the more traditional side, with a broth from chicken and pork bones, pork belly, and napa cabbage. It’s topped with char siu, or barbecue pork, as well as ground pork, napa cabbage, half a soft-poached egg, and fermented black bean and chili oil. $14, 450 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, 617-661-4900, www.moksarestaurant.com
HANMARU: This Korean, Asian-fusion restaurant is one of Allston’s many gems, and also serves up ramen. They feature Hanmaru house ramen with pork belly, beef, and tonkatsu broth and a cold ramen with sesame-based, chilled noodles with veggies and seaweed, both for under $9. $9/person, Mon-Sun 11am-11pm, 168-170 Harvard Ave., Allston, MA 02134, 617-779-7907, www.hanmaruboston.com.
COLOR: So Color may be a Korean restaurant, but they do offer some cheap – $6 – and satisfactory ramen dishes. Choose from regular ramen, veggie ramen with cheese, curry ramen, or seafood ramen. The ramen noodles themselves make their way into an appetizer and entrée dish, if noodles sans broth are your calling. $6/person, Mon-Sat 10:30 am-11:30 pm, 166 Harvard Ave., Allston, MA 02134, 617-787-5656.
MYUNG DONG 1ST AVE (not pictured): This Korean restaurant also serves decent ramen. All three of the ramen dishes are $7 and served in a spicy broth with different veggies and extras. They also offer stews, which feed two, with a mix of all things delicious; the Boodae Jungol is a hotpot of kimchi, spam, sausage, tofu and vegetables, and it’s rounded out with ramen noodles and spicy broth for good measure. $7-$15/person, daily 5pm-1am, 90 Harvard Ave, Allston MA, 02134, 617-206-3229, www.myungdong1stave.com.
Anywhere we missed? Let us know in the comments. For more online food coverage, find us on Twitter at @ChowderBoston.