Ramen has long been one of my favourite dishes – having lived in Vancouver for several years, I got pretty quickly acquainted with just how delicious it is. When the weather’s a little cool outside, what’s better than a steaming bowl of broth, noodles, and tasty toppings? It is quite literally the Japanese answer to a hug in a bowl, and it is so delicious. It’s fair to say ramen has come a long way in London. Nowadays, you can feast on delicious tonkotsu, ramen, and shoyu, all with influences from other Asian countries. Without further ado, here’s my guide to the best ramen in London.
Kanada-Ya, Covent Garden
I simply can’t create a list of the best ramen in London without a generous mention of Kanada-Ya. Specialising in authentic tonkotsu ramen, Kanada-Ya stems back to the Japanese city of Yukuhashi, and slowly developed into what it is today. Owner Kanada-San slowly developed his much-loved recipe of 18-hour pork broth, chashu pork, nori, secret sauce, hand pulled noodles, wood ear fungus, and spring onion. Since opening in Covent Garden back in 2014, you’ll see queues down the street for all the right reasons. Check out the Spicy Yuzu, a classic ramen with pork and chicken broth with a zing of spicy yuzu paste, and the incredible truffle ramen with porcini truffle paste, white truffle oil, and yuzu-shoyu. You can choose your noodle firmness (pick ‘hard’), and add some takana from the table to your ramen as you wish.
Ramo Ramen, Kentish Town
If you’re looking for something a little different to the traditional bowl of ramen, head to Ramo Ramen in the heart of Kentish Town. Shunning the idea of authentic ramen, this Filipino-Japanese ramen restaurant adds its own twist to the popular Japanese dish. Offering some of the best ramen in London, you’ll find infusions of Filipino flavours in every plate. Try intriguing takes on ramen, like Oxtail Kare Kare, with peanut beef broth and pulled oxtail, or Sinigang – a flavourful seafood tamarind broth with grilled king prawns, roasted tomatoes, and shiitake. You’ll also find the delicious vegan ramen with a miso walnut broth, padron peppers, and marinated tofu steak. I really love how creative Ramo Ramen is with each and every dish.
A real crowd pleaser when it comes to ramen, you can’t really go wrong with Tonkotsu. An unsurprising favourite when it comes to the best ramen in London, Tonkotsu’s original Soho location is where it’s at. In fact, it’s pretty much the home of its namesake creamy pork broth. Probably my favourite thing about Tonkotsu as a true spice lover is its jars of Eat the Bits chilli oil to kick a good traditional ramen up a few notches. Tonkotsu prides itself on how its noodles are cooked – for exactly thirty-two seconds once they’ve been produced by mid-century noodle making machines imported from Japan. The old faithful ramen dish has to be the classic Tonkotsu – pork broth enriched with lardo and sea salt, served with thin-cut homemade noodles, roast pork belly, bamboo shoots, spring onions, garlic oil, and a seasoned egg. My personal favourite is the chilli chicken, with chicken broth, classic homemade noodles, pulled chilli chicken, and extra chilli.
Bone Daddies, Soho
Having opened back in 2012, Bone Daddies in Soho has been serving some of the best ramen in London for nearly a decade. Come to Bone Daddies for a fun vibe and a great atmosphere – grab a beer, take a seat, and expect some loud music. Boasting ramen with a Western twist, the food is pretty darn great. Try the legendary T22 – pulled chicken, their home brand “cock scratchings”, onion, bamboo, beansprouts, nori, shiitake mushrooms, and a Clarence Court egg. When it comes to the delicious original tonkotsu ramen, you’ll taste their incredible twenty hour simmered pork bone broth. If you’re anything like me and love spice, kick it up a notch and go hot. There are also a number of plant based broths for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy.
Shoryu Ramen, Soho
Londoners come to Shoryu for some of the best ramen in London, and Japanese street food to enjoy with a sake flight or a tasty cocktail. You may here the traditional Japanese welcome of ‘irasshaimase!’ as you enter, before you get to enjoy some really great food. Indulge in a classic tonkotsu ramen with roots back to Hakata in Japan. It’s a meaty twelve hour pork broth, topped with chai sui barbecue pork belly, an oozy nitamago egg, kikurage mushrooms, and all the other tasty toppings you’d expect. Check out the Piri Piri Tonkotsu with spicy gochujang sauce, or Dracula Tonkotsu with caramelised black garlic mayu, and garlic chips. You may enjoy some other specials including chicken katsu curry ramen with a curry-soy pork broth and chicken katsu too. Vegetarians are spoilt for choice too, with soy milk broths, miso, seawood, and shiitake mushrooms. It’s a real winner all round.
Monohon Ramen, Old Street
Monohon Ramen serves up a beautiful fusion of British and Japanese, much like its head chef. You’ll find some dishes on the menu that you don’t get in other ramen joints, like chilled ramen. As a restaurant serving some of the best ramen in London, all noodles are made onsite. There’s a great, bustling atmosphere, plenty of cold beer on tap, and delicious portions of steaming ramen. The tonkotsu ramen has a broth made with pork bones, kelp, and shiitake mushrooms. You can go spicy with some delicious spicy miso pork mince. Check out the Big Boy Spicy Special too – a large size ramen with all the toppings, an extra egg, and spicy miso pork mince. The menu is plentiful, the portions are generous, and the food tastes authentically Japanese.
Menya Ramen House, Holborn
Boasting unique Korean influences, Menya located in Holborn undoubtedly serves up some of the best ramen in London. Offering a no frills service, all the emphasis here is placed on the incredible food. You can choose the texture of your noodles, as well as the spice level of your ramen broth. Menya offers one of the longest simmered broths in all of London when it comes to London – a staggering forty eight hour boiled pork and chicken broth for maximum flavour. Always go spicy for a really fulfilling kick to your meal. A popular dish is the seafood sundubu ramen, which is packed with delicious crab, prawns, soft tofu, and mussels in a huge dish of tasty broth. Once you’ve been once, you won’t be able to stay away.
When it comes to serving up the best ramen in London, Cocoro was one of the first restaurants to be serving up delicious bowls of Japanese ramen. Still just as popular as ever, you’ll find a menu packed with pork. That may be in the form of pork scratchings, pork crackling, or pork chicharrones, all of which you’ll find here as a potential topping for your ramen. The tonkotsu ramen is delicious, with tasty char sui pork in a rich, traditional kumamoto pig bone broth. All of its ramen dishes are rich in all the right ways, and packed full of flavour. Vegetarians have a range of delicious, spicy vegetable ramen dishes to choose from too. All ramen dishes are good value, coming with an appetiser and a fruit selection. Wash it all down with a selection of over five hundred different sakes.
Ippudo, Canary Wharf
This Japanese ramen chain entered the UK with rave reviews when it first landed in London back in 2014. Now, you’ll find a smattering of Ippudo restaurants across London, and with good reason. Indulge in choosing your own noodle texture for your dish, and explore the extensive ramen menu. Some of the best ramen in London as you’d imagine, you can upgrade for additional sides like chicken karaage, or delicious pan-fried gyoza. Enjoy the little touches, like the deliciously soft boiled eggs that are marinated in Ippudo’s unique sauce. Favourite ramen dishes at Ippudo include the Karaka-Men – an original tonkotsu broth with homemade noodles, spicy miso paste, pork belly chashu, bean sprouts, sesame kikurage mushrooms, spring onions, sansho pepper, and fragrant garlic oil.
Okan Ramen, Brixton
Situated just a short walk from Brixton Village, Okan Ramen has an authentically Japanese feel thanks to its simple decor and paraphernalia. You won’t be surprised to find an equally simple menu, that by no means lacks in quality. Shoyu ramen is the standout dish, although you’ll also find classic tonkotsu and miso ramen on the menu too. Some of the best ramen in London, the classic shoyu ramen is a chicken broth topped with slice pork, a golden egg, bean sprouts, and fresh spring onion. The miso ramen is creamy and delicious, enjoying the flavours of some additional salted butter.
Another Brixton ramen favourite, Nanban is headed up by former MasterChef champ, Tim Anderson. Having lived in the Japanese home of ramen, Fukuoka, Anderson has filled Nanban’s menu with delicious signature dishes. Serving some of the best ramen in London, each of Nanban’s ramen dishes is carefully crafted and prepared, with incredible flavours. You’ll find something a little different in each dish – try The Leopard, a rich sesame-pepper-pork broth with thick noodles, garlic, parmesan cheese, Scotch bonnet bamboo shoots, and a tea pickled egg. It’s truly one of a kind. The Miyazaki chicken ramen is equally as delicious, with soy-poached chicken thigh and pickled ginger. It really is a gem when it comes to Japanese food in London.
That’s my guide to the best ramen in London! Are there any other ramen spots I’ve missed from my list? Let me know in the comments below if there’s anywhere else you’d recommend.