Best Ramen in Los Angeles

Ramen

by Melanie Rivera

Although it is now becoming hip and trendy all over the country those in the know in LA have been appreciative of a great bowl of ramen for years. And that long appreciation has now led to The City of Angels truly being able to boast that it is home to some of the very best ramen shops in the country.

Comparing ramen offerings, especially when faces with so many great ones, is not easy.

As few of them veer too far from traditional classics then determining which LA ramen shops are the best of the best really comes down to the smaller semantics; atmosphere, service, that kind of thing. And while no doubt not everyone will agree with us these are our current picks for the best ramen in Los Angeles.

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

2050 Sawtelle Blvd

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

Whether you are a 'regular' ramen fan or have a taste for tsukemen it's fair, we think, to say that this humble looking - but always packed - ramen shop wins out in both categories. The tsukemen is especially impressive though, as its heavier than usual fish-oriented umami really does set it apart.

One a lunchtime only eatery Tsujita is now open day and night, much to the delight of Westsiders and, if the lines here are just a little too long you can always pop across the street to the newly opened sister shop Tsujita Annex.

Ramen Tatsunoya

16 N Fair Oaks Ave

Ramen Tatsunoya

Recently transplanted from Japan to the heart of Pasadena this very stylish ramen shop is still attracting longer than is actually sane lines most nights and certainly at most lunchtimes but it is not just all about novelty value.

The tonkotsu bowl is the must order dish but you an mix it up a little by choosing your own extra spices, or adding extra chashu pork for a heartier meal. And if lines really do drive you nuts try heading here in the mid afternoon, when the lines are much shorter, although by no means non-existent.

Daikokuya

327 E. 1st St.

Daikokuya

This is one of the old school ramen shops, one of those that were around when ramen was still just a cheap way to get a tasty, filling meal rather than the latest 'hot new cuisine'. It's also about as blue chip as you can get when it comes to LA ramen joints but despite its unassuming exterior it's easy to spot thanks to the line that is almost always snaking its way out of the door.

The standout here is the broth, which is hearty and fatty with just the right amount of spicy zing. The fried rice is also well worth a try too, if you are feeling exceptionally hungry.

Santouka

3760 S Centinela Ave

Santouka

Located inside the Mitsuwa Japanese Market, Santouka is another veteran of the LA ramen scene and here it is its miso and shio ramen that have kept noodleheads coming back for more - and more - for years.

The broth is nothing short of amazing; thick, porky and substantial without ever being heavy or cloudy and the noodle are almost always just right, not too soft, not too hard. And take our advice. The $5.99 extra for a side of pork cheek is money you will never regret spending.

Tatsu Ramen

2123 Sawtelle Blvd

Tatsu Ramen

If you like your ramen with a side of tech then this is the shop for you. Customers are required to place their order via one of three iPads which does seem to not only speed the process but help make sure your order comes out just right. And it's cool too.

In terms of menu standouts most people agree that the The Bold Ramen is a must try - as long as you like things on the spicier side - and the fact that it comes accompanied with all the extra seaweeds and sesame seeds you can eat is a tasty bonus.

Shin-Sen-Gumi

132 S Central Ave

Shin-Sen-Gumi

Shin-Sen-Gumi is a Hakata-style ramen direct import from the Southern Japan's Fukuoka area. This is a instant realization when entering as the noise level is very loud, just as it should be in Japan. Go with the standard type of bowl and then choose whatever you feel like as all dishes are highly customizable. That said, the standard spicy miso is delicious!

Honourable Mention

Silver Lake Ramen

2927 W Sunset Blvd

Silver Lake Ramen

Silver Lake Ramen serves delicious ramen into late night. Normally though, its a long wait to get in and the reason for it is crystal clear when you try their pork belly. The broth is rich and tasty, and the noodles almost always perfectly cooked. At night you can enjoy valet parking as well. This is one of those spots that visitors returns to.