Monday, January 1, 2018

Best Ramen in Tokyo 2017

The Best Ramen in Tokyo
2017 Edition

In 2017, my pace picked up significantly. Though I ate around the same number of bowls in total as in 2016, I really hit the new shops with gusto. Here are 13 that were particularly great (with another 10 at the bottom for good measure). Keep in mind that this list is not a best-of list, but the bowls that I personally tried for the first time this year and loved.

楓 (Kaede in Ogikubo)

DSCF5400.jpg

Kaede is an offshoot of the famous miso ramen shop Hanamichi. This one is just as good, if not better for the touch of ginger sauce on top.

MENSHO in Gokokuji

DSCF5321.jpg

One of the latest (he keeps opening new shops!) from the MENSHO group. Farm-to-table is the concept, and this one is as close to a fine-dining bowl as you'll get for under $50.

季織亭 (Kioritei in Yoyogi-Uehara)

DSCF2442.jpg

麺屋福丸 (Fukumaru in Sasazuka)

DSCF1581.jpg

The ramen critics didn't like this one as much as me, but I think their kamopaitan, creamy soup made with 100% duck bones, is to die for. A unique taste you won't find anywhere else.

鶏喰~TRICK~ (TRICK in Yokohama)

DSCF7049.jpg

The king of chicken. Beautiful. Judge this one by the photo.

らーめん 改 (Kai in Kuramae)

DSCF7513.jpg

There was a trend over the last few years to use more shellfish in ramen broth. Kai uses plenty of clams for an overload of ocean umami. Noodles made on site.

鳴龍 (Nakiryu in Otsuka)

DSCF4930.jpg

The Michelin people handed Nakiryu a star most likely for their shoyu ramen. Personally, I think their tantanmen is the way to go. Very mild, with hints of oyster in the soup.

麺魚 (Mengyo in Kinshicho)

DSCF4425.jpg

Tai soup blended with creamy chicken soup, topped with smoked chashu and an egg injected with snapper dashi. Next level.

つけ麺 道 (Michi in Kameari)

DSCF8759.jpg

I finally made it to one of the most famous tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen shops in Japan. It lives up to the hype. Arrive an hour before opening if you want to save time in the long run.

みつヰ (Mitsui in Asakusa)

DSCF7537.jpg

Clean, simple Kitakata-style ramen. Mukacho (no chemical seasoning) for people who really think that is important. The Michelin guide does, as this is one of the newcomers to their bib gourmand list.

博多一瑞亭 (Hakata Issuitei in Shinjuku)

DSCF7966.jpg

Solid Hakata ramen in the middle of Shinjuku. If you want to check this style off your list, go here instead of the chain shops that all the tourists line up for.

北大塚ラーメン (Kitaotsuka in Otsuka)

DSCF7987.jpg

Look at the photo above. It it looks like something you want, you should go here. Old school shop.

さくら井 (Sakurai in Mitaka)

DSCF8596.jpg

My pick for off-the-beaten-path ramen. Mitaka isn't too far, but most people wouldn't go there, or walk 15 minutes into a residential neighborhood for ramen. You should, though.


I didn't want to make this list too massive, so here are some honorable mentions:

カシムラ (Kashimura in Shinbashi) - Interesting use of arai (left over fish bones) from the nearby Tsukiji market.
べんてん (Benten in Narimasu) - A Tokyo classic makes their triumphant return. Huge line!
山雄亭 (Sanyutei in Akabane) - Meticulously crafted toppings, with a price to match.
misato in Okubo - Mounds of seabura backfat to die for.
さんじ (Sanji in Ueno) - Niboshi, crab, and a whole lot of quail eggs.
桑嶋 (Kuwajima in Shimokitazawa) - A solid bowl in one of my favorite parts of town.
八咫烏 (Yatagarasu in Kudanshita) - Near-perfect bowl of shoyu ramen.
タンタンタイガー (Tantan Tiger in Asakusa) - Be careful, you get to choose your own levels of spice!
篠はら (Shinohara in Ikebukuro) - Deep shoyu that deserves a few more trips.
KaneKitchen Noodles in Higashi-Nagasaki - Fun spot with a lot of great options.