America’s Top Ramen Shops
When you think of ramen, you probably conjure up images of those dry, square packets of noodles — ready to fill your belly on a cheap week or post bar crawl. However, the reality of ramen is totally different. A staple in Japan, ramen has been fueling the students, workforces and families for generations. In fact, the difference between packet ramen and ramen from a pro is akin to having a fast food hamburger vs a beautifully grilled steak.
Don’t think authentic ramen is near you? Think again. Ramen is available across the United States and probably closer to your apartment than you might have thought. Check out these top ten picks from ApartmentGuide.com. Don’t agree with us? Argue below.
Sandy Springs, GA (and other locations across the US)
If you’re obsessive about ramen, then you’ve probably heard of Jinya. As authentic as it gets, this little place (and yes, they all lean to the smaller side) is worth the pilgrimage even if you aren’t renting an apartment in Sandy Springs nearby. The favorite is the Cha Cha Cha, or “garlic lovers” ramen, which packs a beautiful punch courtesy of the stinking rose.
There used to be a time where the Motor City was only known for cars, The White Stripes and derilect buildings. Things are changing. If you’re lucky enough to be renting an apartment in Detroit you’re smack in the middle of one of the country’s top foodie destinations. Bowls at Johnny Noodle King range from the traditional all the way to plays on southwest flavors featuring a bold green chili hit.
Situated in Denver’s hip LoHi neighborhood, this serves up nearly 2,000 bowls of noodles a week, a testament to the popularity of Uncle’s offerings. Look for the old school here, as the broths are heavy on technique and lip-smackingly good. Like it spicy? Don’t miss the Spicy Chicken bowl.
From their humble start as a simple ramen pop-up restaurant, this noodle joint is pretty much perpetually packed. Ever had freshly made noodles? You’re not alone, but if you’re renting in Boston, you’re in for a treat. If it’s ramen you’re looking for, lunchtime is the right time. However, if your belly rumbles around dinner you can always catch up on their other Asian specialities.
Another homemade noodle joint that’s worth a visit if you’re in the neighborhood. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a pal renting in the area so you can go beach out on their couch afterwards. There’s a variety here that’s worth repeat visits for. Don’t miss the happy hour from 3-5pm which delivers 3 free oden sticks to each guest. We wish we knew the Japanese for “yum.”
Oklahoma City, OK
Ramen from a food truck? That’s the concept behind this roaming restaurant, which regularly pops up at local beer gardens and OKC apartment blocks. The menu is refreshingly simple, split into three snacks and two must-try ramens. Choose from the soy sauce-infused Kaiteki with tender roasted pork belly, Japanese fish cake and menma (fermented bamboo shoots), or a vegan option loaded with tofu, grilled enoki mushrooms, pickled fresno chilies and fried shallots.
You don’t have to wear a grass skirt and a coconut bra when you eat here, but we won’t hold it against you. In fact, maybe it might help you in dealing with Seattle’s notoriously rainy climate. However, city dwellers find a warming bowl of shoyu-based pork with cabbage does just the trick to warm them up on the walk home to their chilly Seattle apartments.
New York City, NY
You want authentic? You’re looking at it. This outpost comes straight from Japan and is regularly packed with ex-pats hungry for a bowl of beautifully made ramen. Nicknamed the “Ramen King” by locals and visitors alike, your best bet is the house special, Akamaru Modern. Smooth, buttery and oozing everything a belly needs on a cold day, it’s like slipping into a hot bath.