The Best Ramen Bowls in Los Angeles

Japanese food for the soul

Tsukemen at Tsujita LA in Sawtelle Japantown

 |  Photo:  Yuri Hasegawa

It wouldn’t be a stretch to declare Los Angeles as the best place to enjoy ramen in the United States. Long gone are notions of the dehydrated, college room staple; here to stay are tender noodles and trade secret broths full of life and richness. No matter where you are in our huge city, there is always a very good ramen bowl within reach - a remarkable feat considering how many hours of simmering love each soup takes to make. Read on to find out where to find comfort in this noodle-broth dynamo of a city.

Here’s our list of the best Ramen in L.A.

Spicy Miso Ramen | Photo: DTLA Ramen, Facebook

DTLA Ramen



Whether seeing a show nearby or just taking a walk through the neighborhood, DTLA Ramen is the perfect place to pair a delicious bowl of ramen with a pint of from their wide selection of craft beers or a carafe of one of their of sakes -- you even order a sampler of three different ones. You customize your ramen bowl, but it’s advisable to order the thick noodles with the thicker, pork-based broths (three different levels of spicy and tonkotsu) and thin noodles with their chicken (shoyu) and vegan varieties. Don't miss their soy-injected egg with soft, gooey center for maximum flavor and texture. What’s most comforting of all is knowing that you can get a delicious bowl of ramen in the heart of Broadway.

EAK's Oh So Hot Ramen

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

E.A.K. RAMEN



As prolific as E.A.K. Ramen is across Japan, it’s only fitting that their first location stateside be located right in the heart of Melrose Avenue. Their style of Ikei ramen is a special blend of tonkotsu and shoyu styles, combining chicken and pork bones in their simmered broth. The noodles are thicker than than those of other good ramen shops, as well. Pair up your bowl with a side of chicken karaage, which are expertly fried with a lightness that crumbles to the bite. The choice of a wide range of flavorful dipping sauces make it even more fun.

God Fire ramen | Photo: Hakata Ikkousha, Facebook

Hakata Ikkousha Little Tokyo



Thin noodles, a generous helping of toppings and a full-bodied, yet elegant, broth is what it’s all about at Hakata Ikkousha. The prolific ramen chain straight from Fukuoka Prefecture is now stateside in Little Tokyo and Torrance - and we’re all the better for it. Conveniently order with the pencil and paper provided, for full customization from the broth to the noodle firmness and choice of toppings. Spice chasers will want to order the God Fire, which comes in four levels. The burnt garlic oil found in the black ramen really brings out the pork flavor of the tonkotsu broth. If you’re looking for a proper side dish, the chicken karaage is overwhelmingly a crowd favorite.

Lobster Ramen at JINYA Ramen Bar in Studio City | Photo: JINYA Ramen Bar, Facebook

Jinya Ramen Bar - Studio City



Continuing his father's legacy, Tokyo restaurateur Tomonori Takahashi took his successful JINYA Ramen Bar stateside in 2010, right during the upshot of L.A.'s ramen craze. Since then, the Jinya restaurant group has established itself as a reliable destination for a delicious bowl, thanks to its consistency and positioning of four locations across Los Angeles (including DTLA), with a fifth opening soon in Encino. The broth is simmered for ten hours while noodles are aged over three days. While you can choose between pork, chicken or vegetable broth, novel but delicious varieties such as their Lobster Ramen can also be found at their first L.A. location in Studio City.

Spicy Chicken Ramen | Photo: Kai Ramen

Kai Ramen Sherman Oaks



Kai Ramen offers a wide variety of broths in each of their three locations, including a rare trio of chicken, salt-based and duo of vegetarian, soy-based broths amongst the prevalence of tonkotsu all around the city. The jumbo noodles made of whole wheat are a surprisingly welcome departure, which are found in the tsukemen (dipping ramen) and can be substituted for the skinny noodles that come with their delicious white, black and red tonkotsu broths. Whether garlicky and buttery, spicy with chicken, or furnished with spinach noodles, tofu and veggies, a good move is to saddle it up with a bowl of beef curry over rice, which seems to be a crowd favorite.

Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen at Men Oh Tokushima Ramen | Photo: @houseofxtia, Instagram

Men Oh Tokushima Ramen



Located in the heart of Little Tokyo, Men Oh Tokushima Ramen may not be that shop with the hours-long wait, but it does serve a consistently delicious bowl tracing back to Tokushima prefecture, an area fittingly known for pig farming in Japan. One of five available options, their signature pork broth is simmered over 16 hours and infused with a secret soy seasoning. Go for the butabara, or stir-fried pork topping, that is offered in addition to the traditional chashu. You can also order your egg topping raw, adding an extra toothiness to the broth for adhering to your thin noodles, whether curly or straight.

Koku Tonkotsu Ramen at Ramen Tatsunoya | Photo: @avo_eats, Instagram

Ramen Tatsunoya



The most traditional bowl of ramen to be found in Pasadena is at Ramen Tatsunoya in Old Town, the Japanese chain's first U.S. location. Relax around the bar or at a table within the calming, wood ensconced dining room. The originators of this shop hail from Kurume City in Fukuoka prefecture, the birthplace of tonkotsu, so it’s no surprise that their broth, which is made by simmering water and skull bones for 15 hours, yields a beautifully balanced texture of richness and nuanced lightness. The noodles, whether thin or thick, are a locally made exclusive to Ramen Tatsunoya, and paired with three varieties of broth: Koku (rich), Jun (light) and spicy.

Salt Ramen at Santouka

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Santouka Ramen



Shio (salt) ramen is where it’s at at Santouka, with a unique complexity in a broth that adheres to thick, curly and al dente noodles. The base of this deliciousness is tonkotsu, and here you’ll get less of a creamy consistency than a toothy unctuousness. The convenience of the parking lot that comes with its location inside the Mitsuwa food court is tempered with its cash-only payment and popularity at peak meal times, so plan accordingly. Additionally, its bowls come in three different sizes, which are perfect for customizing to your appetite, should you choose to sample offerings at the other stands in the court -- highly unlikely given the attention a bowl of ramen at Santouka deserves.

Tatsu Ramen Bowl

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Tatsu Ramen Melrose



You may customize and order your ramen on an iPad at Tatsu Ramen, but don’t let that convenience factor lead you to think their offerings are any less delicious. In fact, the lines outside their restaurant are a fixture on Melrose Avenue during peak times. Their pork broth, which has been simmered for 12-14 hours, is available in four different varieties while their thin noodles arrive al dente in the bowl. If you’re dining in, you’ll be privy to their elaborate condiment options on their high top tables, including whole garlic cloves (and the presses to dispense into your ramen) and shredded nori. Vegan and gluten-free diners also have reason to rejoice thanks to Tatsu Ramen's accommodating options.

Tori Paitan at Tentenyu | Photo: @kakaboshi, Instagram

Tentenyu



Tentenyu hails from Kyoto, bringing their chicken-based ramen to Sawtelle Japantown and now Culver City, disrupting tonkotsu loyalists on the Westside. Do note that their signature bowl does come with pork seasonings, so the only 100% chicken broth variety is the Tori Paitan - an elegantly gold-toned rendition that won’t weigh you down. For a dose of unexpected umami, order the tsukemen, which features a thicker dipping broth blended with fish stock. Everything is available with a dose of black garlic or chili paste for an extra $1 for convenient customization.

Tsukemen at Tsujita LA in Sawtelle Japantown

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Tsujita LA



Widely and deservedly regarded as the ramen shop serving up the best bowls of ramen in the city, Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle is where you can find broth that has been simmered with pork bones for not 15 or 20, but 60 full hours. Their Hakata Nagahama Tonkotsu soup is reduced even more with seafood stock to produce their trademark tsukemen dipping broth in which to submerge your thick noodles. This duo is arguably the best ramen in Los Angeles. After you’ve had the last of your dipping noodles, don’t forget to request their soup wari, a secret sauce added to the remainder of your broth for ultimate sipping pleasure. Now that’s the way to finish your meal.

Ramen with Char Siu & Seasoned Soft Boiled Egg at Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle Annex

 |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Tsujita ANNEX



Located across Sawtelle from the original location, Tsujita Annex features an even porkier version of the signature ramen. This broth is simmered not only with pork bones but also fat, and the results are not for the light-hearted. Also gone are the seafood notes. A mountain of bean sprouts, thick-cut char siu and optional heaps of chopped garlic and/or onikasu (red spice) are the other details which differentiate the Annex from the original. The good things - including their thick, springy noodles - are kept intact, just the way it should be.