The Best Ramen Bowls in Los Angeles

Japanese food for the soul

Los Angeles is one of the best cities in the U.S. to enjoy a comforting bowl of ramen any time of the year. From umami-rich broths to fiery noodles and veg-friendly options, read on for the best ramen bowls in LA.

AFURI Ramen + Dumpling in the Downtown LA Arts District
Photo: AFURI Ramen + Dumpling

AFURI Ramen + Dumpling - Arts District

Look for Shephard Fairey's "Drink Crude Oil" mural and step inside AFURI, the Arts District outpost of the famed Tokyo ramen shop located at the foot of its namesake mountain. Opened in June 2021, AFURI is renowned for its yuzu shio - a light, delicate broth built on a reduction of local chicken, niboshi (dried sardines), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), kombu (dried seaweed) and vegetables to produce a layer of umami flavors, with hints of refreshing yuzu citrus. The signature bowl comes with freshly made noodles, bamboo shoots, egg, chashu pork, endive, fried garlic, and nori. The perfectly crunchy buta gyoza are served with a thin, crispy web between each crescent-shaped dumpling.

Combo with Daikoku Ramen and Small Pork Cutlet Bowl at Daikokuya
Combo with Daikoku Ramen and Small Pork Cutlet Bowl | Photo: Daikokuya, Facebook


While Little Tokyo's Kouraku is renowned as the first ramen restaurant in the U.S., Daikokuya is the spot that introduced the modern ramen experience to LA. Along with its Little Tokyo location, fans can get their ramen fix in Sawtelle Japantown, Monterey Park and El Monte. Opened in 2002, the OG Daikokuya still has long waits for seats in the cozy dining room. The most popular order, the Daikoku Ramen, can be customized with everything from nori to kotteri flavor (broth from back fat) and numerous extras. Combos include ramen plus a small bowl of pork cutlet, chicken teriyaki, tempura and more.

Spicy Miso Ramen at DTLA Ramen
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.

God Fire ramen at Hakata Ikkousha in Little Tokyo
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.

Cha Cha Cha at Jinya Ramen Bar
Cha Cha Cha at Jinya Ramen Bar | Photo: @jinyaramenbar, Instagram

JINYA Ramen Bar

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 locations across Los Angeles, including Downtown LA, Studio City, Burbank, Canoga Park, Santa Monica and Long Beach.

The broth is simmered for ten hours while noodles are aged over three days. Choose from pork, chicken or vegetable broth; along with unique, delicious varieties such as the off-menu, garlic-infused Cha Cha Cha: pork and fish broth, pork chashu, seasoned egg, bean sprouts, chopped onion, green onion, garlic, and chili powder, served with extra thick noodles.

Spicy Chicken Ramen at Kai Ramen
Spicy Chicken Ramen | Photo: Kai Ramen

Kai Ramen Sherman Oaks

Kai Ramen offers a wide variety of broths at each of their 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.

Deluxe Tonkotsu at Killer Noodle
Deluxe Tonkotsu | Photo: Killer Noodle, Facebook

Killer Noodle Tsujita

The Tsujita group opened Killer Noodle in West LA's ramen mecca, Sawtelle Japantown in October 2017. Killer Noodle features customizable bowls of Tantanmen, the Japanese version of fiery Sichuan Dan Dan Mian.

Start by selecting one of three styles, available with or without soup: Tokyo (peanut and sesame flavor, rich/creamy), Downtown (vinegar and chili oil, tangy/acidic), and Original (white mabo topped with Thai chili and black pepper).

The heat levels range from zero to six. In his 2018 LA Times review, legendary food critic Jonathan Gold described accepting the Level 6 challenge: "Servers hover around you, making sure that you are not in too much physical distress, offering you towels, refilling the ice water. And then you are done, floating on a sea of endorphins. ... The next time around you are thinking you’ll go back to three."

Put out the fire with the Killer Noodle Blood Wheat, an exclusive collaboration with Covina's Nova Brewing Co.

Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen at Men Oh Tokushima in Little Tokyo
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 endless 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.

Curry ramen and more at Menya Tigre in Sawtelle Japantown
Menya Tigre | Photo: Postmates

Menya Tigre

Opened in Sawtelle Japantown in April 2021, Menya Tigre specializes in authentic Japanese curry. The signature Curry Ramen is made with a 100% chicken broth and house blend curry; chashu, bean sprouts & cabbage, green onion and garlic oil. Other options include a Curry Tsukemen for those in a dipping mood; and the Ultimate Tsukemen with karaage chicken or pork cutlet.

The Deluxe Bowl at Mogu Mogu in the Downtown LA Arts District
The Deluxe at Mogu Mogu | Photo: @jazzfoodie, Instagram

Mogu Mogu

The specialty at Mogu Mogu in West LA is mazemen, a brothless ramen with thick noodles and a variety of toppings. Order the Deluxe and stir your noodles "for about 30 seconds" with sliced pork chashu, spicy minced pork, poached egg, soft-boiled egg, chives, minced garlic, fish powder, seaweed, and scallion. Level up by adding "umami vinegar" when you're halfway through your bowl. When the noodles are gone, a scoop of white rice is offered to mix with the remaining sauce (aka oimeshi).

Veg-friendly bowls include the Miso Mazemen (blended spicy miso, tofu, kale, corn, sliced red onion, yellow & red bell pepper, sliced lotus root, fish powder) and the vegan Impossible Tokyo with plant-based ground "meat," mushroom, Brussels sprouts, corn, avocado, kale, red radish, garlic, plant butter and black pepper.

Koku Tonkotsu Ramen at Ramen Tatsunoya | Instagram by @avo_eats
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. (A second location opened in Silver Lake in March 2019.) 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
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.

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen in Little Tokyo
Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen Little Tokyo | Photo: Uber Eats

Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen - Little Tokyo

From the original Shin-Sen-Gumi Yakitori in Gardena, the restaurant group has expanded to locations across LA and Orange County. The Little Tokyo branch of Shin-Sen-Gumi specializes in hakata ramen, known for its thinner noodles and rich, milky tonkotsu broth. The hakata ramen bowl is topped with sliced chashu, chopped scallions, red ginger and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. The numerous topping options include the "Cilantro Bomb," cod roe, flavored egg, garlic miso butter, pig ear, shrimp & pork wonton, and spicy takana (leafy pickles). Topping combos include the Crimson Phoenix with Diablo (Carolina Reaper), RGB (Roasted Garlic Bomb) and Fire Cracker; Overload (pork cutlet, pork belly, spare rib), and Veggie Lovers (Kikurage Mushroom, Spinach, Wakame Seaweed).

The extensive menu goes well beyond ramen - the wide-ranging selection includes salads, cold dishes, rice bowls, and a deep fried section with chicken, oysters and squid legs.

The Blaze at Silverlake Ramen
The Blaze at Silverlake Ramen | Photo: @silverlakeramen, Instagram

Silverlake Ramen

Opened on Sunset Boulevard in September 2012, Silverlake Ramen has since expanded to locations throughout LA (including Downtown LA and Koreatown), SoCal and across the country. At the ever-popular original location, diners queue up for favorites like The Classic Tonkotsu and The Blaze - a spicy tonkotsu with choice of protein (protip: get the pork), creamy pork broth, bean sprouts, spinach, green onion, seaweed and egg. Starters include fried pork gyoza, mushrooms with butter, and a trio of buns: marinated pork belly, spicy chicken karaage, and panko-fried Impossible "meat."

Wall of ramen at Slurp & Sip in Koreatown
Wall of ramen at Slurp & Sip | Photo: Lee D, Yelp

Slurp & Sip

Koreatown's Slurp & Sip has gone viral with its self-serve instant ramen concept. Per their post on Yelp, "What sets us apart is that we have made enjoying home-style ramen more convenient than ever." Select a ramen packet and pick up a bowl at the cashier. The options range from mild to savory and priced at a budget-friendly $5.99 - $6.99. For additional cost, add toppings like boiled egg, kimchi, rice cake and spam. Go to a cooking station, where free toppings are available for even more customization. Place the ramen, seasoning packet and topping inside the custom-designed machine. Hit the "Start" button and voila, a piping hot bowl of comfort food is ready to enjoy.

Tatsu Ramen Bowl
Tatsu Ramen Bowl  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Tatsu Ramen - Melrose

You customize and order your ramen on an iPad, but don’t let that convenience factor lead you to think the offerings at Tatsu Ramen 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.

Ajitama tsukemen at Tsujita LA
Ajitama tsukemen | Photo: Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle, Facebook

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle

Widely and deservedly regarded as the ramen shop serving up some of the best bowls of ramen in the city, Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle features 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 further with seafood stock to produce their trademark tsukemen dipping broth in which to submerge your thick noodles. After you’ve had the last of your dipping noodles, don’t forget to request their soup wari, a secret sauce that's added to the remainder of your broth for the ultimate sipping pleasure. Now that’s the way to finish your meal.

Ramen with Char Siu & Seasoned Soft Boiled Egg at Tsujita LA Annex
Ramen with Char Siu & Seasoned Soft Boiled Egg at Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle Annex  |  Photo: Yuri Hasegawa

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodle 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.