Slurp Some of Miami’s Best Ramen This Winter
From spicy curry bowls to miso-shellfish broth.
At first glance, hot ramen in a city with nighttime temperatures in the 80s might seem a little odd. Then again, so might a professional hockey team, and we’ve managed to have one of those for 27 years. It’s amazing what we can do when we use enough air conditioning. And unlike our much-maligned Panthers, South Florida’s slew of recent ramen shops are as good as any in colder places. In both Dade and Broward great ramen abounds, so read on for our picks for the best ramen in Miami and beyond.
In an age of Apple Pay and vegan steaks, there’s something refreshing about a place that says, “Nah, we’re keeping it old school.” Momi Ramen, which many say is the most authentic Japanese noodle experience in Miami—is still a cash-only business. So if you wander in late-night after a few hours in the Brickell bars and try to pay with your phone, you are sadly out of luck. Also out of luck: Vegans, who have many fine food options in this city, but not Momi, which makes all their broths out of bone marrow. Judging by the lines, however, plenty of people have no problem with cash or meat, and are happy to fork over $15-20 or more for Momi’s Tonkotsu specialties. The oxtail is especially satisfying, even on a warm night.
Talk about ahead of their time. Long before the world became obsessed with touch-free everything, this South Miami Japanese joint was doing the QR-code-at-the-table thing to streamline the ordering process. The high-tech noodle shop still lets you do all your ordering from your phone, while you can watch highly trained chefs stretch, beat, and cut noodles behind a sneeze-proof window. The offerings incorporate more modern options than you’ll find elsewhere, with stuff like smoked brisket and angus short rib ramen. You’ll also find dim sum dishes like shumai and bao buns, as well as an extensive selection of bibimbap bowls, if you prefer your spicy meats over rice.
For years, if you weren’t willing to brave the lines at Momi in Brickell (or didn’t have cash) your only other option for authentic ramen was in Downtown Hollywood at GoBistro. Thankfully, for those south of the county line, GoBistro opened up a second location in Wynwood, and despite a slew of slurpable competition it’s still one of the top noodle joints in South Florida. You’ll find not only veggie-friendly and curry ramens here, but also a nice selection of bao buns (with vegetarian options) and maki rolls if you’re trying to minimize your carbs. It’s also the odd place you can find Spam musubi in Miami. Which even if it involves a drive to Hollywood, is a lot closer than a flight to Honolulu.
Our pick for the single best bowl of ramen in South Florida: The chicken curry pomodori at this Asian tapas stall in Ft. Lauderdale’s Sistrunk Marketplace. The soft curry broth isn’t nearly as overpowering as some of the creamier versions, allowing the curry spice and fresh noodles to shine through. If you’re into more traditional stuff, this spot named after a thousand paper cranes has you covered too, with a hearty tonkotsu broth that never fails to satisfy. Seafood lovers will be impressed with the offerings at Senbazuru, with a trio of pescatarian options, highlighted by the Atlantic salmon porcini dashi shoyu.
There are few things in the world more irritating when you’re starving than someone who stands at the front of the line and asks questions like the cashier is under interrogation. So let us clear up the few questions that might linger after reading Usagi’s short menu: All the ramens besides the veggie include pork. The noodles are made with egg. And none of them are gluten free. Now, go ahead and pick one of the four fantastic options—shoyu, tokusei shoyu, spicy, creamy tan tan ramen, or veggie tan tan—and move along. You can rest assured this spot in the 1-800 Lucky food hall plays the hits better than any ramen shop in the city. Because sometimes, keeping it simple means you can do it better.
People who hit up Baby Jane as a bar of last resort often forget the place has a pretty outstanding menu beyond its Japanese whiskey. So getting there before 3 am (in pre-curfew days) is a smart play, where you can try a menu of grilled yakitori steak, chicken and pork belly before burying your face in a bowl of steaming noodles. For vegetarians there may not be a better place for ramen in Miami, as Baby Jane makes its Shiro Kombu bowl with a vegetarian broth. That’s doubly exciting for those who don’t dig on swine, as the fried chicken shiro shoyu bowl is also made with veggie broth, opening up the wonderful world of ramen to many who might not usually eat it.
Ramen shops come in all shapes and sizes, but this Gables noodle den is absolutely the sleekest slurping atmosphere in South Florida. The sharp lines and soft woods give this place a chic, trendy feel, with menu prices that still only hover around $15 a bowl. You’ll find nine different ramens to choose from at Ichimi, from the spicy Black Dragon bowl, to the vegetarian Garden Ramen, an excellent choice for those who don’t eat meat. The rest of the menu is exceptionally approachable too, with familiar faces like Japanese curry rice bowls, chicken gyoza, and brisket bau buns to keep you squarely in your comfort zone if you’re not there for the noodles.
These food hall specialists moved from the Design District up to the Citadel, where they’re still serving up modern ramen creations you won’t find elsewhere in Miami. The spicy miso clam ramen brings littleneck clams, sweet corn and miso-shellfish broth to the mix. And the kamo shoyu ramen is a duck breast bowl with duck broth and wheat noodles. Perhaps most importantly, though, Yuzu is the odd spot where you can get ramen without the broth, so if you’re just there for the heavenly carbs and spicy sauces, you can indulge in the dan dan noodles or katsu mazeman. Just be aware, there’s no discount for ordering without broth.
Nothing announces the arrival of a neighborhood like a ramen bar founded by a notable food Instagrammer. So welcome to the club, Little River, as this newest entrant to the ramen scene from @EatItMIA’s Jessica Daez and My Ceviche’s Sam Goldstein officially makes you a dining destination. The big, open space done up in light wood and greys is home to a short menu of quality ramen, headlined by the classic OG bowl with tonkotsu broth and pork belly. There are also options for non-pork eaters, with the Shoyu the Money chicken ramen and Shrooms veggie ramen. Plus you’ll find a great selection of sake and Izakaya starters, with the Japanese street corn and miso charred eggplant the most unique among them.
To the traditional college student, surviving on ramen means warming up 27-cent packs of dried noodles in the questionable dorm kitchen. At the University of Miami, however, it means hitting up this spot across the street from campus, where gourmet ramen bowls filled with stuff like duck breast and pork belly go for about $14. While the traditional tonkotsu, shoyu, and veggie miso ramens can hold their own with any, you might also want to venture further down the menu and try some of the pan-Asian offerings too. The spicy kimchi ramen in hot pot is a masterful blend of Korean and Japanese traditions. And though the ramen soup with beef stew might sound like some frat-tastic Campbell’s-Maruchan fusion, it is in fact the most savory, flavorful thing on the menu.
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