Where to Find Phoenix's Best Ramen This Winter
Next time you’re debating where your next meal will come from, make the easiest decision of your life and go for ramen. After all, you’ve got no shortage of first-rate options to choose from, whether you’re into the garlicy, rich broth you’ll find in a traditional bowl of Japanese ramen or perhaps something a little bit spicier like inhalable, no-frills ramen birria—yes, that kind of birria. Ramen, however you like it, is just one of those comfort foods that always hits the spot. ‘Tis the season for slurping some noodles. And these spots are serving up some of the best bowls in town. Now, go get your noodle fix, Phoenix.
Blink and you might miss this South Tempe staple. Hiding out in a stripmall, Hachi Ramen may have humble digs but their bowls of signature ramens boast big flavor. Owner Bradley An, who developed his know-how for ramen in Japan, oversees the modest restaurant where each dish begins from scratch. The star of the show is undoubtedly the broth. The tonkotsu broth, for example, has more than 30 different ingredients, and simmers for up to 16-hours. The result is a rich, complex flavor that seamlessly compliments Hachi’s custom made noodles. Start your ramen journey with a bowl of tonkotsu or miso ramen. Each bowl features a wonderfully jammy soft-boiled egg and a slice of torched, melty pork belly.
Tampopo Ramen burst onto the culinary scene in 2015. And today, the hakata ramen shop boasts some of the most slurpable noodles you can find in town. Set your appetite ablaze with the ultra spicy ramen, a fiery take with housemade hot sauce, chili oil, and traditional fixings including a tasty slice of roasted pork. And remember to save your broth, for an extra couple of bucks you can have your noodles re-filled after you’ve slurped ‘em all up. Do save room for the matcha and mochi ice cream, too. You certainly won’t leave hungry after a visit to Tampopo.
The Clever Koi
When it comes to ramen, more is always better. And with two locations, your next ramen fix is never too far away at Clever Koi. The stylish restaurant serves up contemporary takes on Asian fare, including a compact list of craveable ramens all built on a base of house stock and carefully-crafted with a selection of locally-sourced ingredients. Dip your spoon into the spicy kimchi ramen or opt for the citrusy lemon pepper chicken ramen topped with beech mushroom, bean sprouts, confit tomatoes, corn, scallion, and a beautifully soft egg. Dumplings, steamed buns, and shareables like the tuna chips and calamari fries are at the ready to stimulate your appetite, too.
Hailing from Flagstaff, this ramen shop has found a second home in Downtown Phoenix’s vibrant, arts-driven Roosevelt Row neighborhood. Since 2016 SoSoba has been slinging slurpable bowls of belly-warming noodles and a shortlist of other tasty noshes you’d expect to find at a ramen joint including vegan spring rolls, housemade gyoza, and pillowy bao buns as well as some not-some-common pleasures like the carnitas wonton tostadas or the fiery mac and cheese balls injected with hot sauce. Thirsty? Consult the cocktail list and choose from a selection of craft drinks, curated sake, and Japanese whiskeys.
Positioned on a busy corner of Downtown Phoenix, Ramen Kagawa offers a friendly atmosphere where hungry patrons can enjoy traditional Japanese cuisine, from savory ramens to piquant curries. The restaurant opened in late 2020 and has quickly gained the affection of ramen-lovers for their spicy miso tonkotsu and vegan ramen. Additional delights like bento boxes, pork ribs, Japanese fried chicken, and takoyaki round-out the tight menu here.
Hana Japanese Eatery
With its knowledgeable, friendly staff and impeccable selection of fresh seafood, Central Phoenix’s family-operated, and award-winning, Hana Japanese Eatery checks both boxes when it comes to delicious Japanese food and stellar service. At the helm are co-owners Chef Lori Hashimoto and Lynn Becker whose approach to Japanese cuisine follows deeply traditional methods. While house specialty sushi rolls and Hana’s popular bento box are well-worth your order, their ramen is not to be missed. Choose your own adventure and take your pick from shoyu, shio, miso, or tonkotsu broth. Each bowl of ramen is complete with noodles, yakibuta pork, bamboo, fish cake, green onion, and seaweed.
Bring your appetite to one of Nishikawa Ramen’s two locations, the original in Chandler or its Phoenix counterpart, where you can dive into a hot bowl of noodles. The noodle bar deals in authentic Japanese ramens and appetizers like pork gyoza. While there’s certainly no wrong choice, consider ordering yourself a bowl of the uber-rich black ramen. The house specialty is dressed up with a healthy amount of black garlic oil and all of the traditional accompaniments, like pork chashu and a seasoned egg.
The border city of Tijuana isn’t exactly synonymous with ramen. But birria? That’s another story. For the uninitiated, birria is a spicy consomé made from a parade of peppers and spices that’s traditionally anchored by a protein like tender marinated goat, lamb or beef. As the namesake implies, birria is the specialty at Birrieria Tijuana. And that includes the palate-pleasing birria ramen. A punch in the tastebuds, this delicious take on ramen might have you questioning everything you thought you knew about the slurpable soup. But don’t just take our word for it, taste the ramen birria for yourself.