There’s nothing quite like a steaming hot bowl of ramen on a cold winter‘s day. It’s a simple premise: noodles, soup and toppings – but a winning combination, with so much potential for jazzing up. We’ve rounded up the best ramen London has to offer, from traditional tonkotsu to vegan broths. Pair with a glass of sake, and slurp away.
Ramen Restaurants In London
The idea of queuing for 45 minutes for a bowl of soup seems a tad silly – but at Kanada-Ya, it might just be worth it. The award-winning Japanese restaurant arrived in London’s St Giles back in 2014 after being founded in Japan a few years before, and now there are outposts dotted around the city in places like Angel and Covent Garden. Ramen takes centre stage here: pork bones are simmered for 18 hours to create the perfect broth, the base for big bowls of wheat noodles and tasty toppings. The signature Tonkotsu Ramen is popular with the restaurant’s large fan base, consisting of 18-hour pork bone broth, chashu pork belly, nori, hand-pulled noodles and a secret sauce. Fancy adding a bit of luxe? Order the Truffle Ramen, and thank us later.
Where? Locations in Soho, Covent Garden and Angel
Hip Japanese noodle joint Bone Daddies has gained something of a cult following since opening its first restaurant in Soho back in 2012. Word spread quickly, and within weeks it was being hailed the best ramen in town. Five years on it remains hugely popular, with hungry Londoners flocking there to devour seriously flavoursome bowls of noodles. For carnivores, we recommend the ‘T22’: noodles with pulled chicken, onion, bamboo and mushrooms within a tasty chicken bone broth. Spice-lovers, meanwhile, will enjoy ‘Kimchee’, a zingy ramen bowl of prawns, mussels, kimchee and egg. Veggies and vegans, fear not: the plant-based options are just as tasty, with mushroom broths filled with toppings like tofu, sesame, and bok choy.
Where? Soho, Victoria, Bermondsey, Bond Street, High Street Kensington, Leicester Square, Old Street
For a sophisticated take on ramen dining head to Shoryu, which specialises in food from Hakata, a district of Fukouka city in Western Japan. Food comes courtesy of Executive Chef Kanji Funkouka, who grew up there – so you can guarantee authenticity. Ramen here is lighter than some of its competitors but by no means less delicious, with steaming hot bowls packed with ingredients. Special touches are made to ensure top-notch ramen, including the traditional nitimago (soft boiled egg) being soaked overnight in a soy, mirin, sake and ginger marinade. Although tradition is at the heart of Shoryu’s food, there are a selection of alternative dishes, such as their curry ramen: futomen noodles in a rich tonkotsu broth made with curry and soy, and a jalapeno-topped Piri Piri version. Explore the vast selection of sakes, and be sure to pop some fluffy bao buns on the side.
Where? Shoreditch, Regent Street, Carnaby, Liverpool Street, Soho, Covent Garden, Kensington, Shepherd’s Bush
Taking its name from the traditional ramen dish, Tonkotsu champions long-simmered pork bone broth across its numerous London locations. Here, noodles are cooked for exactly 32 seconds (apparently the prime time) then topped with ramen staples like bamboo shoots, pork scratchings, spring onions and seasoned eggs. Not jazzy enough for you? Spruce up your bowl with some extras: options include crab, kimchi and bean sprouts. Veggie offerings are just as tasty: go for the curried pumpkin and spiced corn ramen, cooked in a pumpkin, squash and soy milk base with lots of Japanese spices; or the miso mushroom broth topped with shiitake, kale, enoki mushrooms and more.
Where? Kentish Town, Peckham, Bankside, Battersea, Ealing, Clapham, Notting Hill, Soho, Shoreditch
Found within the confines of trendy Pop Brixton, Koi Ramen has more of a street food vibe, with friendly staff amid the buzzing Brixton atmosphere. Also specialising in tonkotsu, broths are brewed for over 12 hours to create smooth and creamy texture, then filled with fresh egg noodles and topped with 10-hour slow cooked pork belly marinated in soy sauce. But it’s not all about the pork: you can also order a vegan ramen, with tofu, spring onions and miso. Pop Brixton is their permanent home, but Koi Ramen also have stalls in the nearby Tooting Market and Herne Hill, plus in Elephant & Castle.
Where? Locations in Brixton, Herne Hill, Elephant & Castle, and Tooting
Come here for the Karaka-Men, the restaurant’s original tonkotsu broth and homemade noodles topped with spicy miso paste, pork belly, bean sprouts, spring onions and roasted nuts. It also serves a good vegetarian option featuring noodles in a seaweed and mushroom dashi broth brewed with miso paste, garlic oil and served with a whole host of tasty toppings including fried tofu and sesame mushrooms. You can take your pick from three London locations across Central St Giles, Canary Wharf, Fitzrovia and the Strand.
Where? Central St Giles, Canary Wharf, Fitzrovia and the Strand