Cheap Eats in LA: Best ramen in LA under $10

Sip, chew and slurp the tastiest cheap eats in LA with your guide to the best ramen in LA for under $10.

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  • Photo courtesy Ramen Jinya

    Cheap Eats in LA: Tonkotsu ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Cheap Eats in LA: Tokushima ramen at Men Oh Tokushima Ramen

  • Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

    Cheap Eats in LA: Hakata Ramen at Shin-Sen-Gumi

  • Photograph: Victor Leung

    Cheap Eats in LA: White miso ramen at Ramen Hayatemaru

  • Photograph: Victor Leung

    Cheap Eats in LA: Black ramen at Ramen Iroha

  • Photograph: Victor Leung

    Cheap Eats in LA: Shoyu ramen at Jidaiya

  • Photograph: Victor Leung

    Cheap Eats in LA: Ramen with miso and buttered corn toppings at Mottainai Ramen

  • Photograph: Wayne Parsons

    Cheap Eats in LA: Shio ramen at Santouka Ramen

  • Photograph: Wayne Parsons

    Cheap Eats in LA: Tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Yamadaya

  • Tsujita Restaurant Tsukemen

    Photograph: Benny Haddad

    Cheap Eats in LA: Tsukemen ramen at Tsujita

    Tsujita Restaurant Tsukemen

Photo courtesy Ramen Jinya

Cheap Eats in LA: Tonkotsu ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar


Cheap eats aren't hard to find in this town. With an explosion of ramen joints from West LA to the South Bay, you don't have to look far (or fork over much) for your next noodle bowl. Whether you like your broth tonkotsu (pork), miso, shoyu (soy) or shio (salt) flavored, or are in the mood for ramen from Tokushima or any other given part of Japan, noodle options are aplenty on a budget. We've picked out ten of our favorite ramen spots, old and new, with under-$10 bowls worth slurping.


RECOMMENDED: See more Best restaurants in Los Angeles.

Tsujita

  • Critics choice

Much digital ink has been spilled over Tsujita’s tsukemen($9.95): how kurobuta pork bones are simmered for no less than 60 hours to create the dipping broth,how the noodles are thick, toothy, dense and how ramen is served only at lunch, so that the wait for a seat can fluctuate between tolerable and formidable (unless you’re dining solo, in which case, you’ll be seated at the counter in no more than 15 minutes). Suffice to say, in a rare instance of hype living up to reality, all that ink bleeds true—this is the best tsukemen in the city. This West LA spot’s noodle bowl is the one to which you’ll forever compare all others, much to your chagrin. Because after you’ve eaten here, you’ll be resigned to the fact that when the mood for tsukemen strikes, you’ll have no choice but to go to Tsujita. Put your name down. And wait…andnd wait. It’ll be worth it.

  1. West LA
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Santouka Ramen

This Japan-based chain has many stateside locations, including two Los Angeles outposts, oddly enough located in Mitsuwa supermarkets’ food courts, prompting folks to refer to Santouka as the McDonald’s of ramen joints. The analogy does a bit of a disservice to the noodle spot: This certainly is fast food ramen, but a bowl of Santouka's shio (salt) ramen ($6.99) is better than a 20-piece box of nuggets on any day of week. The broth is a blend of pork stock—pork bones simmered some 20 hours—and seafood, seasoned crucially with a bit of salt to create a mild, almost creamy base. Chewy, curly noodles and a pickled Japanese plum complete a great bowl. Remember to hit the ATM machine before stopping by this cash-only joint.

  1. West LA
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Jinya Ramen Bar

It seems as though you can't drive in any direction in LA without stumbling upon at least one ramen joint boasting about its tonkotsu broth—pork bones simmered for hours to create a viscous soup. Despite all the new shops spouting up in the city, one of the earliest tonkotsu specialists is still the best. Jinya offers a full slate of pork-based ramen, all of which smack strong with not only pork, but also what someone there might tell you is an "industrial" amount of dashi (Japanese soup base) and dried fish. Purists can order the Tonkotsu Original ($8.55) to appreciate the remarkable umami of this soup. For the adventurous, there’s the Tonkotsu Red ($10.55), which takes its name from the daunting amount of red chili oil liberally applied to the broth.

  1. West LA
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Shin-Sen-Gumi Hakata Ramen

Upon entering this Hakata-based chain, you’ll be met with a chorus of “Irashi”. You’ll then be handed an order sheet, where you can customize your bowl ($6.95) to your exact specifications—choose the intensity (i,e. saltiness) of your broth, the doneness of your noodles and toppings (egg, garlic chips, even spare rib)—and combine spam onigiri (rice ball), chicken meatball and gyoza additions ($5.50-$7.75). Half the fun is ordering too many toppings on your first visit, which will arrive one after another in a parade of bowls.

  1. Downtown
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Ramen Yamadaya

Sawtelle Boulevard may be home to a large number of new ramen shops, but other parts of the Westside are starting to see their fair share, too. With locations in Culver City and Westwood, Ramen Yamadaya is quickly gaining quite the foothold in its respective neighborhoods, and it’s just as popular as any noodle joint along Sawtelle. Twenty hours of simmering pork bones is what goes into Yamadaya’s signature tonkotsu (pork) broth, forming the base for one of the creamiest, cleanest, porkiest bowls of tonkotsu ramen in town ($7.95). The thin noodles work well here; you’ll slurp them up much too quickly for them to lose their bite. Don’t miss the dip-and-slurp tsukemen ($8.45 for 7-oz. bowl, $9.95 for 14-oz. bowl), which is equally as good.

  1. Culver City, Westwood
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