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The best ramen restaurants in Boston

From simple and humble to modern and inventive, these are the best places for ramen in Boston

By Time Out Boston Staff |
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Ganko Ittetsu Ramen
Photograph: Courtesy Ganko Ittetsu Ramen Ganko Ittetsu Ramen

When chilly weather has you seeking something warming and nourishing, a steaming bowl of ramen will hit the spot. The best ramen in Boston can be found in tiny nooks and hip restaurants, and worthy destinations for slurping this hot noodle soup continue to open. Whether it's a no-frills joint that focuses on one style of ramen (and does it well) or a higher-end, more modern take, Boston has it. You’ll find Jiro style, Sapporo style, and ramens with a twist. For other Asian specialties, check out Boston's best sushi, Boston's best Japanese restaurants, or the best Chinese restaurants in Boston.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best ramen in Boston

1
Yume Wo Katare
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Park G.
Restaurants, Japanese

Yume Wo Katare

Porter Sq

This tiny Cambridge ramen spot is as authentic as they come. From the cheerful shouts of “Irashaimase!” to welcome each customer, to the singular focus on Jiro-style ramen, you’ll almost feel like you’re in Japan. Huge bowls of ramen feature thick, house-made noodles, and your only choice is whether you want two pieces of pork or five. The restaurant’s name means “talk about your dreams,” and you may even be asked to share yours out loud with everyone.

2
Tsurumen
Photograph: Gerrish Lopez
Restaurants, Japanese

Tsurumen

Somerville

The small, spare setting at this Davis Square ramen joint allows for all focus to be on the steaming bowls of delicate, Osaka-style ramen. Fresh ramen, tender pork, and flavorful broth anchor each bowl. Tsurumen will only operate for 1000 days, and Chef Masuo Onishi will present a new signature bowl representing a different life stage every 200 days. His dedication to his craft and his timeline make a visit here thoroughly rewarding.

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3
Santouka
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Rosie Q.
Restaurants, Japanese

Santouka

Back Bay

The Back Bay location of this Japanese chain is a prime spot for students and tourists to get a fast, nourishing bowl of ramen. The signature tonkatsu is made by simmering pork bones for 20 hours, resulting in a deeply flavorful broth. Santouka also offers the lesser-known toroniku ramen, made with pork cheek meat. The vegetarian option—featuring menma kikurage mushrooms, soy marinated wheat gluten, and umeboshi—is also a worthy choice.

4
Totto Ramen
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Idy T.
Restaurants, Japanese

Totto Ramen

Allston/Brighton

With locations in NYC and Taipei, Totto Ramen sports some serious cred. The paitan-style ramen is thick and hearty, with house-made noodles. The broth is chicken-based, rather than pork, with miso and spicy options available. Get your bowl with char siu pork or chicken. (There’s also a vegetarian version with a seaweed and shitake base.) Customize your bowl with toppings like spicy bamboo shoots, kikurage mushroom, or a seasoned boiled egg. If you’re really hungry, go for the oversized mega ramen that includes all the pork variations.

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5
Ganko Ittetsu Ramen
Photograph: Courtesy Ganko Ittetsu Ramen
Restaurants, Japanese

Ganko Ittetsu Ramen

Tucked away in Coolidge Corner’s Arcade Building, this tiny shop serves Sapporo-style ramen. Pick a spot at one of the few tables or choose a counter seat to watch the chefs at work. The simple menu includes miso, shoyo, shio, and tan tan options. The broth is made with both chicken and pork, eliciting rich flavors. Ganko is dedicated to the Sapporo-style of wok-made ramen, and their expertise shows in every delicious, filling bowl.

6
Sapporo
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Peter P.
Restaurants, Japanese

Sapporo Ramen

Porter Sq

Open since 1990, Sapporo is still a top choice for a quick bowl of satisfying ramen when you’re hungry and in a hurry. You can have a seat, but with just bar seats and benches, it’s better on the go. Despite the small environs and affordable prices, you’ll find a surprisingly extensive menu featuring a choice of ramen soup base—soy sauce, miso, spicy miso, curry, and more—with toppings ranging from ground pork to veggies. Expect a line, but the ramen is worth it.

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7
Ruckus
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Tisa H.
Restaurants, Japanese

Ruckus

Chinatown

House-made noodles are the centerpiece at this hip-hop sibling of Shojo. Ruckus offers several classic ramen options with modern, tasty twists. Miso “Lit” ramen includes grilled corn and shaved nori. Tori paitan comes with fried chicken skin. Shoryuken has marinated yuba (tofu skin). All options are exciting as-is, but feel free to personalize your bowl with additions from the “Swag” list—soy egg, pig tail, smoked bone marrow butter, "ruckus paste,” and more.

8
Snappy Kitchen
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ash R.
Restaurants, Japanese

Snappy Kitchen

Somerville

This no-frills Davis Square spot has a small but varied menu that includes sushi, gyoza, buns, and a few salads. The ramen offerings include shoyu, spicy, miso, and tan tan, all with a rich tonkatsu broth. Tan tan is a favorite, with pulled pork garlic miso and flavorful black garlic oil. The veggie version includes shiitake broth, bean sprouts, scallion, baby arugula, marinated shiitake, and tofu skin.

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9
Hojoko
Photograph: Kristin Tieg
Restaurants, Japanese

Hojoko

Fenway/Kenmore

Tim and Nancy Cushman's hipster izakaya at the modish Verb Hotel gets creative with maki rolls, robata, a large-format tiki drink menu, and off-the-wall dishes like the bacon-wrapped, jalapeno-stuffed Doggzilla hot dog. Chef Rob Wong's ramen is equally edgy, featuring a 48 hour chicken broth. Choose from the Funky Chicken (soy egg, menma, robata grilled koji chicken) or the Spicy Miso (hatcho miso, spicy pork, corn tempura, menma, soy egg).

10
Pagu
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sophie Z.
Restaurants, Japanese

Pagu

Central Sq

Chef Tracy Chang helmed the ramen pop-up Guchi’s Midnight Ramen, and her famed bowl is now on the menu here at Pagu alongside modern Japanese small plates. House-made alkaline noodles rest in a bowl filled with flavorful broth, pork belly, umami oil, nori, and a six-minute egg. Enjoy this satisfying bowl in a sleek-yet-comfortable space in buzzy Central Square.

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11
Uni
Photograph: Courtesy Uni Sashimi Bar
Restaurants, Japanese

Uni Sashimi Bar

Back Bay

Uni is known for its standout sashimi program and inventive Japanese creations. The pricey regular menu is well worth it, but Tony Messina and Ken Oringer’s late night (11pm-1:30am) ramen menu—available only on Friday and Saturday nights—is a more affordable way to experience their delicious talents. Alongside a few small bites, the ramen choices typically include a traditional shoyu-miso option with pork or a vegetarian version, both richly-flavored. The menu (hand-written on cardboard) changes up every so often, and you might find an inventive version like XO squid ramen or ramen with eel. If you’re hungry for ramen after-hours, find out why Uni’s version has developed a cult following.

12
OISA Ramen
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jonathan T.
Restaurants, Japanese

OISA Ramen

Downtown

Subtitled “Slurp-and-Go,” Oisa has only 9 seats and no ramen takeout, so expect to grab a bowl, sit, enjoy, and move on. Chef Moe Kuroki’s tonkatsu gained fame through her previous pop-up. It’s on the menu alongside two vegan shoyu options: smoky (with shitake, mesclun, and red pepper) and truffle (with truffled mushrooms, shitake, mesclun, red pepper, and a soy egg).

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13
Little Big Diner
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sophie P.
Restaurants, Diners

Little Big Diner

Head to Newton for bold, flavorful ramen selections. Alongside rice bowls and pan-Asian small plates, the ramen list is a major draw. Choose from paitan, miso, shoyu, or a seasonal option (e.g. pumpkin). Each bowl comes with ingredients like wood ear mushroom, pickled bamboo shoots and white kimchi, and add-ons are available. If you just can’t decide what to order, the “Chef’s Ultra Ramen” provides a substantial combo.

See the best ramen restaurants in America

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