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Sapporo Ramen
Photograph: Courtesy Sapporo Ramen

The best ramen restaurants in Boston

Boston is a great town for ramen lovers, with everything from traditional styles to innovative takes on the classic.

Written by
Tanya Edwards
Written by
Time Out Boston Staff
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When the temperatures drop, and you’ve had your fill of chowder, there’s nothing like a steaming bowl of ramen to warm the body and soul. Boston’s best ramen can be found in hip spots near Fenway and tiny tuckaways near South Station. If you’re seeking the best noods, we've got you covered with the finest slurp shops in town. 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

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Porter Sq
  • price 2 of 4

This tiny Cambridge ramen spot is as delicious 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 almost 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'll likely be asked to share yours out loud with everyone.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Somerville
  • price 2 of 4

The small, sparse setting at this Davis Square ramen joint allows guests to solely focus on the steaming bowls of delicate, Osaka-style ramen in front of them. Fresh ramen, tender pork and flavorful broth anchor each bowl. Tsurumen opened in Boston with the goal to only operate for 1000 days, however, in July of 2021, the team announced it was here to stay, with a new goal: to become “the King of Ramen shops.” Anticipate a line, but it's well worth the wait.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Back Bay
  • price 2 of 4

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 tender pork cheek meat. The vegetarian option—featuring menma kikurage mushrooms, soy marinated wheat gluten and umeboshi—is also a worthy choice.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Leather District

This simple spot near South Station is known locally for their spicy miso ramen, and for good reason. This casual joint isn’t easy to find, but once you locate it within the Leather District, the well seasoned broth featured in all of their dishes—many of which are vegetarian—will have you slurping to your heart's content.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • price 2 of 4

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 their wok-made ramen, and their expertise shows in every delicious, filling bowl.

  • Restaurants
  • Back Bay

This unfussy Japanese eatery serves a menu “based on the traditional vegan dining style of Buddhist monks,” so all of the options are plant-based. However, lack of meat doesn’t mean lack of flavor. The restaurant's Dragon Breath ramen is rich in umami, spicy and made with vegan meat, tofu, mushrooms and more.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Porter Sq
  • price 2 of 4

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 on one of the bar seats or benches, but 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.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Fenway/Kenmore
  • price 3 of 4

Tim and Nancy Cushman's hip 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 BLT okonomiyaki. 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).

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Allston/Brighton
  • price 2 of 4

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.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Central Sq
  • price 3 of 4

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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  • Restaurants
  • Diners
  • price 2 of 4

Head to Newton for bold, flavorful ramen selections. Alongside rice bowls and pan-Asian small plates, the ramen list here 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 taste of just about everything. 

See the best ramen restaurants in America

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