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Tokushima ramen at Men Oh Ramen
Photograph: Jakob N. LaymanTokushima ramen at Men Oh Ramen

The 20 best spots for ramen in Los Angeles

Take your pick from our guide to the top noodle spots in the city with the country’s best, most diverse ramen scene.

Written by
Patricia Kelly Yeo
Contributors
Erin Kuschner
&
Stephanie Breijo
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To the unenlightened, ramen might look like a mere bowl of noodles, soup and a few toppings, but this deceptively simple Japanese recipe is so much more than that. In Los Angeles, the home of the country’s best ramen scene, you don’t have to look far to encounter seemingly endless iterations of this coveted, comforting dish. Stellar bowls of ramen can be found in strip malls, upscale restaurants and tiny, crackerbox storefronts all over the city, and we’ve rounded up our top 20—yes, a full 20—ramen spots across L.A., spanning geography, broth type, price point and even vegan options. However (or wherever) you like your ramen, you’ll find plenty of options ahead, so read on for our favorite spots for the next time you’re craving a bowl of noodles.

Discover the best ramen in L.A.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Sawtelle
  • price 2 of 4
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Much ink has been spilled over Tsujita’s tsukemen, the traditional dipping ramen where the broth arrives separately from the noodles. Tsujita stans wax poetic about how kurobuta pork bones are simmered for no less than 60 hours to create the dipping broth, how the noodles are thick, chewy and dense, and how the wait for a seat can fluctuate between tolerable and formidable (unless you’re dining solo, in which case you’ll usually 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, whether you’re dining at its original location, the Annex across the street or its newer locations in Fairfax and Glendale. This spot’s noodle bowl is the one to which you’ll forever compare all others, much to your chagrin. Put your name down and wait. It’ll be worth it.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Little Tokyo
  • price 2 of 4
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This buzzy spot with four locations in Los Angeles—and a ravenous, devoted following—is a ramen mecca. Regardless of which locale you pick, a wraparound counter usually faces the open kitchen and provides a social atmosphere to dig into piping hot bowls of flavorful, porky broth and chewy noodles. Chijire-style egg noodles—served in varying firmness—sit in a rich tonkotsu soup and come topped with slices of kurobuta pork belly. Fans of accoutrements can amp it up with kotteri-style: boiled egg, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and green onions, or go big with a ramen combo adding rice bowls topped with eel, pork cutlets or tuna. Add an order of pan-fried pork gyoza to make the line even more worthwhile.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Koreatown
  • price 2 of 4
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This minimalist, nouveau ramen den has us wondering where it’s been all our lives. Combining a reverence for broth with creativity for toppings, Iki Ramen has fast become our destination for a unique bowl. This Koreatown gem offers traditional ramen—shio, shoyu, tonkatsu—but even those manage to deviate from the norm with light, bright and nuanced broths. When you really want to mix it up (and we suggest you do), go for options like the yuzu shio, which gets a zing from citrus; the A5 Wagyu variety, which is laced with richness from the umami-packed beef fat; and the brothless mazemen, which can be ordered with uni. And we know you’re here for the ramen, but you might as well opt for seafood-studded donburi rice bowls and a hand roll or two—because at Iki, it’s hard to go wrong with anything.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Virgil Village
  • price 2 of 4

At the epicenter of Virgil Village’s ongoing gentrification lies Ken’s Ramen, an entirely chicken-based ramen spot that’s a godsend for anyone keeping kosher or halal. With a paitan broth that leans towards the sweeter side, L.A. chef Will Hu’s ramen captures all the richness of a pork-based tonkotsu paired alongside a chewy, springy noodle with just enough bite to keep things fresh and interesting. For added flavor, order the spicy Hell version, which uses house-made chili oil to add dimensions of heat and flavor. On hotter days, we love the broth-less tan-tan mazemen. With a squeeze of lime, nutty sesame puree and chili oil, it’s a delicious way to enjoy Ken’s without breaking a sweat. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Beverly Hills
  • price 2 of 4

Kazan is a bourgeois Beverly Hills ramen spot whose menu prices luckily match the quality of its food. It’s also been recognized by the 2021 Michelin guide for its soba ramen, though it makes a wheat-based noodle tonkotsu broth for more purist noodle slurpers. Befitting its luxury area code, Kazan’s most popular soba ramen comes topped with truffle oil—an unnecessary act of gilding the lily in our book. Nevertheless, this brick-lined, chicly decorated ramenya by chef Ryu Isobe is worth a visit, both for its more traditional broths as well as its vegan and fusion offerings.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Downtown Arts District
  • price 2 of 4

Despite only opening in July 2021, this Tokyo-founded ramen chain’s Arts District outpost has already clinched a spot on our best ramen list for its unique take on classics. Known for its yuzu shio broth, Afuri also offers a tonkotsu-shio blend that makes the pork and salt flavors sing and a praise-worthy tantanmen crafted with hazelnut. Our tip: Opt for one of the varieties topped with tart yuzu oil, which cuts through some of the broths’ creaminess in a pleasant and balanced fashion. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Little Tokyo
  • price 2 of 4

Tucked away in Honda Plaza, Men Oh Tokushima is a small near-hidden shop with takeout, delivery, a handful of tables and a long bar worth seeking out for a hearty bowl and some karaage. This spot’s style hails from the Tokushima region of Japan, where the dominant industry is pig farming. Thus, the signature item—the Tokushima ramen—is an unctuous, deeply pork-flavored bowl with toppings that include not only lovely slices of tender chashu, but also strips of stir-fried pork. Those additions, plus the pork-bone– and soy-sauce–based broth, make this bowl one of the more complex ones in town.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Torrance
  • price 2 of 4
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This tiny South Bay ramen shop seems to fill up almost the second it opens its doors for lunch—ditto the little patio. While you can’t go wrong with any of the offerings here, we recommend the excellent tonkotsu shoyu ramen, a pork- and soy-sauce–based broth served with thick, heavy noodles. Try adding a little fresh garlic for some zing—and if you’re feeling particularly DIY, ask for a garlic press so you can mash your own clove. Add a side of the U.F.O. Gyoza, half a dozen dumplings pan-fried together, to create one massive, standout plate.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Hollywood
  • price 2 of 4

The only curry ramen specialist in town, Menya Tigre opened on Sawtelle in April 2021, giving the area’s half-dozen other ramenyas a run for their money with its velvety rich broth whose viscosity straddles the line between soup and a conventional, thicker Japanese curry. Topped with a soft-boiled egg, a few slices of chashu and bean sprouts, their chicken broth-based ramen bowl is a surprisingly welcome addition to the most ramen-saturated block in town. They also offer a curry tsukemen if you’re in a dipping (rather than sipping) mood, as well as a vegan ramen option.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • West LA
  • price 2 of 4

Also located in Sawtelle Japantown, the unofficial ramen capital of L.A., Mogumogu specializes in mazemen, a dry ramen that gets its flavor from a chili and garlic soy sauce blend. Though they also offer the tried-and-true tonkotsu ramen, the move here is one of their mazemen bowls, which come to the table (or in your takeout box) showered in finely minced chives and scallions. Paired with a runny egg, you mix all the toppings together with the sauce, producing a concentrated flavor explosion that’s worthy of an occasional divergence from your normal go-to ramen spot. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Silver Lake
  • price 2 of 4
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Arguably the most popular, fast-growing ramen spot in L.A.—with locations in Silver Lake, K-town, Highland Park (née Ramen of York), Downtown, Santa Monica and Long Beach, with more on the way—Silverlake Ramen consistently draws lines for its craveable tonkotsu. Start, though, with a light bite—try the cucumber salad with slivers of crab, sprouts, sesame seed and house vinaigrette—before moving onto heartier Japanese staples. Yes, there are options like a California roll on the menu, but stick with the house specialty: spicy tonkotsu ramen boasting thick cuts of pork belly, green onions, spinach, bean sprouts, dried seaweed, garlic sauce and chewy noodles, all bathed in a rich pork broth cooked for 16 hours.

  • Restaurants
  • Central Asian
  • Sawtelle
  • price 1 of 4
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Spice seekers, rejoice: Killer Noodle says they sling the hottest noodles in town, and they mean it. Don’t say they didn’t warn you: Their list of restaurant ethos includes “Our restaurant aims for painful, delicious and spicy,” and “Please take care of your bottoms when you complete your meal.” Using a combination of Chinese spices—namely, Hana-Sansho and prickly ash—they season your noodle bowl from level zero to six, and even manage to bring their insane spice and flavor to their vegan bowls. If you’d rather play it safe, they also offer small rice bowls topped with fried pork, char siu and tofu. But come on, you’re here, aren’t you?

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Little Tokyo
  • price 2 of 4
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Upon entering this Hakata-based chain, you’ll be met with a chorus of “Irashaimase.” You’ll then look over the order sheet, where you can customize your bowl to your exact specifications—choose the intensity (i.e. saltiness) of your broth, the doneness of your noodles and toppings (egg, wontons, spare ribs, garlic ships, even cod roe)—and combine chicken rice balls, deep fried cheese egg rolls and gyoza additions. Half the fun is ordering too many toppings on your first visit, which will arrive one after another in a parade of bowls, and thankfully it's easy to join this parade: Shin-Sen-Gumi has a few locations spread across the city, including Little Tokyo, West L.A., Downtown, Alhambra and Gardena.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Mar Vista
  • price 2 of 4
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This Japanese chain has many stateside locations, including an L.A. outpost located in Mitsuwa’s food court—prompting some to refer to Santouka as the McDonald’s of ramen joints. But the analogy does a disservice to the noodle spot: This certainly is fast-food ramen, but a bowl of Santouka’s shio ramen is far superior to any old box of mechanically separated chicken nuggets. The broth is a blend of pork stock—pork bones simmered for over 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.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Torrance
  • price 2 of 4
Ramen Yamadaya may have winnowed down its L.A. locations to Torrance alone, but its solid 20-plus-hour–simmered broth is still a weeknight go-to for South Bay residents. Slowly cooking pork bones is what goes into Yamadaya’s signature tonkotsu broth, forming the base for one of the creamiest, cleanest, porkiest bowls of tonkotsu ramen in town. 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, which is equally as good.
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Studio City
  • price 1 of 4
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Despite all of the city’s ramen shops, one of the earliest, chain-based tonkotsu specialists is still one of the best: Jinya offers a full slate of pork-based ramen, all of which smack strong with not only pork, but also what someone might tell you is an “industrial” amount of dashi and dried fish; purists can order the Tonkotsu Black for a garlicky and straightforward approach to this soup; for the adventurous, there’s the Tonkotsu Spicy, which stays true to its name. Of course, if you’re not into tonkotsu at all, Jinya also offers one of our favorite meatless bowls in the city: the spicy creamy vegan, made garlicky and studded with tofu, greens and sesame. Locations include Downtown, Santa Monica, Studio City and Burbank.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Palms
  • price 2 of 4

One of the most underrated ramen spots on the Westside, Kotoya is a small, mostly takeout spot located in Palms. It’s the only place where we’d gladly pay $2 extra for green onions and $2.50 for nori sheets, since the broth is just that good. While still rich, Kotoya’s top-tier tonkotsu manages to maintain nuanced flavors without overwhelming the palate. We’re also partial to their vegetable and chicken ramens, but our favorites are the White and Black Garlic Ramen bowls. Wonderfully funky, with enough alliums to keep away both Dracula and your boring online date, either dish is a must-order for garlic lovers.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Old Pasadena
  • price 2 of 4
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Tonkatsu rules at this modestly-sized, quiet spot, with locations nestled into both Old Town Pasadena and Silver Lake. Choose between koku (rich) tonkotsu, jun (light) tonkotsu or spicy tonkotsu as the broth base, and top with egg, dried seaweed, green onion and chashu. The menu is straightforward and simple, but high in quality—with an option to try their house-made silky coconut flan for dessert, which is an option always worth going for.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Studio City
  • price 2 of 4

This Valley ramen standout makes some of the most delicious, crowd-pleasing noodles in town, from the spicy Reddo flavored with chili oil and sesame paste to the vegan-friendly, plant-based Burraku and Gurin bowls. Hand rolls and carpaccio round out the starter menu, which offers tried-and-true favorites like garlic edamame and spicy tuna with crispy rice.

  • Restaurants
  • Vegan
  • Downtown Historic Core
  • price 2 of 4
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It might be hard, at first, to get past the all-vegan aspect of Ramen Hood: Aren’t fatty slices of pork and thick tonkotsu broth why most people crave ramen anyway? But Ramen Hood, which sits inside Grand Central Market, doesn’t serve watery, flavorless bowls; instead, you can choose from plain, spicy or garlic ramen, all boasting a thick, sunflower seed broth filled with king oyster mushrooms, nori, scallions, bean sprouts and hearty noodles, or go for the chilled noodles. A vegan egg, made from soy milk and nutritional yeast, can be added for $2—and while it doesn’t taste exactly like an egg, it’s pretty close. There are a few small plates available as well, like crispy broccoli sitting in a pool of soy chili glaze, and tofu al pastor. But the ramen is the star, and well worth a try even if you’re all about that fatty pork belly.

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