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Mr Ramen-san, food overview
Photograh: Parker Blain

The best ramen in Melbourne

From tonkotsu to tsukemen, here's where you can find Melbourne's best bowls

Adena Maier
Written by
Time Out editors
Contributor
Adena Maier
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The basis of any self-respecting bowl of ramen is the happy union of broth, noodles and toppings. But essential to a good swallow is the tare; not unlike the mirepoix in a soup, this is the shio (salt), shoyu (soy) or miso base that gives ramen its distinct flavour profile. With this in mind, we tested Melbourne’s ramen shops to find the best of the bunch.

Still hungry? Try one of Melbourne's best Japanese restaurants instead.

The best ramen shops in Melbourne

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

This global ramen chain serves up hakata-style tonkotsu ramen in a line-up, slurp-up, get-out format that is synonymous with the style of eating among salarymen in Japan. The broth has the obligatory milkiness and umami from cooking down pork bones for many hours with the same collagen-slickness you get in your mouth from a true tonkotsu, but the porkiness has been toned down. This isn’t a bad thing, as you can head back to work free from a food coma.

  • Restaurants
  • Ramen
  • Brunswick

If you're after a traditional, no-nonsense bowl of Japanese-style ramen then the menu at this Sydney Road ramen house will likely disappoint. But if you're open-minded and keen to see the type of ramen that can come out of local Australian produce and a commitment to sustainability, then book in for a meal at Gomi Boys. Think dishes like a chicken shio ramen made with lemon myrtle poached chicken breast, pickled tropea onion and chicken thigh rillette or a roasted Otway shiitake ramen served with grilled kale, peach and strawberry ponzu and chrysanthemum greens.

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Mensousai Mugen
  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

It is all about the tsukumen here. Your springy noodles and toppings are served separately to a really intense broth containing soy, miso, chicken and pork stock. The thick and chewy noodles are designed for you to dip in the broth. Once your noodles are finished, you're given dashi to dilute the broth so you can drink it like soup. 

  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne
  • price 1 of 4

It’s all about the tonkotsu broth at Hakata Gensuke, winner of Best Bang for Buck at the 2015 Time Out Food Awards. Try the black tonkotsu for a creamy pork bone soup with a garlicky and black sesame kick – and beware the spicy wrath of the God Fire ramen. You can customise everything from the toppings and noodle texture to the saltiness and abundance of spring onion.

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  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

Looking for chicken broth instead? You can opt for Hakata Gensuke's God Fire broth with a chicken base at Hakata Gensuke's QV venue. It offers the same bases as its other stores, but here you can find creamy dashi and chicken broth in place of pork, with poached slices of chicken in place of chashu. 

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Melbourne

In the belly of Mid-City Arcade, you’ll find Mr Ramen San tucked away on the Little Bourke St end, usually with a line outside the door. That's because of its 24-hour tonkotsu broth, house-made hakata-style noodles and cosy atmosphere. Vegan and vegetarian ramens are also available. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Carnegie
  • price 1 of 4

This little hole-in-the-wall in the hustle and bustle of Carnegie draws crowds in on a daily basis, leaving a queue streaming outside of its venue. There's something for those who have a hankering for a chicken broth, or those who seek out creamy pork broth – either available with added shoyu or miso – and the pièce de résistance: little corn kernels that elevate the texture of it all.

Shop Ramen
  • Restaurants
  • Fitzroy
  • price 1 of 4

These guys have no qualms about not being authentic and that’s okay. The menu is a cultural mishmash of ramen, bao sandwiches and pies for dessert, but they take their ramen seriously: noodles are made fresh in-house, the tonkotsu is light and punchy, and the creamy veggie broth with cashew milk might just win over meat eaters.

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Shujinko
  • Restaurants
  • Melbourne

Skip the greasy hot chips next time you’ve got the 3am munchies. Shujinko is open late and will do you a world of good the next day if you’ve been hitting the bars. The fiery karakuchi ramen smacks you across the face in a nice way, and you can never go wrong with the classic Shujinko ramen. 

Try some of Melbourne's best restaurants

  • Restaurants

Unless you have the metabolism of a nine-year-old, and the finances of a Kardashian, you never stand a chance against Melbourne's ferocious dining machine. The openings just don't stop and ain't nobody got time to keep on top of what's what. Except us, that is. So behold, our eat-and-destroy list – a guide to Melbourne's 50 best restaurants.

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