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Ramen At Shop Ramen
Photograph: Graham Denholm

The best ramen in Melbourne

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

By Time Out editors
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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

Mr Ramen San
Photography: Graham Denholm

1. Mr Ramen San

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. This is due to the superior 24-hour tonkotsu broth and house-made hakata-style noodles.

Shyun Ramen Carnegie
Photograph: Supplied

2. Shyun

Restaurants Japanese Carnegie

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. Why? Its specialised ramen, of course. 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.

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3. 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. 

A top down shot of a bowl of ramen, with egg, noodles, nori, spr
Photograph: Ryan Noreiks

4. Hakata Gensuke

Restaurants Melbourne

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 an almost creamy pork bone soup with a garlicky and black sesame kick – and beware the spicy wrath of the God Fire ramen. 

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Hakata Gensuke godfire ramen
Photograph: Supplied

5. Hakata Gensuke QV

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 a creamy dashi and chicken broth in place of pork, with poached slices of chicken in place of chashu. 

6. Little Ramen Bar

Restaurants Melbourne

This nifty ramen bar makes up for lack of space with the option to upgrade to Godzilla-sized bowls. Try the less conventional bowls; you won’t miss out on any umami action with the miso-based vegetarian ramen, and the Chinese-inspired tantanmen is rich and spicy in equal measures.

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7. Shop Ramen

Restaurants Fitzroy

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.

8. Fukuryu Ramen

Restaurants Melbourne

If you want your ramen to arrive in front of you faster than you say ‘tonkotsu’, make a beeline for Fukuryu Ramen, a Chinatown ramen spot that’s all about the efficiency. The menu runs the gamut of traditional ramen, but try the not-so-traditional chicken tonkotsu ramen, vegetarian miso ramen and a chilled seafood noodle salad with yuzu jelly.

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9. Shujinko

Restaurants Melbourne

Skip the greasy hot chips next time you’ve got the 3am munchies. Shujinko is open 24 hours 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 the hiyashi tantanmen with a cool chicken broth and jumbo prawns will be a great summer alternative.

Try some of Melbourne's best restaurants

Paccheri at Osteria Ilaria
Photograph: Graham Denholm

The 50 best restaurants in Melbourne

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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