Let's Eat: Top 5 Ramen in Tokyo
Look, let us just settle two truths about ramen in Tokyo.
You can't go wrong with any bowl of ramen in Tokyo. Even the most average bowl will be better than most of what you can get outside of Japan.
There is no such thing as the "BEST BOWL OF RAMEN." There has never been, and there never will be consensus on what deserves the top spot.
Okay... now that we got that out of the way... here are 5 that I would HIGHLY recommend to those looking for a life-changing ramen experience. Just to build suspense... I've even ranked them... counting down to #1:
[Credit: Afuri, Timeout, Ichiran, JapanTravel]
(1) Ginza Kagari Honten
Unless you're a ramen aficionado, you've probably never had a bowl of lemony, bright ramen before. I most certainly hadn't had one until I went to Afuri. Afuri is best known for using yuzu citrus in their chicken bone broth. You can get that with shoyu (soy sauce), but they're most known for their shio (salt) ramen. The end result is light and delicate, with gentle acidity - things you don't normally associate with ramen. Afuri is another ramen restaurant where you order by using the ticket vending machine at the door. Order it, grab your ticket, put your ticket on the tray, sit down... and get ready to enjoy this unique treat!
Nakiryu is best known for the tantanmen - which is often described as the ramen version of the spicy, Szechuan dan dan men. Nakiryu is one of the Michelin star awarded ramen (and is ironically located right down the street from another Michelin ramen shop - Tsuta). In other words... be prepared to wait. Is it worth it? Well, when Japanese news site Rocket News 24 went, they were "blown away."
Sometimes you just want a really good bowl of ramen that you can count on - time and time again. Ichiran is that for me. Ichiran is a very popular Ramen chains in Tokyo, with long-lines in front of the restaurant on most nights. Like many other ramen shops, you have to buy a ticket from the vending machine. Then you wait for a server to walk you over to your individual booth (seriously... minimal distractions when you enjoy this beautiful bowl of ramen). You're then given a piece of paper to further customize your ramen (e.g., how rich you want your broth, texture of the noodles). When it's ready - a slot opens up in the booth and someone puts down your bowl of happiness. It is glorious... perfect every single time. Ichiran also sells packaged instant Ichiran ramen for you to take home as souvenirs. Here's my pro tip... go on a weekday when it first opens - I didn't have to wait at all!
You can have ramen... and then you have can the Rolls-Royce of ramen. Tsuta was the first ramen shop in the world to get a Michelin star when it gained that distinction back in 2015. Since then, the shop has become immensely popular and hours-long lines became the norm, so much so that they had to invent a new reservation system. The signature ramen here are the shoyu and the shio, and they are absolutely divine. However, splurge and get yourself the version with the decadently fragrant shaved truffle at a cool 3500 yen. It'll likely be the most expensive ramen you've ever, but you absolutely won't regret it!
(1) Ginza Kagari Honten
Have you ever wondered what it'd be like to condense the chicken flavor of a whole chicken onto one spoon? Two words for you: tori paitan