While the exact birthplace of ramen is up for debate, one thing is certain: Los Angeles nails it when it comes to this famed bowl of noodles and broth. When the cold—or, frankly, less balmy—winds of a West Coast winter descend, there is nothing more satisfying than some ramen. And at these six restaurants, you’ll get some of the most satisfying bowls in town. Herewith, your guide to the slurpy stuff.
E.A.K. Ramen brings its Japanese know-how Stateside with a Melrose Avenue spot specializing in the iekei variety (read: fatter noodles and a salty chicken/pork combo broth). Your typical green onions are swapped out for a (healthy!) clump of spinach, while meat and an egg’ll deliver on their protein promise.
7455 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
Down the street, you’ll find Tatsu, which you’ll know by its long lines. Their tonkotsu broth (a creamy, pork-based staple, if you aren’t familiar) is made in-house, and you can customize your order using an iPad. Future. They’ve even got “Hippie Ramen” for you vegans out there. Hey, everyone needs to get their indulgence fix however they can.
7111 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90046
If you want the good stuff, you’ve got to head straight to the source. And if you can’t get to Japan, Little Tokyo is the next best thing. Shin-Sen-Gumi lets you build your bowl on paper, adding whatever you like into the mix. (The spicy miso paste comes highly recommended.) If you aren’t feeling like soup, their menu runs the gamut, from charcoal-grilled yakitori to sushi and more.
132 S Central Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Also in Little Tokyo, Hakata Ikkousha is a part of the Japanese chain’s foray into California. Thank goodness for that. Here, you can choose from a handful of different tonkotsu broths, pick your noodle “hardiness,” and add some extra toppings in if you’d like.
366 E 2nd St #368, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Say the word “umami” and we’ll come running. Ramen Yamadaya pairs its thick tonkotsu broth with skinny little noodles. (Less can always be more, as you know.) There are a couple of these spots in Los Angeles, but stick to the Washington Boulevard one for the most consistent quality.
11172 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90232
JINYA Ramen Bar
Flavorful broths, thick noodles. You can’t ask for much more than that when it comes to ramen. JINYA Ramen Bar, like Yamadaya mentioned above, has a couple locations, and the Studio City joint is worth the drive into the Valley. Oh, don’t skip the seasoned egg.
11239 Ventura Blvd, Studio City, CA 91604
Photo courtesy of Kae Ng