Uni serves high-end sushi and indulgently creative Japanese small plates—95 percent of the time. Each Friday and Saturday, at precisely 10:30pm, late-night ramen takes over the downstairs bar. Make sure to show up early for a spot, and you’ll be rewarded with a generous bowl of noodles and pork shoulder in a gloriously thick “tonkotsu” broth that takes up to four days to make.
New England and a hearty broth go hand-in-hand, and ramen is no exception.
Native to Japan’s northernmost main island, Santouka Hokkaido Ramen has dozens of locations around the globe—including Harvard Square and Back Bay. While several styles are represented, the signature is the “shio” (salt) broth, known for its silky texture and comparative lightness. If you’d like to make it heartier, you can always order extra pork and a soft-boiled egg to your bowl. Just be prepared to wait for a seat at the pocket-sized Back Bay branch.
There’s always going to be a line at Yume Wo Katare. But once you get in, you’ll discover a ramen experience like no other. The menu has just three items: pork ramen, takeout pork, and “dreams.” Its thick broth packs a serious punch and comes overloaded with pork, thick noodles, and—if you approve—a ludicrous amount of shaved garlic. And if you ordered a dream (always free), you’ll be asked to stand and share it with the entire restaurant. As we said, a ramen experience like no other.
While the graffiti-emblazoned, hip-hop-playing Chinatown fusion den Shōjō is best known for its rambunctious nocturnal scene, lunch is served Thursday through Saturday. Most importantly, lunch is the only time you can sample the chicken-based miso ramen served with a six-minute egg. Just know you have the option to order “kae-dama”—extra noodles—to your heart’s content.
Sapporo Ramen has two locations, but the pint-sized outpost inside Cambridge’s Porter Exchange is our favorite. It’s known to draw a crowd, but your prize for waiting it out is a cheap bowl of noodles in a hearty broth topped with sliced or ground pork. Ramen may be the clear draw, but we never forget to order the excellent steamed pork buns, too.