Native to Japan’s northernmost main island, Santouka Hokkaido Ramen has dozens of locations around the globe—including Harvard Square, Allston, and Back Bay. While several ramen styles are represented on the menu, the signature shio (salt) broth is 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. All Santouka locations are open for dining in and takeout.
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A hot bowl of soup loaded with springy noodles and tasty toppings, ramen was never really taken to-go in its native Japan, nor from many noodle shops around Boston. Ramen has entered the takeout rotation out of necessity in recent years—and we're glad it has. As comforting to eat from the couch as it is from a counter, here's where to order or sit and slurp the best ramen in Boston.
Yume Wo Katare has always been about the experience: from waiting in a perpetual line to get in, to the applause that erupts when someone finishes their bowl. The Porter Square ramen shop doesn’t even call itself that—it’s a “dream workshop,” where customers can share their dreams with the entire restaurant after slurping their noodles. Opt for this rich, garlicky, dine-in-only bowl overloaded with pork and thick noodles the next time you’re craving robust ramen.
Another ramen destination in Porter Square is a pint-sized counter inside Cambridge’s Porter Exchange food hall. Sapporo Ramen is 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. You can also order delivery via the third-party app of your choice. Don’t forget to add on an order of Sapporo’s excellent steamed Roast Pork Buns.
Newton Centre’s Little Big Diner has all the hallmarks of a great new-wave noodle shop: tiny size, cool art, and some of the Boston area’s best ramen. From the same team behind Newton neighborhood faves Jinny’s Pizzeria and Sycamore (itself a place we go to for noodles), LBD’s menu hits the right notes of flavor, fanciness, and fun. We love the indulgent Chef’s Ultra Ramen packed with all the toppings: chashu pork, chili-ground pork, and grilled chicken thigh. The tight quarters and no-reservations policy once made long waits inevitable, but now that you can also order takeout online, it’s never been easier to snag a bowl of ramen.
A 20-seat establishment wedged into Coolidge Corner’s Arcade Building, Ganko Ittetsu Ramen is another popular spot that’s been more accessible with the dawn of takeout ramen. Whether you opt to visit on your next Brookline food crawl or eat it at home, you’ll be treated to the Sapporo-style ramen, which requires caramelizing tare (a two-syllable sauce) in a wok with vegetables before adding it to a base broth crafted with micro-brewed Japanese miso and soy sauce. Chewy noodles are custom-made in Japan. Our go-to bowls include the nutty, spicy Tan-Tan style ramen, and the dark, rich, and funky Gantetsu Shoyu.
The two bowls of ramen on the Hojoko menu fit right in at the offbeat izakaya in the shadow of Fenway Park. Funky Chicken Ramen and Spicy Miso Ramen both feature a 48-hour simmered chicken broth enhanced with umami-boosting ingredients, like grilled chicken thighs cured in koji, and white and hatcho miso, a slightly bitter variant made with aged koji for deeply fermented flavor. Both ramen styles come garnished with cured eggs, and can be kicked up with an optional topping of spicy fermented chili relish. All this, and they’re available via takeout, app delivery, and dine-in.
Masuo Onishi settled in Davis Square, Somerville, to share his unique perspective on ramen, having grown up eating the dish in Osaka, Japan. With springy noodles handcrafted in-house, the chef shares his own ramen story at Tsurumen through special noodle bowls inspired by his passions alongside signature menu staples. It’s all worth digging into—but you can’t go wrong with the original. Tsurumen’s Signature Shio Ramen has an invitingly clear chicken broth with boldly savory toppings, including crisped-up slices of chashu pork, bamboo shoots, minced red onion, and scallions.
Long before opening her Asian-Spanish fusion restaurant Pagu, chef Tracy Chang was involved with a pop-up called Guchi’s Midnight Ramen. Topped with a 6-minute soy egg, umami oil, and oyster sauce-marinated pork, the cult-favorite ramen—one of Boston’s first bowls—is still on the chef’s menu. Now instead of late-night visits to super-secret locations, you can order it from the Central Square restaurant for dining in, takeout, or third-party app delivery.
Next-door to sister spot Shōjō, this Chinatown ramen shop brings the ruckus with a hip-hop soundtrack and equally loud food. Springy noodles are made fresh in-house every day at Ruckus and fill up bowls of long-simmered miso chicken and pork broth. Keep it classic and choose Spicy or regular Tori Miso Ramen, topped with grilled, thick-cut pork belly, a soy-marinated egg, ginger-scallion oil, greens, butter, togarashi—or go big with Tori Miso Supreme, amped up with more grilled pork and sheets of nori.
Updated by Jacqueline Cain