ATXReview

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image
8.0

Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin

RamenJapanese

East Austin

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDate NightDining Solo

Included In

At the time of this writing, there are a little over one million people living in Austin. And when the temperatures drop below 75 degrees or the faintest hint of precipitation finds its way into the air, roughly 85% of that population finds its way to one of the four Ramen Tatsu-Ya locations in town. The inevitable line snaking around the building, plus a soundtrack that could only have been put together by a DJ-turned-ramen chef (true story), give it the feel of Austin’s most exclusive club, which really isn’t that much of a stretch. And while their continued expansion into different concepts and cities means they might not be able to show as much love to every bowl as they used to, they still hold a place in our hearts as one of the best and most iconic ramen shops in Austin.  

Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Look around and you’ll see exposed air ducts jutting out from layers of wood and hanging rope, with partially painted walls and unfinished particle board accents. The tables are long and shared, with stools that feel like lego blocks designed by a carpenter. And the walls are decorated with giant murals of people slurping on noodles, dragons, and kanji characters. It feels a little like a restored Brooklyn warehouse that studied abroad in Tokyo. 

The specialty here is a tonkotsu broth—with OG (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), miso, and spicy miso variations—that’s been slow cooked to bring out all the rich, fatty flavors from the pork bones, resulting in an incredibly rich and silky bowl of ramen. The toppings on each bowl differ a bit, but all of them come with one of the best ajitama we’ve had. Fabergé egg owners, take note—these are with their weight in gold. And if you do want a lighter bowl of ramen, they also make a great chicken-based broth, as well as a couple of vegan options. 

Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

There was a time when the Tatsu-Ya name was synonymous with ramen in Austin. Because prior to 2012, there really wasn’t anywhere else to get it, unless you were painstakingly making it yourself, or trying to convince yourself that the little plastic package of crunchy noodles in your pantry was “basically the same thing.” And while there’s absolutely a maruchan-shaped pocket in our hearts for the instant stuff, anyone who’s knocked back a bowl of piping hot ramen—particularly when it’s cold and rainy out—knows it’s no substitute. The team behind Ramen Tatsu-Ya has since expanded their empire to include places like Kemuri Tatsu-Ya, DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya, Tiki Tatsu-Ya, and more, but it all started with ramen. And even all these years later, we still get a warm, happy feeling in our stomachs when we step into that line. 

Food Rundown

Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

The OG

This is the closest thing you’ll find to a classic bowl of tonkotsu ramen at Ramen Tatsu-Ya. The broth has a rich, porky flavor from the slow-simmered pork bones, with a thick, silky texture that coats the noodles. It also comes with a thick slice of chashu, in case your body wasn’t already 25% pork by volume at this point. If this is your first time here, you should probably get this one.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Mi-So-Not

Both of the miso bowls start with the same tonkotsu broth as the rest, with the addition of miso paste. This one comes topped with ground pork, making it easier to get a little bit with every bite, plus corn that adds some sweetness and texture. This is basically the same as the Mi-So-Hot bowl, but before the addition of a spicy bomb.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Ol' Skool

The first thing you’ll notice about the Ol’ Skool is that the broth is quite a bit lighter than its tonkotsu counterparts. This bowl starts with a chicken shoyu broth that works especially well with the white onion and scallion toppings. Get this during lunch, on warmer evenings, or when you want to convince yourself that “it’s just a bowl of chicken noodle soup.”
Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Chashu Rice Bowl

You could definitely make a meal out of this, though we usually think of this more as an accessory to a bowl of hot ramen. It’s tasty and easy to share—order one for the table and grab a few bites of pork belly between sips of pork broth and roasted chashu.
Ramen Tatsu-Ya East Austin image

photo credit: Mackenzie Smith Kelley

Korokayy

Ramen Tatsu-Ya’s version of a giant Japanese-style croquette. Think of this like a giant panko-fried disc of mashed potato and roast pork with a sweet, tangy katsu dipping sauce. If that description didn’t sell you on this, there’s nothing more we can do.

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FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

The Best Ramen In Austin image

The Best Ramen In Austin

From chicken shoyu to pork tonkotsu, these are the best bowls of ramen in town.

Fukumoto image
8.3

Fukumoto is a sushi restaurant and izakaya located on East 6th Street.

Ramen512 image
8.6

Ramen512 is making some of the best ramen in Austin out of a small strip mall location in Cedar Park

DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya image
8.4

DipDipDip Tatsu-Ya is an upscale hot pot restaurant on Burnet from the Ramen Tatsu-ya team.

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