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The Best Ramen In Houston

From chicken shoyu to pork tonkotsu, these are the best bowls of ramen in town.
The Best Ramen In Houston image

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Houston might be known for tacos, Vietnamese food, Tex-Mex, and beyond, but we’re also a city with some serious bowls of ramen. From pork tonkotsu to hearty tsukemen, from rich curry ramen to bold shoyu, the options are basically unlimited. And you can find these bowls just about anywhere, including fancy spots with opulent bars, late-night izakayas, and even unassuming dive bars. These are the best ramen spots in Houston.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Quit Nguyen

Japanese

Chinatown

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The izakaya and whiskey bar Toukei holds the title for our favorite place to get a late night bowl of ramen. While the first point of interest might be the rows upon rows of Japanese whiskeys, the bowls of tonkotsu are just as exciting and diverse. While undoubtedly industrial and cool, Toukei isn’t lifeless—everywhere you look, there are intricate murals or rustic metal signs. Slurp back chewy noodles and cool down the heat from the piping hot bowls of pork-based broth with a whiskey sour.


The Chinatown ramen spot NM Noodle is home to some of our favorite ramen in the city. NM Noodle feels laid-back, with a few intricate light fixtures, spacious wooden booths, and a focus on ramen. Bowls of tonkotsu come zipping to the table as if there’s no place they would rather be. The best iteration of these are the hokkaido tsukemen, with a rich pork and fish broth, seasoned slices of bamboo, and soft-boiled egg. Sit in one of the wooden dividers, slurp unabashedly, and be sure to order the extra broth. And if you have a need for heat, the curry tonkotsu will clear away your worries and your sinuses. Add as much menma, sweet corn, or extra noodles that you want on the side, and remember that a little pain is worth the price of the ramen.


At the industrial ramen joint Tiger Den in Chinatown, you can slink into one of the booths and have a no-frills bowl of tonkotsu, rich tantanmen, or tsukemen. We struggle to pick one bowl that perfectly encapsulates all that is Tiger Den, but our favorite is the black bean garlic that matches savory black garlic with rich slices of pork chashu and crispy pork bits lacing the broth. Bring a friend and hunker down with a steaming bowl as you admire all of the hand-drawn artwork plastered around the restaurant.


The small Washington Corridor ramen and sushi shop Miyabi has about four tables, a modest sushi bar, and a surprisingly stacked menu. When it comes to ramen, we go for the steaming curry ramen that comes all but overflowing with sweet corn, jumbo garlic shrimp, and little pastel fish cakes. Go ahead and order it extra spicy—sure, your tongue might be numb and your eyes might water a little, but it’s worth it. And if you need a bit of cooling down, a glass of the extra sweet plum wine is our favorite way to balance out the ramen’s heat.


If you’re having trouble finding the bar Ninja Ramen in the Washington Heights neighborhood, just look for the glowing mural dedicated to a K-Pop boy band. The modest dive bar is home to some incredible bowls of tonkotsu, with tender chunks of chashu pork. Whether you get miso-laden broth or a pork-based bowl, the noodles are fresh, and the spice level can range from manageable to fire-breathing, just the way we like it. Have your ramen with a side of salted musubi and a drink in a plastic cup. Simple is always better.


photo credit: Richard Casteel

$$$$Perfect For:Dining SoloQuick Eats

The combination Japanese-Taiwanese restaurant Toyori serves up some of the best ramen in Chinatown. Every bowl arrives fast, scorching hot, and beautifully composed with thick cuts of rich chashu pork, aromatic broth, and a really cute wooden spoon. We crave the signature spicy tantan ramen with its double pork (chashu and spicy ground pork), squishy kikurage mushrooms, and thick, chili-spiced broth. And the tonkotsu black garlic ramen with silken pork broth, a deep and comforting garlic-umami bomb. And after filling your stomach with noodles, Toyori gives you a bottle of gulpable probiotic yogurt, probably for something digestion-related, and we just think that’s nice.


Sushi bar and izakaya Kata Robata not only holds it down as one of the best restaurants in the city, it also serves up some decadent and delicious bowls of ramen. For those into the classics, try the spicy soy ramen, with a light but savory pork and soy milk broth, great for slurping after a chirashi bowl or alongside a whiskey highball. Or get fancy with Kata’s lobster and crab ramen topped with thick hunks of claw meat, lump crab, and egg noodles. While sharing is caring at Kata, we suggest snagging a bar seat and having a bowl solo.


Hailing from the fair city of Austin, Ramen Tatsu-ya in Montrose makes grabbing a quick bowl of highly customizable ramen easy. Order any combination of ramen, like the Mi-So-Hot spicy ramen or the tsukemen dipping noodles, at the counter with add-on “bombs” like corn and honey butter, yuzu kosho citrus with serrano and jalapeño, and as many toppings as a bowl can hold (extra ajitama for us, please). This location might not live up to its Austin predecessors, but the food is solid and will definitely fill you up, probably for an entire day. Roll up here for a quick lunch or if you need to fuel up for a 10-mile walk.


photo credit: Gianni Greene

RESERVE A TABLE

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Soma Sushi in the Washington Corridor neighborhood provides a bougie environment for you to enjoy your ramen in. There’s a small battalion of ramen available for you to choose from, but the one you should go for is the spicy miso ramen, loaded with fried pork belly, menma, and a heap of chili powder. Put on your finest threads, sit at the opulent bar with a spicy bowl of tsukemen and a whiskey-based cocktail at your side, and remind yourself that even the fancier spots can have ramen worth going out of your way for.

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