PHLReview

photo credit: Cody Aldrich Photography

Chika Ramen Bar image
5.6

Chika Ramen Bar

RamenJapanese

Center City

$$$$Perfect For:Wasting Your Time and MoneyDrinks & A Light BiteWalk-Ins

It’s shiny, it's bright, and it feels like the set of Blade Runner—if only the sci-fi movie was about disappointing Japanese food. Bartenders at the basement spot top drinks named Syrup Nexus-Six with a too-nutty pumpkin togarashi foam, while couples complain that their miso broth tastes like hot water. Except for the seven sake options, (almost) everything at the Center City restaurant misses the mark. Pieces of rubbery pork float in a tonkotsu broth reminiscent of Top Ramen, while tori karaage tastes like fast food nuggets covered in teriyaki sauce. If you’re absolutely set on eating here, stick to the tuna or salmon hand rolls, but even those you’ll forget about as soon as you get home. For ramen worth telling anyone about, head to Hiro or Terakawa. You can always bring a glow stick if you require the neon aesthetic.  

Food Rundown

Chika Ramen Bar image

photo credit: Cody Aldrich

Cocktails

Drinks are what Chika does best, although they won’t be better than any bar within a few feet. The Roy Batty does the job, but it can sometimes be too sweet if the white rum, strawberry, yuzu, and sake aren’t mixed. A few sips will help you forget that outside of pulsating pop music, this place has nothing else to offer but the drink in your hand.

Tuna Tataki

The seared bluefin tuna here is thick-cut. The ponzu vinaigrette, sweet and spicy glaze, scallions, and salty masago do their best to give it some crunch and flavor. But overall, it’s just an average plate of lukewarm fish with some oniony bits.

Tori Karaage

These remind us of frozen Tyson nuggets drenched in teriyaki sauce that get topped with green onions to make them seem gourmet. You get the idea. The texture ranges from fatty to soggy, and the spicy mayo doesn’t help. Skip them.
Chika Ramen Bar image

photo credit: Cody Aldrich

Tonkotsu Chashumen

The bone broth in this ramen is boiled over 24 hours, but there’s no depth of flavor to show for it. The marinated chashu pork tastes like a 3-D printer made it, and the shiitake, menma, red pickled ginger, sesame, and other assorted toppings can’t save it.

FOOD RUNDOWN

Suggested Reading

The Best Ramen Shops In Philly Right Now image

The Best Ramen Shops In Philly Right Now

12 great options for ramen in Philly.

The Best Sushi Restaurants In Philly  image

From neighborhood staples to omakase spots worth planning your financial quarter around, these are our favorite sushi places in Philly.

Terakawa Ramen image
8.0

Terakawa in Chinatown has some of the best ramen in the city.

Hiro Ramen image
7.9

Hiro Ramen House is a small spot in Center City that’s good for a bowl spicy ramen.

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