photo credit: RACHEL LERRO
When you finish ordering at Neighborhood Ramen’s counter, you’ll get a laminated picture of a random object. Sometimes it’s a moth, or a dinosaur—other times it’s a toy truck. And while you wait for the city’s best bowl of ramen to arrive to your table, you’ll wonder why so many restaurants still give you numbers when they could be giving you butterflies instead.
Unlike the more upscale Queens Village restaurants surrounding it, Neighborhood Ramen is casual. You’ll want to hang out here—even after you finish the last of your shoyu broth and see a smiley face staring up at you from the bottom of your empty bowl.
photo credit: Rachel Lerro
If ramen is one of those foods that you only seek out when it’s a cold, rainy day, then you haven’t been to Neighborhood Ramen. Everything, from their sides to soups, is so good that you’ll find yourself confusingly craving it on an 85-degree day in the middle of summer. There are five choices of ramen on the menu, along with one mazesoba, listed from light to heavy, and the broths are more flavorful than any other place you’ll find in Philly. Our favorite is the shoyu made with chicken broth that we’d drink straight from a mug. The only other items on the menu are a few small sides—like vinegary wontons and edamame.
In between bites of food, you’ll notice the restaurant staff acts like they’re members of an indie band rather than people who just happen to work in the same place. And after delivering your order, which usually includes a bowl of oshinko (Japanese pickles) or sesame salad on the house, they’ll probably hang out for a few minutes just to tell you about the shop or ask you if you’ve seen any good shows recently.
Neighborhood Ramen doesn’t take reservations, so plan to get here early—at 7pm, a line starts to wind out the door. It moves quickly, though, so you can get excited knowing that a dinosaur or a shooting star and a seriously good bowl of ramen aren't too far away.
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Simple, clean, and just a little sweet, the sesame salad is a good addition to your ramen if you want to start with something on the lighter side.
This is the most classic ramen you’ll find on the menu, with a chicken broth base, silky noodles, and toppings of pork chashu, scallions, and a soy egg. We like all the ramen, but this one is our favorite.
Neighborhood Ramen’s only vegetarian option is filled with mushrooms and tastes like a chicken noodle soup that grew up and got its PHD.