Best Ramen in Melbourne
Ramen! The best Japanese comfort food! Best ramen restaurants in Melbourne according to The World Loves Melbourne:
1. Mr Ramen San (Mid City Bourke St CBD)
Mr Ramen San is an authentic ramen house, with owner Roystan having been trained by Japanese masters and bringing influences of the Kyushu area of Japan. Mr Ramen San is known for it's traditional charsu pork ramen featuring the cloudy white broth; this is the result of cooking the broth in pork bones for 10 hours. Kitchen staff are disciplined to stir the broth for 4-5 hours; a sign of dedication.
We consider Mr Ramen San to have some of the best broth in Melbourne. It's authentic. The time is taken to make it properly and with pride. And of course no MSG in sight! The World Loves Melbourne doesn't enjoy some of the thin weaker flavoured ramen broths going around; we crave for the in your face thicker pork bone stock broth! Bring it on! And we don't feel guilty about slurping!
When it comes to meat in ramen, The World Loves Melbourne considers Mr Ramen San to offer a generous serving compared to many other ramen houses. We enjoyed the charsu pork with several thick slices of ramen; while some other ramen houses often offer a couple of thin slices of pork. We found the meat (and tofu and seafood) is the various ramen dishes to be consistently generous.
Ramen is originally the Chinese name for noodles (ramen arrived from China to Japan in the 19th Century) so quality of noodles is critical to ramen! A feature at Mr Ramen San is the house made noodles made fresh daily. Not only are they sumptuous in themselves, Mr Ramen San offers FREE extra noodles upon request. This is unlike most places who charge for extras.
Customers enjoy the sheer variety of ramen with a host of options including Charsu traditional Ramen, Beef Miso Ramen, Spicy Chicken Ramen, Vegetarian Tofu Ramen, Seafood Ramen, Spiced Pork Nabe Ramen, and Teriyaki Charsu Ramen, to name a few.
Service is paramount here with eager staff greeting customers on arrival and attentive to tables, all with a smile. There's decent room in the restaurant and tables are not crowded together. In no way are you rushed in your dining experience.
Tonkotsu charsu pork ramen is delectable...
Check out the new Summer Ramen Salad (refreshing for those hot days).
2. Kokoro Ramen (CBD)
Kokoro Ramen offers excellent Japanese ramen choices and is a great restaurant for a value quality meal. This place specialises in ramen but offers some excellent other menu options. What is exciting is the number of different ramen combinations including interesting selections such as butter and corn and soft crab.
Kokoro Ramen is an inviting restaurant with timber floor, white chairs, a modern timber panel wall, and cool naked bulb lighting. It has become popular for its authentic dishes and trendy ambience.
Like a few others in the precinct Kokoro Ramen makes their own noodles. It makes so much difference even in any soup based dish, to experience fresh home made noodles. They have four types of broth including the staple boiling pork bones. Apparently good for your health.
Ordering is via the counter which is a little out of step with most other such restaurants.
Service was excellent apart from having to line up at the counter. This place buzzes at night.
3. Little Ramen Bar (CBD)
Little Ramen Bar is a small ramen shop in Little Bourke St (away from Chinatown) that delights. You may need to wait for a seat but the ramen is satisfying. The Classic Tonkostsu Ramen has the signature white cloudy broth and exudes a rich oily thickness. Most of the ramen come with a choice of Miso (soybean), Shoyu (special soy) or Shio (light salt). A talking point is the Vampires beware garlic infused ramen! Little Ramen bar steps up with with beers on tap. The style here is of traditional ramen and staff are polite and engaging.
4. Ramen Bankara (Doncaster)
Ramen Bankara eminates from a series of outlets in Japan; with this ramen house opening up in Westfield Doncaster. We indulged in the Classic Chuka Soba, Premium Kakuni Bankara, Gyoza, Karaage Chicken and delicious Black Sesame Ice Cream.
The Tsukemen was a surprise alternative with thick cold noodles and soup on the side. Cold noodles in hot soup was unusual for us but rewarding!
The Bankara signature ramen was our favourite and features a rich and oily style broth, with both salty and sweet tastes. The Tonkotsu broth is soy sauce based. Pork belly used in the ramen is premium and would be our meat of choice here.
Ramen Bankara features four different types of noodles in the ramen and you can choose your ramen toppings.
The ordering system is through filling out a form - which you hand to the wait staff. The wait staff are first class and can explain the dishes if needed.
To be honest we highly enjoyed the signature ramen broth but found the Chuka Soba was quite mild in flavour (more a gateway ramen for newbies).
In terms of value the standard dishes are around market cost of $13.80 but the premium ramen can be around $20 to get a larger ramen with kakuni, seasoned boiled eggs etc.
Desserts are popular here including Black Sesame Ice Cream and Green Tea Ice Cream, as well as the refreshing Lemon Sorbet. All in all a rewarding experience.
5. Shop Ramen (Collingwood)
Shop Ramen is on eclectic Smith Street, with attractive in house eating as well as dining available on outside tables. This is a modern fit out with neon signage in the window and large communal table right down the middle of the restaurant. Perch on a stool in this simple but modern ramen house. The BBQ Chicken Ramen is a talking point, almost a gateway to those not used to ramen. The Pork Ramen has smoky flavours on the pork, with intense broth. The neon sign says "ramen, bun and pie" and Shop Ramen delivers when it comes to bao buns at affordable prices.
6. Ramen Ya (CBD)
Ramen Ya on Bourke St and in The Emporium is one of Melbourne's best ramen restaurants. Bringing an authentic brand of ramen to Melbourne. A hot contest for tables. It's difficult to claim a seat on a table already occupied by a company of friends, but you try and squeeze in anywhere you can. I cheekily joined a cheery group and fortunately they embraced me.
The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed waiting in line and absorbing the atmosphere; with students and city workers imbibing. This is multicultural Melbourne lunchtime. In such a throbbing hub of many nations you feel connected to the world. And to Melbourne.
I enjoyed my Charsu Tonkotsu pork ramen; full of ingredients and a hearty meal with rich intense broth.
My understanding is that the broth is a key to great ramen and this broth had been prepared over many hours to get the layering of flavours. The broth is slightly cloudy in traditional style and is extremely tasty.
Other popular ramen dishes include Tofu Ramen and Gyoza Ramen, with even Kimchi Ramen available.
Ramen Ya also pleases with its sides including karaage chicken and fried rice.
7. Ajisen Ramen (various)
Ajisen Ramen is a great value and quality restaurant on Bourke Street extremely popular with students and lovers of good ramen. It is part of a group of restaurants originating from Japan and operating since 1968 and more recently from 2004 in Melbourne.
Walk in and be greeted by the larger than life mascot girl near the entrance. This places has two things Melbourne loves - great food and a sense of fun.
Here is the low down from the website - Ajisen Ramen specialises in ramen in tonkotsu soup which is pork bone soup. "It has lots of collagen in the soup which is good for health and prevents aging. Our noodle is made from wheat flour and cooked to al dente."
Interesting to use an Italian term to describe ramen! They also mention a secret brown sauce they serve with the ramen, that is tasty and delicious.
Ramen is the main game here so I went with the ramen in a lunch deal with the Tori Karaage chicken. The chicken came as a large portion of deep fried chicken and with a great Japanese mayo. For mine this was a sensation with perfectly fried chicken but not too oily. With the mayo it was a killer combination. I could have just settled with a bowl of this for lunch.
The Chargrilled beef ramen was excellent with tasty char grill flavours of the beef and the right amount of fatiness in the ramen. Served with egg and vegetables. You could see the char sear marks on the meat which was impressive.
The room is quite dim but a great atmosphere. Timber tables and timber stools. Condiments on the table. Art and photos on the wall.
Unlike say Mr Ramen San, you need to pay for extras with the ramen. So it can end up being more expensive than you think.
The wheat flour noodles were of excellent quality. Quality of noodles in ramen are important.
Also impressive here is the fast and friendly service.
The newly established Ajisen Ramen in Melbourne Central is great for those of us who work in the precinct.
8. Fukuryu Ramen (CBD)
Fukuryu Ramen is in Chinatown; just duck down the laneway off Little Bourke and up the stairs. Modern blazing red artwork adorns the walls. Chunky tables are scattered about; but you need to order from the counter.
We seem to always be ordering Tonkotsu Ramen at ramen houses; this ramen was described as the signature excellent although we felt the meat was really thinly sliced. We would like it to be thicker and more substantial. Broth was creamy and oily and full of flavour. There is a Silver Tonkotsu version that is the signature dish but thicker in the broth. As they say, "not for the faint hearted!"
Fukuryu Ramen divides the ramen menu into Signature and Modern; with the modern ramen including dishes such as Black Dragon with squid ink, black sesame and black pepper seasoned soup, and the Red Dragon spicy ramen made with chicken broth.
Atmosphere is pleasant as a quiet destination, with Japanese beers available (which we enjoyed with our ramen).
9. Hakata Gensuke (various)
Hakata Gensuke Ramen is a popular ramen house and has several ramen restaurants around Melbourne, including a modern shop on Russell Street in the CBD.
Again, you need to order your ramen from the form to get the combinations of ramen style and soup. We actually prefer engaging a waiter/staff in the ordering process. Also extra costs here; if you want extra noodles you need to pay $2 and it also costs for extra garnishes.
Signature ramen is the Tonkotsu Ramen; a thick creamy broth cooked in pork bones. For some the broth here is rather oily; while many enjoy the intensity of flavour. They cater for those who like fiery ramen - you can get your spice hit!
Hakata Gensuke Ramen also has brilliant sides such as their karaage chicken.
10. Shizuku (Abbotsford and now Fitzroy)
This is a ramen house with a creative menu. Whisky ramen - that's something we can embrace. Specialties include Tan Tan Men pork ramen (signature with free range pork mince and chilli kick), Tonkotsu Shoyu Ramen with a house made soy flavour, Whisky Ramen with Yamazake 12 year whisky, and Angel's Share Ramen with Hibiki 12 years whisky and fermented rice sake. The whisky is not overpowering in the ramen - of course if it was substantial it would push up the price! Just imagine.
A Lobster Kewpie Burger (affordable compared to some others in Melbourne) and Kakuni Pork Burger sliders are most welcome, as is Ken's Fried Chicken, Karaage PopCorn Chicken and the large number of other small dishes. The selection of 5 types of Gyoza dishes is also providing great choice for diners. Rice dishes hit the mark and rival the quality of the ramen dishes.
Ramen and craft beer goes well together. The wine list is limited but stick to the craft beer; both international and local.
Enjoy a modern playful vibe.