While ramen is closely associated with Japan, where enthusiasts’ diners casually queue up in long lines for this delicious dish, the actual roots of ramen can be traced back to the time of Chinese noodles. Today, fans of the Japanese noodle-and-broth bowl can find great ramen, chef-made ramen, expensive ramen, and only-in-the-District ramen in DC.
If you’re looking to slurp down delicious noodles in a flavorful broth, there are a few places you may want to check out. From vegetarian nooks to “triple pork” bowls, here are some of the best notable ramen spots in DC.
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705 6th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 daikaya.com
Feast on Japanese noodle soups served in a casual, funky dig with blue and yellow walls and rustic tables!
Most ramen lovers in DC will immediately direct you to Daikaya Ramen Shop when you ask about the best ramen in town. This casual, buzzy, and funky ramen spot has been in operation for close to nine years. It’s a perfect place to grab a quick and extremely satisfying fix.
The fast-paced shop located on the first floor dishes out six types of Sapporo-style ramen including shoyu (dark soy sauce), salty shio, mugi-miso, vegetable ramen, and spicy miso ramen. Their expert advice for savoring a bowl of ramen reads, “Sip the broth, slurp some noodles, and then dig into mountains of broth-soaked meat and roasted vegetables.” It also serves a variety of Japanese comfort food, Japanese whiskey, craft beer, and sake.
Daikaya also has an izakaya located on the second floor so that you plenty of delicious treats in the same building. Guests will have a great time enjoying the bright, lively, and cool concept of the ramen bar and order everything directly from the shop.
501 G St. NW, Washington, DC 20001 bantamking.com
A popular Pop Art-decorated spot serving chicken or vegetable-based ramen as well as Japanese-style fried chicken!
Serving relatively new-style ramen, Bantam King has introduced a creative poultry-based ramen in DC. What was formally a Burger King has turned into a well-lit, funky, vibrant, and fun ramen shop.
When you come here, make sure you choose your chicken, then your favorite ramen, then choose your toppings, and you’re ready to go. Their noodles are custom made in Sapporo while the chicken Paitan is simmered for six hours to get achieve a clean and pure broth. Enjoy favorites such as Shio Paitan, a comforting and classic salt-based broth served with ginger and scallions, Shoyu Paitan, an aromatic soy sauce-based ramen with savory caramel tones, or Miso. Other options include spicy miso, veggie tantanmen, and plenty of toppings.
Come in during happy hour and enjoy plenty of signature cocktails, beers, sake, and other frozen drinks!
845 Upshur St NW 1st Floor, Washington, DC 20011 menyahosakidc.com
An Intimate locale with outdoor seating serving ramen noodles, Japanese fried chicken, beer, and sake!
Menya Hosaki has earned a spot among the ramen community in DC. They are popular for serving hot bowls of authentic Japanese ramen. From broth to noodles, tare to chashu, each element is made in-house and served hot.
Enjoy a selection of ramen options including classic tonkotsu ramen and shoyu ramen as well as the international fusion-inspired truffle shoyu and the spicy tantan. Each bowl is carefully prepared from hand-made noodles which are simmered for hours to bring put that deliciously creamy taste and texture.
Vegetarians can enjoy the vegan spicy tantan that comes with almond milk-based vegan broth with house-made chili oil, spinach, sesame paste, scallions, and menma (bamboo shoot). A starter of Japanese fried chicken can stave off appetites before your ramen arrives.
Make sure you order a soft drink to accompany your main meal!
1336 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005 jinyaramenbar.com
An upscale outlet known for long-simmered noodle soups, wide menu and drinks!
JINYA is popular for its slow-cooked approach to ramen, perfectly prepared from broth simmered for more than 20 hours in-house. Each of their six signature broth balances flavors from whole pork bones, chicken, and vegetables with just the right amount of dashi, bonito, kombu, miso, and other classic Japanese ingredients. The outcome is a rich broth that is full-flavored, thick, and unforgettable.
The all-time favorite JINYA ramen bowls include the black tonkotsu, wonto chicken ramen, spicy umami miso. Make sure you sample the chef’s specials with rotational items such as the Tokyo spice and karaage bowl. Also, be sure to check out small plates such as Brussels sprouts tempura, pork Gyoza, JINYA Bun, crispy chicken, or even impossible bun.
If you want something sweet, try their savory desserts and add one of their specialty drinks as an accompaniment!
805 V St NW, Washington, DC 20001 haikandc.com
Sleek venue with patio and communal tables serving Japanese noodle soups, light fare, and signature cocktails!
The sibling restaurant to Daikaya in Chinatown, Haikan has become among the favorite ramen spot in DC. Here, they serve the popular “Sapporo style ramen,” meaning that they ship all their noodles from Sapporo, Japan. It’s a perfect selection especially if you don’t like things too salty. The classic shoyu ramen is a great choice.
Grab a table in the narrow dining room or at a communal patio table and get slurping. Bowls of shoyu, shio, miso, or spicy shoyu soup can be customized with a range of extra toppings including bamboo, butter, or even seasoned “nitamago” egg. They use a stock called “chintan” that features a clear appearance and delicate, yet delicious flavor. It contains beef, chicken, and pork. All their ramen except the vegetable option is topped with onions, garlic, ground pork, bean sprouts, nori, chashu (roasted pork shoulder), and scallions – choose from small to large. The large is ideal with kozara dishes but the small is best with a few kozara dishes.
The menu also features signature drinks such as sake, wine, Japanese whiskey, beer, and as well as a range of creative cocktails.
1501 9th St NW, Washington, DC 20001 chaplinsdc.com
Charlie Chaplin-themed eatery for Japanese fare and signature cocktails named after the actor’s films!
Chaplins may be popular for cocktails and dumplings, but they also serve a complete ramen selection. Every time you walk through the doors at Chaplin’s expect to be taken to an era that shaped a culture based on entertainment and fancy.
The favorite has got to be the tan tan men that come with ground pork, sesame paste, bok choy, hot sesame oil and miso. Or the ramen with bean sprouts, wakame broth, onions, bamboo shoots, scallions, and nori.
Other popular items include Chaplin A.s.s, which combines Asian spicy sour chicken, lemongrass, chicken chashu, coconut milk, scallions, cilantro, and red chili, or the Stamina Spicy with garlic, sliced pork, poached eggs, scallions, and miso. Their perfectly ground pork and chashu definitely hit the spot every time. There is also an option to add extra items like gyoza and even pork butt – and who can say no to dumplings on top of your ramen?
With all these options on the menu, there is a high chance that Chaplin’s Restaurant will become your go-to Japanese ramen restaurant in DC.
1234 H St NE, Washington, DC 20002 tokiunderground.com
Popular snug Asian-fusion restaurant popular for ramen noodle soups, sake, dumplings, and signature cocktails!
Since opening its doors in 2011, Toki Underground has been serving Taiwanese-style ramen with authentic flavor that diners cannot resist. Whether you’re planning to try a steamy new interpretation of their beloved noodles or experiencing a vision that no one else has gotten to try – one thing is certain, always expect the unexpected.
Enjoy their delicious ramen, pork-based except for vegan topped with beni shoga, scallions, nori, and sesame seeds. Diners love the Taipei curry-infused chicken served with a soft egg, greens, and pickled ginger. Also, try the spicy Kimchi, braised with pork, soft egg, greens, and pickled ginger, or gluten-free classic with chashu pork, tonkotsu broth, soft poached egg, scallions, pickled ginger with yam and noodles.
Make sure you add extra toppings of pressure-cooked pork cheek, Karaage fried chicken, or even some roasted pulled pork. There are extremely delicious!
Ramen is a delicious Japanese dish that many people love thanks to its customized option, and also because it’s super delicious. While there are many ramen spots in Washington to choose from, we have rounded up the best where you can get savory ramen and noodles. Which is your favorite ramen spot in town? Let us know in the comments!