Mmmmmm…… One of my all-time favorite foods: ramen. And now that we have fully come into the New England winter, it couldn’t be more relevant. Everyone knows Jan, Feb, and March are the bleakest, greyest, worst months because the holidays are over but spring is still so far away. So, solve your blues with a warm, delicious bowl of ramen.
I’ve been working my way through ramen places in Boston. So far, so good, but I have a long way to go. I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to Part 2 of this post. But without further ado, my ramen rankings thus far:
Little Big Diner
Yep, out in Newton Center, in a tiny little place, is my favorite ramen so far in Boston. So, I guess I should say, in the Boston area. I loved everything about the miso ramen. It’s chock full of goods – like bean sprouts, seaweed, corn, onions – and their tofu is grilled to perfection. The broth is incredibly flavorful but not extremely creamy like tonkotsu, which sometimes I find to be a bit much. They also ALWAYS have a vegetarian option, which changes based on the season. In the fall, it was pumpkin, and now, it’s mushroom miso [I love enoki and shiitake mushrooms so this is great]. Their claim to fame is the chicken ramen, which sounds absolutely delicious, but I haven’t been with someone who’s tried it so I can’t truly attest to it. I think it should also be noted that the rest of their menu sounds sooo good as well: rice bowls, steamed buns, shumai, and a plethora of alcohol. What can I say, this place is #1 for me.
Santouka came in a close second for me. And I know, it’s a chain. What the hell, how could you pick a chain to be one of your top faves! But, hey, Santouka started in Hokkaido, Japan, and has grown to have places all over the world. They now have two spots in Boston, and who knows, maybe one day a third? It can’t be that bad. They also have a ton of ramen options, including vegetarian! I went for the miso, and I loved all the fixings — the mushrooms, onions, bamboo, and seaweed. Can you tell that’s a theme for me? While some came immersed in the ramen, as you can see, you can also order more on the side which is what I did. I love that. Their second location is also conveniently located right near my office, which means I will happily be frequenting Santouka this winter.
I feel like Ganko Ittetsu is legit. Another small place, only a few tables, so I definitely don’t recommend rolling up with a group. It’s also totally hidden away inside an indoor mall [?] in Coolidge Corner. Legitimately. TG they put a chalkboard sign outside on the sidewalk or else ya might miss it. Their ramen is so so flavorful, and so so creamy, and so so rich. I mean it is absolutely delicious. I loved the spicy miso, which is currently on special BUT it’s been on special for a while now, and I’m hoping it just stays. The reason Ganko wasn’t my number two pick is because I wish it had more stuff in it. Mainly, if I really call it out like it is, I miss mushrooms. And maybe some more seaweed. And you can’t opt to add that stuff in for extra. It’s also quite creamy for me. But that’s a personal preference, and I recommend this place to anyone who will listen. It really is phenomenal, so get yourself to Brookline to try it!
Ah, the bottom of the list. Someone’s gotta be last. I think this is the definition of a chain that’s lost it’s muster. Their menu is HUGE, actually huge, covering ramen, curry, donburi, salads, and even brunch. A big menu is great for crowd pleasing, but I found that their ramen lacked flavor. I ordered the yasai ramen, which is vegetarian. All the toppings sounded great, but it just didn’t do it for me. Something was missing. The pork ramen was also ordered, and didn’t quite hit it either. There are several locations around Boston, which is convenient, but I’m not sure I’ll be returning anytime soon.
With that, there are so many more places to try!
Next on my list: Pikaichi, Yume Wo Kotare, Sapporo, Totto, and late night at Uni. Basically, I need to spend more time slurping in Porter Square and Allston. Are there any ramen places you recommend?? I’m all ears.
Also, I’d like to say that Little Donkey’s matzo ball ramen makes honorable mention, but I just couldn’t really get with it. It gets an eh in my book.