Looking for the best ramen spots in Boston? Trust us, we know good ramen is hard to come by! Lucky for you, we have prepared our top list of ramen places, so you can stop searching and go straight to the best spots in town.
1. Santouka Back Bay
66 Hereford St, Boston MA
Hours: 11 AM - 9 PM (closes at 9:30 PM on Friday and Weekend)
Parking: Street and Garage
Located conveniently near Newbury St and Boylston St, Santouka Back Bay is one of my favorite ramen places in the Boston area and is a favorite by many other Bostonians.
All of their broth is homemade, and the broth is light and not salty at all. Expect a line every time you come here for lunch or dinner (especially during the weekend) as the place is relatively small (only around ten tables) considering how popular it is. As the restaurant is almost always packed, expect a 5-10 minutes wait time after placing your order.
Toroniku (Pork cheeks) is a relatively new addition to the Santouka menu, but Santouka claims it to be one of their original dishes. Pork cheeks are my favorite pig cut as it has a perfect meat-to-fat ratio (less fatty and meatier than pork belly). You can either order a Miso Ramen with Toroniku or Spicy Miso Ramen with Toroniku or order a normal bowl of ramen with added Toroniku on the side.
Either way, you will get plenty of meat and a soft-boiled egg, along with traditional ramen toppings such as thick bamboo shoots, green onions, and crunchy wood ear mushrooms. Unfortunately, due to COVID, condiments are no longer placed on the tables, and instead, you need to request them from the staff.
Overall, I would rate it 9/10. I highly recommend it!
2. Sapporo Ramen
2 locations: 581 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA (inside HMart) and 1815 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA
Hours: 11 AM - 9 PM (HMart) and 11:30 AM - 3 PM and 5 - 9 PM (other location)
Parking: Parking Lot Available
Located conveniently inside HMart and right in the middle of Cambridge, Sapporo Ramen is unexpectedly good for a place located inside of a supermarket. There's often no queue time, and the noodles are ready a couple of minutes after you order them.
I highly recommend their Tan Tan-Men, sesame flavored ramen topped with spicy ground pork, with added Roast Pork (Chashu). For $16.50, this bowl guarantees to satisfy your noodle cravings. The broth was spicy, so much so that I recommend you don't try this option if you don't like spicy food. The Chashu was thick, juicy, and plentiful.
The only downside to this place is that it is not a full-service restaurant since it's just a stall located in HMart's food court, and you have to share seating space with all the other guests from the other places in the food court.
Overall, I would rate it 9/10. I would definitely recommend it!
3. Shin Hakata Ramen
173 Massachusetts Ave, Boston MA (Take-out only at the moment due to COVID)
Hours: 11 AM - 9:30 PM
Parking: Street Parking and Garage Parking Available
Located on Mass Ave, this ramen place is not too far from the Prudential Center and is close to bus stops and the T, so it's pretty accessible. An important note for Shin Hakata is that you should only order their ramen dish as that is pretty much the most consistent and worthwhile dish on their menu.
The Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen that I ordered was $12.95 and came with three pieces of Chashu, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, chili oil, a sheet of seaweed, and half of a perfectly soft-boiled egg. The noodle was soft and thin, and the soup had a clear and flavorful pork-bone taste to it while the spiciness was just right. For the price of $12.95, you can't ask more out of a bowl of ramen. This ramen is a "budget" option to satisfy your ramen cravings.
Overall, I would rate it 8.5/10.
4. Totto Ramen
169 Brighton Ave, Allston MA
Hours: Noon - 4 PM and 5 - 9:30 PM (except for Saturday (Noon - 9:30 PM) and Sunday (Noon - 9 PM)
Parking: Street Parking
A popular spot in Allston, Totto Ramen is a must-try for ramen lovers living in the area.
I ordered the "Mega Ramen" for $23, a giant bowl of ramen that differentiates Totto Ramen from other ramen restaurants. The bowl came with an extra-large portion of ramen noodles served al dente style, three types of pork: roasted pork belly (Chashu), shredded pork, and a whole thick piece of roasted pork, topped with traditional ramen toppings such as corn, green onion, bean sprouts, and a perfectly soft-boiled egg cut in half. You and your friends can easily share this bowl. It's huge.
The chicken-based Paitan soup was creamy, rich, and not too spicy (5/10 in terms of spiciness). Even though I usually prefer Tonkotsu and Miso Ramen over Paitan Ramen, Totto's unique approach to this dish (including two cuts of pork usually not seen in other ramen restaurants) makes a strong case for a 2nd visit.
Overall, I would rate it 8/10. I would be down to try it again!
269 Newbury St, Boston MA
Parking: Street Parking
Moving away from traditional ramen restaurants, we have a Japanese Gastropub located right on Newbury St. with both indoor and outdoor seating and the option to reserve a table in advance.
The ramen here is more expensive than the other places on this list ($21 for a basic bowl of ramen) as it's a relatively fine dining experience. A nice thing about Itadaki is that their broth is a combination of 2 kinds of ramen broth. My bowl of ramen came with a decent amount of chashu, corn, beansprout, green onion, bamboo shoots, and arugula (something that isn't seen often in ramen bowls).
While the ramen is nothing too special to write home about, Itadaki offers the flexibility of having other Japanese dishes to order. Therefore this restaurant is more appropriate for occasions where you eat with friends or family rather than alone.
Overall, I would rate it 8/10. It's definitely the most occasion-dependent place on this list!
6. Wen's Noodles and Ramen
247 Newbury St, Boston MA
Hours: 11:30 AM - 9:15 PM (11 AM - 9:45 PM on Friday and Saturday)
Parking: Street Parking
Another place that is not a traditional ramen restaurant, Wen's Noodles and Ramen, serve both ramen and other Chinese noodle soups, along with other Chinese and Japanese dishes. For a ramen restaurant located right on Newbury St., Wen's offerings are certainly very affordable.
However, I wouldn't describe it as a "budget" option since a bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen still costs $13.89 and an additional $1.50 for extra Chashu while the Unagi would set you back $6.99. The Chashu was a bit thinner than I expected, and the soft-boiled egg was not perfectly soft-boiled, but the soup was rich and creamy and the ground pork was a pleasant surprise.
The eel was delicious, although the portion size could be bigger. I also recommend trying their Beef Flank noodles ($11.89) as the beef was tender and the broth was superb.
Overall, I would rate it an 8/10. it's certainly a nice place with not just ramen noodles but also other kinds of noodles and rice.
Whichever ramen spot you choose to dine at, I'm positive that it will be infinitely times better than the instant ramen we're all used to cooking.