Ramen restaurants in London have moved into the limelight of the city's food scene with gastronomical additions over the past few years. From a classic bowl of shoyu ramen to regional delights and creative fusion goodness - here are the best ramen restaurants in London.
When people think of Japanese food, ramen is one of the top three that most will name, along with curry and sushi. However, compared to the other two, it is considered an art form among food for its essential elements - broth, noodles, and toppings.
In London, wherever you turn in the city, you're bound to find an independent or chain ramen house with its speciality and distinctive presence that makes it stand out.
From a selection of Kyushu's famous Tonkotsu to the growing popularity of Geki-kara (extra spicy noodles), the diverse tastes of the popular noodle dish have immersed over the years. They can match any customer's taste buds. It's been a trend that has exploded in London's food scene for the past few years. This has led the city to have a reputation for some of the best quality ramen in Europe.
Earlier accounts say it was first introduced in Japan by a Chinese scholar named Shu Shunsui, who brought the recipe to the country around the end of the Meiji Period (late 19th or early 20th century). The first ramen shop, Rai-Rai Ken, opened in Asakusa, Tokyo, in 1910, with Chinese immigrants from Yokohama working at the restaurant.
Are you feeling hungry? Try out the list of ramen restaurants below in London that are a must to satisfy your cravings and unravel some of the best spots for ramen.
Known as "the most famous tonkotsu ramen shop in Japan," ramen connoisseurs will know Ippudo lives up to its name as one of the best ramen restaurants not only in London but also in the world.
Originating from Fukuoka, Ippudo was created by Kawahara Shigemi in 1985. It has since expanded to regional and overseas cities in Australia, Singapore, and the UK.
What stands out about the chain is you can choose the firmness of your noodles, and with the quality being top-notch, from the flavoursome broth to the mouthwatering toppings, it's considered the best of the best.
Best dishes to order: Karaka-men, Shiromaru Classic, Hirata Buns
3 Central Saint Giles Piazza, St Giles High St, London WC2H 8AG
Tim Anderson, a 2011 Masterchef winner, founded Nanban. He studied Japanese food for over 20 years and created Nanban with a passion for serving Japanese food since he was a teenager.
He incorporates ingredients from the Brixton market to create a Kyushu-Brixton fusion to the ramen houses cooking. That's why customers will notice ackee and saltfish, scotch bonnet and plantain in the restaurant's ramen.
Infamous for its Lazy Goat Ragu-men, it's a staple and a signature favourite among local foodies that no other ramen restaurant in London could replicate. So it's worth checking off your to-eat list!
Best dishes to order: Lazy Goat Ragu-men, The Leopard, Market Tempura
426 Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, London SW9 8LF
Kanada-ya is another Kyushu-based restaurant founded by Kanada Kazuhiro, who opened the first Kanada-ya in Yukuhashi, Japan, back in 2009. While mainly focusing on tasty Tonkotsu or Chashu ramen recipes, their standout has to be Geki-kara. We recommend spicy food connoisseurs try this spicy minced pork and chicken bone broth ramen.
The chain has done relatively well with branches available in Japan and the UK and in Hong Kong and Spain. Like Ippudo, they also give customers the choice of how firm the noodles in their ramen can be.
Best dishes to order: Geki kara, Abura Soba, Tonkotsu X
64 St Giles High Street London WC2H 8LE
Bone Daddies is notorious for its bold and distinctive ramens out of all the best restaurants in London. Every month a new bowl of ramen takes centre stage. They have released flavours such as Abu Ramen, Prince of Darkness and Korean Army Ramen.
It was first opened in Soho, London, by Australian-born chef Ross Shanhar in 2012. Every time you walk into a branch at Bone Daddies, the chatty atmosphere among staff and customers with the ramen resembles the perfect vibe in a local izakaya.
Best dishes to order: Tantanmen 1, Pork Pork Chilli, Chashu Pork Bun
31 Peter St, London W1F 0AR
Because of the chain's name, people go to Tonkotsu for the infamous Hakata-style ramen to get the quality taste of ramen they have heard so much about.
What began as two friends, Emma and Ken, who became great friends for their love of Japanese food and travelling in 2002, developed into a business ten years later, with the first branch of Tonkotsu opening in 2012.
With the most significant number of branches on this list, it's not hard to spot a Tonkotsu branch and be tempted to pop in for a taste of their style of ramen. The only thing is that the broth could be more affluent.
Best dishes to order: Geki kara, Chilli Tiger Prawn, Pork, Ginger and Garlic Gyoza
63 Dean St, London W1D 4QG
You can't think of a ramen restaurant without someone mentioning Shoryu Ramen upon arriving in London. It all started with the founder of Japan Centre, Tak Tokumine and Executive Chef Kanji Furukawa coming together in 2012 to open the first branch in the heart of Soho. They aimed to bring authentic Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen to the city.
Now Shoryu Ramen has expanded to 11 more ramen houses around the UK. They also have DIY Shoryu kits and host numerous private parties. So do try their delicious sides to go with your favourite ramen, such as takoyaki, pumpkin croquette buns and chicken karaage.
Best dishes to order: Piri Piri Tonkotsu, Kotteri Hakata Tonkotsu, Pumpkin Croquette Bun
3 Denman Street, London, W1D 7HA
They initially opened in 2003 with Yamagoya Sushi, the restaurant aimed to be the standard in sushi and ramen for Londoners. Today, they have one shop open close to Southwark station that still presents to ramen enthusiasts their classic ramen, Tobanjan, Oyako and more.
Another stand out for Yamagoya is the infamous raindrop cake, a clear, jelly-like dessert known as Mizu Shingen Mochi (水信玄餅) in Japan that gained international attention. It's the perfect dessert to have after a delicious bowl of ramen for a combination of tasty goodness.
Best dishes to order: Tobanjan, Yamagoya Ramen, Raindrop cake
49 The Cut, London, SE1 8LF
When you're in London, be sure to visit some of the best ramen restaurants in London. Let us know if you've gone to any of these ramen houses by sharing it on social media!