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Bowl of tonkatsu ramen HiroNori Ramen/Facebook

Where to Eat Ramen in San Diego

Slurp noodles and broth at these 13 restaurants

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Slurping down a big bowl of ramen is one of life’s great comforts and San Diego offers a style for every palate. From silky, stick-to-your ribs tonkotsu to spicy miso or even vegan versions, local Japanese ramen shops are stepping up their noodle soup game; some are even making their own noodles. Here are 15 of the best places to eat ramen in San Diego right now.

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Note: map points are not ranked.

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The Whet Noodle

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Chef and owner Davin Waite is known county-wide for his creative, low-waste, unorthodox sushi creations but he also has a spot called The Whet Noodle. Head to Oceanside for ramen dishes with creative twists like fish tonkatsu, a creamy fish broth dish featuring a fish of the day.

Menya Ultra Ramen Mira Mesa

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Chosen as Eater San Diego’s restaurant of the year in 2017, Menya Ultra stormed into San Diego to rave reviews and monstrously long lines. It became so successful another was opened in Mira Mesa in 2018 and the newest spot in Hillcrest open just this year. Everything is made from scratch: the broth, the noodles and many of the condiments. Try the Paiko Tantan Men with a pork cutlet and spicy sesame chili oil.

Bowl of ramen with soft egg Menya Ultra/Facebook

Yakitori Yakyudori

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Primarily known for its yakitori grilled over binchon charcoals, this well-established eatery also serves seven varieties of recommendable ramen. Go for the Nagoya, a spicy salt-based broth featuring chives, stir-fried minced pork and bamboo shoots. Extra noodles will set you back $1.50.

Tajima Convoy

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Tajima is a ramen empire with multiple locations found in College Heights, East Village, Hillcrest, North Park and Mercury, but the original on Convoy is still tops among ramen enthusiasts. For something different, order their carnitas ramen, a spicy tonkatsu chicken and pork broth with carnitas, radish, cilantro and lime among its ingredients.

Bowl of tonkatsu ramen

Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen

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Tokyo-born owner Junya Wantanabe now has four San Diego locations— the newest in Mira Mesa, one in Little Italy, one in Liberty Station and the original, on Convoy. Known just as much for their proprietary kaarage fried chicken and playful rolls as they are for their decadently porky ramen offerings, all locations continue to command large crowds of hungry eaters. Try the curry ramen for something a little different.

Nishiki Ramen

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First-timers to Nishiki need only to know that their silky, fatty tonkotsu is a must-try. The Smoke Bomb Black with pork belly chashu, roasted black garlic sauce, a soft-boiled egg, corn, fish cake, seaweed, onion, ginger and homemade noodles is a popular choice. Head to the original Kearny Mesa location or the second spot in Hillcrest.

Santouka Ramen (Mitsuwa Market)

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Find Santouka Ramen inside Mitsuwa Marketplace along with other Japanese eateries. The shio ramen, or salt ramen, has a layered, delicate salt-based broth and is a good choice for first time visitors. Takeout is available to enjoy at home.

Wa Dining Okan

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Ramen may play second fiddle to the host of other dishes on the menu but it’s worth it during the dinner hour. Found under the noodle dishes, ramen starts at $10 a bowl with choices including tonkatsu, soy and duck.

Karami Ramen

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The signature ramen of this Convoy Street spot incorporates the shop’s own tori paitan chicken broth. More unique offering on the menu lean toward the spicy side like the habanero miso, Thai shoyu and aka oni, a bowl that incorporates all the spices in the shop for maximum heat.

Bowl of habanero ramen Karami Ramen/Facebook

Nozaru Ramen Bar

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Bowls with names like Red Gorilla, Angry Ape and Tokyo Chicken is the first hint this is not your traditional ramen shop but its become a fast favorite in the Adams Avenue area. Noodle options include original, spinach plus one made with gluten-free brown rice.

Bowl of Angry Veggie ramen Nozaru Ramen Bar/Facebook

Izakaya Masa

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Well-loved for its affordable prices—their starting option is priced at $10—Izakaya Masa in Mission Hills serves a variety of izakaya style dishes like donburi, gyoza and more but is known particularly for its ramen. Choose from hakata and soyu.

Ramen Ryoma Hillcrest

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This transplant from the Pacific Northwest has multiple locations in San Diego with spots in Hillcrest and Pacific Beach. Its signature bowl combines a long-simmered pork broth with a miso base and hand-rolled thick noodles that have a bouncy texture.

Bowl of veggie ramen Ramen Ryoma/Facebook

HiroNori Craft Ramen

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Started by friends Hiro Igarashi and Nori Akasaka, this shop has several locations in Orange County and Los Angeles, plus one local spot in Hillcrest. Order the vegan ramen, a sesame-miso-based broth that incorporates five different miso imported from Japan.

Ramen noodles swirling around chopsticks HiroNori Craft Ramen/Facebook

Underbelly

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Established years before the influx of ramen shops, it’s best known for its Belly of the Beast ramen, a tonkotsu-based bowl filled with a meaty mix of beef brisket, oxtail dumplings, and hoisin-glazed short rib. As a CH Projects restaurants, it’s also one of the few ramen spots to offer creative cocktails.

BESHOCK Ramen

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East Village and Carlsbad’s BESHOCK pulls double duty as a ramen shop and a sake bar helmed by sake master Ayaka Ito, with impressive options on both sides of the menu. The shop’s broth is made from a lighter, proprietary mix of pork, chicken and vegetables. There are chicken and soy-based ramens, as well a cheese ramen featuring Gorgonzola.

The Whet Noodle

Chef and owner Davin Waite is known county-wide for his creative, low-waste, unorthodox sushi creations but he also has a spot called The Whet Noodle. Head to Oceanside for ramen dishes with creative twists like fish tonkatsu, a creamy fish broth dish featuring a fish of the day.

Menya Ultra Ramen Mira Mesa

Chosen as Eater San Diego’s restaurant of the year in 2017, Menya Ultra stormed into San Diego to rave reviews and monstrously long lines. It became so successful another was opened in Mira Mesa in 2018 and the newest spot in Hillcrest open just this year. Everything is made from scratch: the broth, the noodles and many of the condiments. Try the Paiko Tantan Men with a pork cutlet and spicy sesame chili oil.

Bowl of ramen with soft egg Menya Ultra/Facebook

Yakitori Yakyudori

Primarily known for its yakitori grilled over binchon charcoals, this well-established eatery also serves seven varieties of recommendable ramen. Go for the Nagoya, a spicy salt-based broth featuring chives, stir-fried minced pork and bamboo shoots. Extra noodles will set you back $1.50.

Tajima Convoy

Tajima is a ramen empire with multiple locations found in College Heights, East Village, Hillcrest, North Park and Mercury, but the original on Convoy is still tops among ramen enthusiasts. For something different, order their carnitas ramen, a spicy tonkatsu chicken and pork broth with carnitas, radish, cilantro and lime among its ingredients.

Bowl of tonkatsu ramen

Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen

Tokyo-born owner Junya Wantanabe now has four San Diego locations— the newest in Mira Mesa, one in Little Italy, one in Liberty Station and the original, on Convoy. Known just as much for their proprietary kaarage fried chicken and playful rolls as they are for their decadently porky ramen offerings, all locations continue to command large crowds of hungry eaters. Try the curry ramen for something a little different.

Nishiki Ramen

First-timers to Nishiki need only to know that their silky, fatty tonkotsu is a must-try. The Smoke Bomb Black with pork belly chashu, roasted black garlic sauce, a soft-boiled egg, corn, fish cake, seaweed, onion, ginger and homemade noodles is a popular choice. Head to the original Kearny Mesa location or the second spot in Hillcrest.

Santouka Ramen (Mitsuwa Market)

Find Santouka Ramen inside Mitsuwa Marketplace along with other Japanese eateries. The shio ramen, or salt ramen, has a layered, delicate salt-based broth and is a good choice for first time visitors. Takeout is available to enjoy at home.

Wa Dining Okan

Ramen may play second fiddle to the host of other dishes on the menu but it’s worth it during the dinner hour. Found under the noodle dishes, ramen starts at $10 a bowl with choices including tonkatsu, soy and duck.

Karami Ramen

The signature ramen of this Convoy Street spot incorporates the shop’s own tori paitan chicken broth. More unique offering on the menu lean toward the spicy side like the habanero miso, Thai shoyu and aka oni, a bowl that incorporates all the spices in the shop for maximum heat.

Bowl of habanero ramen Karami Ramen/Facebook

Nozaru Ramen Bar

Bowls with names like Red Gorilla, Angry Ape and Tokyo Chicken is the first hint this is not your traditional ramen shop but its become a fast favorite in the Adams Avenue area. Noodle options include original, spinach plus one made with gluten-free brown rice.

Bowl of Angry Veggie ramen Nozaru Ramen Bar/Facebook

Izakaya Masa

Well-loved for its affordable prices—their starting option is priced at $10—Izakaya Masa in Mission Hills serves a variety of izakaya style dishes like donburi, gyoza and more but is known particularly for its ramen. Choose from hakata and soyu.

Ramen Ryoma Hillcrest

This transplant from the Pacific Northwest has multiple locations in San Diego with spots in Hillcrest and Pacific Beach. Its signature bowl combines a long-simmered pork broth with a miso base and hand-rolled thick noodles that have a bouncy texture.

Bowl of veggie ramen Ramen Ryoma/Facebook

HiroNori Craft Ramen

Started by friends Hiro Igarashi and Nori Akasaka, this shop has several locations in Orange County and Los Angeles, plus one local spot in Hillcrest. Order the vegan ramen, a sesame-miso-based broth that incorporates five different miso imported from Japan.

Ramen noodles swirling around chopsticks HiroNori Craft Ramen/Facebook

Underbelly

Established years before the influx of ramen shops, it’s best known for its Belly of the Beast ramen, a tonkotsu-based bowl filled with a meaty mix of beef brisket, oxtail dumplings, and hoisin-glazed short rib. As a CH Projects restaurants, it’s also one of the few ramen spots to offer creative cocktails.

BESHOCK Ramen

East Village and Carlsbad’s BESHOCK pulls double duty as a ramen shop and a sake bar helmed by sake master Ayaka Ito, with impressive options on both sides of the menu. The shop’s broth is made from a lighter, proprietary mix of pork, chicken and vegetables. There are chicken and soy-based ramens, as well a cheese ramen featuring Gorgonzola.

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