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Where's the best ramen in San Francisco?

I've been getting into ramen recently and would like to know the best spots to check out.

5 Answers

top answer by
Debbie from San Francisco

I really like Katana Ya in the Tenderloin.  It's probably the most popular spot in the city for ramen, so prepare for a line!  I like this place because all they have a decent variety of ramen and I really like that you can choose the "density" level of the broth.  I'm trying to cut back on sodium, so I order it "light" and it's perfect.  My favorite ramen to get here is their "butter corn".  They have sushi, too, but pretty much no one comes here for the sushi.

Close by in the Financial District is the newer Ramen Underground.  It's a little pricier than Katana Ya and you can't choose how light or heavy your broth is.  I do like the fresh spinach that tops each bowl.  I ordered spicy miso with corn here:Orenchi Beyond just opened in the Mission last month, by the same people who opened the beloved Orenchi Ramen in Santa Clara.  Haven't been yet, but the pictures of it leads me to believe it's a very hip place!  I believe it has a sake bar.

And of course, there's also Japantown.  None of them particularly stand out to me as better than the other; I feel like they're all on the same caliber and pretty good.  There's TanpopoWarakuRamen Yamadaya, and Suzu Noodle House & Japanese Restaurant

I know these are a lot of ramen places, but honestly, I don't think you can go wrong at any of them.  You can go on a ramen tour ;)

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Katana Ya (restaurant)
  2. Ramen Underground (restaurant)
  3. Orenchi Beyond (restaurant)
  4. Tanpopo (restaurant)
  5. Waraku (restaurant)
  6. Ramen Yamadaya (restaurant)
  7. Suzu Noodle House & Japanese Restaurant (restaurant)
7 thanks

answered by
Elliott from San Francisco

Like you, I really get into Ramen as the rain starts pouring in.  Here is my list of Ramen places to check out in San Francisco:

Katana Ya at 430 Geary St

Located in the heart of the Theater District on Geary sits a ramen shop with small tables, bar seats and questionable decor. Add up the line out the door and the delicious ramen inside and you'll feel like you've been transported to Japan. What makes this an “Only in San Francisco" experience? The deep-fried chicken ramen.

Ramen Underground at 355 Kearny St

Ramen Underground is technically not underground, but without the daily lines, it would be hard to recognize. Sitting on the Union Square/Financial District border, Ramen Underground is one of the new kids on the block that is getting rave reviews about how authentic it is. Looking for a place with a soft-boiled egg? This is the place.

Hapa Ramen at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market

The hardest bowl of ramen to get is at the Ferry Building. That's because it's only served on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hapa Ramen serves a modern take on the old classic, from sous vide stock and vegetables to locally-sourcing all of their ingredients. You'll notice right away why it is only served on Tuesdays and Thursdays, something this good takes time.

Tanpopo at 1740 Buchanan St

If you want options, you need to head over to Japantown and step into Tanpopo. The have 13 different bowls of ramen and countless more sushi options. The favorite bowl among the bunch: Karamiso, ramen with spicy miso broth.

Ken Ken Ramen at 3378 18th St

Located around the corner from 18th Street and Mission, Ken Ken Ramen is another new ramen shop that is quickly gaining a following. Birthed from the minds of Ramen Chef Takahiro Hori, Stefan Roesch and Robert Patterson, Ken Ken, like so many new restaurants, started out as a popup. Since the beginning, they have been serving super fresh, super clean and delicious ramen. Adding to the lore, they never take reservations and always seem to run out of ramen from time to time.

Izakaya Sozai at 1500 Irving St

This place is all about the pork and it's the Ritsu Tonkotsu Ramen ramen you want to get. The pork is never overly fatty and always full of flavor. It doesn't stop at Ramen at this joint. They do have an extensive menu of Japanese tapas.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Katana Ya (restaurant)
  2. Ramen Underground (restaurant)
  3. Hapa Ramen (restaurant)
  4. Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (attraction)
  5. Tanpopo (restaurant)
  6. Ken Ken Ramen (restaurant)
  7. Izakaya Sozai (restaurant)
6 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Jenifer from Berlin

If you haven't overdosed on ramen already, I have one more recommendation for you. 

For the past year I have been going to Ramen Shop (Ramen Shop) in Oakland and I have never, ever, had a bad meal or experience. It's the collective effort of 3 Chez Panisse alums who have beautifully married traditional Japanese technique with fresh, delicious Californian cuisine. I considered myself a ramen purist, especially since I'm a Hapa which technically means ramen is in my DNA (!!), then I discovered Ramen Shop and everything changed. I'm hooked! 

They feature 3 types of ramen on their menu, one of which is vegetarian, and it changes week to week based on seasonal ingredients. The noodles are made in-house as well. The menu also features several appetizers which have always been outstanding and very unique compared to other ramen joints. And if you needed another reason to go, their cocktails are amazing! 

They are located 2 blocks from the Rockridge BART station and are open until Midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, so even if you're in San Francisco or somewhere in the East Bay, you can get there easily by BART!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ramen Shop (restaurant)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Andy from San Francisco

In addition to the places mentioned already, there is Ramen Izakaya Goku in the Mission. It's relatively new, and I really like the quality of their chashu pork. It's well marinated and falls apart in your mouth in a nice way. 

If you're willing to venture south a bit, there are several great places in San Mateo

I've only been to Santa Ramen myself, but I've heard great things about the other places like Ramen DojoRamen Parlor, and Himawari-Tei. Perhaps the other Trippy users can provide more info on those. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Ramen Izakaya Goku (restaurant)
  2. San Mateo (city)
  3. Santa Ramen (restaurant)
  4. Ramen Dojo (restaurant)
  5. Ramen Parlor (restaurant)
  6. Himawari-Tei (restaurant)
3 thankscomments (2)

answered by
Joanna from Oakland

If you're willing to travel 20 minutes south of San Francisco, San Mateo has some great ramen places, particularly Ramen Dojo and Santa Ramen

If you're staying in San Francisco, check out Sapporo Ya in Japantown.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Mateo (city)
  2. Ramen Dojo (restaurant)
  3. Santa Ramen (restaurant)
  4. Sapporo Ya (restaurant)
  5. Japantown (attraction)
1 thanks

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