14 of the best ramen restaurants in London

Discover the soup-er powers of noodles in broth at one of these incredible ramen restaurants in London...

Updated on 29 November 2019 • Written By Rosie Conroy

14 of the best ramen restaurants in London

Practically the national dish of Japan (sorry, sushi), ramen is universally loved, and as with much of the best food in the world, Londoners have embraced it as their own. If you won’t be satisfied with anything other than the best, this list is for you. We’ve searched high and low for the best ramen in London to bring you some seriously steamy suggestions.

Translating as ‘pulled noodles’, it would seem that ramen has quite the basic description in its native tongue, but simple this dish is not. The mark of a good ramen is the broth in which it’s cooked. This can take on all sorts of guises – from rich 24-hour pork broths that are favoured in regions like Kyushu or the miso flavoured soups that are championed in Hokkaido – but they all require careful simmering of stocks to create a rich depth. Once the broth is perfected, wheat noodles are added (which are handmade and slightly undercooked if served in a traditional manner) along with all sorts of toppings and additional seasonings. Classic combos include rolled pork belly, soy sauce marinated eggs, beansprouts and spring onions, but the variations are endless.

Next time you’re on the hunt for the best ramen restaurants in London look no further than the restaurants below. From quick and cheap speedy spots to more luxurious serves, they offer something for every occasion.

A short history of ramen

Despite ramen’s Japanese accreditation, it actually started out life in China. Apparently Japanese troops discovered the signature noodles in China and brought them home to make them their own. This was way back when in the 1900s, and when they got the noodles back to Japan the troops worked on giving them their own twist, thus inventing the ramen we know and love today.


Tonkotsu

Why: Tonkotsu's signature serve is a comforting bowl of pork broth that is enriched with the powerful flavour and texture of a little lardo. This is all complimented and completed by fine hand-cut noodles and roast pork as well as various toppings – including burnt garlic oil and a savoury soy-seasoned egg. Elsewhere there are chicken, seafood and vegetarian options as well as a moreish menu of sides that includes a fresh cucumber pickled salad to temper the richness of the soups, and crispy fried gyoza.
Where: Various locations across London


Ippudo

Why: Hailing from Japan, this global chain started out life as a small independent shop back in 1985. Having found its way to our shores, via New York, Ippudo is now a favourite of those in the know. The menu ranges from light chicken combinations to garlicky pork soups, but the signature London dish is not to be missed. Only served at the chain’s Villiers Street branch, the Hakata Niku Ton takes the original stock base and adds noodles plus a completely moreish soft sweet and spicy pork mix that melts into the soup for an unusual flavour that is unlike anything else we’ve tasted. The finale comes in the form of a secret ramen seasoning added to your bowl which gives off rich umami notes.
Where: Various locations across London

 

Koi Ramen

Why: This unassuming eatery started off life in Pop Brixton before opening a bricks and mortar site in Elephant and Castle. Regularly voted as one of the top places to scoop a bowl of this soothing soup, Koi have a confidently concise menu. There are four choices when it comes to the main event with one creamy white pork serve, a mellow miso number, a soy sauce flavoured one and a naked ramen, which is presented sans-soup. With the most expensive dish being £8.50 they manage to hit their mission statement of aiming ‘to serve the highest quality ramen at the lowest prices’.
Where: Various locations across London

 

Bone Daddies

Why: Bone Daddies brought Japanese soul food to London, serving up a winning combination of authentic recipes with an indulgent edge (i.e., fried chicken). From the ramen menu choose between the variations under three broth headings: 20-hour pork, chicken bone broth or mushroom. Load up your choice with additional toppings, picking between thinks like a savoury soy Clarence Court egg, crispy chicken skin ‘scratching’ and spring onions. Each month there’s a special too, so that each time you visit you can try something a little bit different.
Where: Various locations across London

 

Nanban

Why: Headed up by MasterChef champion Tim Anderson, Nanban was first setup in Brixon Village, but now has a central London home in Soho’s Seven Dials Market too. At Nanban global influences are celebrated rather than dismissed through dishes like the house special; an Indo-Caribbean leaning ramen invention made with low and slow cooked goat and Scotch bonnet pickled bamboo shoots. Elsewhere there are more traditional combos on offer demonstrated in concoctions like a chicken soy marriage and a garlic and pickled ginger pork bowl. Don’t skip the sides here, the soft-shell crab and fried chicken are too good to miss.
Where: Brixton and Seven Dials Market

 

Cocoro

Why: The commonness of ramen restaurants developing into mini chains only helps to prove their popularity and Cocoro is no exception. Now with three outlets – in Marylebone, Bloomsbury and Highgate – this Japanese eatery is proving a hit with Londoners looking for something a little bit different for dinner. The menu ticks off nearly every Japanese dish in the book, from sushi to steaks, but has an entire ramen section for those after something nourishing. Serves range from spicy soups to mellow vegetarian broths.
Where: Various locations across London

 

Kanada-Ya

Why: Signature cool interiors alert you immediately to the fact you’re in a relaxed, Japanese restaurant. There’s a well-rounded ramen menu here, with nine different combinations on offer. Our favourite flits between the Tonkotsu X which combines richly savoury chicken and pork broths with chashu pork and mushrooms and the Gekikara which is peppered with spicy minced pork and spring onions. For those with big appetites Kanada-Ya offer portions of additional noodles to bulk out any remaining broth at the end of your meal.
Where: Various locations across London

 

Shoryu

Why: The menu at Shoryu encourages diners to tweak their ramen to their preference, offering up a range of noodle firmness options. Choose between anything from standard to konaotoshi, where noodles are only submerged briefly to remove flour dust and served crunchy. For those who don’t mind a little lingering flavour, the Dracula has an intense garlic hit from caramalised black garlic and garlic chips, while the piri piri fuses two fantastic cuisines with interesting results – a spicy, sour, salty bowl is the outcome. Elsewhere there are salt and pepper chicken wings and prawn tempura to round out your meal.
Where: Various locations across London

 

Haru Sushi and Ramen House

Why: It’s reassuring to see independent restaurants flourishing in among the chain ramen restaurants, and Haru Sushi and Ramen house has just one site. It’s here that the team turn out moreish bowls of the good stuff, keeping them busy with non-stop dine-in and eat-out customers throughout the day. If you’re looking for an all-curing concoction the Dirty Ramen should do the trick. This serve combines char siu pork, barbecued chicken, prawn tempura and grilled duck with mushrooms, a seasoned egg and spring onions – if that doesn’t sort you out there’s no hope.
Where: Ealing

 

Yamagoya

Why: Sometimes you want ramen in summer, and the heat of this dish shouldn’t be a blocker. Enter: Yamagoya. While this ramen restaurant in London does of course serve up steaming bowls of soup, it also does a good line in cold ramen. These interesting twists on a classic see all the usual extras served up as a salad instead of a soup. Noodles are topped with smoky chashu pork, a marinated egg, bamboo shoots, spring onion and sesame as well as a few crisp, fresh additions, like cherry tomatoes and finely sliced cucumber.
Where: Southwark and Shaftesbury Avenue

 

Monohon

Why: Considering their service as a labour of love, Monohon handmake each of the three elements which go into creating their bowls of satisfyingly steamy broths: the noodles, the soup bases and the toppings. If you’re feeling adventurous plump for the Mentaiko cream ramen which infuses pork bone broth with a special sea salt seasoning and spicy marinated code roe. For added intrigue watch over the open kitchen as the experienced chefs deftly move around delicately creating each bowl which leaves their care.
Where: Old Street

 

Okan Ramen

Why: Okan Ramen has three small south London sites which each serve up authentic ramen dishes to locals and tourists alike. Interiors have the achingly cool twang of a startup, all chipboard and vintage Japanese signs. There are of course the usual suspects here, with pork options the menu’s mainstay, but for something a bit different why not try the tan tan minced chicken topping, which comes accompanied by a richly marinated egg with a golden soft-set yolk and plenty of punchy spring onions.
Where: Brixton Village, Brixton East and Southbank

 

Kauboi Ramen

Why: Purists, look away now, Kaubaoi is all about the flagrant disregard for rules and serves up a mishmash of international flavours in its bows of Ramen. The Texan Tonkotsu seets pork belly marinated in Dr Pepper before being smoked for that Deep South twang, while another option places brisket in a rich and spicy sesame beef broth. Traditional this is not, delicious it is.
Where: Bermondsey

 

Hakata

Why: Hakata’s no-bookings policy goes some way to proving their popularity, they simply don’t need to rely on pre-made plans and their restaurant is always filled to bursting – with punters happy to share the communal tables. Usually an afterthought, vegans are offered just as much choice as their meat-eating counterparts here. Pick between vegan tonkotsu broths with fried tofu and soy or miso serves with mushrooms and soy mince. For carnivores there are five options that showcase meltingly sweet belly pork and soft poached chicken. Extra toppings can be added to give your bowl an individual twist and noodle firmness can be dictated too.
Where: Bermondsey

 

Love far eastern food? You might like our round up of the best Japanese restaurants in London.