There is nothing like a big steaming bowl of soup ‘n’ noodles during colder months. And we all know how chilly Washington, DC can get in winter. So, of course, we had to compile a list of the seven best ramen bars in the DC area.
When it comes to ramen, Washington, DC has got some truly amazing options. They really do ramen right. There are a few main things we look for in a good ramen place… including a variety of rich and light broths. Fresh noodles with decent chew factor. Generous toppings options. Big spoons. And our favorite offering of all – Kaedama – a second serving of noodles added to the remainder of your soup. Because we don’t mess around.
7 Best Ramen Bars in Washington, DC
Toki Underground serves up just five varieties of ramen at their funky ramen shop in the heart of H Street NE. As the Capital’s first purveyor of ramen, we thought they deserved the first spot on this. They recently received a 2020 Michelin Bib Gourmand.
Pick from the Toki classic ramen, Taipei curry chicken, red miso, kimchi ramen or vegan ramen. Each one is honestly phenomenal but if you ever see their soft shell crab ramen special on the menu – don’t hesitate. Just do it and thank us later. The best part? Kaedama here will set you back just $2. No excuse not to.
You can find Sakuramen in a basement over in Adam’s Morgan. With over 12 varieties of delicious ramen to choose from, you’re spoiled for choice. Highlights include the DC miso ramen, spicy miso, red tonkotsu, and their signature Sakuramen. Enjoy super rich broths, chewy noodz, and varied toppings including bacon, kimchi, cheese, and their “spicy fireball”. Definitely opt for some Kaedama here for $3.50.
Most DC ramen lovers will immediately point you in the direction of Daikaya when asked about the best ramen around, and it really is amazing. The buzzy, casual, and funky ramen bar has been around since 2013. It’s a perfect in-n-out, fast-paced ramen joint for a quick but very satisfying fix.
Serving Sapporo-style ramen, their expert advice for devouring a bowl of ramen is as follows, “Sip the broth, slurp the noodles, and then dig into the roasted vegetables and broth-soaked meats.” Sure, we can do that, no problem. They offer five different bowls of ramen with super springy noodles. Enjoy soy-based shoyu, rich Mugi-miso and spicy miso, salty shio, or veggie ramen.
Daikaya has an adjoining izakaya above it so you can get both fixes in one building – the dream.
4. Bantam King
Next up we have Bantam King for the chicken lovers amongst us. From the Daikaya Group, comes a unique poultry-centric ramen concept. The former Burger King turned ramen shop is bright, vibrant, funky, and fun.
Other offerings include crispy fried chicken and poultry-centered small plates. Each dish more delicious than the last.
While chicken ramen really is their forte, they have NAILED their vegan ramen. It’s one of the best we’ve ever tried with a surprisingly rich vegetarian broth and topped with Impossible burger, tempeh, bok choy, chili oil, and peanuts
Over in the District’s booming ‘The Yards’ neighborhood, Sapporo-style ramen shop Hatoba is ALSO run by the Daikaya Group. What can we say? They just really get it.
Signature ramens at Hatoba include red miso clam (pictured), yuzu shio, garlic shoyu, and vegan-friendly tomato curry. Honorable non-ramen mention goes to their take on a Philly cheesesteak with thinly sliced beef and onions simmered in soy sauce, mirin and sake. Wisconsin brick cheese and benishoga, on a Philly hoagie roll. So damn good.
Next up on our list of the seven best ramen bars in Washington, DC is Chaplin’s ramen house & cocktail bar on 9th Street NW. This 1930s themed ramen spot serves solid ramen time and time again.
Our favorite has gotta be the tan tan men. Rich chicken broth with ground pork, bok choy, sesame paste, hot sesame oil, and miso. Or the miso ramen with ground pork, pork butt chashu, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, onion, scallions, and nori. Their ground pork and chashu really hit the spot every time.
They also cater to different dietary requirements and can make several of their ramens vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free. We love to see it.
If you’re any kind of ramen aficionado, then you’ve probably visited a JINYA Ramen Bar before. With over 40 locations across North America and over 13 ramen varieties, their six signature broths are simmered slowly for 20+ hours. Packed with flavor with thanks to bonito, dashi, miso, kombu, meat bones, and vegetables. Resulting in divine, rich, cloudy broths that you never want to end.
Our personal favorite JINYA ramen bowls are the wonton chicken ramen, black tonkotsu, and spicy umami miso. Be sure to check out the rotating chef’s specials which sometimes include Wagyu and fried chicken karaage ramens.
Writing a food article has never been so hunger evoking – we want 10 bowls of each, honestly.
Never tried ramen before? Check out our Ultimate Guide To Japanese Ramen before digging in!