When it comes to ramen, D.C. has an embarrassment of riches. With long-running noodle bars, newcomers making a name for themselves, and global chains touching down, the area has a bit of everything. The restaurants on this list are reliable bets for a variety of ramen riffs, including varying flavors, broths, and toppings.Read More
14 Essential Ramen Bars Around D.C.
The best bowls to chase away the chill in the D.C. area
This small, longstanding shop just outside the Beltway specializes in hearty, Sapporo-style ramen suitable for a whole meal (or two). The ambiance is special with handwritten menus on the walls and a floor crowded with two-top tables. Ren’s is cash-only.
College Park’s Qu Japan dishes generous ramen bowls fit for students. The signature Qu Ramen features tonkotsu broth filled with roast pork, chicken, shrimp, and fish cake to go with bean sprouts, bok choy, bamboo shoots, wood ear mushrooms, corn, scallions, egg, and nori.
This relative newcomer to Petworth pays careful attention to the details when it comes to ramen. Find classics like tantanmen and tonkatsu, riffs like truffle shoyu and a “triple threat” with three broths blended, and two vegetarian options (one is vegan). Hours are somewhat limited.
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Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
This massive chain out of Japan touched down in Tysons only a couple years ago, but its pearly white broth served in a cozy, brick-lined dining room has been around since the 1980s when the Santouka was founded in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. The specialty is the white tonkotsu soup.
Akira Ramen & Izakaya DC
Serving traditional Japanese fare including ramen, udon, and buckwheat soba noodles, the location offers eight ramen varieties, including one topped with karaage, or Japanese fried chicken.
This basement restaurant in Adams Morgan has become a staple known for melding different styles of ramen. Sakuramen has a whopping 12 ramen bowl options, including a vegetable-broth variety, a Korean bowl with bulgogi, and a spicy red tonkotsu — and optional toppings like bacon, kimchi, and cheese.
The sibling restaurant to Daikaya in Chinatown, Haikan has become a go-to for clear, delicate chintan broth. The vegetarian ramen is particularly popular here, and small plates like Old Bay crab rangoons or mapo tofu poutine make for great appetizers. Haikan’s location next-door to Atlantic Plumbing Cinema and right by 9:30 Club also makes it a popular stop for pre- or post-movie and concert meals.
This ramen bar with a 1930s vibe has an option for gluten-free noodles and sources pork from Catoctin Mountain Farm in Maryland. The patio here is packed with outdoor diners, even in the winter.
Toki Underground bills itself as D.C.’s original ramen house. It serves one of the most famous bowls of ramens in town, a Taipei curry bowl with fried chicken, among more classic dishes.
Since opening in 2013, Daikaya has remained a go-to for ramen lovers in D.C. The fast-paced shop on the first floor doles out traditional broths with salty shio, shoyu (dark soy sauce), and white miso bases (add pork to the vegan ramen for a sacrilicious option). The company has its own special noodle recipe courtesy of their distributor in Japan.
Located in a former Burger King location, this ramen joint from the Daikaya team is explicitly focused on chicken ramen (not to mention Japanese fried chicken). Don’t miss out on the (vegetarian) tantanmen, which packs an appealing heat.
This newcomer on Barracks Row is all over the place when it comes to flavors: the ebirch ramen features lobster broth and roasted lobster; the wagyula includes, naturally, wagyu beef (with a $65.95 price tag to match), and other bowls feature ingredients like grated cheese and squid ink.
Steps away to Nationals Park, Basebowl’s claim to fame is an 18-inch bowl of ramen brimming with eight ounces of ribeye, jumbo shrimp, bean sprouts, corn, seaweed, purple cabbage, sugar snap peas, and agaric mushrooms. It’s a two person dish to share ($38). The spot has plenty of more standard size options as well, like wonton ramen. Extra toppings cover all the bases, from ghost pepper to shrimp tempura.
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Virginia’s top destination for ramen has all the standard versions, from shio to shoyu, as well as some interesting options including curry ramen, a chilled brothless spicy mazemen and an “army” ramen spiked with spam.