No, it’s not the cheap dehydrated sodium packs from your college days. Traditional Japanese ramen contains exquisitely prepared broths—with vegetarian versions available, too—and hand-pulled noodles, flavored with perfectly soft-boiled eggs and a variety of other toppings. Slurping is not only permitted—it's part of the ritual.
Here are four local spots doing ramen right:
Best Overall Ramen: State Street Eating House + Cocktails
Available only on Monday nights and only in the restaurant's popular lounge. The space can be loud and there's usually a wait, but the broth here is intensely rich—with pork bones, sliced char siu pork and noodles that are just made for you double-slurp in unison with the buzzing room. Each week, about four or five different ramen bowls are offered, including a vegetarian version made with gluten-free noodles. My advice: Order the original and make Monday night a ramen night not to forget. (The ramen is served with handmade dumplings or a cucumber salad.)
Best Vegetarian Ramen: Goichi’s Sushi Café
What makes this an earthy bowl of sweet and salty goodness is the mirin-marinated mushrooms. Popular enough that the restaurant started out serving ramen only on Monday nights and now offers it Monday through Saturday, Goichi's bowls include both traditional varieties and this mind-blowing mushroom pot of goodness. Bring cash, which will earn you a small discount.
Best Carry-Out Presentation: Lucky’s Market
The supermarket's light broth comes wrapped like a birthday present. Perfect to travel to a friend’s house or for sunset ramen on the beach. Fast and convenient.
First Local Restaurant to Perfect Ramen: JPan
The pork here is so tender it melts in your mouth. Chef Daniel Dokko perfected his ramen over the years with travels to Japan that helped him hone is technique and learn how to build rich flavor. He was the first to bring steaming bowls of comfort to the area.