Noodle Nights

Where to Get Great Ramen in Sarasota

After years of waiting impatiently for more ramen, our restaurant scene is suddenly rich with options.

By Lauren Jackson

Spicy ramen at Sushi Ramen.

Spicy ramen at Sushi Ramen.

A far cry from instant Maruchan (which I argue has a rightful place as a pantry staple), homemade ramen feels like a hug, warming you from within with bouncy noodles, soft-boiled eggs, tender meat and aromatics that swim in a savory broth often made from pork bones. And while great ramen isn’t brand new to Sarasota, for years, there were few places in the area that offered it. Thanks to a number of new restaurants and older restaurants with new offerings, however, that’s changing. After years of waiting impatiently for more ramen, our restaurant scene is suddenly rich with options. No longer a trend, ramen is here to stay

Sushi Ramen

935 N. Beneva Road, Sarasota, (941) 702-8360, sushiramenlatenight.com

Start with the newish Sushi Ramen, where the “spicy ramen” ($13.99) sets you ablaze with hot chilies that linger on your lips long after you’ve finished the fiery dish. Enjoy it with a side of karaoke or live music that lasts late into the night, since Sushi Ramen stays open until 1:45 a.m. most nights.

“People love Japanese food,” says owner Woody Tajawandee. “It brings happy people.” The later you dine, the happier people seem to be, as they dance and sing with full bellies.

Ramen at FushiPoké.

Ramen at FushiPoké.

FushiPoké

128 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota, (941) 330-1795, fushipoke.com

For a quick and casual meal, swing by FushiPoké in downtown Sarasota. It got its start as a poke bowl spot, and while it continues to make a great rendition of that dish, the ramen ($14.65) keeps me coming back. Dine in or take it home with you, because at FushiPoké, the staff carefully package the noodles and broth in separate containers to ensure an optimal takeout experience. No soggy noodles here.

Yokoso

 3422 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 265-1600, yokosoramen.com 

Over at Yokoso, which opened earlier this year, the menu is extensive. It’s hard to go wrong with traditional broth offerings like tonkatsu (pork broth) or shoyu (pork broth with soy sauce), but I love the curry ramen ($18), made with Japanese curry that tinges the broth yellow and soaks into the noodles. It’s subtle and fragrant, drawing you back for slurp after slurp.

Lobster udon at Mitaka

Lobster udon at Mitaka

Image: Chad Spencer

Mitaka

6749 Manatee Ave., Bradenton, (941) 896-3552, mitakaramen.com

Meanwhile, in Bradenton, Mitaka has been slaying the ramen game longer than most. Long before Sarasota established its own ramen scene, residents would drive to this beloved spot for its offerings. The vegetarian ramen ($17.50) is a standout, made with a mushroom soy milk broth that adds an element of unctuousness usually reserved for meat-based broths.

The sushi counter at Sushi Ramen.

The sushi counter at Sushi Ramen.

Utamaro Sushi Bar

1900 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 366-0095, utamarosushibar.com

JPan Sushi & Grill

3800 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 954-5726; 299 N. Cattleman Road, Sarasota, (941) 960-3997; jpanrestaurant.com

If you’re looking for a place with stellar ramen, plus other options for your friends, try Utamaro in downtown Sarasota or JPan in midtown or near the University Town Center mall. Both specialize in sushi, but also offer a ramen option to fix that craving in a jiffy. If you’re anything like me, you will order both the sushi and the soup and waddle out the door feeling fat and happy.

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