Best 10 Tokyo Ramen in 2017 ~Shoyu Ramen Edition~
The annual "Tokyo's Ramen of the Year" has been published for this year! This ranking, decided by the votes of food critics who live for ramen, is sometimes called the "Academy Awards" of the ramen world, and it draws huge attention from Tokyo's ramen lovers. This time we will be introducing the top 10 in the shoyu ramen category, the most hotly observed category of them all.
No.10 Ramen Daishi
"Ramen Daishi" is said to be home to the ultimate shoyu ramen. It temporarily closed in April of 2016 due to renovations of the building, but it reopened about a year later, in June of 2017.
Its shoyu ramen (700 yen) is built off of a marudori chicken stock base in which chicken bones, pork, konbu kelp, and scallops are carefully simmered, and while the clear broth is light and refreshing, it has a depth of flavor to it. The broth pairs extremely well with the soft noodles from long-standing restaurant "Asakusa Kaikaro."
The toppings of menma, greens, nori, naruto, and tender chashu are also consistently delicious.
Address: 2-1-2 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo
No.9 Ichiban Ichiban
"Ichiban Ichiban" is run by a former chef of a famous Fukushima restaurant "Tora Shokudo." Their most popular item, the "Special Chuka Soba (950 yen)," is characterized by their chewy handmade noodles made in-house, faithfully following the chef's training.
Their soup, packed with umami from marudori chicken, is gentle but flavorful.
The three types of chashu - pork round, breast meat, and chicken breast - and the wontons, wrapped as each order comes in, are delicious testaments to the chef-owner's skills.
Address: 1-28-24 Nakamachi, MAchida-shi, Tokyo
No.8 Ramen Sugimoto
This restaurant is owned by the last apprentice of the late Minoru Sano, known as the "Oni of Ramen."
It was listed as a Bib Gourmand location in the 2017 Michelin Guide Tokyo.
Niboshi, bonito, konbu kelp, and other ingredients are simmered in a base broth made from chicken and pork bones, resulting in a deep, multilayered flavor. Their special-made shoyu tare sauce, made by blending 5 varieties of soy sauce, raises this soup's umami factor yet another notch.
The noodles give off a faint hint of wheat fragrance, and their chashu, made using French culinary techniques, is incredibly delicious; no matter where you look, every aspect of this ramen is highly polished to an extreme degree.
Address: 4-2-3 Saginomiya, Nakano-ku, Tokyo
No.7 Ramen Yamaguchi
This superstar shop has been featured in the Michelin Bib Gourmand list for 3 consecutive years.
Their specialty dish is "Special Chicken Soba (1150 yen)."
The soup, made with quality chickens raised in the store owner's hometown, has a rich flavor packed with the chicken's umami. It pairs perfectly with the slick special noodles, brought in all the way from Kyoto.
Chashu, menma, and daikon sprouts all beautifully top the clean-looking soup, and many guests can't resist pulling out their cameras.
Address: 2-11-13 Nishiwaseda, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
No.6 Sosakumen Kobo Nakiryu
This talented shop finally acquired its long-coveted Michelin star in the "Michelin Guide Tokyo 2017."
This restaurant's highly polished ramen, made by an owner who studied cooking at a Chinese restaurant, has been gaining a lot of popularity.
One of the restaurant's signature dishes, "Shoyu Special Ramen (1100 yen)," is unique in its addition of fresh oysters into a marudori chicken and beef bone stock. This polished ramen, which carefully and deliciously balances the rich meat stock flavors with delightful fresh seafood, is a testament to the owner's skill.
Address: 3-6-15 Higashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
No.5 Konjiki Hototogisu
This ultimate shoyu ramen is made by an owner who makes their living as someone pursuing the secrets of ramen.
Their unique triple-base-soup, made with pork, fish, and plenty of clams, had a huge impact on the ramen world when it made its debut. Their most popular dish is their "Shoyu Soba (850 yen)," which adds truffle sauce and porcini mushrooms to their pride-and-joy triple soup. This super-creative shoyu ramen is perfect in its harmony between Japan's ocean and Italy's mountains.
Address: 2-47-12 Hatagaya, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
"Yakumo" has built up a lot of respect and admiration over the years as one of the top ramen shops since its founding in Nakameguro in 1999. They offer 4 broth bases - "Katsuobushi and Sababushi," "Urumeboshi and Niboshi," "Shiitake and Konbu," and "Pork and Chicken" - and ramen enthusiasts have praised their richly flavored soups as "one of the perfected forms of shoyu ramen." When I dropped by, I ordered their most popular "Chashu Special Wontonmen (1,300 yen)" without hesitation.
Their tender wontons and fragrant chashu are even more delightful than those from high-class Chinese restaurants.
Address: 3-6-15 Higashiyama, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
No.3 Toy Box
This powerhouse ramen shop leads the Tokyo ramen scene, holding titles like the "Tabelog Award," "Tokyo Ramen of the Year," and "Michelin Bib Gourmand." Their signature "Shoyu Ramen (750 yen)" may look simple, but it's a super extravagant bowl packed with 5 types of chicken and 7 types of soy sauce that the shop's owner sources from across the country.
The addition of rich, full-bodied soy sauce to the savory broth made from just chicken and water is far more than the sum of its parts.
The flavor of their chashu, made with "Galician pork" from Spain, is also exquisite, and it pairs beautifully with the refined ramen.
Address: 1-1-3 Higashinippori, Arakawa-ku, Tokyo
"Shibata" was the winner of the rookie division of 2014's "Tokyo Ramen of the Year." Now, 3 years after its opening, it has refined its flavors even further, taking them to greater heights. Their signature "Chuka Soba (780 yen)" is a refined bowl, glistening with golden chicken fat. Their thin noodles have a crunchy texture that pairs beautifully with the broth.
If you love ramen, you should be sure to try a bowl from here; it's said to possibly be the pinnacle of shoyu ramen.
Address: 2-25-20 Wakabacho, Chofu-shi, Tokyo
No.1 Iida Shouten
Despite being located 1.5 hours away from Tokyo's city center by car, this legendary ramen shop never wants for customers.
Their shoyu ramen, made by adding a special blend tare of 6 types of soy sauce into a shoyu broth made with 3 types of chicken, is overwhelmingly perfect in all aspects - aroma, depth, richness, and smoothness. Dashi, soy sauce, and chicken fat are all elegantly combined to create an amazing final product. Of course, their house-made noodles, made with a blend of 5 varieties of domestic wheat, are the perfect companion to their broth. The pork and chicken wontons are also essentially perfect and have a delightfully satisfying smooth texture.
I'm sure that many customers devour even 2 or 3 full bowls of ramen in a single visit.
Address: 2-12-14 Doi, Yugawara-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa Prefecture