Now that the weather is starting to cool down, conditions are perfect for hot meals that satisfy and warm the body. Ramen is one of the most satisfying and delicious cold-weather meals you can get. When some people think of ramen, they might be thinking of the dry noodles available at most American grocery stores for 25 cents per pack. These have been a staple of the college student’s diet for years, and this commodity is well known for being affordable and easy to prepare. It’s been popular in the United States since its introduction in the 1970s, and instant ramen noodles are still very popular throughout the US and Asia.
The real ramen you’ll find in traditional noodle shops is a bit different. Many connoisseurs of Japanese cuisine seek out beautiful preparations of the noodle soup in restaurants everywhere to find the best version of this classic dish which originally dates back to the 1800s in Japan. The version that many discerning foodies are looking for these days is a part of the kodwari ramen movement which refers to artisanal or small-batch ramen. This movement has seen restaurants across the US and Japan differentiate their ramen with a variety of flavors and ingredients in the quest for the best bowl. Atlanta has a thriving scene for the ramen-lover. Continue reading for five recommendations on where to find the best ramen in Atlanta.
From a Chinese American duo that have a few different Asian-cuisine themed restaurants already in the Atlanta area, Ramen Station has proved to be a hot spot for the best ramen in Atlanta. Its aesthetic is modeled after classic Tokyo ramen shops with its long-narrow shape, but the décor is 1950s American diner. Ramen Station has a selection of apps and snacks including musubi varieties and steamed buns. They feature six varieties of ramen – pork tonkotsu, spicy beef ramen, “dipping” lamb tsukemen (noodles and inclusions served in a different bowl to be dipped into the broth), vegetable shoyu, chicken shio and an option for children.
Address: 519 Memorial Dr. SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Ton Ton Ramen & Yakatori
From Chef Guy Wong, Ton Ton is a favorite of visitors to Ponce City Market’s food hall. Its most popular dish is the Hakata Tokatsu Classic which features pork belly, egg, mushrooms, corn, scallions and sesame seeds. There are also specials throughout the week, and occasionally you can catch a rarity like the Ramen Burger, a special creation of Chef Wong. Of course, ramen is the main event and there are plenty of choices, like the Invincible Dan Dan Mazeman which is known for its spice-factor. Bowls are customizable and add-ons include extra noodles, barbecue pork, soft boiled eggs, chili paste and garlic butter corn.
Address: 675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30308
PaoPao Ramen Factory & Bar
With locations in Buford and Toco Hills, PaoPao is serving Atlantans throughout the city both inside the perimeter and out with their tasty ramen featuring housemade noodles. This restaurant is known for its Black and White Ramen with braised pork belly, as well as their Szechuan red broth hot pots. The menu also includes other specialties like kimchi, ham fried rice and steamed shrimp dumplings. To satisfy your sweet tooth after your ramen feast, they have rolled ice cream and a bubble tea bar. It’s definitely a spot where you want to come hungry.
Wagaya Japanese Restaurant
Its name means “our home” in Japanese, and Wagaya aims to bring diners a taste of the authentic Japanese food that its founder grew up eating. Takashi Otsuka, a native of Saitama, Japan, owns and runs two locations of the restaurant in Atlanta since opening the first in 2015 with no investors or business partners. In both Home Park and Emory Village, you can try his delicious offerings from fresh sushi and donburi to six different varieties of ramen. They serve white, red and black tonkotsu, and you can even visit their Japanese grocery store which was just opened this year.
Jinya Ramen Bar
Based in Los Angeles, Jinya is a chain restaurant with four Atlanta-area locations (and one in Athens). Though it’s not Atlanta-based, it is a fan favorite – and fans line up for their ramen. Popular dishes include the Cha Cha Cha Ramen, tonkotsu pork broth with garlic. Their menu features other tapas-style appetizers and large bowls of ramen designed to feed more than one. With 40 locations in North America, Jinya is an international success – a visit to one of their branches will show you why they offer some of the best ramen in Atlanta.
Ramen is a favorite across the world for its filling noodles, hot broth and diverse inclusions. This time of year is the perfect moment to seek out this classic Japanese comfort food. Visit one of these options for some of the best ramen in Atlanta to satisfy your craving soon.
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