Ramen…it’s a lot more than your go-to dinner in college, we promise. What with the unusually cold past few weeks we’ve been having (seriously, it’s colder than New York), ramen is the perfect staple of your winter time diet.
San Francisco is famous for its ramen spots -- and for the long waiting lines that wrap around the block. If you’re an east or south bay dweller though, you’ve got more options than you can possibly imagine. We rounded up our favorite spots, so you’ll never have to go searching far for that perfect bowl of ramen when you're out and about around town.
This cozy restaurant is always bustling, so be prepared for a bit of a wait. Don’t let that put you off though -- this place is sure worth it. Their menu has pages upon pages of different types of ramen, including a delicious spicy Tan Tan ramen and a Black Garlic ramen as well. They also have a delicious coconut miso ramen with shrimp and imitation crab meat for you pescatarians. And, they’re able to make any of their ramens with a vegetarian broth, so there’s something for everyone. // 34672 Alvarado Niles Rd, Union City.
Another busy ramen spot in the heart of Union City, this ramen place has a refined menu of a few delicious options. Coupled with classic sides of curry and rice or takoyaki, you’ll sure be leaving this place full and satisfied. Definitely try out the seafood ramen, it’s delicious. And for you vegetarians, they also do a wonderful veggie miso ramen. // 34308 Alvarado-Niles RdUnion City
San Jose/Santa Clara
If you’re out and about in the San Jose area, be sure to try out Hokkaido Ramen Santouka. A local favorite, this place has a cult-like following -- and for good reason. The menu is extensive, offering a variety of different broths -- salt based, spicy miso, and soy sauce based to name a few.
One Yelp reviewer says “This is my favorite ramen I've tried so far and the first time I finished a whole bowl so easily. Super flavorful and easy to eat. The spicy broth is delicious, the noodles have are bouncy and yummy. The small was just the right portion size.” With a description like that, you know this one will be one spot you’ll be frequenting again and again. // 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose.
Another local favorite, this ramen spot is nestled in Santa Clara and offers a simple menu of three different types of ramen, including Tonkatsu, salt and soy sauce bases. There’s a broad list of additional toppings, and you can even make your own, so there’s endless possibilities. They offer some delicious appetizers as well -- be sure to check out the Chicken Karaage or the Okonomiyaki Style Fries while you’re there. // 3540 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara.
This spot is sure to make it on any list of top ramen spots in the Bay area -- and for good reason. As one Yelp review puts it “They serve a pretty mean bowl of ramen. I always opt for the garlic pork base, which is extremely rich in flavor. The noodles itself always have the same slightly-chewy consistency, love it!” One downside, is that they don’t have a vegetarian option. If you’re a meat eater though, you’re sure to find and enjoy this wonderful restaurant’s delicious ramen. // 805 S B St, San Mateo.
This cozy Sunnyvale ramen spot has a clean, modern atmosphere and offers plenty of customizable ramen options sure to satisfy your craving. They offer seafood, tonkotsu, vegetable, and miso soup bases and a few different topping options -- letting you mix and match to your heart’s desire. Located on historic Murphy ave, this restaurant serves up all the right ingredients for a perfect ramen night out. // 173 S Murphy Ave, Sunnyvale.
If you’re looking for ramen in the city, look no further than Katana-Ya. A cozy, hole-in-the-wall type spot, it’s basement location only adds to its ambiance. This spot offers a nice range of customizable ramen options, so you’re sure to get the perfect bowl. Starting off by choosing a base, you can then customize your spice level and add any toppings -- all the makings for the perfect bowl of ramen. // 422 Geary St, Union Square.
Probably one of the most talked about spots in the city, Nojo offers a simple menu of some delicious ramen. There’s always a line out the door for this place, so be ready for a wait! It’s definitely worth it though, with the Chicken Paitan Soy Sauce being one of the house specialties. The Veggie Miso Ramen is absolutely incredible and full of flavor, making this a must-try spot for vegan and vegetarian ramen lovers. // 231 Franklin Street, Hayes Valley.
// Photography sourced from Yelp.com, Photography courtesy of Nojo SF.
Sanica Apte is a writer and a news and politics junkie living in the Bay Area. A former Bostonian and Florida-native, she got her start in the creative world on Boston University's student-run TV station, producing an Emmy award-winning news show called On That Point. Previous to that, Sanica interned for PBS Boston and NBC Boston. In her spare time, she's a full-time cat lover and is slowly eating her way through all the good food the Bay Area has to offer.