Bianco's Guide to Ramen in Tokyo
Bianco's Guide to Ramen in TokyoBianco
Ramen expert and trippin regular Biancissimo, spills the beans on how to navigate the 10,000 or so Ramen shops in the Japanese capital. He's spent years narrowing down the never ending amount of options and bowls, so trust him when he says these are the top 10. "So you finally made it to Tokyo, and of course, you want some ramen, right? So don’t panic I got you. Let me introduce you to 10 of my favourite spots and teach you a little bit about that bowl of life and accelerator of my Tokyo belly.
So rule number one, and actually only rule of this guide: Don’t open Yelp, don’t open Trip Advisor, try not to trust too many white people using an app to rate Japanese cuisine. Believe me, this will not get you anywhere. The highest rated ramen shop in Tokyo on these apps, probably even the highest rated restaurant in Tokyo is A Ichiran Ramen chain shop. And that's sad."
In this Guide
“We start this guide with a special place. We go to Yakumo in Nakameguro. A great neighbourhood and insanely good ramen with some extra good wonton. My job as a trend researcher and many interviews with Tokyo streetwear designers, shop managers and so on have always brought up this name. I don’t know what it is, but the streets seem to love this shop. It's a fancy place, but offers real ramen love. Perfect wontons and a smooth soup that will delight you. If you want way more read my big guide. Matane motherfuckers.”More Info
“Again one of my absolute favourite places in this town and a high percentage to find me here when in Tokyo. I live very close to this shop and go there at least once a week together with my girl. This shop is insanely good. From their clear chicken ramen with Japanese citrus to their Tsukemen and their chiso miso ramen that adds extra cheese to heavy miso ramen. All bowls are god level, and the shop has a really laid back atmosphere. Say hi if you see me.”More Info
“Yamaguchi Ratsushiki is one of these places and they are Bib Gourmand famous for their special Mabo Mazesoba. Same as Mabo Tofu, this dish holds a lot of Sichuan Pepper that will numb your lips, tongue, and mouth like crazy over time. I think the first time I tried this pepper I referred to its effect as a big spoon full of Charlie going down your throat. This still might make sense, I am a good guy now... I don’t know. So Yamaguchi Ratsushiki manages to really balance these levels and turn this ride into a good one. Loads of coriander and pork belly cubes and slices help, the extra egg, too. All in all, this is a real love affair, and Mazesoba is something you def should not miss at all. If you bring enough time go to Yamaguchi Ratsushiki a bit away in Koto and enjoy this lovely hood and bowl. Oishii.”More Info
“Let's head to Ikebukuro and eat at Kinkanbo. This neighbourhood is a bit like Shibuya just without all the tourists. It's famous for its various ramen shops, and Kinkanbo is one of the legendary shops in these streets. They do a crazy good and spicy miso ramen, with an incredibly tender piece of pork meat on top and extra optional coriander and spicy levels. If you can take it. The whole shop has a lovely design and is full of devil masks and dark-red walls. It's a one of a kind experience. Go to hell and enjoy it.”More Info
“Time for another heavyweight champion and the place with probably the longest waiting time in this list, but the good guys at Tsuta are… good guys and invented a ticket system. Come early, pick a ticket and then come back later and just wait a bit on top. Don’t worry about spending too much time in front of the shop and instead check out the beautiful Rikugien Garden near Tsuta and eat a Kaki Gori (shaved ice) in there while you wait for the magic doors to open up for you. Tsuta really is one of a kind. The whole shop is quiet as fuck, and the ramen is incredibly tasty and finessed with some truffle paste. It's hard to explain what all happens in this bowl, but let's just say it was the first ramen that got a Michelin and those rich fucks only give stars to the best food, I guess.”More Info
“Fuck, I love this shop and I love this neighbourhood. By now you can prove if you really came here for ramen. 'This shop is a bit far off the usual routes and only a few that love good food and the real Tokyo will go for it. The rest can take the same pictures and walks the same roads as the million other tourists before. We getting emotional here. For real, Matador Gyukostu is my absolute favourite. Maybe the best ramen I ever ate. It's a very rare beef ramen - you don’t find it that very often. It combines thin slices of beef, minced meat and a lot of other good things that will make your taste buds explode. I salute everybody who makes it out there. Be aware that there might be a long line on the weekend, so come early.”More Info
“Let's go to Ueno, one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Tokyo. Next to a banging bowl of ramen, you will find the Ameyoko Market here, that will sell you everything you can think of. It starts with cheap souvenirs and ends with a golden Rolex. Believe me, they got everything you can imagine in between these two products. On top of that, there is Kamo To Negi. A ramen specialised in healthy vibes and duck meat. No artificial flavours, a light broth and a perfect piece of duck meant. Yes, a perfect piece and perfect bowl. Believe me.”More Info
“We stay in Ueno, and we go from duck to crab. Sanji sells special crab ramen that is super super deep in flavour and has an optional option to add as many qualm eggs as you want to eat (3 cost 50 yen). The taste is one of a kind. 100% unique and nothing you will ever get anywhere else in the world. It's hard to put in words, just go there and eat their 'crazy crab' bowl.”More Info
“The next ramen sends you right to Ginza, Tokyo’s very posh and high-class shopping district. KAGARI is specialised in Tory Paitan ramen, which is the best chicken soup you will probably eat in your whole damn life. KAGARI is world famous for their soup, and after this bowl, you will probably, never enjoy ramen outside of Japan again. It's def worth it. Go for it.”More Info
“Let's end with one of my favourite bowls deep down in Shibuya. A lucky one for you cause you probably don’t have to go too far since your Airbnb or hotel or whatever might be close. But you gotta come early, cause Hayashi gets sold out quick. Come a bit before they open at 11AM and enjoy the most comfortable ramen machine of them all. If you did not know that yet, you buy your ramen at a machine/get a ticket. And usually, they have a million options, all in Japanese. Hayashi is different. Three buttons that just change the number of extras. Get the biggest one, and don’t talk that much. This shop is quiet, everybody enjoys his or her bowl. Shut up and enjoy the definition of an OG, extraordinarily good ramen.”More Info