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close-up of a bowl of Nagoya Ramen, showcasing its rich broth, thick noodles, and traditional toppings

Traveler's Must-Visit: Nagoya Ramen Spots Favored by Locals

11/09/2023 3:00 PM

Dive into the heart of Nagoya's culinary scene with its iconic Ramen. Handpicked by those who know best, the locals, this guide unveils the city's hidden gems where authentic flavors come alive. Embark on a noodle journey and savor the tastes that have captivated residents for decades.

Table of Contents

If you're planning a trip to Nagoya, there's one culinary delight that you absolutely cannot miss: Nagoya Ramen. This hearty noodle soup has been a local favorite for decades, and it's no surprise why. The unique flavor profile and delicious toppings make it a stand-out dish, even among other regional varieties of ramen.

The best Nagoya Ramen spots are often hidden gems, favored by locals who know just where to find the most delicious bowls. But fear not, as a traveler you can also indulge in the authentic flavors of Nagoya Ramen by exploring the top ramen restaurants in the city.

So what makes Nagoya Ramen so special? For starters, the broth is a rich and savory blend of chicken and pork bones, seasoned with soy sauce and other unique flavors. Each restaurant has its own secret recipe, making the taste of Nagoya Ramen truly original and worth savoring. Authentic Nagoya Ramen is also known for its use of thick and chewy noodles, which perfectly complement the soup and toppings.

If you're a true ramen fan, Nagoya Ramen is a must-try dish. Whether you're seeking the best Nagoya Ramen spots or curious about the unique flavors of authentic Nagoya Ramen, this culinary delight is one you won't soon forget.

So pack your bags and prepare your taste buds for the mouth-watering experience of Nagoya Ramen.

Exploring the Nagoya Ramen Scene

bustling ramen shop in Nagoya with locals enjoying their meals

Nagoya is home to a diverse range of ramen restaurants, each offering their unique take on this Japanese staple. Whether you are looking for a quick bite or a leisurely meal, you are sure to find a ramen spot that caters to your taste buds.

For an authentic experience, head to one of the many traditional ramen restaurants in Nagoya. These eateries often have a homely feel, with simple decor and a focus on the quality of their food.

If you prefer a more modern setting, Nagoya also boasts a selection of contemporary ramen restaurants that offer an updated take on the classic dish. These establishments typically have a trendy atmosphere and a wide range of menu options to choose from.

Nagoya Ramen Restaurants

If you're not sure where to start your Nagoya ramen adventure, here are a few popular spots to check out:

Ramen Ajisai

Holding the esteemed title of Nagoya's #1 restaurant, Ramen Ajisai is a beacon for ramen connoisseurs. The establishment is famed for its special soy sauce ramen, a harmonious blend of hydrangea's signature soy sauce soup and house-made thin noodles. Each bowl is a culinary masterpiece, with toppings ranging from chewy bamboo shoots to medium-rare chicken breast chashu that evokes the essence of smoked ham. The wonton, with its chewy exterior and rich filling, is a standout, adding depth to the dish. The noodles, reminiscent of traditional varieties, strike a balance between firmness and silkiness, catering to a wide range of palates. For those seeking an unparalleled ramen journey in Nagoya, Ramen Ajisai promises a memorable and flavorful escapade.

Josui

Located in the historic Tokugawa Town, Josui stands as a Michelin-recognized beacon in the realm of ramen. Celebrated for its salt ramen, the dish is a symphony of flavors, combining pork bones, Nagoya Cochin, and dried sardines to produce a broth that's both rich and refreshingly light. The tsukemen variant, with its tangy sauce, and the char siu rice bowl with a hint of wasabi, are other menu highlights. However, the true essence of Josui lies in its clear golden soup, a harmonious blend of red chicken, Mikawa pork bones, and various dried fish, reminiscent of oden's aftertaste. Complemented by ultra-thin, Hakata-tonkotsu-like noodles, and crowned with prime toppings like succulent pork belly chashu, Josui offers not just a meal, but a profound culinary experience, leaving diners yearning for another taste of its enchanting broth.

Ramenya Shio Soba Shizuku

Nestled in Nagoya and acclaimed as the city's fourth-best ramen destination, Ramenya Shio Soba Shizuku is a testament to ramen artistry. Patrons are greeted with its signature ramen, a deep amber delight, harmoniously blending chicken, pork char siu, bamboo shoots, and green onions in a chicken-seafood broth with a salty undertone. The medium-thin flat noodles, rich in umami, perfectly complement the full-bodied broth, while the smoked chicken breast and pork shoulder loin toppings add depth. Beyond its famed ramen, the mazesoba impresses, and the char siu, with a hint of table pepper, showcases Shizuku's dedication to flavor. The smoked ham finale, paired with the exquisite broth, ensures that every diner leaves with memories of a truly unparalleled meal.

Ramen Kanade

Nestled in Nagoya, Ramen Kanade stands out, clinching the #5 spot among the city's ramen havens and earning accolades from the Michelin Guide's Aichi Gifu Mie Special Edition. Despite its quaint ambiance, it magnetizes a multitude, allured by dishes like the shoyu chashumen and shio char siu, both bursting with authentic dashi essence. The star, salt ramen, is a harmonious blend of chicken, pork, and seafood stocks, paired with homemade wheat noodles and succulent slow-cooked chashu. Eschewing artificial seasonings, the eatery's commitment to natural ingredients and the chef's unwavering dedication shine in every bowl. At Ramen Kanade, diners embark on more than just a meal; it's a flavorful odyssey, a testament to ramen artistry, and a sanctuary for true ramen lovers.

Narutoya

Situated with a legacy tracing back to Morishita's esteemed Menya Josui, Narutoya is not just another ramen spot but a gastronomic voyage. The menu, featuring the beloved Narutoya tsukemen and the classic Narutoya shio ramen, is a testament to the mastery of flavors. The thin salt noodles, with their addictive texture, and the impeccable char siu are just a few of the delights that beckon patrons. Yet, it's the broth, with its profound richness, that truly ensnares the senses. While the menu offers a spectrum of bases, the salt-infused dishes stand out, exuding a delicate freshness. But what truly elevates Narutoya is the shopkeeper's genuine warmth, making every diner feel cherished. At Narutoya, every meal is not just about savoring ramen but immersing oneself in an unparalleled culinary embrace.

Ichiyoken

Nestled within Japan's gastronomic landscape, Ichiyoken emerges as more than just a ramen destination; it's a culinary revelation. Its tonkotsu ramen, with a creamy pork bone broth, sets a gold standard, harmonizing seamlessly with homemade noodles. The Kaedeka soup can be tailored to one's liking, while options like spicy miso and Korean ginseng vinegar tantalize with their unique flavors. The artistry extends to the noodles and the delectable char siu, with its coveted large cuts. The ever-present queue outside this nearly 5-star eatery attests to its acclaim. Beyond the food, the pristine ambiance reflects Ichiyoken's dedication to excellence. It's not just about dining; it's about immersing oneself in a symphony of flavors, tradition, and impeccable service.

Menya Shishimaru

Nestled in Nagoya's vibrant heart, Menya Shishimaru stands as a beacon of ramen excellence, securing its place as the city's second-best. Beyond its rank, it offers a culinary journey, from the signature Prawn ramen to the innovative Mixed Shoyu with Truffle Paste. The noodles, a blend of tradition and perfection, harmonize with broths like the balanced shoyu and the unique cold ramen. Yet, it's the lobster base soup ramen, reminiscent of Singaporean laksa, that truly captivates. This dish, with its rich yet light essence, embodies the eatery's ethos. Menya Shishimaru isn't just a dining spot; it's a celebration of Japanese culinary mastery, blending age-old traditions with contemporary flair.

Ramen Naru

In the heart of a city brimming with gastronomic delights, Ramen Naru emerges as a culinary maestro. Each bowl is a symphony of flavors, from the rich broth to the springy noodles, enhanced by a yuzu-infused dipping sauce. Beyond the main course, side dishes like the delicate gyoza and crispy karaage add depth to the dining narrative. The restaurant's dedication shines through its use of fresh ingredients, ensuring every bite resonates with authenticity. While the special tsukemen at ¥1,000 is a popular choice, the entire menu reflects decades of tradition and innovation. At Ramen Naru, it's not just a meal; it's a voyage through Japan's rich culinary legacy, making every visit an unforgettable experience.

Menya Kitara

Amidst the city's hustle, Menya Kitara emerges as a tranquil culinary haven. The ambiance, marked by soft jazz and cafe melodies, sets the stage for a ramen experience like no other. From the aromatic special ramen, adorned with generous chashu slices, to the unique Sichuan style mixed soba that teases with a lingering warmth, each dish is a testament to the restaurant's dedication to quality and flavor. Noteworthy is the Past and Present Chinese Soba with Broiled Meat Soy Sauce, a chemical-free delight that showcases freshly prepared broth and succulent char siu. With diverse seating options and a menu that caters to both traditional and adventurous palates, Menya Kitara is more than a meal; it's a journey of flavors and memories waiting to be discovered.

Shurakutei Kuan

Nestled amidst a serene Japanese garden, Shurakutei Kuan offers a unique ramen kaiseki experience. From the welcoming cold ginger juice to the palate-prepping warmed duck meat, the culinary journey is meticulously curated. The star dish, duck hachi ramen paired with egg toji rice, showcases the restaurant's dedication to premium ingredients and artful presentation. Notable mentions include the grape sansho-infused menma and the pasteurized duck char siu, each elevating the dining experience. As the meal unfolds, from single-dish snacks to flavorful boiled dumplings topped with homemade mustard, the essence of duck remains the consistent theme. With its opulent ambiance and masterful dishes, Shurakutei Kuan stands as a beacon for special occasions and ramen aficionados alike.

Nagoya Ramen: The Authentic Experience

When it comes to Nagoya Ramen, the recipe and toppings are what set it apart from other types of ramen. The base of the soup is made from tonkotsu pork bones or chicken bones boiled for several hours, resulting in a rich and creamy broth.

One of the key toppings in Nagoya Ramen is the katsuobushi, dried and fermented skipjack tuna, which adds a smoky and savory taste. Another popular topping is the menma, or bamboo shoots, which are simmered in a flavorful mixture of soy sauce, sake, and mirin.

Some Nagoya Ramen shops also offer unique toppings such as mitsuba, a Japanese herb with a fresh and slightly sweet taste. The noodles used in Nagoya Ramen are also distinct - they are thicker and flatter than traditional ramen noodles, allowing them to better soak up the flavorful soup.

To make Nagoya Ramen at home, start with a high-quality pork or chicken broth and add soy sauce, miso paste, and sake for added flavor. Top with katsuobushi, menma, and sliced green onions for a true Nagoya Ramen experience.

The Perfect Nagoya Ramen Soup

One of the key components of Nagoya Ramen is the soup. Made from a combination of meat and fish bones, miso or soy sauce, and other savory ingredients, the soup is what gives Nagoya Ramen its distinct and delicious taste.

The soup used in Nagoya Ramen can be categorized into three types: shio (salt), shoyu (soy sauce), and miso. Shio soup is a clear, light broth that is saltier than the other two. Shoyu soup has a soy sauce base and is darker in color, with a more robust flavor. Miso soup, which uses fermented soybean paste, is the thickest and richest of the three.

But what really sets Nagoya Ramen soup apart is the use of katsuobushi, or dried bonito flakes, and niboshi, or dried sardines. These ingredients give the soup a unique umami flavor and aroma that is characteristic of Nagoya Ramen.

In addition to the soup, many Nagoya Ramen restaurants offer a variety of toppings that can be added to the soup for extra flavor. Popular toppings include chashu (braised pork), menma (seasoned bamboo shoots), and negi (green onions).

When it comes to Nagoya Ramen, the soup is truly the star of the show. Its rich, savory flavor and unique blend of ingredients make it a must-try for any ramen lover.

Nagoya Ramen Noodles: The Essential Element

Freshly made Nagoya-style ramen noodles, ready to be cooked

When it comes to Nagoya Ramen, the noodles are just as important as the soup and toppings. Nagoya-style ramen noodles are firm and chewy, with a texture that perfectly complements the rich broth.

The noodles used in Nagoya Ramen are typically thin, straight, and slightly curly. They are made using a blend of high-quality wheat flour and kansui, a type of alkaline mineral water that gives the noodles their distinct yellow color and firm texture.

Unlike other types of ramen, Nagoya-style noodles are boiled for a shorter amount of time, resulting in a firmer texture that holds up well against the hot broth. This allows the noodles to maintain their chewiness and provides a pleasing contrast to the soft, tender toppings.

In addition to the traditional thin noodles, some Nagoya Ramen restaurants offer thicker, heartier noodles that are perfect for soaking up the rich soup. These thicker noodles are known as hiramen or kotteri-men, and they add an extra layer of texture to the dish.

Overall, the noodles in Nagoya Ramen are a key component of the dish's flavor and texture. Whether you prefer thin or thick noodles, the chewy texture and delicious taste of Nagoya-style ramen noodles are sure to please.

Conclusion

Visiting Nagoya without experiencing the local ramen scene would be a missed opportunity. Nagoya Ramen is a must-try for travelers looking to explore the unique flavors of Japanese cuisine.

With its distinctive soup, noodles, and toppings, Nagoya Ramen offers a culinary experience unlike any other. Locals and visitors alike have embraced Nagoya Ramen, making it a staple of the city's food culture.

By visiting the best Nagoya Ramen spots favored by locals, travelers can indulge in the authentic flavors of this delicious dish. So, make sure to add Nagoya Ramen to your list of must-try foods when visiting Japan and experience the taste of this culinary delight for yourself.

panoramic view of Nagoya city, highlighting its vibrant streets and eateries
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zenDine blog author

Sakura is a content creator based in Osaka, writing for the zenDine platform. Born and raised in the city, she has a deep connection with its vibrant street food culture and bustling markets.

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