I recently read David Chang’s new memoir, and it was this funny reminder to me that ramen hasn’t been popular in the United States for very long… In fact, I had my first taste of tonkotsu ramen in Austin in 2015. It was at the original (and most popular) ramen shop in Austin, Ramen Tatsu-ya. And although it’s winter in Austin right now, I’ve found that I crave big, hearty bowls of ramen even in the summer months. The ramen craze isn’t quite as big in Austin as some of the big ramen hubs in the world (Tokyo or NYC), but we’re starting to see lots of ramen shops in Austin. In order to find the best ramen in Austin, I tried a bunch of different ramen shops, including the big popular ones and the lesser known hole-in-the-walls.
These are listed in my order of preference: my very favorite ramen is at the top, but all 10 of these Austin ramen shops are worth a visit.
Best Bowls Of Ramen In Austin
1. Ramen Tatsu-ya
The OG ramen shop in Austin, Tatsu-ya was the place that introduced many of us to authentic ramen. They specialize in tonkotsu, which is a pork-based soup made from boiling pork in soup for hours and hours. (Think: the richest, creamiest, most decadent bowl of ramen you can find.)
What to order: start with the #1 tonkotsu, but then try the Miso Hot for a bit of a spicy kick.
Note: several locations!
2. Komé (Vegetarian and Vegan available)
If I’m craving something healthier (or don’t have time for a nap after lunch…) I’ll go to Kome for their Shio ramen. It’s a light chicken-based broth with a nice salty flavor. (Note: Daruma Ramen and Kome are sister restaurants – go to Kome in north Austin, or Daruma in downtown Austin.)
What to order: the Shio ramen really is their specialty, so start there: salty chicken broth, soft boiled egg, chicken chasu, bok choy, seaweed, sesame, white pepper, ginger.
3. Sazan Ramen (vegan ramen available)
Sazan Ramen is the new kid on the block in north Austin, but they’re always getting very popular. A few reasons: the chef has worked at Michelin-rated restaurants, and the sleek, modern interior from local designer Matthew Tsang is the perfect place to take a deep breath and slurp some noodles. They serve paitan ramen, which is a creamy mixture of chicken and pork broth. It’s not as heavy and rich as tonkotsu, but it’s more creamy than the shio ramen you’ll find at kome.
What to order: the spicy paitan ramen is to die for! A little bit of nuttiness from the cashews, plus creamy broth, umami egg, and your choice of pork or chicken.
4. Michi Ramen (vegetarian available)
Long before the pandemic started, Michi was the only place in Austin where you could consistently find to-go ramen. The ordering process is really fun: choose your broth, pick a chasu (meat), and customize it with toppings.
What to order: the Meat Lover’s, because you get to choose TWO types of meat like pork belly, spicy ground pork, chicken, or lean pork. Yummm.
Note: multiple locations
5. Lucky Robot
Leave it to Lucky Robot Japanese Kitchen (the restaurant with porch swings for seats) to create the most outrageous and unique ramen around. They only have a couple ramen offerings (it’s definitely not the focus of the restaurant), but they are so delicious and satisfying.
What to order: Umi Miso Ramen, full of striped bass, gulf shrimp, and tons of vegetables and other flavors.
6. Haru Ramen
I love how the ramen here is categorized by color to make it real easy for us. 😉 Choose White, Black, Red, or Brown (tonkotsu, black garlic, spicy, or miso). They even have a kid-friendly ramen for $7.50!
What to order: the beef bulgogi ramen is unique to Haru ramen and worth trying. Photo: Haru Ramen Facebook
7. Kanji Ramen (vegetarian ramen available)
Far north Austinites can head to Kanji ramen for a delicious bowl of tonkotsu, miso, or a combo of both: the signature Kanji ramen is made from a creamy pork base + soy for a decadent, creamy lunch.
What to order: Signature Kanji Ramen (mentioned above) Photo: Kanji Ramen Facebook
8. Fat Dragon (vegetarian ramen available)
Fat Dragon is a pan-Asian restaurant, which means it offers all sorts of Sichuan food, Japanese, American-Chinese, Korean, and more…and it’s all SO good! The ramen is cooked slowly and delivered in big bowls ready for slurping. This is a no-frills restaurant that’s popular for both dine-in and carry-out.
What to order: if you can handle the heat, try the Spicy Jiro Ramen. It’s loaded with spicy ground pork and extra spicy chili oil.
9. Miyako Ramen (vegetarian ramen available)
This is a great place for dine in, because the ramen is served with 4 pieces of gyoza (dumplings).
What to order: the standard chasu ramen, because pork + pork broth + dumplings = heaven. Photo: Miyako ramen
10. Jinya Ramen Bar
Jinya Ramen located at the Domain, so it’s a really great spot to stop during a day of shopping. It’s a national chain, and they have a bunch of options with funny names (like “Sprouting Up” ramen, or the “Cha Cha Cha”) but offer a good quality soup and an easy online ordering system.
What to order: Wonton Chicken Ramen, because it’s just so unique: a chicken-based ramen with wontons in it! Photo: Jinya Ramen