5 Must-Try East Bay Ramen Shops
Try these five fabulous noodle shops.
Instant ramen started as a low-cost comfort food, but unlike three-minute Cup Noodles, hip gourmet ramen can take up to 60 hours to prepare. Gourmet ramen’s main draws are its flavorful broth and diverse ingredients, which include pork belly, boiled eggs, enoki mushrooms, and scallions.
Here are five East Bay venues to stimulate your palate, similar to the much-anticipated Itani Ramen in Oakland, which is set to open in late March.
Why Go? Enjoy the ambience and impressive cocktails.
Standout Dish: Spicy ramen: lots of flavor, with the added bonus of sinus-clearing spices.
Perfect Pairing: Grilled edamame. Dublin, amakaraco.com.
I Love Ramen and Noodles
Why Go? It’s a family-owned restaurant with great prices.
Standout Dish: Miso ramen: ideal for miso soup lovers who want a more filling meal.
Perfect Pairing: Love wings. Concord, (925) 689-8802.
Why Go? This modern, well-lit eatery is perfect for lunch.
Standout Dish: Spicy ramen: garnish with bean sprouts.
Perfect Pairing: Kimchee pancakes. Walnut Creek, mixedgrain.com.
Why Go? It’s fast-casual dining with a variety of options.
Standout Dish: Tantanmen
Ramen: The unique sesame broth has a hint of spice.
Perfect Pairing: House-made hanetsuki gyoza. Walnut Creek, ramenhiroshi.com.
Why Go? This is an ideal stop for a classy ramen date. The menu changes daily, so you’re bound to discover something new.
Standout Dish: Tori paitan shio ramen, for its rich broth; or veggie shoyu maitake mushroom ramen, for the vegetarian.
Perfect pairing: The pickle plate. Oakland, ramenshop.com.
There are four main types of ramen: shio (salt broth), shoyu, (soy sauce broth), tonkotsu (boiled pork bone broth), and miso (soybean paste broth). Shio and shoyu tend to be more brothy; miso and tonkotsu are heartier and thicker. Ramen noodles are either fresh or dried, and should be eaten within five minutes of serving. Gourmet ramen is garnished with vegetables or flavorful meats.
Follow photographer and food writer Radhika Sakalkale at her blog, The Snobby Foodie, thesnobbyfoodie.com.