In Kyoto, Osaka, and Tokyo, ramen is an art form. As America’s fascination with Japanese culture and food matures, we’re seeing ramen viewed in a similar light in most major cities. If you’re looking to sample the bowls of ramen in Austin most worthy of masterpiece status, here’s a checklist of restaurants to check out.
Communal sitting gives Daruma Ramen on Sixth Street an authentic Japanese feel. The soup served at Daruna, made from a chicken-based broth, contributes further to this Austin ramen shop’s authenticity. Lighter and less intensely flavored than some ramen, Daruma is a great place to take someone trying ramen for the first time. This noodle house is a 10-minute walk from the downtown Austin apartments at AMLI Eastside.
Roasted pork tonkotsu-style ramen is the diner’s standard at Kome, owned by the restaurateurs responsible for Daruma. Kome’s also got a flavorful miso-based ramen broth, Japanese-style curry rice, a dozen sake varieties, and a balanced selection of imported Japanese and Austin craft beer. Kome is a five-minute drive from AMLI at Mueller.
If you’ve been enjoying ramen in Austin for a while, you might remember the Michi Ramen food truck. It paved the way for the birth of this brick-and-mortar ramen shop many loyal fans consider Austin’s finest. One thing ramen lovers appreciate here is the option to essentially build your own bowl. You choose the thickness of the broth, the softness of the noodles, the volume of oil, and the spice level. There are also loads of add-ons, including fish cakes, pickled mustard greens, ginger, bamboo shoots, and soft-boiled eggs. This Austin ramen joint is a 10-minute drive northwest of AMLI’s Mueller apartments.
You can’t make a reservation at Ramen Tatsu-ya, but the line moves quickly at this often-packed Austin ramen shop. Tatsu-ya’s signature bowl features thin noodles and a rich pork bone broth. The original Ramen Tatsu-ya is at Lamar Square, a five-minute drive south of AMLI Downtown and AMLI on 2nd. There’s also an outpost a ten-minute drive from AMLI 5350.
Another food-truck-come-brick-and-mortar success story, East Side King has taken Austin by storm. It’s first brick-and-mortar outpost, at Hole in the Wall bar on Guadalupe, closed last December. But it served a Texas-inspired ramen that was much the subject of hefty praise. It may not happen, but keep your eyes peeled for the return of Shiner Beer Miso Ramen, served with a dollop of beer foam, at East Side King’s other branches. The Kimchi Pork Ramen is another interesting, and satisfying, take on ramen.
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