San Diego is graced with some of the best Japanese food in Southern California, and is rich with options from five star sushi counters, to Japanese comfort food dishes, to omakase fine dining restaurants, but, we are obsessed with Ramen! In an effort to help you avoid limp noodles and bland broths, we’ve rounded up the very best ramen in San Diego. Whether it’s a milky, china-white tonkotsu bone broth you’re looking for, or a top-notch tantan, you’ll find it on our list of the most slurpable bowls of ramen in the city! Looking for a true culinary experience? Try a san diego tour that’s centered around local bites and cocktails or make your own restaurant crawl and sample items from each of our favorites listed below!
Kearny Mesa, Little Italy, and Liberty Public Market
RakiRaki is first on our list for a reason. This hearty and flavorful ramen dish is addicting from the very first sip to the very last gulp! The chefs carefully prepare each bowl of ramen “aburi” style with fresh, flame-seared toppings. Our favorite, the Black Edition Ramen with underbelly, is absolutely incredible. Rakiraki also serves a wide variety of authentic Japanese cuisine including tsukemen (dipping noodles), charcoal-fired yakitori, curry, ramen burgers, sushi rolls, vegan ramen, beer, and sake, and you can enjoy it all with zen-like ambiance, reclaimed wood tables, and oversized lanterns that make you feel like you’re vacationing in traditional Japan.
#2 – BESHOCK Ramen
BESHOCK is one of East Village’s hidden gems. These are expert ramen-makers, and if you want a really delicious, fresh bowl of ramen, this is definitely the place to go. They have a ramen dish for just about every palate and their broth is to die for. If you like spicy ramen, or want an incredible miso or tonkotsu, or even mussels, octopus fritters, ahi, buns, or sushi, try BESHOCK. As if all that wasn’t enough, this restaurant has an incredible full sake bar. Our suggestion is go for happy hour and enjoy a daring and delicious sake sampler!
Also in Hillcrest, North Park, Convoy, & Mercury Street
The ramen at all of the Tajima locations is superb, but the dishes in the East Village location are absolutely phenomenal. The noodles are plentiful, the egg is perfectly cooked, the herbs are subtly delicious, and the dipping sauce is on point! Their broth isn’t as thick as it is in many ramen spots, so if you like a lighter ramen, this is for you. If you can handle it, we recommend the spicy ramen! The spices are just so delicious! The cute little restaurant has outdoor seating and heat lamps, so it’s a great place to bring out-of-town guests for dinner, and is a walkable distance to Gaslamp Quarters.
#4 – Underbelly
North Park & Little Italy
If you aren’t careful, you may find yourself dining at Underbelly every day of the week. Their entire menu is great, but their ramen is just so addicting! For the price, the amount of delicious ramen and meat (or tofu) is ridiculous, in a good way! No wonder Underbelly is a household name in San Diego. The ramen broth is flavorful, rich, creamy and hearty, and is definitely the place to go if you’re hungry. If you’re extra hungry, we definitely recommend adding the dumplings or bao buns.
#5 – Izakaya Masa
This is probably the best, most authentic Japanese restaurant in San Diego. In fact, in the winter, it closes down for a month so that the staff can visit family in Japan for the Holidays. The ramen izakaya broth manages to be both thick and rich, yet silky. Their ramen is as traditional as it gets, and comes topped with pork, garlic chips, pickled ginger, seaweed, scallions, and sesame seeds. Nothing fancy, just delicious and wholesome the way ramen was meant to taste!
#6 – Menya Ultra
This soup is delicious and has tons of dashi flavor. They also fill up their bowls to the rim with corn, vegetables, eggs, cabbage, and meat. They have a great selection of ramen, all of which are amazing. However, we recommend giving the black ramen a try. The flavor is quite unique and will have you coming back again and again. Menya Ultra is definitely our favorite ramen spot in Kearny Mesa. It is often crowded, but only because the food is so good! Also, the first few parties to the restaurant can order one of ten different orders of creamy pork chashu (pork belly soaked in soy sauce) for an extra $5. There’s a limit of two of these per table, but it is definitely worth it, so if you can, you should try it.
#7 – Hachi Ramen
This is a great place to break for lunch or dinner if you’re spending the day exploring Balboa Park. Located in Bankers Hill, this sleek and mod concept restaurant blends California cooking philosophy with Japanese technique— traditional, with just a tad of West Coast flair. The noodles have an excellent consistency, and the broth is both rich and flavorful! While the Tonkotsu Ramen is definitely their specialty, all of their ramen dishes have something special to them. There is something for everyone here. If there are any vegetarians or vegans in your party, they will also be impressed as this restaurant has tons of vegan options! We love the Steaming Bird Dumplings and Shiso Edamame, and definitely recommend adding them to your order! Want to finish your evening with a tasty treat? Don’t forget to check out our list of the best ice cream in San Deigo!