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12 Slurp-Worthy Bowls of Ramen in San Francisco

Because nothing says comfort like tonkotsu

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San Francisco has undergone a ramen renaissance, as high-profile international chains joined local favorites to raise the bar for what the city’s dedicated noodle slurpers can expect — in terms of broth flavor, noodle texture, and the jiggliness of the classic pork chashu topping. And while the creamy pork tonkotsu style reigns supreme, connoisseurs are now getting familiar with other styles: lighter, seafood-based broths and even the soupless tsukemen dipping noodles. Here, then, are a dozen satisfying options for when you’re craving ramen in San Francisco.

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Unlike the other spots on this list, this popular Richmond District izakaya-like spot is actually a Korean fusion restaurant rather than a place that purports to serve purely Japanese food. But instead of serving Korean-style ramyun (with or without American cheese), Jijime dishes out a quite solid rendition of a creamy tonkotsu-style broth, available in several versions — spiked with black garlic, for instance, or loaded with bite-size gyoza.

Izakaya Sozai

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This popular, pint-sized Inner Sunset restaurant is known for serving a typical izakaya mix of beer- and sake-friendly bites: yakitori skewers and assorted fried fare. But Sozai’s most popular dish, by far, is its tonkotsu ramen, still one of the best versions in the city of the creamy, pork-heavy style.

Ushi Taro

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If you’re looking to try a different style of ramen broth, which can skew more toward chicken and pork, Ushi Taro will instead tempt you into trying its beef broth ramen. Go for the paitan if you’re looking for something more classic, but there are other ramen takes to explore, such as the oxtail tomato ramen, if you’re so inclined. If you’re a fan of roasted bone marrow, there’s an option to add it as a flavorful side.

Marufuku Ramen

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When it first opened in 2017 this Japantown spot drew long lines for its hot bowls of rich, Hakata-style ramen — marked, broadly speaking, by its thin noodles and creamy tonkotsu broth. The shop is also known for its deluxe chicken paitan, which is available in limited quantities and comes with a chashu chicken breast.

Iza Ramen

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Iza’s most popular ramen dish is its tsukemen — the soupless style, served with a concentrated dipping broth. But the restaurant’s standard ramen, which has a hybrid pork, chicken, and dashi-based broth, is also perfectly solid.

Iza Ramen/Facebook

Hinodeya Ramen Bar

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Hinodeya’s house ramen, made with a dashi-based broth and whole-wheat noodles, is quite popular, as is its bountiful, vegetable-topped “Zen” ramen — one of the better vegan ramen options in the city. Hinodeya has locations in both Japantown and FiDi.

If you want to grab a bowl before a movie at Kabuki, Waraku serves affordable and comforting ramen, including a black garlic tonkotsu, clear chicken shoyu, and popular spicy tantan men, as well as starters and rice bowls.

Waraku

Ramen Izakaya Goku

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This snug storefront on 16th Street in Mission Dolores swings open to warm wood interiors. The kitchen simmers the broth for 16 hours, with tonkotsu, roasted garlic, shoyu, and veggie miso variations, and spiciness ranges from “No Spicy” to “Goku Spicy.” In addition to ramen, there are small plates such as takoyaki octopus balls and taiyaki fish-shaped cakes.

Nojo Ramen Tavern

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Soy sauce paitan is the signature style at this Hayes Valley ramen restaurant, whose parent company owns more than 200 ramen shops in Japan. The paitan base can come supplemented with corn, spicy miso, and other add-ons, and includes a whole slow-braised chicken leg.

Coco's Ramen

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Coco’s is a cozy black-and-red izakaya with lanterns glowing from the windows on upper Mission as it crosses into Bernal. The home-style ramen comes in eight different types of broth, from classic tonkotsu to miso and curry bases, with options to add on garlic or black garlic, and customize spiciness levels.

Ramen from Coco’s Ramen Coco’s Ramen

Mensho Tokyo SF

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This cult-favorite Tokyo ramen shop touched down with its first US outpost in 2015, and has been popular ever since. The tori paitan ramen remains a favorite, but the G.K.O. (Garlic Knock Out) is another popular favorite for those who enjoy a punch of garlic in their soup (see what they did there?).

Ippudo, a respected Japanese chain, has landed in the Bay Area with locations in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Cupertino. The menu spans a few different styles, both “modern” and “classic,” but the shop is probably still best known for its 18-hour “Shiromaru Classic” tonkotsu.

Jijime

Unlike the other spots on this list, this popular Richmond District izakaya-like spot is actually a Korean fusion restaurant rather than a place that purports to serve purely Japanese food. But instead of serving Korean-style ramyun (with or without American cheese), Jijime dishes out a quite solid rendition of a creamy tonkotsu-style broth, available in several versions — spiked with black garlic, for instance, or loaded with bite-size gyoza.

Izakaya Sozai

This popular, pint-sized Inner Sunset restaurant is known for serving a typical izakaya mix of beer- and sake-friendly bites: yakitori skewers and assorted fried fare. But Sozai’s most popular dish, by far, is its tonkotsu ramen, still one of the best versions in the city of the creamy, pork-heavy style.

Ushi Taro

If you’re looking to try a different style of ramen broth, which can skew more toward chicken and pork, Ushi Taro will instead tempt you into trying its beef broth ramen. Go for the paitan if you’re looking for something more classic, but there are other ramen takes to explore, such as the oxtail tomato ramen, if you’re so inclined. If you’re a fan of roasted bone marrow, there’s an option to add it as a flavorful side.

Marufuku Ramen

When it first opened in 2017 this Japantown spot drew long lines for its hot bowls of rich, Hakata-style ramen — marked, broadly speaking, by its thin noodles and creamy tonkotsu broth. The shop is also known for its deluxe chicken paitan, which is available in limited quantities and comes with a chashu chicken breast.

Iza Ramen

Iza’s most popular ramen dish is its tsukemen — the soupless style, served with a concentrated dipping broth. But the restaurant’s standard ramen, which has a hybrid pork, chicken, and dashi-based broth, is also perfectly solid.

Iza Ramen/Facebook

Hinodeya Ramen Bar

Hinodeya’s house ramen, made with a dashi-based broth and whole-wheat noodles, is quite popular, as is its bountiful, vegetable-topped “Zen” ramen — one of the better vegan ramen options in the city. Hinodeya has locations in both Japantown and FiDi.

Waraku

If you want to grab a bowl before a movie at Kabuki, Waraku serves affordable and comforting ramen, including a black garlic tonkotsu, clear chicken shoyu, and popular spicy tantan men, as well as starters and rice bowls.

Waraku

Ramen Izakaya Goku

This snug storefront on 16th Street in Mission Dolores swings open to warm wood interiors. The kitchen simmers the broth for 16 hours, with tonkotsu, roasted garlic, shoyu, and veggie miso variations, and spiciness ranges from “No Spicy” to “Goku Spicy.” In addition to ramen, there are small plates such as takoyaki octopus balls and taiyaki fish-shaped cakes.

Nojo Ramen Tavern

Soy sauce paitan is the signature style at this Hayes Valley ramen restaurant, whose parent company owns more than 200 ramen shops in Japan. The paitan base can come supplemented with corn, spicy miso, and other add-ons, and includes a whole slow-braised chicken leg.

Coco's Ramen

Coco’s is a cozy black-and-red izakaya with lanterns glowing from the windows on upper Mission as it crosses into Bernal. The home-style ramen comes in eight different types of broth, from classic tonkotsu to miso and curry bases, with options to add on garlic or black garlic, and customize spiciness levels.

Ramen from Coco’s Ramen Coco’s Ramen

Mensho Tokyo SF

This cult-favorite Tokyo ramen shop touched down with its first US outpost in 2015, and has been popular ever since. The tori paitan ramen remains a favorite, but the G.K.O. (Garlic Knock Out) is another popular favorite for those who enjoy a punch of garlic in their soup (see what they did there?).

Ippudo

Ippudo, a respected Japanese chain, has landed in the Bay Area with locations in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Cupertino. The menu spans a few different styles, both “modern” and “classic,” but the shop is probably still best known for its 18-hour “Shiromaru Classic” tonkotsu.

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