clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
Ippudo ramen
Ippudo in Cupertino is just one of the must-try ramens in the South Bay.
Ippudo

11 Essential Ramen Shops in the South Bay

Where to find the most comforting bowls of ramen below the Peninsula

View as Map
Ippudo in Cupertino is just one of the must-try ramens in the South Bay.
| Ippudo

Whether it’s cold or warm, whether for late-night enjoyment or a proper lunch refueling, ramen is always there. In San Francisco, there are plenty of timeless bowls to slurp your way through. But the South Bay is a frontier for the ramen dedicated, those willing to venture far and wide for rich tonkotsu ramen with well-made noodles. A few of the businesses listed here are the only or one of the only outposts of Japanese and New York-based ramen destinations, making a visit all the rarer. So for any occasion, for any kind of weather, for any reason at all, head to any of these 11 ramen restaurants for thick noodles, marinated eggs, flavorful chashu pork, and even vegan broths.

Read More
Eater maps are curated by editors and aim to reflect a diversity of neighborhoods, cuisines, and prices. Learn more about our editorial process.

HiroNori | Craft Ramen

Copy Link

Though Hironori may have started in Irvine, California, it’s made quite the name for itself with three Bay Area locations — two of which are in the South Bay. The restaurant is known for homemade noodles, broths, and sauces. Hironori’s tonkotsu ramen is prepared with a pork bone broth that’s simmered for more than 24 hours before being topped with bean sprouts, green onion, spinach, a half egg, seaweed, wood ear mushrooms, and chashu pork. The vegan ramen is also a popular choice, as it’s served with a surprisingly umami-filled sesame miso broth.

Hironori Craft Ramen

Men-Bei Ramen

Copy Link

There’s truly something for everyone at family-owned ramen shop Men-Bei, which is known for its plethora of unique ramen options. The signature bowl, the Men-Bei Ramen, is strikingly heavy on garlic and pork, while the wonton ramen includes a generous portion of pork dumplings. The curry ramen is another fan-favorite for its savory, beefy flavor, while the gomoku is prepared with a light, clean broth with an assortment of Chinese cabbage, shrimp, and pork. For those who are feeling a little more hungry, you can upgrade any bowl to a large.

Kumako Ramen

Copy Link

In San Jose’s Japantown, the quaint but inviting Kumako Ramen offers all the expected staples including shio, shoyu, and tonkotsu, which has pork broth that’s noticeably lighter than usual. But for something with a bit more kick, try the Mabo Ramen, which comes with ground pork, tofu, and a sour, spicy broth, or the Chili Ramen with cilantro, corn, scallions, and spicy ground pork in Southwestern-style broth. The options at Kumako clearly run the gamut, as the shop even offers low-sodium ramen and chilled ramen in the summertime. The handmade gyoza is also a hit. 

Kumako Ramen

Ramen Taka

Copy Link

Ramen Taka opened its doors more than 10 years ago in Santa Clara with the goal of reflecting the ramen-eating experience in Japan. To this day, it’s a no-frills spot with eight simple but hearty ramen bowls on the menu. All the broths are made from scratch, and the signature item, the Taka Ramen, is a traditional Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen with thin noodles and a creamy pork broth that’s cooked for 16 hours. Patrons also often order the Jiro Tonkotsu Ramen, which is prepared in the Jiro-style — with thick noodles and loads of toppings including vegetables, garlic, and slabs of pork chashu. 

Ramen Taka

Orenchi Ramen

Copy Link

In a modest Santa Clara strip mall, you’ll find Orenchi, a Japanese restaurant specializing in ramen and small bites. Though it can get busy, customers who make it off the waitlist tend to gravitate toward bar seating to get closer to the action. The shop offers a comprehensive menu of ramen and izakaya staples. Though Orenchi is most well-known for classic tonkotsu, you can’t go wrong with the lighter shio and shoyu options, and the tsukemen is also another popular choice. The duo of ramen and karaage is always a hit.

Orenchi Ramen

Ramen Nagi

Copy Link

If you don’t mind a line, then Ramen Nagi is a solid option for flavorful ramen and a dynamic dining experience. With bar seating and an open kitchen, the restaurant is small but welcoming. 

The shop is acclaimed for its highly customizable menu, as diners can choose the levels of salt, broth density, noodle doneness, selection of meat, and extra toppings. The Original King, followed by the Red, Black, and Green King, are some of the most commonly ordered bowls, which each embody different flavor profiles as varied iterations of classic tonkotsu ramen. 

Ramen Nagi/Jakob N. Layman

Ippudo Cupertino

Copy Link

Hailing from New York City, Ippudo is a chain known for top-tier tonkotsu ramen. The pork broth, which is slow-boiled for more than 20 hours, is distinctly silky and savory. Customers most often order the Akamaru Modern, Ippudo’s signature ramen made with the shop’s original pork broth that’s enhanced with a special blended piquant akamaru paste and fragrant garlic oil. You also can’t go wrong with the other ramen offerings, like the Karaka Spicy or Yuzu Shoyu, which embody classic Japanese ramen flavors with a twist. 

Ippudo

Ramen Hajime

Copy Link

Ramen Hajime exemplifies an incredibly detailed approach to ramen. All the noodles are made in-house, using 10 different types of cutters to achieve the optimal thickness for the flavor of the broth. The shop prides itself on its rotating specials, which range from seafood-based scallop ramen to miso ramen with a load of toppings and diced chashu pork. Though the shop has served more than a dozen special ramen versions to date, the tried-and-true tonkotsu remains the best seller. Some of the ramen bowls are infused with a black garlic sauce that’s smoked with Jack Daniels chips. 

Ramen Hajime

Kahoo Ramen

Copy Link

A quaint, cozy spot in San Jose, Kahoo Ramen serves a thoughtful assortment of miso-based ramen with egg noodles. Though the broth is light, it doesn’t skimp out on flavor or depth. The signature miso ramen is rather simple, but the black garlic miso ramen takes the umami up a notch with black garlic oil, while the crab miso ramen is, of course, topped with fresh crab meat. If you’re craving a heftier bowl, you can’t go wrong with the Ultimate Ramen — miso ramen topped with a crispy, deep-fried pork cutlet. 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Copy Link

Hokkaida Ramen Santouka is no stranger to those who frequent Mitsuwa, the Japanese grocery store. Located in the food court, the stand consistently serves quality bowls of ramen with broth made in-house from scratch. It’s hard to believe the famous chain started in Hokkaido in 1988 with a restaurant that had just nine seats and a single bowl of ramen on the menu. To this day, the most commonly ordered item remains the signature shio ramen, with its mild, creamy, savory broth that’s topped with a Japanese pickled plum. 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Hinodeya Campbell Town

Copy Link

Unlike most other Japanese ramen shops in the area, Hinodeya is most well known for its dashi-based broths served with thick, chewy wheat noodles. In fact, the signature Hinodeya Ramen incorporates broth made with dashi and scallops that’s flavored with scallops and pork oils, then topped with chashu pork, a marinated egg, and an assortment of vegetables. Hinodeya also offers vegan ramen for those who prefer plant-based options, including Creamy Ramen made with mushroom “dashi” and the Zen Ramen made with vegan “dashi” and white soy sauce.

Hinodeya Campbell Town

HiroNori | Craft Ramen

Though Hironori may have started in Irvine, California, it’s made quite the name for itself with three Bay Area locations — two of which are in the South Bay. The restaurant is known for homemade noodles, broths, and sauces. Hironori’s tonkotsu ramen is prepared with a pork bone broth that’s simmered for more than 24 hours before being topped with bean sprouts, green onion, spinach, a half egg, seaweed, wood ear mushrooms, and chashu pork. The vegan ramen is also a popular choice, as it’s served with a surprisingly umami-filled sesame miso broth.

Hironori Craft Ramen

Men-Bei Ramen

There’s truly something for everyone at family-owned ramen shop Men-Bei, which is known for its plethora of unique ramen options. The signature bowl, the Men-Bei Ramen, is strikingly heavy on garlic and pork, while the wonton ramen includes a generous portion of pork dumplings. The curry ramen is another fan-favorite for its savory, beefy flavor, while the gomoku is prepared with a light, clean broth with an assortment of Chinese cabbage, shrimp, and pork. For those who are feeling a little more hungry, you can upgrade any bowl to a large.

Kumako Ramen

In San Jose’s Japantown, the quaint but inviting Kumako Ramen offers all the expected staples including shio, shoyu, and tonkotsu, which has pork broth that’s noticeably lighter than usual. But for something with a bit more kick, try the Mabo Ramen, which comes with ground pork, tofu, and a sour, spicy broth, or the Chili Ramen with cilantro, corn, scallions, and spicy ground pork in Southwestern-style broth. The options at Kumako clearly run the gamut, as the shop even offers low-sodium ramen and chilled ramen in the summertime. The handmade gyoza is also a hit. 

Kumako Ramen

Ramen Taka

Ramen Taka opened its doors more than 10 years ago in Santa Clara with the goal of reflecting the ramen-eating experience in Japan. To this day, it’s a no-frills spot with eight simple but hearty ramen bowls on the menu. All the broths are made from scratch, and the signature item, the Taka Ramen, is a traditional Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen with thin noodles and a creamy pork broth that’s cooked for 16 hours. Patrons also often order the Jiro Tonkotsu Ramen, which is prepared in the Jiro-style — with thick noodles and loads of toppings including vegetables, garlic, and slabs of pork chashu. 

Ramen Taka

Orenchi Ramen

In a modest Santa Clara strip mall, you’ll find Orenchi, a Japanese restaurant specializing in ramen and small bites. Though it can get busy, customers who make it off the waitlist tend to gravitate toward bar seating to get closer to the action. The shop offers a comprehensive menu of ramen and izakaya staples. Though Orenchi is most well-known for classic tonkotsu, you can’t go wrong with the lighter shio and shoyu options, and the tsukemen is also another popular choice. The duo of ramen and karaage is always a hit.

Orenchi Ramen

Ramen Nagi

If you don’t mind a line, then Ramen Nagi is a solid option for flavorful ramen and a dynamic dining experience. With bar seating and an open kitchen, the restaurant is small but welcoming. 

The shop is acclaimed for its highly customizable menu, as diners can choose the levels of salt, broth density, noodle doneness, selection of meat, and extra toppings. The Original King, followed by the Red, Black, and Green King, are some of the most commonly ordered bowls, which each embody different flavor profiles as varied iterations of classic tonkotsu ramen. 

Ramen Nagi/Jakob N. Layman

Ippudo Cupertino

Hailing from New York City, Ippudo is a chain known for top-tier tonkotsu ramen. The pork broth, which is slow-boiled for more than 20 hours, is distinctly silky and savory. Customers most often order the Akamaru Modern, Ippudo’s signature ramen made with the shop’s original pork broth that’s enhanced with a special blended piquant akamaru paste and fragrant garlic oil. You also can’t go wrong with the other ramen offerings, like the Karaka Spicy or Yuzu Shoyu, which embody classic Japanese ramen flavors with a twist. 

Ippudo

Ramen Hajime

Ramen Hajime exemplifies an incredibly detailed approach to ramen. All the noodles are made in-house, using 10 different types of cutters to achieve the optimal thickness for the flavor of the broth. The shop prides itself on its rotating specials, which range from seafood-based scallop ramen to miso ramen with a load of toppings and diced chashu pork. Though the shop has served more than a dozen special ramen versions to date, the tried-and-true tonkotsu remains the best seller. Some of the ramen bowls are infused with a black garlic sauce that’s smoked with Jack Daniels chips. 

Ramen Hajime

Kahoo Ramen

A quaint, cozy spot in San Jose, Kahoo Ramen serves a thoughtful assortment of miso-based ramen with egg noodles. Though the broth is light, it doesn’t skimp out on flavor or depth. The signature miso ramen is rather simple, but the black garlic miso ramen takes the umami up a notch with black garlic oil, while the crab miso ramen is, of course, topped with fresh crab meat. If you’re craving a heftier bowl, you can’t go wrong with the Ultimate Ramen — miso ramen topped with a crispy, deep-fried pork cutlet. 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Hokkaida Ramen Santouka is no stranger to those who frequent Mitsuwa, the Japanese grocery store. Located in the food court, the stand consistently serves quality bowls of ramen with broth made in-house from scratch. It’s hard to believe the famous chain started in Hokkaido in 1988 with a restaurant that had just nine seats and a single bowl of ramen on the menu. To this day, the most commonly ordered item remains the signature shio ramen, with its mild, creamy, savory broth that’s topped with a Japanese pickled plum. 

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Hinodeya Campbell Town

Unlike most other Japanese ramen shops in the area, Hinodeya is most well known for its dashi-based broths served with thick, chewy wheat noodles. In fact, the signature Hinodeya Ramen incorporates broth made with dashi and scallops that’s flavored with scallops and pork oils, then topped with chashu pork, a marinated egg, and an assortment of vegetables. Hinodeya also offers vegan ramen for those who prefer plant-based options, including Creamy Ramen made with mushroom “dashi” and the Zen Ramen made with vegan “dashi” and white soy sauce.

Hinodeya Campbell Town

Related Maps