Ramen is all the rage lately. The trend has finally made its way to Salt Lake City but, like all trends, that doesn’t mean that all ramen is created equal. A lot has changed since my first ramen in Salt Lake City post (in 2012) so here’s an update on where to find the best ramen in Salt Lake City.
Let’s start at the top, shall we? Naked Fish Japanese Bistro was the crowned winner of the best ramen in Salt Lake City in my previous post and they’ve only gotten better. They now serve four different kinds of ramen (tonkotsu $7.95, classic pork broth; karai $9.50, spicy tonkotsu; shoyu $7.95, soy sauce broth; and vegetarian $8.50, shiitake and enoki konbu broth) and if you ask really nicely on certain days, they might even give you curry ramen that’s not on the menu. The bad thing is that they only serve ramen during lunchtime (that means from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday-Saturday). (Note that they only serve ramen during lunch, plus gyoza and Tokyo hot wings, which are amazing, I might add.)
Naked Fish’s ramen wins the top honor thanks to the savoriness of their broth, which is the most complex in the city. It has the most depth and the most flavor without being too greasy. The amount of toppings hits the Goldilocks ratio–not too little and not too much. Their tonkotsu is my favorite of all their offerings (I don’t love the ground pork in the karai and sometimes the shoyu is too salty for my mood).
If you can’t make it downtown during lunchtime to cure your ramen craving, fear not my friends. Kobe Japanese Sushi comes in a close second for a superb bowl of the slurpy noodles. They serve six different kinds of ramen, all available in regular and large sizes: tonkotsu ($8.50 for regular), shoyu ($8.95), miso ($10.95), kimchi ($10.95), shio (salt flavor, $8.95) and mabo men (shoyu flavor topped with spicy ground pork, $10.25). There are a list of toppings to add, like black garlic oil (50¢), extra pork ($1.95), extra egg (50¢) and kimchi ($1.50).
Kobe’s broth is flavorful and delicious, although at times it can range from greasy to watered down. The pork slices are tiny, so I recommend ordering extra. Like their broth, the service is inconsistent, but it’s still my go-to for nighttime noodles. They also serve sushi and all the other dishes found at traditional sushi places. Kobe serves ramen Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 5-10 p.m., Saturdays noon-10 p.m.
New to the ramen-serving scene is the Japan Sage Market on 1515 South Main Street. Admittedly a random place for ramen, the market serves noodles Monday-Saturday til 2 p.m. Ichiban Sushi in downtown offers a bowl for $12, but it didn’t win me over. Noodle & Chopstick in West Valley City, a semi-fast food/semi-sit down joint focused on noodle and rice bowls, serves ramen but rumor is that it’s not worth the drive out there.