The Best Ramen in Salt Lake City

Naked Fish's karai ramen with spicy miso pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and a poached egg.
Naked Fish's karai ramen with spicy miso pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and a poached egg.

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.

Naked Fish's karai ramen with spicy miso pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and a poached egg.
Naked Fish’s karai ramen with spicy miso pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and a poached egg.

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 tonkotsu ramen with pork belly, spring onions and a poached egg in Salt Lake City.
My favorite ramen in the city is Naked Fish’s tonkotsu ramen, with pork belly, spring onions and a poached egg.

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).

The tonkatsu ramen at Kobe, packed with toppings.
The tonkatsu ramen at Kobe, packed with toppings.

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 spicy kimchi ramen.
Kobe’s spicy kimchi ramen.

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.

Kobe's Shoyu Ramen.
Kobe’s shoyu ramen.
Other places around town that serve ramen :: As I mentioned in my previous post, Koko’s Kitchen serves several types of ramen, although I wasn’t a fan when I went.  Their broth was flavorless and their toppings were piled on as if they were attempting to add flavor that way.  Dojo Restaurant and Sushi Bar downtown serves ramen, also reviewed last time, but you’re better off going to Naked Fish or Kobe.
Naked Fish's shoyu ramen and sake.
Naked Fish’s shoyu ramen and sake.

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.

Bento Truck, the Japanese cuisine food truck that makes its way through the Salt Lake Valley, occasionally serves tonkotsu ramen ($6.75).  The hard part is tracking them down!  The easiest way is to follow them on twitter; hopefully you’ll have better luck than me; I’m never in the right place at the right time.  And the only place (to my knowledge) serving ramen on Sundays is Sushi Blue in Park City, who serves both a tonkotsu version and a vegetarian version of the Japanese comfort food.

 

Where is your favorite place in Salt Lake City to get ramen?
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1 Comment

  • have you been to Sage Market on Main st. and about 1500 S.? you have to get there on certain times and days cuz they only serve for about 2 hours every other day but it is wELL worth the wait, id almost venture to say that their Miso is better than Naked Fish. :) enjoy

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