The Best Ramen Joints in the Sacramento Area
Nothing warms the soul like a hot, steaming bowl of noodles. And when it comes to the ultimate comfort food, nothing beats ramen! But we’re not talking the freeze dried, Styrofoam-cup variety of our college years. We’re talking slow-simmered broth, hand-cut noodles, and gourmet toppings.
Japanese ramen — real ramen — traces its history back to China. Yes, China. Immigrants brought the idea of soupy noodles to Japan in the 1800s. Its popularity grew over the decades, and took off after the invention of instant ramen in 1958.
There are many flavors of ramen, which are dictated by the broth. The following are the most popular.
- Shio. Meaning “salt,” shio is a pale, clear broth usually made from chicken and seasoned with plenty of salt.
- Shoyu. Meaning “soy,” shoyu is an umami-heavy broth seasoned with soy sauce. It can be made from chicken or pork.
- Miso. This type of ramen is seasoned with miso paste, which is fermented soy beans. Its base is typically chicken, pork or fish.
- Tonkotsu. Made from pork bones, this is a thick, creamy broth that looks milky.
- Karē. Karē, or curry, is a relative newcomer on the ramen scene. It uses Japanese curry for flavor.
- Tan Tan Men. A spicy, creamy broth made with chili oil, sesame paste and ground pork.
The toppings also define a bowl of ramen. Meats, vegetables, herbs and other ingredients can be added depending on your personal taste. Common toppings include soft-boiled eggs, seasoned pork belly, bamboo shoots, green onions, bok choy, and many more.
There are plenty of Japanese restaurants that serve ramen with all the fixins’ throughout the greater Sacramento area. Some are dedicated to the dish itself, while others are sushi restaurants that also offer ramen. Following are some of the top spots to check out.
Binchoyaki | Midtown
Best known for its Japanese charcoal barbecue, this restaurant in Midtown Sacramento also has a bit of a following for its ramen. They offer shio ramen, vegan mushroom ramen, and curry ramen, among many others. They also have an expansive sake selection.
Aji Japanese Bistro | El Dorado Hills
This modern eatery in El Dorado Hills has every type of Japanese delicacy imaginable, including sushi rolls, nigiri, and Japanese street food. But their ramen is especially noteworthy, and includes spicy chicken ramen and tonkotsu ramen with barbecue pork.
Fukumi Ramen | Roseville, Folsom & Citrus Heights
With locations in Roseville, Folsom and Citrus Heights, there’s bound to be a Fukumi Ramen near you. It has a diverse selection of Japanese dishes, but they are perhaps best known for their numerous ramen offerings — more than a dozen choices — including a broth-less variety known as maze.
Jinju Sushi | Woodland
Offering small plates, bento boxes, and all types of sushi, this Japanese restaurant in Woodland has something for everyone. If you’re looking to warm up with a hot bowl of ramen, they have that too, with flavors like spicy pork and chicken teriyaki.
Umami Ramen | Folsom
This contemporary ramen house in Folsom is sure to satisfy your comfort food craving. They have a variety of options, including spicy miso and black garlic tonkotsu, plus veggie ramen topped with a soy bean fritter. They also have rice plates and shared plates.
Yuchan Shokudo | Davis
If you’re in the Davis area, you’ll find authentic, homestyle Japanese cuisine at this local favorite. They have an extensive ramen menu that includes Tokyo-style shoyu ramen, spicy tan-tan ramen, chicken shio ramen, and pork tonkotsu ramen.
Thai Noodle Express | Placerville
Yes, this is a Thai restaurant. But no, they don’t just serve Thai food. They actually have a large selection of ramen with influences from across Asia, including pork or chicken miso ramen, Thai-style shrimp ramen, and kimchee spicy miso ramen.
Ninja Sushi | Auburn
This quaint spot in Auburn has dozens of sushi rolls on offer, as well as party platters and Japanese entrees such as tempura and chicken teriyaki. Their ramen choices include tonkotsu, miso, shio, shoyu, and spicy tan tan men, with all the usual toppings.
Maru Ramen Bar | Elk Grove
This casual ramen bar/cafe in Elk Grove offers all the standard ramen selections, as well as house specialties including toroniku (pork cheek), seafood ramen and several varieties of vegetarian and vegan ramens. They also have Japanese-style appetizers, including dumplings and gyoza.
Aloha Pokee and Ramen | West Sacramento
Located in West Sacramento, this laid-back spot focuses on Hawaiian-style poke bowls and boba. They also offer traditional ramen, where you pick your protein, toppings and spice level.
Umi Sushi | Roseville
A dozen ramen varieties are offered at this popular eatery in Roseville, including all the traditional flavors. They also offer vegan ramen made from miso broth and vegetables, as well as tonkotsu ramen with black garlic oil. They also offer plenty of sushi rolls, including double-sized rolls!
Kochi Sushi | El Dorado Hills
This unassuming spot in El Dorado Hills is a popular spot for sushi rolls, bento boxes and rice bowls. But they also offer ramen, including pork, chicken and shrimp.
Takumi Izakaya | Downtown
This modern eatery in Downtown Sacramento is known for its contemporary takes on traditional Japanese cuisine. In addition to sushi and small plates, they also serve ramen, including truffle shoyu ramen, spicy beef ramen, and veggie ramen with tofu.