3/03/2013 06:03:00 PM

Best Ramen in DC Metro

A bowl from Sakuramen
Put images of freeze-dried noodles aside and replace them with steaming bowls of springy, hand-pulled noodles in pork-enriched broth. Japanese ramen has become a mainstay in America. Here in DC, ramen has zoomed onto the foodie radar screen with several recent openings, most notably Daikaya, the hip, mod Chinatown Japanese that drew lines down the block on opening night.

Kaz Sushi Bistro
Food: 25
Decor: 17
Service: 21
Cost: $46
Japanophiles give props to the “classical and innovative, new-age sushi” and “amazingly creative” small plates at Kaz Okochi’s World Bank bistro; “yes, it is pricey” – except at lunchtime, when “hearty” bento boxes offer “terrific value” – and sure, the “sterile” decor could use an “upgrade”, but most feel that the “pristine” sushi and “great” service more than “compensate.”

1915 I St NW.; 202-530-5500

Food: 24
Decor: 22
Service: 24
Cost: $23
If it’s “not the most authentic Japanese in the city”, this Mt. Vernon purveyor may be one of the “hippest”, with “cute”, colorful, contemporary decor and “creative” sushi that attract happy-hour crowds for cocktails and rolls at bargain prices; tempura, rice bowls and noodles (plus Vietnamese pho) are also served, and in a “speedy” manner.

1013 N Charles St.; 410-332-0332

Food: 21
Decor: 15
Service: 17
Cost: $21
“All things noodles and sushi” ferried by “rushed but efficient” servers makes this cheap, “consistently good” Golden Triangle Pan-Asian a “crowded” “work-lunch” spot; during the “super-affordable happy hour”, however, the “tight” quarters are ceded to a “young, loud” GW crowd bent on “having a good time.”

1120 19th St NW; 202-293-3138

Ren's Ramen
Food: 24
Decor: 11
Service: 14
Cost: $15
Forget about the much-maligned dorm-room staple – the “soul-satisfying”, “authentic” Japanese ramen of this “one-dish Wheaton powerhouse” may be “the best soup you have ever had” with its “amazing pork-based broth” (or veggie broth option); but “be prepared to wait” at peak times, since “crowding tends to slow things down” in this “small”, minimally decorated spot; P.S. cash only.

11403 Amherst Ave.; 301) 693-0806

Amid the bar-heavy Adams Morgan scene, this noodle shop is a welcome addition, serving wallet-friendly Asian fusion ramens (even letting diners customize their own brothy bowl), perfect for soaking up booze; tucked away in a basement, the compact digs feature a communal table and an arresting mural of guardian spirit Shoki on the wall.

2441 18th St NW.; 202-656-5285

Toki Underground
Food: 26
Decor: 22
Service: 24
Cost: $22
"Come hungry, leave sloshy-full" of the "modern takes" on Taiwanese "comfort food", like "out-of-this-world" steamed dumplings, dished by this Atlas District "heavy-metal ramen shop"; it's a wallet-friendly "cool scene" (with a decorative skateboard ramp on the ceiling) where the "out-of-control" waits for its few seats after ordering at the counter are deemed part of the "unique" experience.

1234 H St NE.; 202-388-3086

Tono Sushi
Food: 22
Decor: 15
Service: 24
Cost: $25
“Affordable”, “creative” sushi is the name of the game at this Woodley Parker that also offers cooked Japanese and Thai standards to locals and “name-tagged convention-goers” from nearby hotels; the setting is simple (brick walls, sushi counter), but a “friendly” staff will even keep “young children entertained”, and the daily $1 sushi happy hour has acolytes professing their “love.”

2605 Connecticut Ave NW; 202-332-7300

Food: 21
Decor: 14
Service: 23
Cost: $29
The “staff treats everyone like a returning customer” at this Tenleytown “old favorite” dating from “before there was sushi in the grocery store”; it’s traditionally “nondescript”, but offers a “huge value” on “traditional” and “creative” raw fish and other Japanese dishes, in particular the “bargain” lunch and “deal” of a happy hour.

4712 Wisconsin Ave NW; 202-363-4453


  1. what about TAAN ramen that just opened on Columbia in Adams Morgan!

  2. Why is the second option in Baltimore? Not exactly "DC Metro," Zagat. Bad form.

  3. Agree with Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10:51:00 AM EST. Is the list taken from yelp?