For the past year, I have been trying ALL the highly recommended ramen places in the San Francisco Bay Area according to Yelp, Google, and word-of-mouth. I am so excited to finally be writing this post with the 10 BEST ramen restaurants in the Bay in my opinion. This list includes ramen from San Jose to San Francisco and everything in between. I have rated each ramen place a number out of 10; 10 being the best. Keep in mind, there are only 7’s and above on this list though.
Before I give you what you came here for, I want to explain my background and taste palette because everyone is different and the ramen places I enjoy may not work for you because we have different preferences.
In the Summer or 2019, I took my first trip to Japan and fell in love. With the culture, the architecture but most importantly, the ramen. I fell in love and became obsessed with ramen. I had some of the most unforgettable ramen in Shinjuku, Japan and when I returned home I was on a mission to find the best ramen that would remind me of Japan.
With that being said to get a high score or 10 out of 10, in my opinion, a ramen spot should:
- Amazing experience (greet & thank you in Japanese, no interruptions while eating)
- Have thin, house-made noodles
- Amazing, rich broth but not too salty
- Tender and flavorful chashu
- Perfectly cooked egg (not hard-boiled)
*Bonus Points: Have a bidet in the restroom
(At each restaurant I ordered the classic Tonkonstu for easier comparison)
2855 Stevens Creek Blvd, Ste 2333, Santa Clara & 541 Bryant St, Palo Alto
9.4/10. Wow! What more is there to say. But really though, this is DEFINITELY one of the best ramen restaurants I’ve encountered in the Bay Area. There are 2 locations and both always have an extremely long line for a good reason. At the Palo Alto location, they greet in Japanese and don’t interrupt you while you eat. Also, note that the Santa Clara location is located inside of the mall.
1581 Webster St, Ste 235, San Francisco, CA
9/10. This place is bomb and is located on the second floor inside of Japan Center but as most of these ramen places in the bay, the lines are long, so plan accordingly. I always order the deluxe, it’s pricy but you get pork belly and chasu. The chain restaurant is also in Oakland but I prefer the one in San Francisco!
1638 Post St, San Francisco, CA
8.9/10. YES! This spot is located in Japantown in San Francisco and doesn’t disappoint. The lines aren’t as long compared to some of the nearby ramen places but that doesn’t mean that this place is any less. The broth is very flavorful and the noodles were perfect. I went on a Thursday afternoon and there was no line and only a handful of people inside.
4300 Great America Pkwy, Ste 180, Santa Clara, CA
8.7/10. OMG! This place has a great story and gives a slight twist to traditional ramen. The broth is delicious, excellent chashu, and a beautiful bowl. The noodles were not firm enough for my liking but still good. Keep in mind that this place operates strictly on Yelp reservations and OpenTable so you need to plan ahead if you want to eat here. It is also extremely small so you’ll make friends with your neighbors. They also have vegan ramen if that’s your thing.
2015 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, 18 Yerba Buena Ln, San Francisco, CA & 19540 Vallco Pkwy, Ste 130, Cupertino, CA
8.5/10. Yum! The noodles are thin, the broth is full of flavor, and the chashu is decent. At the cupertino location, there is plenty of parking and its the perfect location for a date night as the surrounding area is so cute! They also have amazing cilantro gyozas, speak Japanese, and don’t bother you while you eat. Oh, and they offer you more noodles if you have soup left.
1728 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA
8/10. Noodles were perfect, pork belly absolutely delicious, and the broth was tasty. Located on the second floor and from the window seats, you can get a view of the rest of Japantown. The gyozas were just okay and sort of tasted like the frozen kind.
1944 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA
7.8/10. Decent. Not my favorite but definitely doesn’t lack flavor either. Great chashu, excellent broth, noodles okay. The location is what also adds to the score as well because it is located right next to Nijiya Market so you can pick up all your favorite Japanese treats! The restaurant is also super easy to get to as it is right off the 92 highway.
901 S B St, San Mateo, CA
7.5/10. Good. Solid, tasty ramen. Located in downtown San Mateo, this place has that classic mom and pop feel and isn’t overhyped like most of the ramen restaurants in the bay area. They have some pretty good specialty ramen as well such as lobster garlic ramen and soft shell crab ramen.
1737 Buchanan St, San Francisco, CA
Bomb solid ramen with multiple locations in the city. Customer service is great and they even gave my son a free box of Pocky! I will say that I usually go for the creamier ramen but the broth here is so tasty that I enjoy it all!
805 S B St, San Mateo, CA
The ramen spot has the same owner as Ramen Parlor around the block. Even though they have the same owner, they still have a slightly different flavor. This is definitely a solid ramen restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ramen spots that I still need to try and have heard were pretty good:
Mensho Tokyo, 672 Geary St, San Francisco, CA
Nojo Ramen Tavern, 231 Franklin St, San Francisco, CA
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA
Let me know if I missed one of your favorite ramen spots in the Bay and I can also tell you the ramen places I wouldn’t recommend 😉
To read about the rest of my adventures in the San Francisco Bay Area, check here!