This is the shortened and slimmed down version of the Ultimate Top 10 Ramen List in Orange County.
10. Yoshiharu Ramen (EDIT: 11/16/16, 3:10)
On the lighter side of broths although an overall solid offering. The only issue is that the gyoza is a C+ student, but luckily they offer it as a $3 ramen and gyoza combo which gives it an “A” grade when graded on a curve. It’s that reason why it’s well worth the visit to one of Yoshiharu’s several locations spread out in Orange an Los Angeles county.
Type of ramen offered: tonkotsu, tonkotsu spicy miso, tonkotsu miso, tonkotsu black, vegetable, and cold ramen.
1891 N. Tustin St., Orange
10. (TIE) FUKUSUKE JAPANESE RAMEN DINING
After several failed ramen concepts in this location, the owner of Ikeda Japanese Dining (a nearby sushi bar) Kazuo Ikeda who has over 25+ years of experience took over the space. That experience comes through with one of the best value priced ramen combos that includes sushi rolls like a spicy tuna as an option.
Type of ramen offered: tonkotsu, shio, shoyu, and miso.
9. What’s Up Men
Another very light broth, but the one thing that sets this place apart are the solid sides that they offer. Their gyoza (dumplings) to chahan (fried rice) are some of the best accompaniments to one of their eight bowls of noodles that range from tonkotsu shio to chuka soba, udon, and even a seafood champon.
Type of ramen offered: KURO tonkotsu shoyu, SHIRO tonkotsu shio, AKA kara miso, CHA miso, CHUKA SOBA classic ramen, TANMEN vegetable, SARA UDON fried crispy noodle, CHANPON vegetable and seafood ramen.
8. Yamadaya Ramen
One of the early ramen restaurants to open up in Orange County who has out lasted several ramen competitors that have come and gone. The reason for their survival is due to a solid pork (tonkotsu) based offerings that have been complimented with several other non pork options, but if you want a sure bet, the kotteri tonkotsu is the go to.
Type of ramen offered: tonkotsu, spicy tonkotsu, premium shio, premium shoyu, vegan ramen, and tsukemen.
7. Butaton Ramen
One of the pricier establishments, but they’re on the list for a reason. Regardless if the broth is more on par with being a “nanchatte” (pork like) base, it’s very nicely paired with their noodles and the other toppings like their hanjuku (half cooked) egg and the juicy slabs of melt in your mouth pork belly.
Type of ramen offered: spicy tonkotsu, spicy miso broth, rich tonkotsu, shoyu, and veggie ramen.
10130 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove
6. Zetton Ramen
This spot dominates in so many ways and it’s not just with their food. It starts with their name “Zetton” which is based on the Japanese Ultraman character all the way down to their music play list. This place has so much style that it makes it all the way into their Costa Mesa locations bathroom . Yea, the bathroom is nice enough to eat.. ok, lounge out in.
Type of ramen offered: Dashi and chicken based ramen which include classic, old school, special salt, special soy, miso tan tan, MBC, spicy garlic, mabo tofu ramen, curry ramen, and wonton ramen (some offer vegetarian options).
5. Kitakata Ramen
There’s constantly a line that lines up prior to opening at all hours of their lunch and dinner service. The people willing to wait, are here for the Kitakata regional style of ramen which is from Fukushima, Japan. That style has found a huge following from people looking for a lite, and not a heavy or oily broth. If that’s you, see you in line.
Type of ramen offered: Kitakata (pork based) ramen, chashu ramen, aburi miso ramen, green chili shio ramen, mixed green vegetable ramen, and tsukemen.
4. Huntington Ramen
If you can’t do one thing right, you usually do a ton of things in the hopes that something might stand out. That is how Huntington Ramen came off because they not only do ramen, but they also do makizushi (rolls), a variety of appetizers, and six different types of ramen from tonkotsu shoyu to a vegetarian ramen. Except all are nicely done.
Type of ramen offered: HB tonkotsu, assari shoyu, spicy miso, real tan tan, shrimp special, fresh citrus, and vegetable miso.
10130 Garden Grove Blvd., Garden Grove
3. Hakata Ikkousha
Biggest highlights, of course, is the regional style Hakata pork broth ramen which includes the signature style noodles, and their fastidious ordering checklist to get you your ramen exactly how you like it.
Type of ramen offered: tonkotsu, shio tonkotsu, mentaiko tonkotsu, black tonkotsu, and god fire.
3033 Bristol St, Costa Mesa
2. Santouka Ramen
Bow down, Santouka is the king of ramen in California and most likely globally. Not only were they one of the first in the U.S., but they also brought their “A” game since day one. While some ramen joints struggle to do just one type of ramen, Santouka offers up several types that are all so perfectly done from the toppings all the way down to the two types of chashu.
Type of ramen offered: salt ramen, soy sauce ramen, miso ramen, spicy miso ramen with either regular or toroniku chashu.
1. Toraji Ramen (CLOSED)
EDIT (Update 12/31/19): Being located in Marukai/Tokyo Central food court is a death sentence because even the 8k reviewed and iconic Daikokuya had a branch in this location (prior to Toraji was Iroha, and Daikokuya. They all closed).
Most might pass up Toraji ramen because one of their locations is inside of a Tokyo Central food court, but Toraji does so many things right. From the Hakata style tonkotsu with their thin noodles all the way to the tonkotsu shoyu ramen with the thicker curvier and chewier noodles are two nicely done bowls that’s never a struggle to finish.
Type of ramen offered: Hakata tonkotsu ramen, tonkotsu shoyu ramen, shoyu ramen, and tori shio chi-yu ramen.