Restaurant Review

The Best Ramen in Portland All Broken Down by Soup Stock, Price, and Focus (Traditional/Fusion)

Featured image courtesy of Afuri Ramen

In the last couple of decades, this sansei/yonsei (3rd/4th generation) Japanese American has been living and traveling to Japan, Los Angeles, and Portland because I am always seeking out ramen (and a soul mate who is clown like, in a cheerful way, not in a creepy way).

The last time I rolled through Portland, I loved the city more than I liked Seattle, which was also my first time in the city. I was with my girlfriend from Japan, and while we were in Portland, she was on the lookout for coffee as an omiyage (food gift) for friends back in Japan, and I, of course, was seeking out food for myself (a food gift for my belly).

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Compared to the rest of the country, it is great to see Portland heavy on chicken-based ramen, which I assume is due to Afuri’s influence. Without it, the PDX is like the rest of the US, where tonkotsu reigns supreme, so I want to highlight these spots in Portland (a lot of craft going on).

Also, a whole lot of fusion aka confusion going on too.
Photo Description: a bowl of vegan ramen by Kinboshi ramen.
I have not had this vegan bowl of ramen by Kinboshi yet, but I can tell by looking at it how smart/put together it is. Every other attempt I see of a vegan dish is a stereotype of vegan and vegetarian diners (tofu and a bunch of vegetables which is pathetic).

Never Risk Having a Bad Meal Ever Again (Not Guaranteed and Your Results May Vary, Just Like Dating)

Trying to decide on a ramen spot can be a major PITA if you are not the type to ever chance a bad meal (like myself). If that is also you, to minimize that risk (1st world problems), I have broken down almost all Portland metro ramen shops down into these categories:

  • The base stocks: pork, chicken, veggies, to seafood (katsuobushi, niboshi to scallop).
  • Focus on traditional Japanese flavors or Japanese inspired (fusion).
  • Types of ramen offered from Hokkaido style miso/butter ramen to a yuzu shio ramen.
  • A bowl of ramen pricing/range from a small bowl $6 to a fusion bowl upwards of $19.

Portland Metro Ramen Shop Offerings

Prices below are subject to change and the menu items featured are only meant to give you an approximation of the type of ramen offered/specialization (not comprehensive).

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One style unique to Portland is “gekikara” or extra spicy, which utilizes habanero chili paste as one style (another is the use of hatches chili).

This should be a Colorado or New Mexico thing.
SOUP
STOCK
SAMPLE
MENU
PRICE
RANGE
Afuri
Ramen

chicken
fish
veggie
• Yuzu Shio
• Asari Shoyu
• Yuzu Ratan
• Tonkotsu
• Tantanmen
• Hazelnut
Tantanmen
15
16
15
15
15
15
Akasaru
Ramen

chicken
fish
• Shoyu
• Miso
• Spicy Coconut
• Miso
• Vegetarian
13
13
13
13
13
Baka
Umai

pork
chicken
duck
(fusion AF)
• Carolina Reaper
tonkotsu shoyu
• Chorizo-men
Tantan pork
• Tonkotsu
Hakata, pickled
shiitake, mayu
• Mala Miso
Vegetarian
18.50

16

15


16
Boke
Bowl

pork
(fusion)
• Pork Bone with
slow smoked pulled
pork.
• Caramalized
Fennel Dashi
Japanese
eggplant
• Spicy Chicken
Miso Dashi
14


13



16
Ippo
Ramen

chicken
veggies
*food
truck
• Tomato/Chicken
konbu broth, spinach,
tomato, mozzarella
cheese, cherry tomato
• Tantan Men
chicken and peanut
butter miso
• Vegan Potage
vegetable broth with
spinach, sweet corn
bamboo, red ginger
10



11


10
Kayo’s
Ramen
Bar

“Assari style”
Veggie?
Seafood?
(fusion)
• Snow Ramen
bone/vegan broth
ginger, citrus,
grated daikon
• Shoyu
Pineapple Ginger
Wasabi Smoked Salmon
17



12
13
14
Kichinto
Izakaya

chicken
seafood
• Shoyu Ramen
• Yuzu Shio Ramen
• Spicy Miso Ramen
6/12
6/12
14
Kinboshi
Ramen

pork
chicken
vegan
• Tonkotsu Shoyu
• Tonkotsu Red
• Paitan Shio
• Miso/Vegan
12
13
13
13
Kizuki
Ramen &
Izakaya

pork
seafood
chicken
veggies
• Gekikara Ramen
pork, chilies, garlic,
and spices.
• Garlic Tonkotsu Shoyu
• Spicy Miso Ramen
w/miso and garlic paste
• Shoyu Ramen
• Tsukemen (Dipping)
shoyu and chicken
15


14
14.80

11
14
Koji
Osakaya

??
(old school)
• Plain
• Spicy (gekikara)
• Chashu
• Wakame
• Seafood and
Vegetable
9.95
10.95
12.50
10.95
15.50
Koku
Ramen
& Bites

pork
• Mala Tonkotsu
• Tonkotsu
• Miso
• Vegan
13.50
13
13
13.50
Menjiro
pork
(odd)
• Chashu
• Plain
• Wakame
• Vegan
11.50
9
10
12
Mirakutei
pork
chicken
(fusion)
House “Tonkatsu”
• Traditional “Tonkatsu”
• Sapporo Miso
• Genki
• Vegetarian
14
13.50
13.50
14
13
Nama
Ramen

pork
veggie
• Shoyu (Tonkotsu)
• Miso/Spicy (Tonkotsu)
• Vegetarian
13
13
13
Ninja
Ramen

pork
• Tonkotsu
• Miso/Spicy
• Deluxe Ninja
10.95
11.95
13.95
Ryoma
Beaverton

black pork
(looks good)
• Deluxe Ryoma Ramen
• Corn Butter Ramen
• Tamago Mayu Ramen
• Killer Spicy Ramen
• Vegetarian Ramen
13.50
11.35
11.85
11.85
10.35
Shigezo
Izakaya

pork
chicken
seafood
• Shoyu Ramen
• Okinawa Style Noodle
• Shio-Abu Ramen
• Veggie Veggie Tanmen
13
13
13
13
Tokyo-ya
Ramen

pork
• Spicy Negi Ramen
pork bone broth,
spicy teriyaki sauce.
• Champon
• Shoyu Ramen
pork bone broth.
• Miso Ramen
pork bone broth.
• Chicken Ramen
chicken. broth.
13.95


15.95?
13.95

14.95

14.95
Yataimura
Maru

(looks good)
chicken
pork
seafood
• Sapporo Shiro Butter
Corn Ramen
• Chicken Paitan Ramen
• Tokyo Ramen
• Hot and Sour Ramen
• Hokkai-Miso Ramen
13/19

14/21
12/18
13/19
13/19
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Portland has no shortage on places that want to wow you with fusion. Except, the only fusion I like would a be a goat “nihari” ramen with julienned ginger, diced jalapeños, sous vide mutton shank, foam, and topped with cilantro and diced green onion.

I made that up but that sounds delicious (I love nihari).
Photo Description:the menu for Ryoma Ramen. The design of the menu looks Japanese with a dark wood looking background, with several shots of ramen bowls clipped out. Right behind that is the Japanese kana character for Ryoma ramen.
I had to include this menu because it’s got Japanese design vibes all over it. Image courtesy of Ryoma Ramen.

Multi-unit Ramen Shops

  • Afuri Ramen (?): throughout Tokyo, OR, CA, Canada, Hong Kong, Portugal, and Singapore.
  • Kizuki Ramen (14 locations): several locations throughout OR, WA, IN, IL.
  • Ryoma Ramen (4 locations): Beaverton, Portland, Pacific Beach, Hillcrest (OR and CA).

The Best Vegan/Vegetarian Ramen Shops

  • Ippo Ramen: from a tomato ramen, ramen salad, to a vegan potage ramen, these dishes don’t trivialize vegan to vegetarian dishes.
  • Kinboshi Ramen: the vegan option is offered in a spicy version, and is soy milk based with vegetables, mushroom, and a tofu mix.

Addresses

  • Afuri Izakaya, 921 SE 7th Ave
  • Akasaru Ramen, 2712 NE Alberta St
  • Baka Umai, 4703 SE Hawthorne Blvd
  • Boke Bowl, 1028 SE Water Ave
  • Ippo Ramen, 1845 NW 23rd Pl
  • Kayo’s Ramen Bar, 3808 N Williams Ave #124
  • Kichinto Izakaya, 102 NE Russell St
  • Kinboshi Ramen, 609 SE Ankeny St A
  • Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya, 11830 NW Cedar Falls Dr
  • Koji Osakaya, 1502 NE Weidler St
  • Koku Ramen & Bites, 20481 W Baseline Rd
  • Menjiro, 12006 N Jantzen Dr
  • Mirakutei, 536 E Burnside St
  • Nama Ramen, 7952 SE 13th Ave
  • Ninja Ramen, 2020 NE Cornell Rd Suite #D
  • Ryoma, 10500 SW Beaverton Hillsdale Hwy
  • Shigezo, 910 SW Salmon St
  • Tokyo-ya Ramen, 4328 SE 82nd Ave #1500
  • Yataimura Maru, 3810 SE Division St
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