Main image courtesy of Monta Ramen. Updated on Nov 7th, ’22
If you are on vacation in LV, you probably had a night of bad decisions (if you are a local, locals are not immune).
When I am in Vegas, I get off the strip, particularly when hungover, and I want to eat my Asian peoples food. For that, my goto area is Spring Mountain/Chinatown (not just Chinese food) for either pho or ramen, especially miso ramen with a side of chahan (fried rice).
To help make life easier on you, I have broken all of the Las Vegas ramen shops down into three categories:Spring Mountain is the epicenter of it all.
1. Japanese style, 2. Japanese American, and 3. Americanized ramen.
I always wonder how most large mainstream media/corporate sites create their “top 10-20 best ramen Las Vegas spots” because they tend to lump all Asian chit together as the same. Well, we are not all the same foo, so I am breaking it all down to how I see it.I almost said “we,” but I did not want to speak on behalf of my Asian peoples because I don’t want my card revoked.
Why Three Categories (Explained in Relation to Mexican and Gringo Food)
More people are familiar with Mexican food, so I will break down the ramen shop differences as it relates to Mexican/Chicano cuisine cuz why not, they’re my peoples too.
I base all three categories on previous visits, Yelp, and Google reviews, along with the pictures (this is why it takes me sometimes hours to decide on what to eat).
- Japanese style: Taqueria level bro, so not just carne asada, but lengua to tripas on a soft tortilla (fresh tortillas are a game changer). All topped off with cebolla, cilantro, and a squeeze of limon.
- Japanese American style: The ramen is almost on par with the above minus the love for tripas, lengua, and buche, with some Chipotle and fusion vibes creeping in.
- Americanized: As Mexican as Taco Bell is, and if you don’t agree, let me know next time you are in Mexico how your search went for the best cheesy gordita crunch.
New Ramen Ya!
The owners of Ramen Zero, the Maruyama’s reached out to me let me know that they just opened (where Ramen Arashi used to be after their closure in May).
This is sort of hilarious because I cited salad greens/raw spinach, corn, and Naruto as being Americanized, BUT Ramen Zero is the exception to that rule because they use naruto (the fish cake, so don’t go looking up the anime) right which is only on the Tokyo shoyu ramen. That is because a fish stock is typically part of the base ingredients (it complements each other).They do not cite the use of of saba/katsuo/niboshi in their Tokyo Shoyu: “Clear Chicken Broth + Soy Sauce Base,” but it would be expected to see it in a shoyu ramen.
Anybody who cooks or knows ramen or food, will know the Latino influence of lemon, cilantro, and cebolla in the tan tan men which is a legit fusion (this reminds me of what you would see in da 808, especially amongst the Nihonjins). So, I do not have to try Ramen Zero to know that they are a legit new spot by the Maruyama’s who I think are husband and wife, plus I saw that Mitsunori’san and Keizo follow them (sucks, normally I’m in Vegas now, due to the SEMA show).
Also, another crazy thing, I just checked out their Instagram, and this business was located where my business was located in San Jose, California, right next door to Mitsuwa (was it Biagini properties? I forget). They are in the same space I was in, in the mid to late 90’s, wow, crazy (even crazier if they lived across the street at Park Kiely (mmmh, JC’s Famous BBQ, basic but good).
One other thing, why am I hyping Ramen Zero? Because they are hustling, they engage (via email and on social media), they are putting in the work from video, product photography, PR, etc., they deserve the support, nuff said brah. Now go check them out and let me know what you think.
4555 S Fort Apache Rd STE 110
Las Vegas, Nevada 89147
The epitome of Japanese ramen focuses on craft broths, noodles, and minimal (complementary) toppings because you really do not need much when the noodles and the broth are a labor of love.On the other hand, in the US, it’s big business to capitalize on the popularity of ramen with basic instant ramen kits to restauranteurs.
The Best Japanese Style Ramen
The lines between Japanese and Japanese-American in Vegas are blurred, but I tried to cite the ones that are the closest to Japanese ramen.These are closer to Japanese American style ramen, but “hey, close enough”
For the closest experience to Japan or Japanese ramen, these are the ramen shops you will want to try because their primary focus is on ramen. Keep in mind these spots are not straight out of Fukuoka or Tokyo, and they will have American influences because of Murica.
In Costa Mesa/Newport Beach, we had a place called Ken Ramen (they unfortunately closed) which occupied an old Taco Bell and was started by an employee of Monta Ramen.He was surprised when I said, “oh, this is Monta,” because their taste is that distinctive.
- Monta Ramen / 5030 Spring Mountain Rd Suite 6, Monta has been around forever, since 2010 and there is a reason for that, they don’t suck.
- Sora Ramen / 4490 Spring Mountain Rd, Chef Yoshi is from Kyoto (Kansai) and Chef Tomio is from Sapporo, almost the opposite ends of Japan.
- Tatsu Ramen / 3400 S Jones Blvd #6, there are a several ramen shops named Tatsu, but this location has nothing to do with Tatsu/LA (Melrose/Sawtelle).
The Best Japanese-American Style Ramen
These ramen shops represent Japanese food and ramen because they can locate Japan on a map. That might sound like a low bar, but the vast majority of restaurants are not Japanese-owned or operated, so it’s great to see when ramen is done right.The challenge of doing a Japanese ramen in the US would go unappreciated by most when restaurant suppliers supply frozen ramen kits. So I do not fault a business to be a more Americanized.
Like Japanese style ramen, but with American/fusion influences such as corn and raw spinach cuz “colorful.” Except like the above criteria, the primary focus is also on ramen, but with appetizers to teriyaki chicken on the menu.
Arashi Ramen / 4555 S Fort Apache Rd #110, ramen, curry rice, teriyaki chicken, vegetable spring rolls, and taikyaki and dorayaki!
- Cafe Sanuki / 4821 Spring Mountain Rd Suite G, this place is a udon (made in-house) spot with ramen, Americanized sushi rolls, rice bowls, and real tempura (a lot of restaurants use frozen/shrimp tempura).
- Enza / 16 N Stephanie St, Henderson, they tout themselves as “worlds best ramen,” mixed in with bulgogi, K-pop, jajangmen, fried rice, and tonkotsu ramen/ramyun.
- Hana Ramen / 5715 S Eastern Ave #104, “Asian and Japanese food (curry and takoyaki)” is how they describe themselves, along with Yokohama style (iekei?).
- Hashi Ramen / 5808 Spring Mountain Rd #109, a maaaaassive ramen bar with tonkotsu and tori paitan and tantanmen! They also make their own noodles and menma, so you have to respect Chef/owner Youngho and Eunyoung Kim.
- Ichi Ramen House / 7920 W Tropical Pkwy #170, a part of a large restaurant group. Ichi does sushi, takoyaki, tempura, to gyoza done right (not deep-fried).
- Jinya Ramen / 4860 W Flamingo Rd, a Japanese-American chain out of Los Angeles with locations nationwide. The go to bowls are the cha cha cha (dumb name) and the yuzu.
- Kobo Ramen / 7040 S Durango Dr #104, the Mon restaurant group, the people behind Monta and the super popular Marugame Monzo in LA (and they are no strangers to mentaiko)
- Kokoro Ramen / 9484 W Flamingo Rd #175, a focus on pork/tonkotsu ramen along with donburi (rice bowls), and deep-fried potstickers/won tons.
- Omoide Noodles & Bowls / 7745 S Rainbow Blvd, tonkotsu ramen, tonkatsu/donkkaseu, sashimi, rice bowls, to “LA” style poke bowls (also a very nicely designed menu/cool venue).
- Ramen Zero / 4555 S Fort Apache Rd #110, Tokyo style shoyu ramen, vegan miso, and a tan tan men by the Maruyama’s from the Bay Area, that’s hella cool.
- Show Ramen 2 / 4215 Spring Mountain Rd #106, one of the few places where they produce their noodles in-house, and they serve tsukemen, ramen, and grilled items.
- Sojo Ramen / 7377 S Jones Blvd Ste #106, finally, somebody offering a Sapporo butter miso to kuro-goma tantan men. Nice one, Chef John Chien Lee, he is another reason why I blog.
- Shokku Ramen / 3889 Spring Mountain Rd, cool website and interior, locations in Houston and Nashville, rice bowls, fusion ramen, and fried rice, oh and One-piece (manga). They also have a very talented person doing their vids, motion graphics, videography, to editing.
- Soru Ramen Sushi and Boba Milk Tea / 10217 W Charleston Blvd suite d, fried potstickers, egg rolls, sushi, ramen. curry/katsu, Japanese pop-culture interior.
- Tomo Noodles & Dumplings / 9410 W Sahara Ave #130, da 808 up in here with saimin, mixed plates, to dawn patrol (Portuguese sausage, egg, and spam!)
Americanized Style Ramen
This style consists of either instant generic ramen broth, along with a combination of more ingredients the better (a bukkakefest), especially if they are colorful (corn, spinach/salad greens, and naruto).As opposed to Japanese ramen which is less is more, like nigiri vs. sushi rolls.
Just like pizza, sushi, to Mexican food in the US, there are also Americanized versions of ramen. These fusion spots are a mixture of Chinese, Thai, to Korean (Asian) influences. So aside from ramen, they will also offer sushi, curry, karaage, tempura, teriyaki, takoyaki, poke, bulgogi, fried rice, to tonkatsu (they do it all).
- Fukumimi Ramen / 4860 S Eastern Ave #2, honey garlic chicken, fried chicken, and bowls, and ramen (great pricing tho, $8.30-10.50), also that is harsh, I wonder what Mimi did?
- Ichiddo Ramen / CLOSED, Henderson, is a Minnesota-based ramen restaurant doing “char siu,” egg rolls, calamari, and beef and kimchi ramen.
- Moko Ramen Bar / 6350 W Charleston Blvd #120, deep-fried wonton, tonkatsu/katsu curry, teriyaki combos, beef bulgogi, to pork ribs.
- Ohjah Noodle House / 7150 S Durango Dr #190, looks like they are influenced by the Vegan influencers with seaweed and raw spinach, oxtail ramen.
- Ramen Ya (Katana Ya) / 3615 S Las Vegas Blvd #109, on their website they say they are Michelin Guide recommended, but the SF location closed down (for good reason).
- Shinjuku Ramen / 4300 Spring Mountain Rd #108, Thai tomyum lobster ramen, tomyum pork and chicken ramen, rice bowls, curry, and fried rice.
- Tomi Ramen / 2600 W Sahara Ave #119, deep-fried gyoza, bulgogi, tonkatsu, chashu egg rolls, sea of flame, bulgogi, to curry ramen, edamame, sushi, very cool interior.
This site is amazing and they have some talented artists on board: Ramen icons created by Triberion – Flaticon