3 Bay Area Spots Make The '24 Best Ramen Shops In America' List

September 19, 2018
Ramen

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Ramen lovers REALLY love their ramen. Couple that with the fact that most people are very particular about their favorites and you have a tough time pointing to the best of the best.

Thrillist just published their list of the '24 Best Ramen Shops In America' and it is sure to cause a stir with both which shops were included and which were left out.

Related: Award-Winning Japanese Ramen Restaurant Coming To Bay Area

Three Bay Area spots made their list: Izakaya Sozai, Mensho, and Ramen Shop.

Here are the reasons why these three made the cut.

Izakaya Sozai - 1500 Irving Street in San Francisco

"Some of the best ramen joints in the world are hidden gems, tiny little holes in the wall more akin to walk-in closets than restaurants. This is not one of them. Izakaya Sozai is a bona-fide, bustling San Francisco-based Japanese bistro with a full menu of traditional Japanese skewers, fish, and vegetable dishes. But in spite of their limited ramen menu, they've carved out a space for themselves as one of the best noodlers in the Bay Area. So you should have no qualms about skipping their much ballyhooed nasu dengaku eggplant, for example, and going straight for the tonkotsu ramen. This ramen showcases a blessedly thick, creamy broth without a spice overload. For toppings, the only way to go is the fried pork belly. It captures that perfect crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside texture that most chefs would kill their own sous-chefs for. Just make sure to get a reservation -- this place is no secret."

Mensho - 672 Geary St in San Francisco

"Mensho is one of Tokyo’s most acclaimed chains, but thanks to the opening of its first US location in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood in 2015, you no longer have to take a long and expensive plane ride to Japan to get a bowl. You'll still have to wait in line, sure, but at least there's ramen instead of an agitated TSA agent at the end. When the restaurant first opened, people were braving three-hour lines just to get a bowl of the signature Tori Paitan. It’s hard to blame them: The ramen has rich and milky broth made from boiling chicken bones and it comes topped with slices of both pork and duck chashu, meaning you get to eat a decent portion of the animal kingdom for just $16. The lines are a bit shorter now, but the ramen is still just as good."

Ramen Shop - 5812 College Avenue in Oakland

"Here’s a recipe for success: Take three chefs from the legendary Chez Panisse and have them break away to start a casual noodle shop in Downtown Oakland offering up a limited menu of three types of ramen, plus a few apps and ice cream sandwiches. Since it opened, Ramen Shop has been a runaway success, thanks to its superlative broth, which can also be found in brunch ramen offerings, including a smoked duck breast concoction that's as unexpected as it is heavenly. Dinner, meanwhile, rotates on the chefs' whim and the season's offerings. On a recent visit, smoked brisket, braised short rib, sweet corn, and shoyu-marinated egg found their way into a bowl. Then a few highballs found their way into our bellies. It was a good day."

Though all three are great spots with loyal followings, some Bay Area ramen lovers will probably point out spots like Orenchi (Santa Clara, Redwood City, San Francisco), Ramen Dojo (805 S B St, San Mateo), Jinya Ramen Bar (925 Blossom Hill Road, Suite 1637, San Jose), Ramen Gaijin (6948 Sebastopol Ave, Sebastopol), or Ramen Nagi (541 Bryant Street, Palo Alto) as their personal favorites.

Whatever your favorite may be ... slurp away and read about the other 21 Ramen Shops across America at Thrillist.com.