Initially catapulted into popularity as a cheap filling meal for Japanese labourers, the humble bowl of ramen has slowly evolved into an iconic fixture of Japanese cuisine worldwide. Basic in construct, ramen is traditionally made up of wheat noodles, broth and topped with any number of delicious meats, vegetables and sauces. However, don’t let ramens modest description or humble origins fool you. With Auckland's incredible selection of ramen spots, it’s safe to say that ramen can be considered anything but basic when it comes to flavour. A perfect marriage of both the traditional and modern, we advise you to get out of Auckland’s winter cold and into a steaming bowl of ramen stat. But don’t worry, we’ve already put some of the top ramen lovers on the job and scouted out some of the best ramen spots in Auckland.
Welcoming, simple and delightfully unpretentious – Ramen Takara encapsulates all that ramen should be. Handily located on both sides of the bridge, Ramen Takara’s executive chef and owner Yuki has been following in the footsteps of her father’s popular Mt. Fuji ramen shop since 2007. With ramen starting from as low as $11 a bowl, it’s no surprise that Ramen Takara is a regular feature on the Metro Top Cheap Eats list. However, we’re happy to report that the dining experience here is anything but cheap. Delicious ramen, welcoming service and warm decor tops this place off as a fixture of the Auckland ramen scene. Order whatever you like, you can’t go wrong.
Ramen Daikoku is a split-off of Teppanyaki chain Daikoku, which has locations across the North Shore, Hamilton and the CBD. However, Ramen Daikoku is anything but the ugly step-sister when it comes to amazing ramen. Located opposite Britomart, Daikoku Ramen has that traditional ‘hole in the wall’ vibe, letting you feel as if you’ve just dipped in off the busy streets of Tokyo. Great value for money, prices range for $10-14 with huge serving sizes and generous portions. Top mentions go to the deliciously balanced curry ramen and the spicy pork belly ramen for the most satisfied of bellies.
One of the mainstays of the Auckland ramen scene, you can’t get much more authentic than Tanpopo Ramen. Owner Michio Kurihara, trained to become a traditional master of ramen in Japan, and brought his wealth of knowledge to Auckland in 2005. Located on Anzac Avenue, it’s easy to stroll pass Tanpopo if you’re not in the know. Keep in mind that this isn’t fine dining, it’s ramen. However, Tanpopo’s simple cafeteria-style décor and friendly staff create a special experience. Prices range from $12-18 for ramen, and the special Tanpopo pork base is championed by some as one of the tastiest and creamiest in Auckland.
A little younger than some of our other entries, Ramen Lab may be one of the newer competitors in the game. Inconspicuously located in a small block of shops in Takapuna, Ramen Lab easily brings traditional ramen into the modern world with their fresh but cute décor. Filling up quickly around dinner time, people in the know flock to Ramen Lab for their TanTan and Tonkatsu Ramen. A little pricey for size than some of the other options on this list, it may be worthwhile to add some extra noodles or chashu pork. We promise you won’t regret it. But If you’re after bold and salty ramen that soothes soul, Ramen Lab is a top contender.
Genzui Ramen Bar
Tucked away in the Atrium on Elliott Street, don’t mistake Genzui for your traditional food court fare. Offering heart-warmingly authentic ramen all-day Monday to Friday and with ramen prices capped at $13, there’s really no excuse for not visiting Genzui. This is a place that really has an option for everyone, yes - eventhatfussy eater. Whether you go for the classic Chashu Ramen or the more unique Miso Corn Butter ramen, you are unlikely to be disappointed. We recommend you wash your ramen down with a refreshing Kirin and a side of crispy gyoza with anything you order off their extensive menu.
Did someone say hand-made noodles? Ramen Do’s slightly chewy as-fresh-as-you-can-get noodles are hard to beat. Offering soy, salt and pork base ramen, Ramen Do is great for any vegetarian or vegan ramen lovers. If you’re more carnivorous, be sure to order an extra slab of juicy pork belly or BBQ pork to enjoy while you slurp down the rich broth and generous toppings. Be sure to book a table if you’re in a larger group as seating is limited here.