We get it, winter. You’re cold. You’re fierce. The puffy parkas are here to stay. But, once we’re out of your icy grip, we want something to warm us up! Enter ramen, the Japanese noodles-and-meat-in-broth dish that has firmly cemented its delicious, slurp-worthy place in D.C. We have five great spots to try when you need that winter warm-up.
An Adams Morgan fave, Sakuramen attracts throngs eager for soul-warming soups. While the restaurant doesn’t emphasize any specific geographic style of ramen, it provides lots of options for that comfort-food fix. Notably, the signature dish is vegetarian, so it’s very friendly to those who go meatless. Sakuramen offers two types of noodles (thin-wavy and thick-curly), but you can’t go wrong either way.
Though the kickin’ patio’s probably not where slurping will take place this season, the ramen here is on point, and with a cheeky twist. From brothers Ari and Micah Wilder, Chaplin’s is a creative ode to both its namesake silent movie star and Japanese-style ramen and dumplings. Here, you’ll find eight ramen options, from the “A.S.S.” (Asian spicy sour) to pork butt chashu, 20 kinds of toppings and add-ons, as well as plenty of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. There’s also an impressive seven-day-a-week happy hour and an extensive sake list to accompany.
This Tokyo-street-inspired, dual-focus space is divided into the izakaya upstairs and a ramen paradise on the first floor. It serves bowls of Sapporo-style ramen, best paired with draft beer or sake. We recommend the signature light, aromatic Chintan ramen. When it’s really chilly, go for the rich, soy-sauce-enhanced Shoyu ramen, or the complex and spicy miso ramen. With only a few options, Daikaya really puts a focus on perfecting each bowl.
Possibly the originator of the D.C. ramen craze, it still regularly draws two-hour waits to its tiny H Street second-floor space. Funky graffiti walls welcome diners to enjoy the Taiwanese and Japanese flavors from famed chef Erik Bruner-Yang in a small, intimate, yet lively environment. The Toki Classic, laden with braised pork and topped by a silky-smooth soft-boiled egg, is always a winner. Spicy décor, spicy ramen, it’s become a true D.C. hot spot.
Bold, bright, and modern – and that’s just the food. JINYA Ramen Bar, a national chain, just opened its newest spot in the heart of 14th Street. The focus on the broth is clear: it’s slowly simmered for more than ten hours from pork, chicken, or vegetables, and the restaurant uses FUJI water to kick it off. And those noodles? Made fresh, in-house, and aged three days. This latest addition has really set the ramen scene afire.