The word is out! As mentioned on my Instagram, I’m on the hunt to find the BEST RAMEN IN DENVER. I’m a huge fan of the bowls of noodle soup and I’ve slurped my way through countless bowls of noodles and broths around the world.
For 2020 I’ve totally revamped my Best Ramen in Denver rankings, doing away with the point system that has started to feel too rigid and cumbersome. Now you’ll find an up-to-date list of ramen restaurants in the Denver area, that highlights which ramen place is best for a certain mood, atmosphere, or situation. I hope you find this new approach just as useful.
I believe this list to be one of the most comprehensive, up-to-date lists of ramen joints in Denver you can find out there. I’m constantly tweaking this list so all the places represented are currently open and able to serve your noodle needs – no disappointing scenarios in which you read about a place only to find that tragically, they are now closed! If you know of any changes, please leave a note in the comments and I will update.
Be sure to follow along with my ramen adventures on Instagram by checking out #bestramendenver.
Note that this list of ramen restaurants only includes places I’ve personally dined at. If you have a hot tip on a place I should consider as part of this public service project, please drop your recommendations in the comments.
List fully revamped: 2/26/2020
New to the list 2/29/2020: Brider
New to the list 5/3/2020: The Way Back
The ramen place for a well-rounded bowl of tonkotsu you’ll never get tired of eating
This fashionably hip LoHi restaurant covers a number of Japanese food genres from sushi to izakaya food, but for me, Mizu Izakaya‘s most memorable items can be found on their small but mighty ramen menu. They offer a Pork Kimichi and Miso Ramen, but my favorite is the Tonkotsu – a beautiful bowl of straight thin noodles in a very satisfying chicken/pork broth rich in flavor. The toppings are perfect as well and add to the flavor (chushu pork, soft boiled egg, bok choy wood ear mushroom, fried garlic). It’s a bowl you could easily find yourself eating every day. No gimmicks – just good ramen.
The ramen place for a comforting bowl in a sophisticated, date-night appropriate setting
OTOTO, located on a particularly picturesque corner lot on South Pearl St. is a great spot to score a wonderful bowl of classic Tonkotsu Ramen featuring a delightful array of fresh toppings (love the bok choy). My husband is fanatical about their Miso Ramen – when he’s craving a bowl, this is his go-to spot. They also serve a Veggie Ramen and a Miso Pork Kimich Ramen on the regular menu.
While casual, this restaurant has a comfortably upscale vibe and is part of the well-regarded Sushi Den empire so it can get quite busy, especially on the weekends. Reservations are recommended if you plan on dining after 6 pm.
The ramen place for when you’re dining on an expense account
Ok, technically not Denver, but too good not to include on this list. Chimera, a restaurant specializing in dishes from Pacific Rim countries is a more upscale offering from the Zoe Ma Ma team. While a lot of the items on their menu sound appetizing, every time I’m there I fall for the siren song of their elegant ramen offerings. While the namesake Chimera Ramen is quite good, it’s their $25 Lobster Ramen (only available for dinner) that has me completely obsessed. They mix their light, clear house broth (more along the lines of a Chinese wonton soup stock) with lobster stock and place a perfectly butter-poached lobster tail atop a pile of housemade noodles. The result is an impossibly lovely bowl that is bright, easy to eat, and unique in the Denver/Boulder ramen scene. I daydream about eating this dish quite often.
The ramen place to go to when you’re looking for a bowl with a little extra flair
Lower Highlands, Washington Park West
This a popular ramen shop cemented Tommy Lee’s spot as a tastemaker in the Denver dining scene. With a pointed edginess not often found in the Mile High City, Uncle persists in being the premier spot for the city’s young and hip denizens to get nose-deep in noodles. My favorite is the popular Spicy Chicken Ramen, which is made with a spicy sesame broth, bean sprouts, scallion, and soft egg. The broth had a good complex, deep flavor, with a medium spice level and is Instabait with its fiery orange color.
While the original LoHi location is charming, groups will find the larger Wash Park West outpost more accommodating, however, both locations are only open for dinner and do not accept reservations – so get there right when they open or risk a long wait. The ramen menus differ between the locations (although both server the Spicy Chicken and Duck ramens) and the Wash Park West location also serves tsukemen and mazemen options.
Root Down DIA
The ramen place to source a fantastic bowl before getting on a plane
Denver International Airport
Root Down DIA exceeds all airport food expectations by delivering a particularly dope bowl of ramen at their location in Terminal C. Their Shoyu Ramen is made with a kombu broth, and includes mushrooms, bok choy, kimchi, a shoyu egg, and guanciale bacon. Surprisingly, this dish is not available on the regular menu at the original Root Down location in Highlands, so for now, you have a pretty decent reason to get to the airport early in order to get an opportunity to taste this delicious bowl.
Ramen in a fun setting
The ramen place to go to when you want noodles, but the rest of your group wants something else
Golden Triangle / Capitol Hill
With Tora Ramen, a featured stall in the Broadway Market food hall, Chef Jesus Silva brings another Japanese fast-casual dining concept to Denver. (Silva already operates the Misaki on Broadway sushi counter in the hall.) While your dining partners are free to grab an entree from one of the other vendors in the hall, you can look forward to diving into a bowl with a sophisticated twist on well-known ramen profiles, packed with formidable flavor and filled to the brim with a wide variety of tasty toppings.
Always a sucker for a chicken broth ramen, I’m a fan of the Tori Ramen which features slow-cooked chicken, sweet corn, bean sprouts, spinach, nori, negi, cabbage salad with macho dressing, wavy noodles, and a poached egg. Despite the lighter soup base, there’s still a lot of flavor there.
If you’re like my husband and like ramen with a little more kick, check out the miso pork broth-based Spicy Red Miso which is piled on with spicy ground pork, bean sprouts, baby bok choy, negi, kisame togarashi, and a poached egg.
The ramen place to start off to gather the gang before a night out on the town
The subterranean entrance of Osaka Ramen makes you feel as though you are entering a clandestine noodle club. Choose from the regular selection of ramens (Tonkotsu, Spicy Miso, Chicken, Veggie, etc.) or a fun seasonal special (such as the wintertime Meatball Ramen). One of a number of decent ramen joints in the downtown Denver area, this restaurant also offers some particularly fun, experimental appetizers as well. Expect speedy service and a no-fuss environment good for a casual meal with plenty of tables for larger groups.
Ace Eat Serve
The ramen place for the ultimate happy hour special
In my opinion, Ace Eat Serve‘s bowl of noodles is best when partaking in their great happy hour ramen + drink deal for $11 every day from open to 6 pm. (Normally a bowl can run you $14-16 on its own.) Choose from the Duck, Duck Ramen! or Sapporo Miso Ramen – both solid – and choose to pair it with a sake, beer, or glass of wine. Don’t forget to burn some calories by squeezing in a game of ping pong, either in the skylit converted garage space in the back or on the outdoor tables when the weather is warm.
Sera’s Ramen Enclave
The ramen place for when you have a ramen craving despite it being shorts and t-shirt weather
While it’s entirely possible to enjoy a meal at Sera’s Ramen Enclave all year long (indoor seating is available in the front-facing building), it’s at its most charming when it’s nice enough to eat outside. To enter, you first walk down a narrow brick wall-lined alleyway off W 32nd Ave and at the end, you’ll discover a darling umbrella-covered backyard patio that marks the main entrance to the restaurant.
Vietnamese chef Sera Nguyen pulls inspiration from across the Asian continent into her bowls, resulting in unique mashups like a lemongrass-coconut Saigon Curry Ramen and the Flavorsome Ramen, which highlights a clear beef broth with braised oxtail.
Small shops with a lot of charm
The ramen place for the freshest housemade noodles in town
Ramen Star has made a name for itself due to the fact that chef-owner Takashi Tamai and his team make their own ramen noodles every day, in-house (you can see their noodle machine on full display in the restaurant), from scratch. Their springy, slightly nutty noodles perfectly grip the special blend of pork, chicken, fish, and vegetable broth in their signature Ramen Star bowl. Another bonus for those who often struggle to finish large servings of ramen – Ramen Star offers a kid-sized version of each of their bowls, which will allow you to try more than one of the soups on the menu in the more petite portions.
The ramen place for a solid lunchtime slurp session in downtown Denver
Sakura House is a charming no-frills Japanese restaurant on a ground floor location of Sakura Square and is a popular lunchtime destination for workers in the area. They offer an array of comforting dishes such as donburi, teriyaki, and curries, in addition to their fairly robust ramen menu with some of the lowest prices you’ll see in the city. But low prices don’t mean low quality in this case. While online reviewers clamor for their house Tonkatsu, my particular favorite is the Paikou Ramen which features a fried pork loin as the main protein over a clear soy-based broth, a unique version I haven’t seen on any other menus here in Denver. I love how different this ramen is and love the fact that it is a super filling, belly-warming dish for less than $13.
The ramen place for a relaxed meal with the family
Corner Ramen is a joint that gets much praise from locals who live nearby. Set up in a converted house in the Cole neighborhood, this family-owned restaurant has a cozy feel, with dine-in seating scattered among the handful of rooms of the house, and a full menu of ramens to choose from. The Creamy Spicy Chicken Ramen has nicely roasted servings of chicken with a chicken-based broth that could have a bit more depth/flavor but generally is good.
Sushi joints that also serve a good bowl of ramen
The ramen place for when you want noodles and a couple of plates of conveyor belt sushi in a fun, high-energy environment
DTC, Lone Tree, Fitzsimons/Aurora
Chef Jeff Osaka’s Sushi-rama locations are most loved for their fun conveyor belt-served sushi served on brightly colored plates and a sixties-inspired pop-art decor. But as the owner of the previously mentioned Osaka Ramen, Chef Osaka has made two of their signature bowls available to order from the kitchen of their larger restaurants in the DTC, Lone Tree, and Fitzsimons, Aurora.
Choose from a Spicy Miso Ramen or Shio Ramen. My personal preference is for the Shio since I love lighter chicken-based broths. You’ll be treated to a bowl with plenty of greens (spinach) and bean sprouts, a broth that is not thick or creamy, but more akin to a good chicken soup stock, stuffed with a pile of straight ramen noodles.
The ramen place for a late-night chow down
Open until 1 am Monday thru Saturday Tokio is a spot you can count on to fulfill all your noodle needs when most restaurants in Denver have closed down for the night. In addition to classic Tonkotsu, Miso, and Shoyu versions, there is an impressive list of specialty bowls including a Curry version (less soup, more curry with noodles), the Cremoso Diablo garnished with cheese, and the Ramen Air (with a 100% vegan broth).
Soko Sushi and Korean BBQ
The ramen place for evading the pre-theater crowd
Soko Sushi is one of my favorite reasonably priced spots to get sushi and udon in the Central Business District and they also happen to offer a decent bowl of Tonkotsu Ramen on their entree menu. The restaurant entrance is on the mezzanine level of a multi-use building off Champa. They offer a pretty straightforward bowl with traditional ingredients and will not blow you away, but is a good under-the-radar option when you’re looking for a relatively quiet, fast, and friendly place to fuel up in advance of catching the latest Broadway show stopping through Denver.
Special ramen bowls
The Way Back
The ramen place for chasing away the Monday scaries
Every Monday evening The Way Back throws a Ramen Night which features a beautiful Paitan Ramen bowl featuring fried chicken, housemade noodles, bock choy, and chili oil. Their version doesn’t come with a ton of broth, but what they do include will have you slurping down the entire bowl – down to the last drop. The bowl is slightly spicy, but will not set your mouth on fire. I recommend going when it’s still Happy Hour so you can pick up a couple of other dishes (at a slight discount) to go with your bowl of noodles.
The ramen place for a New American spin on the cold weather favorite
When the weather in Denver turns chilly, Brider incorporates their signature rotisserie chicken into a distinctive bowl of Rotisserie Ramen that also features some spicy kimchi and pickled jalapeno. A fried sunnyside egg is a finishing touch on top of a set of wavy ramen noodles. The broth is a molasses-colored clear broth that is slightly sweet – very unique. Alternatively, if chicken is not your thing, you can choose pork as the protein for your meal instead. (Check the menu on their website or call to make sure the ramen is still being served before going to the restaurant. It was available as of Feb 29, 2020.)
Other spots to find ramen in Denver
Menya Noodle Bar
The ramen place for a firey bowl right on the 16th Street Mall
CBD (Also LoHi, Greenwood Village, Colorado Springs, Belmar)
Menya Noodle Bar offers a Spicy Chicken Men that will get you sweating a little and almost tastes like hot wings sauce. Chicken is tender and nicely cooked. The broth has a nice creamy chicken base. The downside is there is no egg included. The Tan Tan Ramen, which features spicy ground pork is also worth a try.
The ramen place for ramen in a fast-casual setting
Opened in 2019 Kyoto Ramen is another addition to the Denver ramen scene, catering to the lunchtime crowd in the CBD.
Ramen to try when you’re on the road in Colorado.
Sasuke Ramen is a bustling ramen spot serving Arvada, a suburban enclave northwest of Denver. Their Tonkotsu Ramen is decent and there are a lot of vegetarian and vegan options to choose from.
Shuga’s Restaurant is a quirky longstanding restaurant in Colorado Springs and one of the few places to get ramen in town. Their Ramen Bowl comes with mushrooms, a softboiled egg, scallion, nori, togarashi chili-sesame oil, and a kombu dashi. They ran out of pork so they subbed in some chicken cubes for me, which I actually preferred.
Map of ramen restaurants in Denver
This map will help you plan all your ramen eating adventures in Denver and beyond.
A moment of silence for the bowls of ramen we have lost over the years.
- Izakaya Ronin (Lanman Tonkotsu Ramen) [RiNo location closed. New location TBA.]
- Departure (Miso Ramen)
- Gaijin (Miso Ramen review)
- Bones (Crispy Chicken Ramen)
- Corner Office
Have a ramen spot to suggest?
Is one of your favorite spots missing from this list? Please leave your recommendations for ramen restaurants to try in the Denver area in the comment section below!
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