I scream, you scream, we all scream for…ramen?
Ramen has taken the U.S. by storm over the last several years, and it has certainly made its way to Northern Colorado. But this Japanese delicacy is nothing new! In fact, it is believed to have been introduced to Japan as early as the 1660s.
But no matter its origins, there’s no denying the deliciousness of this brothy bowl of goodness. It typically consists of wheat noodles served in a meat- or fish-based broth, often flavored with either soy sauce or miso, and topped with things like sliced pork, nori, menma, scallions, and soft-boiled eggs. Some ramen is spicy while others are quite sweet. Some are packed with meat while others appeal to vegetarians and vegans alike. The variations of ramen are endless — both in the different regions of Japan and here in the United States.
To help you track down your next hearty, noodle-packed bowl of ramen, we’re sharing the top destinations for ramen in Northern Colorado, from Fort Collins all the way down to Boulder.
Tucked away in a strip mall near King Soopers in Loveland, Bowl Izakaya is a modern eatery focused primarily on ramen and yakitori. They use authentic, traditional ideas to create their very own take on this Japanese staple, alongside other Asian-influenced dishes. Bowl Izakaya’s ever-rotating menu is built around the highest quality handmade noodles, responsibly raised meat, fish and eggs, seasonal produce, and long-simmering broth. Regulars rave about the ramen here, from the simple Miso Ramen made with chicken broth, pork belly, bean sprouts, corn, spinach, scallions, and soft egg, to the Spicy Chicken Ramen, made with a spicy sesame broth, chicken yakitori, enoki mushroom, bok choy, scallions, and a soft egg.
If some in your party are craving sushi and others are craving ramen, look no further than Sushi JeJu. This classic sushi restaurant in Old Town has an extensive sushi menu, plus other Japanese and Korean dishes, including a few ramen options that should not be skipped. Choose from Sushi JeJu’s Kaisen (a seafood ramen), Chambong (spicy seafood ramen), Tonkotsu (which can be made spicy or regular), Miso Ramen, or Budae Ramen.
Ramen eaters travel from near and far to visit Chimera Ramen, a hip ramen restaurant just off of Pearl Street in the heart of Boulder. Here, you’ll find a simple menu focused on ramen, with a few small bites, like bao and edamame, and Asian-inspired cocktails. A local favorite is the “Chimera Ramen,” made with cherrywood smoked pork belly, spicy sprout and cloud ear mushroom, immersed in a delicious shoyu-kombu broth.
For all things Hawaiian food — particularly poke — we all flock to Honolulu Poke Bar, a bright and modern Hawaiian restaurant next to Target and Lowe’s in Southeast Fort Collins. However, you may not realize that they serve up a variety of ramen bowls, from the famous Tonkotsu to a Creamy Vegetarian Ramen. No matter which one you choose, their broths are flavorful and the ingredients are fresh!
Sure, Lucky’s Market is a neighborhood grocery store, providing natural and organic food for your pantry and your fridge. But did you know they have a full-on ramen bar?! They have four standard ramen bowls to choose from, including Classic Tonkotsu, Spicy Tonkotsu, Miso, and Vegetarian Miso, and the option to build your own, in which you can choose your protein, toppings, broth and additional add-ons if you’d like. Not only are Lucky’s Market’s bowls delicious, but they’re also very reasonably priced!
One of our favorite ramen dishes doesn’t come from a traditional restaurant — but from one of the many food trucks in Fort Collins. However, RamaMama operates both a food truck and a stationary brick and mortar, both of which deliver some of the tastiest, heartiest ramens around. The founders, John and Jake, take great pride in the menu, which includes a wide variety of ramen, plus Bahn Mi, dumplings, and other snacks. One diner recalls his experience with the Gyukotsu on Yelp: “Smooth, rich broth that sparkles in the sunlight, perfectly al dente noodles, sweet roasted tomatoes, a soy-marinated soft–boiled egg, pickled onions and the most tender slices of beef.”
Nestled in Palmer Gardens Shopping Center in Loveland, Sushi Jooa is an authentic Japanese restaurant using only the freshest fish to create their dishes. In addition to their fresh sashimi, specialty rolls, and fully cooked entrees, you’ll find several ramen bowls to choose from, including a Miso Ramen, Champon Spicy Ramen, Yakisoba, Spicy Ramen, and more. All are comprised of the freshest ingredients and high-quality seafood or meat, hand-picked by Chef Hiroshi.
Did we miss your favorite ramen spot in NoCo? Let us know in the comments below!