The Portland ramen scene has exploded in recent years, spurred by the arrival of two authentic eateries straight from Tokyo. Discover your perfect bowl at these top-notch noodle spots.
Tokyo favorite Afuri Ramen was reportedly wooed by cities like London, New York and even Dubai, but chose to open their first foreign location here. (Why? They say it’s because we have the perfect tap water.) Visit Afuri’s expansive, elegant dining room to sample the restaurant’s signature yuzu shio broth, flavored with Japanese citrus, seaweed, mushrooms and dried seafood.
Originally opened as one of the first U.S. locations of Marukin Ramen, Kinboshi Ramen is located in Portland’s Central Eastside. A short-but-sweet menu rotates daily to feature offerings like a spicy tonkotsu shoyu (pork bone broth) and a silken, chicken-based paitan, as well as a pair of rich, vegan-friendly bowls filled with mushrooms, vegetables and fried tofu.
Founded as a roving monthly pop-up, Boke Bowl opened its first brick-and-mortar location in Portland’s Central Eastside in late 2011, making it the grandfather of the city’s booming ramen scene. Playful creations like miso-butterscotch “Boke Twinkies” and peanut butter & jelly steam buns set the stage for the main event: steaming bowls of broth brimming with slow-smoked pulled pork, caramelized fennel or spicy housemade chicken sausage.
Kayo’s Ramen Bar
Named for Kayoko Kaye, the restaurant’s Osaka-born chef, Kayo’s Ramen Bar offers options to please all dietary preferences. Step inside this North Williams Avenue noodle spot and take your pick of nine sumptuous broths and four noodle options. Try the “low carb” noodles, which includes a half-serving of housemade noodles mixed with a generous helping of julienned zucchini and daikon.
This popular fast-casual spot is the brainchild of Portland restaurateurs Micah Camden and Katie Poppe, who are known for local favorites like Little Big Burger and Blue Star Donuts. Boxer specializes in high-quality ingredients paired with an irreverent aesthetic. What started as a dedicated noodle shop expanded in 2022 to include sushi, sashimi, sake, cocktails and more.
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From Polish pierogi to Japanese gyoza, nothing says comfort food like these doughy pockets of goodness — no matter when you visit Portland, enjoy a variety of dumplings at these terrific eateries.
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