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.
Know Before You Go
To slow the spread of the highly transmissible Delta variant, effective Aug. 27, a statewide mask mandate is in place. Oregonians and visitors ages 5 and up are required to wear face coverings in all public indoor settings, as well as crowded outdoor public spaces where physical distancing is not possible, regardless of vaccination status. This rule does not apply to individuals actively eating or drinking in food establishments.
Additionally, some restaurants may require proof of vaccination and/or a negative COVID test for entry (see a running list from Eater Portland). Please check with individual businesses on their policies and hours of operation before visiting, and continue to be patient, flexible and kind, especially if asked to mask up or share your vaccination status. These measures are in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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.
Known for its eye-catching hot pink accents and whimsical artwork, this ramen shack is the brainchild of Portland restaurateur Micah Camden, founder of local favorites Little Big Burger and Blue Star Donuts. Boxer Ramen pairs high-quality ingredients (noodles flown in from L.A. and mochi sourced straight from Maui) with an irreverent aesthetic. Expect Wu Tang Clan blasting from the stereo and neo-pop-inspired murals covering the walls.
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