The Best Ramen in Melbourne

Updated 5 months ago

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Melbourne is full of options for ramen. There are poky joints with anime posters plastered on the walls, right through to slick, queue-worthy restaurants by international chains. In Japan no one waits for their friend’s ramen to arrive. It’s most polite to dig in the second your bowl hits the table – with plenty of appreciative slurping. Whether you prefer a smashable Tokyo-style ramen or a spicy tantanmen, this guide will help you find your favourite.

  • A Japanese chain setting the gold standard for tonkotsu ramen in Melbourne. What separates Carlton from the Hawthorn and CBD flagship branches is its “yatai” ramens, served with rounds of pork belly chashu like you’d find in Fukuoka, Japan, the birthplace of tonkotsu.

  • Japan's most famous ramen chain has multiple locations in Australia, including this one in the CBD. The Akamaru Shinaji, Ippudo’s signature “modern” tonkotsu ramen, hinges on a 25-year-old recipe topped with blended miso paste, garlic oil, pork belly chashu, black fungus and bean sprouts.

  • The upmarket cousin of Ippudo is famous for its kogashi-style ramen. Meaning “charred” in Japanese, the method involves overheating lard in a wok, then adding a special miso or soy base, followed by chicken broth. The results are intensely fragrant and umami-packed – but if you’re craving the classics, you can get them here, too.

  • The first Australian location for the revered global ramen chain brings its signature tori paitan soup to Melbourne's CBD. Expect lines around the block for one of its 28 seats, and be rewarded inside with six different ramen options, snacks and sake pairings.

  • A bastion of exemplary Hakata-style ramen in the city centre. Visit for house-made noodles, consistently excellent broths and a creation known simply as the “cocktail draft beer”. If you drink too many, do as the shop prescribes: keep calm, eat ramen. Also on Little Bourke Street.

  • What started as a lockdown pop-up by two Italian chefs at Shujinko is now a fully-fledged ramen restaurant. Squeeze into the neon-lit space for decadent lobster or truffle-infused soups, comforting rice bowls, gyoza and truffle fries.

  • The kitchen at this CBD staple used to run at full steam, 24-hours a day. Trading hours are a little more conservative these days, but you can still drop in for a late-night bowl of silky tonkotsu ramen every Friday and Saturday. Extra locations can be found on Flinders Streets and in Glen Waverley – with more on the way.

  • A moody, minimal-waste ramen diner with an evolving menu informed by the seasons. The one constant? Thin, wheat-based noodles, aged overnight for the perfect consistency. Come for the ramen, stay for Japanese-accented spins on classic cocktails.

  • Whether you visit the Fitzroy OG or the larger Preston spinoff, each of Shop's four ramens (pork belly, beef brisket, barbeque chicken and vegan tofu) is markedly different and super tasty. This crew also bucks the tonkotsu trend – instead favouring a lighter, Tokyo-influenced chicken broth. There isn’t one go-to soup, and all are worth a try.

  • Watch the magic happen inside the open kitchen at this south-side spot. For the signature, order the chicken torigara ramen. Made with a chicken broth that simmers for over 10 hours, this opaque soup is rich with collagen. Vitamins, too.

  • This jazzy 30-seater is a Japanese izakaya, craft sake bar and record store rolled into one – but it also adds quality ramen to the equation. You’ll always find two options (signature chicken-based or vegetarian), plus the occasional special. Best of all, these bowls stick around on the late-night menu. You’ll need one after all that sake.

  • Little Ramen Bar ain’t so little these days. Previously a hole-in-the-wall on Little Bourke street, it moved to this spacious digs in 2021 – bringing with it some solid renditions of ramen’s greatest hits: tonkotsu, miso, shoyu and tantanmen. Still a great spot to escape the bustle of the city and warm up with some noodles.

  • Vegan ramen has come a long way in the last decade, and you can get an excellent version of it at this cute, takeaway-centric canteen. Featuring vegetable stock with over 20 ingredients (and liberal amounts of miso), your bowl is loaded with egg-less “egg noodles” and various roasted veg toppings.

  • There's an extensive ramen menu at this bar and diner from the man behind Wabi Sabi Salon and Neko Neko, alongside a range of other classic Japanese dishes. Plus, there are plenty of sake-based cocktails and a tight line-up of rare whiskies.

  • The menu at this cosy cafe isn’t traditionally Japanese in its entirety, but the inspiration is present throughout. Find ramen three ways: a shio tonkotsu, a vegetarian version, and a rich, untraditional breakfast ramen.