Winter in Melbourne can be miserable at the best of times. Throw in a pandemic – and the lockdowns, cancelled plans and half-hearted Zoom calls that come with it – and you’re practically guaranteed a rough time.

Good food can help and thankfully, most of the city’s restaurants are open for takeaway. But if you and lasagne are on a break, and you’ve stopped seeing eye-to-eye with pad thai, consider a big, hearty bowl of ramen on your next takeaway night.

Ramen’s the ideal winter soup: rich, protein-packed broth; carb-y noodles that are heavy on slurp; garnishes galore. Plus, it reheats better than many other takeaway options and is highly customisable to your own taste. Ramen houses across town are still open, and many of them deliver. Here are the best of the bunch.

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Shop Ramen Fitzroy

These soups are sold in nifty DIY kits. With minimal effort, you can prepare your ramen at your leisure and it’ll taste like it’s just come from the kitchen (which it will have). The menu is concise, but there’s something for everyone – the toppings are pork belly, beef and barbeque chicken. There’s also a great miso-tofu vegetarian ramen. Place your order before 2pm on Thursday for Friday pick-up or delivery.

329 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Shop Ramen Preston

Shop Ramen’s Preston kitchen is also at full pelt. You can pick up your order from this location too.

143 Plenty Road, Preston

Hakata Gensuke Hawthorn

This is one of several Hakata Gensuke outposts, but it has an exclusive ramen the others don’t: aka tonkotsu, a mixture of pork broth and spicy cod roe paste. It’s worth a go. Cod roe pops up elsewhere on the menu too, as it’s a staple ingredient in ramens from the Hakata ward of Fukuoka on Japan’s southernmost island. Order here. Delivery is also available through the major platforms.

Tenancy 4 860/862 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

Hakata Gensuke Carlton

Carlton’s Hakata Gensuke outlet also has its own specialty: shoyu ramen, which involves a tonkotsu broth delicately blended with soy sauce. Order pick-up here. As at Hawthorn, this Hakata is on all of the big delivery apps.

126 Lygon Street, Carlton

Tokyo Tina

Tokyo Tina only has one ramen on its menu, but it’s a doozy. This spicy chicken ramen will clear your sinuses, in the best possible way. Order it for delivery or pick-up here. If you’re keen for another iso-cooking project, Tokyo Tina shared the recipe with us, so you can have a go at home.

66A-B Chapel Street, Windsor
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Covid has given this 24-hour ramen joint something it’s never had: a sensible bed time (9pm). Of course, this hasn’t dulled the appeal of the ramen one bit. Order delivery here and be sure to add some chicken kaarage or gyoza on the side.

225 Russell Street, Melbourne

Shyun Ramen Bar

In addition to a great range of classic ramen, Shyun Ramen Bar has a substantial line-up of dry-sauce ramens – noodles and toppings minus the broth, which resemble pasta dishes somewhat. Check the menu and call (03) 8394 5971 for pick-up orders. If you’re after delivery, Shyun is on all the major platforms.

73 Koornang Road, Carnegie

Wabi Sabi Salon

This Smith Street diner has a versatile menu of Japanese classics – from katsu burgers to tuna sashimi – but the ramen is particularly worthwhile. Especially the prawn dashi ramen, which doesn’t appear on too many menus in Melbourne.

94 Smith Street, Collingwood
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Neko Neko

Further down Smith Street, Neko Neko also has an unusual ramen roster. Ramen traditionally relies on the collagen in boiled animal bones to provide the thick creaminess for its broth. But in recent years, vegan ramen has made great strides towards replicating that richness using plant-based products. All-vegan diner Neko Neko is at the forefront of that push in Melbourne. Its tan tan, shoyu and spicy tofu options are excellent in their own right, regardless of whether or not you’re vegan.

83 Smith Street, Fitzroy

Tamura Sake Bar

Also in Fitzroy, Gertrude Street’s Tamura Sake Bar has morphed into Tamura Sake & Deli – a takeaway pivot we can get wholeheartedly get behind. In addition to a build-your-own bento box menu and a side dish list stacked with classics including takoyaki and gyoza, there’s an extensive range of ramen. See the menu here. To order, call (03) 9417 1992 or text your order to 0488 210 011. Pick-up only.

43 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy