The Best Ramen in Sydney

Updated 3 weeks ago


Few noodle dishes have captured Sydney’s imagination like ramen. But when Ryosuke Horii opened his now-legendary shop back in 2003, barely anyone outside of Sydney’s Japanese community knew what ramen was. Those who did had no idea where to get it. Today the city is full of options, from tiny joints with big Tokyo energy to outposts 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.

  • Owner Keita Abe might defer to tradition with regards to his yakitori, but creativity reigns supreme when it comes to ramen. His four signature bowls are standouts in a crowded scene: chilli-coriander, yuzu-scallop, fish salt and “fat soy”. Also in Bondi.

  • The OG and reigning heavyweight champion of tonkotsu ramen in Sydney. If you’re a fan of gravy-thick, gut-busting pork soups that’ll transport you to Japan (Kyushu, specifically), seek out this buzzing counter inside the Eating World food court.

  • Sydney's first ramen joint is still delivering the goods: bowls of curly noodles bathing in smashable broths, dressed with pork, bamboo shoots, boiled eggs, prawn mince balls or sesame seeds. Not necessarily all together. Watch for the queues – they start from the second Ryo’s opens and curl away down the block.

  • One of Japan's most famous ramen chains has six sophisticated outposts in Sydney. At each you’ll find the signature ramen, the Akamaru Shinaji, which hinges on a 25-year-old tonkotsu recipe topped with blended miso paste, garlic oil, pork belly chashu, black fungus and bean sprouts.

  • A close rival to Gumshara for the title of heaviest tonkotsu in town – though there are distinctions to be made. It’s a capacious two-storey affair, with a noodle-making machine on display in the front window on street level. The staff (plus many customers) wear t-shirts printed with Yasaka’s credo: "No Ramen, No Life."

  • An offshoot of Ippudo, 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.

  • Named after the vast stock pots ramen masters use to boil their broths, this fast-casual spot serves its unctuous, pork-based soups with a Tokyo-style twist. Otherwise, it’s beer-friendly snacks, donburi and comforting Japanese curries.

  • Before it became an exacting omakase diner, this Darlo Japanese joint used to serve ramen exclusively for lunch. It still features in the nightly chef’s selection, but has recently made a comeback as a weekend lunch a la carte item. The duck yuzu number – featuring duck consommé, duck meatballs and a citrusy yuzu kick – is the one that put this place on Sydney’s ramen map.

  • Run by a husband-and-wife duo on a leafy harbourside street, this cosy ramen shop does soups in a way Sydney has never seen before. Come for the show, plus handmade Wagyu gyoza and a drinks list that’ll transport you to Japan.

  • Rara’s owners are the guardians of a top-secret ramen recipe passed down from two Japanese masters and consultants. And the thin, Hakata-style noodles deployed in each bowl are made in-house at the Redfern branch. One of the first places in Sydney to pair the unctuousness of ramen with the acid-driven funk of natural wine.

  • The little sister to Rara up the road is all about tsukemen, a dipping-style ramen that’s perfect for balmy Tokyo (and Sydney) nights. You can also grab rice bowls, classic izakaya snacks such as chicken karaage and gyoza, and Suntory beer on tap.

  • This sleek izakaya comes from the chef behind now-closed, Ichibandori, one of the city’s most innovative ramen joints. The menu here is just as thoughtful, and consists of elevated takes on a tonkotsu, plus a kombu-tomato number for vegetarians.

  • One of the earliest players in Sydney’s ramen scene, this buzzing spot is known for its signature “long name” ramen featuring a complex chicken-and-pork shoyu broth. Be warned – you may have to queue for it. But the wait time is worth the reward.

  • A small, walk-in ramen joint bowling up modern takes on the genre – backed up by a tight list of cheffy, izakaya-inspired snacks. Go for the chicken soup spiked with roasted wing tare and chunky chicken oil, then topped with chashu (pork and chicken), tarragon and seasoned bamboo. This place is all about lo-fi wines and local beer, too.

  • The first Sydney location for the global ramen chain. Come for 10 takes on the Japanese noodle soup – from a signature tonkotsu with 12-hour pork bone broth to the spicy, choose-your-own-heat-level “God Fire”.

  • The unlikely pairing of ramen and motorcycle repairs produces some pretty spectacular results at this casual all-day diner. Come for one of four signature ramens (including an outstanding breakfast number), izakaya snacks and lo-fi wines.

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  • A former Gumshara and Yasaka chef is making ramen with soul at this tiny, unassuming cafe. The menu is ever-changing – but you can always expect a light, chicken-based soup alongside rotating specials such as tsukemen. Plus, a roll-call of Japanese standards and flavourful Columbian coffee.

  • If you never had a chance to try the wares at Ramen Osan in Haymarket before it closed, you can here. One of the standouts is the gyokai tonkotsu, a powerful, fish-flavoured ramen made with snapper head, bonito and pork bones.

  • Cheap, cheerful and popular as ever, this bustling joint next to Kinokuniya serves every kind of ramen under the sun. The Tokyo-style bowl sits high on the list for a reason – it’s super light, which means room for an extra beer and a side of gyoza afterward.

  • The little sister of Menya Noodle Bar, a fast-casual Japanese noodle and don joint on Market Street. It serves the same lighter-style tonkotsu broths and rich chicken soups, except the pace is much slower. It’s a little cooler, too.

  • On a corner in South Sydney, this specialty coffee destination is putting Japanese spins on the Aussie brunch like nowhere else. We mean hand-rolled bagels with Japanese fixings, cheeseburger donburi bowls and umami-packed noodle dishes – including a spicy tan tan ramen.

  • Japanese with a side of jazz? Hit this smooth diner, where legit musos play most nights of the week. Jazzed up ramens and Japanese favourites have been served here for more than 20 years.

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