Ramen Shop in Oakland just might be serving the best ramen in the Bay Area right now. This restaurant opened with a lot of hype due to the pedigree of its chefs, alumni from Chez Panisse in Berkeley who had gone to Japan to train in ramen. Write-ups appeared in Bay Area publications and even the New York Times, and crowds quickly followed. Ramen Shop is known for taking a Northern California approach to ramen, sourcing their ingredients locally from NorCal and making everything from scratch, including their noodles, which is something not many local ramen places do.
They typically serve three different bowls of ramen, a vegetarian broth with Meyer lemon, and miso, shoyu (soy), or shio (salt) broths. The toppings also rotate but typically include chasu (pork) and seafood. I had the miso ramen with baby prawns, corn, and a soft cooked egg. I added chasu for an additional $3, and I am glad I did, because it was smoky, rich, tender, and delicious. The broth was excellent, complex and flavorful without being overly fatty like some ramen places. The homemade noodles were toothsome and perfectly cooked and definitely make Ramen Shop unique. Really great.
I have tried Santouka and Kahoo in San Jose, Orenchi in Santa Clara, Santa and Ramen Dojo in San Mateo, Namu Gaji in San Francisco, and a few more that were unmemorable. I think that Ramen Shop ranks right up there with Ramen Dojo as my favorite.
The restaurant is located in the Rockridge neighborhood in Oakland, right across the street from the famous Zachary’s Pizza. There is an open kitchen with counter seating as well as lots of tables. Ramen Shop opens for dinner at 4pm, and it’s a good idea to go early, because they do not take reservations and the restaurant is very popular.
Link to Ramen Shop here.