HOME > Chowhound > Greater Seattle >


Ramen in Seattle?

  • w

Just moved to Seattle from LA - I'm trying to find traditional Japanese ramen places. Thai places are everywhere, and pho is pretty much all over - but I'm jonesing for good-old ramen.

If you're familiar with LA, I used to hit up the Sawtelle Blvd. area for places like Asahi Ramen, if that gives you an idea for what I'm looking for up here.



  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I haven't been in years, but I remember having a very home-style feeling bowl of Ramen at Ichiban on Main street in chinatown.

    I would consider this less of a recommendation that a nostalgic wandering of my mind.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Yoshi

      It's been many, many years since I had ramen as a child in Japan, so it's hard to compare, but the ramen at Takohachi is pretty good.

      1. re: glenna

        not a ramen expert but the ramen at Fulin (King st 1/2 block east of Union station) seems to be popular among Japanese families (and non-Japanese) (closed Tuesdays)

        1. re: barleywino

          Went to Fu Lin for a lunch combo, and I didn't see the taiwanese pork chop or anything salt-and-pepper, which I'd been wanting to try. I asked the server for the chop, and also if Fu Lin had any specialties, and she didn't understand or I wasn't be clear. I went with the tonkatsu char siu ramen. The broth was very good, slightly thinner and more funky than Samurai Noodle. Where it fell short of Samurai was the pork slices, which were cold cut thin and nearly raw, like they were supposed to cook in the broth--not bad just nothing near the super tenderness offered at Samurai.

          Still need to Tsukushinbo and retry Ginza

      2. re: Yoshi

        Right next to Ichiban is Tsukushinbo. They only have ramen on friday. It's great... but get there at 11:45, because it goes fast.

      3. Can't vouch for the quality, but Koji Osakaya on the Harbor Steps on First Ave in downtown Seattle has ramen among other things.....You kind of come out of there smelling like a Japanese restaurant, but maybe that's "ambiance"! :-)

        Link: http://www.kojiosakaya.com/bmenu.htm

        1. As I too have yearned after a decent classic shoyu ramen with shinachiku root et al, I followed up on these recommendations. Sadly, so far I have not found anything even remotely close to the giant bowl of steaming, perfectly constructed noodles a la the movie Tampopo, which I used to enjoy in Costa Mesa in a tiny little joint owned by an ancient Japanese lady, her stroke-paralyzed face nonetheless always graced with a beaming smile.

          ICHIBAN: No longer serving ramen.
          TAKOHACHI: A few different varieties, but in a tiny bowl, and just not close.

          Next I will visit Koji Osakaya and Fulin, hoping against hope for satisfaction. And where the heck can you find Hiyashi Chuka?

          1 Reply
          1. re: Raymondo

            Ta-Ke Sushi in Bothell serves Hiyashi, but only in the summertime.
            I went there a few weeks ago, after reading a review on Yelp.
            The owners are Japanese; she is from Kyoto. I chatted with the Mr. who is the sushi chef and he told me about his Hiyashi. I need to get back there before he pulls it from the menu. And no, sorry.....no Ramen there. waaaaaaaah.

          2. Samurai Noodle, around the corner from the Uwajimaya entrance, is pretty good. I've been there a couple of times and thoroughly enjoyed my bowl of noodles. They have pork and fish broth; both are good, and offer noodles cooked hard medium or soft. Really good pork here!

            1. I don't think you'll be able to find anything like the ramen places in West LA here. Samurai Ramen mentioned in the thread, is the best I've found, which is close to the quality and style of ramen found on Sawtelle.

              1. Samurai makes a very tasty tonkotsu broth but their noodles lack the bite of good ramen. Our favorite ramen in this area is at Ginza in Bellevue. I hate to recommend them because they are crowded enough. They make four kinds - Asari, Shoyu, Miso, and Takana. Although I'd like to try them all, I always end up ordering the Asari (clam) because its sooooo good. I still look forward to trips to Honolulu, Vancouver, and L.A. for the really good stuff.

                3 Replies
                1. re: kirkj

                  Samurai has been the best I've found in Seattle and I sampled Fu Lin, TakoHachi, and a few others. As for the bite of the noodles you can order them more firm if you desire, but maybe even that wasn't enough. Their pork is also great. I'll have to go check out Ginza.

                  1. re: bergeo

                    While I have no ramen pedigree, I agree with the Ginza rec. I had the takana ramen, which was infused with mushrooms and maybe something with a touch of vinegar, giving the broth a woodsy, ethereal quality that was like nothing I've ever had. My friend lived in Japan for several years and is a ramen fanatic, and he sampled the shoyu ramen and said it was one of the best he had in the area. The portion is massive, FWIW.

                  2. re: kirkj

                    I enjoy Samurai's "Tetsu Hellfire" Ramen. It is Exhibit A in the case for flavor and heat.

                  3. Just back from a progressive meal first at Facing East, then on to Ginza. I've been to Japan many times, and went with a group that included two native Japanese people. We were all underwhelmed by the ramen at Ginza. Had the takana and shoyu versions, and felt they were weak in flavor. Noodles seemed more authentic than Samurai's, but the overall experience wasn't as good. And $11 or so for a bowl? That's Bellevue pricing! Okay, that gets cloth napkins and other extras, but if we're talking simply about the food, this place was a miss. Portion wasn't even that big. Also tried some sushi rolls and they were just so-so. Sad to say... but disappointing experience. (Facing East, on the other hand, was quite good!)

                    22 Replies
                    1. re: dimsumfan

                      Takohachi closed in June; the chef retired, A new Japanese restaurant is supposed to open on the site this summer. Don't know if ramen will be on the menu

                      1. re: PAO

                        I read recently in a local rag that a new place is opening at 1121 E Pike St on Capitol Hill in September, called Boom Noodle. There'll be a Japanese chef and they will have RAMEN.

                        1. re: Lets_eat

                          i'm skeptical...it's from the same people that opened blue c sushi & it's going to be a chain.

                          1. re: ccqueen

                            Not skeptical at all. Did you read the article in the times? They hired a great Seattle chef and have four chefs from Tokyo. I'm just gratefull someone is tring to bring Japanese noodles to the forefront here in Seattle. The issue of chain or not is such a non starter. Why would anyone be a hater before the joint even opens. Anyone who is into Japanese noodles has to be stoked. Seattle needs more japanese noodle representation. I'll be curious to see what Soy Source says when they open. Blue C does a great job for the value proposition. Personally, I'm excited to see what they do.

                            1. re: Ramentown

                              Amen to that - I've got my calendar marked! With today shaping up to be a record-breaking scorcher, all I want is to go have a nice bowl of hiyashi chuka. I sure hope Boom will carry it. If not, I'm going to politely suggest they do.

                              1. re: Ramentown

                                i guess i'm just used to a higher quality sushi than blue c, and also look for the same in the rest of my meals. but if you like crappy sushi, you'll probably enjoy their mediocre ramen as well.

                                1. re: ccqueen

                                  I think you are not understanding the difference between kaiten sushi and a regular sushi bar and why it would have no bearing on how a ramen shop would be executed. Kaiten sushi is all about value in Japan. Blue C does a great job as far as this style of restaurant is concerned. Sorry, it's just one of my frustrations with Seattleites. (I moved hear a year ago from LA). FOr the money I have spent I've been pretty impressed with Blue C's offering. Amen to the hiyashi chuka--I hope they offer it.

                                  1. re: ccqueen

                                    CC Queen -- I lived in Japan for 3 years and made my living as a chef there, most recently I lived in Hawaii and worked as a sushi chef. I can't comment on Blue C's sushi quality as I have never been there. However, as "Ramentown" points out, kaiten sushi is about value in japan...plus "convenience". In the world of the Japanese, time is money and although their culture I.M.O., has the finest food in the world, in some cases quality suffers due to the constant stress of the 'time' consumed society. But its like that in most large cities/countries.

                                    I have been in some "chain" sushi shops both here and in Japan, both kaiten style and traditional sit down, and the sushi in some kaiten shops were of equal quality. As you CC pointed out, 90% of the time, the sushi is going to be of higher quality in sushi restaurants, but that is simply because of the economics of running each style of establishment. "Chains" don't always mean inferior quality either in Japan or in the U.S. Many of the ramen shops out in Japan are "chains"...and in that regard, people hunt down those locations in various neighborhoods or cities, because they have had a certain postive experience. Of course if your experience had been subpar at Blue C, then I'm sure you would never go back. Neither would I in that case. However, if it is a new place...like this place in Capitol Hill, the owners may be the same as Blue C, but the chef might be calling the shots in terms of menu planning. And if he is bringing some local Japanese here to Seattle to do ramen justice, God Bless them. There's nothing better than a bowl of ramen. I just back to Tokyo a month ago...it was my first meal off the plane, it was the last meal I had before I got back on the plane. Hail to the Ramen gods. In any case...all I'm trying to say is .... chains aren't always poor and in this case it may not even be a chain...but rather another restaurant started by someone who has enough money to do so. Give a new place a try, if you don't like it...don't finish it and go somewhere else and have a second meal or third! Chow up!

                                    1. re: ccqueen

                                      The idea that a restaurant is a part of a chain automatically turns me off. This mindset is probably keeping me from trying good places (Oceanaire & Bonefish?).
                                      But, when it comes to ramen, some of the best ramen in North America are being served by chains.

                                2. re: Lets_eat

                                  I just came from Boom Noodle on 12th and Pine, it is great. Although I am allergic to gluten and ordered a salmon dish, I was with five other people who all had different noodle dishes. We all loved what we ate, and it is super cool in there. The chef, Jonathan Hunt, used to have a very well known catering company. Also, I think he studied in Japan for a while. We all loved it and will be back.

                                  1. re: browqueen

                                    I had lunch at Boom Noodle -- I won't be going back in a hurry. The Tori Karaage (fried chicken) was terribly dry. The Boom Ramen was flavorless (and the chicken confit in it was also far too dry). The pork cutlet in a curry sauce was edible, but definitely not worth 17 bucks. The service was excellent, but did n't redeem the terribly sub-par food

                                    1. re: juvenal

                                      I had lunch at boom noodle yesterday and thought it was great. Try the mushroom soba next time. That what I had and it was excellent. My friends had the beef and veggie yakisoba. I got to try both and they were outstanding. Definitely a step up from what you might expect from yakisoba. I will be back. I want to try everything there. I agree with juvenal that the service was excellent. I am also pretty sure it is on 12th and pike rather than pine.

                                      1. re: idod

                                        I ate there last night and thought it was fairly good, some kinks to work out but fine for its second night. Our serve I think smartly informed us that of that fact right when we sat down so if we had not known we could would have been forewarned. The chairs which look oh so uncomfortable were surprisingly comfy for the first ½ hour but my tush needed a break after about that. I also like the cafeteria floor plan the space either by design or happy accident made it very hard to hear people who were sitting 1 set of seats away from us. And believe me I tried to listen at one point.

                                        The “Omakase” pickle pate was very good, two kinds of cucumber, garlic a tomato and red pepper I would say all but the tomato were successfull and the little rice cakes that came with them were a nice mixture of brown and white rice with nori and sesame seeds. The miso broiled rice cakes which I assumed would be broiled mochi were a bit disappointing essentially the same rice as on the in the pickle plate with some salad greens on top and three underwhelming sauces, but it was not what I thought it was going to be so that may have tinged my feelings toward it. I enjoyed the Tokyo Ramen and thought the pork was well cooked and the soft boiled egg was wonderfully rich and perfectly cooked. The broth could have had a bit more flavor and I am hoping that they will improve with time.

                                        Also why is there only ichmi on the tables when shichime is so much more delicious. My man had the yakisoba which I would describe as a fairly good example but I think the noodles were slightly undercooked, he disagrees.

                                        I am a bit concerned that they are serving both wild caught and farm raised salmon because I think could lead to confusion. All in all I am eager to return in the next few weeks after they get their liquor license.

                                        1. re: Charles

                                          We just did dinner at Boom Noodle on a Friday, 3 days after grand opening on Wednesday.

                                          My background: I did a month long food tour of Japan with Japanese native friends.

                                          Had the Tokyo ramen (braised pork, tamago & bamboo shoots, soy
                                          seasoned chicken-pork broth) $9.95 and shio ramen (chicken confit, bay scallops, naruto, bamboo shoots, wakame & leeks, chicken/pork broth) $9.95. Both very, very, underwhelming. I'd say a rip off for the price. Seriously, Samurai noodle is easily 4-5X better for less, and I don't even think Samurai noodle is that great! I've honestly made better tasting packaged ramen at home (minus the egg which was very good).

                                          The broths were flat without depth or much flavor, the meats dry and way too lean (especially the pork, which SHOULD be rich, fatty, tender). Ramen noodles were OK but nothing spectacular, but they did cook them properly at least. The soft boiled eggs were very nicely done, however, and very tasty. The overall experience regarding the ramen was way overpriced, bland, and generic with none of the wonderfulness of good ramen except for the soft boiled eggs which were done nicely.

                                          The fruit juices were pretty nice, especially the cucumber mint fizz (cucumber juice, calpico, mint and soda) which I enjoyed.

                                          The pickle appetizer was OK.

                                          The decor was nice.

                                          Think an upscale and more expensive noodles & company and you get the jist of this place. I really hope they get their act together. Ramen is not that hard to make. If it is one of your features you better do it right! C'mon guys!

                                          I wish them success. I hate writing negative reviews on new restaurants but a $10 bowl of ramen better be TIGHT!

                                          1. re: Ligament

                                            Thanks for your report. The level of the details gave me confidence to rely on it and save myself a letdown (and money).

                                            1. re: kirkj

                                              My pleasure. I really hate giving negative reviews to new restaurants. I appreciate the immense work and dedication it takes to open a business. But in order to survive and excel, one has to bring an outstanding product.

                                            2. re: Ligament

                                              These are the same owners of Blue C sushi so I'm not surprised by your negative review. I also read the chef is formerly of PF Changs!?. The best ramen in Seattle is at Samurai Noodle in the ID. Why bother with any place else I say.

                                              1. re: landguy

                                                One of the line cooks at Boom used to work for PF Chang's, not one of the chefs.

                                              2. re: Ligament

                                                I ate at Boom Noodle last week and had a similar experience. My companion and I shared the croquettes (good flavor, but the potatoes were sliced inside rather than whipped, which killed it for me). I had the shio ramen (soup very bland, chicken was bland) and my companion had the miso ramen (better than the shio, but still very bland). Neither ramen was what we had hoped for and I will probably not go back.

                                                The service was fine. I dislike the long tables, personally, but others may not mind sitting next to strangers. The chairs were strange and put you into a sort of recline position.

                                                1. re: Ligament

                                                  I agree with LIGAMENT. Just went to Boom Noodles since it’s been getting a lot of comments lately. It is a nice space, modern, airy and noisy. The service was attentive and the menu looked larger than I was expecting. My daughter and I ordered the Tokyo ramen and the Miso ramen along with gyoza and a sizzling beef appetizer. The raves I’ve read about Boom confuse me since from our perspective, the ramen at Boom is pretty average, the noodles were nicely cooked but the broth was decidedly lackluster. Compared to Samurai it isn’t even close, especially when you consider the prices. We have been to Samurai Ramen, Ginza in Bellevue as well as Koji on the Harbor Steps for Japanese style noodles. The ramen places with original writer mentions on Sawtelle in west Los Angeles I am familiar with so I have a have experienced a variety of noodles. Although it is a nice space and the staff tries hard it is a pretty but mediocre and woefully overpriced restaurant.

                                            3. re: juvenal

                                              i agree with Juval's comments on the tori karaage and pork cutlet. Seared salmon sashimi was good, okonomiyaki tasted frozen/reheated as has been mentioned elsewhere. Katsu also tasted pre-prepared. Rice tasted like the worst kind of minute rice. Big production values but cafeteria cooking, catering to the local undergrad crowd perhaps?

                                      2. re: dimsumfan

                                        There's a kind of hole-in-the-wall ramen place in bellevue (not too far from Ginza) that I've wanted to try...I believe they serve several different types of ramen...


                                      3. Any reports on the Kaname ramen?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: kirkj

                                          I wasn't a huge fan of the Kaname ramen. I'm no ramen expert, so perhaps I was missing something, but rather than that rich fattiness that you want in a pork broth, I thought it tasted like...oily and porky. I know that seems like a subtle difference, but it is how I felt about it. My BFs katsu-don was much tastier...

                                        2. Like others are saying, Samurai is currently the ramen champ of Seattle. Their tonkotsu soup base is decent, but they need to use thicker, more traditional style ramen noodles. They also need to add homemade gyoza to their menu, like the ramen shops in Honolulu, LA, and Vancouver. If Samurai's is packed, Fu Lin's is an okay second option.

                                          1. Tsukushinbo has the best ramen I've had in Seattle, but only on Fridays at lunchtime.

                                            Service is usually very slow, be warned.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: terrier

                                              I've been cogitating over your remark for some time, and finally have to ask: why only Fridays at lunchtime? Do you mean that's the only time you've visited there? Or do they do something special with ramen on that day?

                                              1. re: Lets_eat

                                                Not that it's better on Fridays, but that they only serve ramen on Fridays at lunchtime. It's a special.

                                                Maybe this has changed? I haven't been back in months since the line has been out the door every time I've tried. It's good, but not 2 hour lunch good IMO.

                                            2. The best Ramen in Seattle is made by Saito. The broth is very good. He only makes after he closes for friends after drinking.

                                              1. Takohachi used to be OK - but they are no longer in business.
                                                Samurai Noodle is OK, it will give a decent Ramen fix, but there is room for improvement.
                                                Haven't tried the place in Lynnwood linked to below - would like to know if anyone has gone?

                                                Yes - I dream of a day that Seattle has Ramen like Jangara Ramen which I had in Akihabara.
                                                Picture of the kind I had here: http://www.rocketworld.org/jangara_ra...
                                                And reveiws here: http://www.shichiroku.com/ramen-janga...
                                                It is a chain, so maybe someone can open one here? Please? Please? Onigaishimasu?

                                                2 Replies
                                                  1. re: lannypoffo

                                                    you mentioned a place in Lynwood, but I didn't see a name or a link.
                                                    Which place are you thinking of. I live in Seattle, but am starting to explore the suburbs for good food.


                                                  2. This is a bit outside the original scope of the discussion, but if you get up to Vancouver every once in a while, *the* place to go is Kintaro Ramen on Denman -- hands-down the best ramen I've had on this coast, and that seems to be the general consensus among virtually everyone I've seen talk about it. Heartily recommended.

                                                    1. Just wanted to give a quick review of Mama Sen Ramen (in downtown Bellevue). I went there on a Friday night with my boyfriend, and it was definitely a hole in the wall type place (dark decor, small space). However, I had the shoyu ramen, and it was DELICIOUS! The noodles weren't undercooked, the broth was flavorful--I love all types of noodles, and this ramen was just great. There was a space for karaoke, and for some STRANGE reason it was left one even when no one was singing, and it was uncomfortably loud and the songs were very old-fashioned. This was BEFORE some random Japanese girl started blasting her way through some songs. Ambiance was not that great, but the food was yummy :)

                                                      1. I have not been to any good ramen restaurants in Seattle and I've been here for about 6 years. I have been to the typical Japanese restaurants, like Takohachi(Int.Dist), Tsukushinbo(Int.Dist), Fuji Sushi(Int.Dist), Hakata(Bremerton), Wann(downtown), Maekawa(Int.Dist),Ft.St.George(Int.Dist),Ototo Sushi(Queen Anne-Amazing Sushi for Seattle), FuLin(Int.Dist-Chinese, but good Ramen), Miyabi(Southcenter) and some others that I can't remember. But if you've heard of Okinawan Noodles, then you should get out to Lynnwood where Taka Sushi is located! They have THE BEST OKINAWAN NOODLES in Washington and probably the northwest!...
                                                        Taka Sushi
                                                        18904 Highway 99
                                                        Lynnwood, WA 98036
                                                        (425) 778-1689

                                                        *There is a new japanese crepe place in the international district! Its pretty good for a quick snack or really light meal.

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: iwantramen

                                                          Have you tried Samurai Noodle (next to Uwajimaya in I.D.)?

                                                          1. re: barleywino

                                                            Any one remember Ezo ramen on Broadway oh so long ago? I still dream of that ramen

                                                            1. re: bigred10

                                                              I agree with you about Ezogiku. None of the local places can measure up to them. I try to have their ramen whenever I'm in a city that they are in.

                                                        2. Surprise! Edina Sushi has Tokyo Shoyu Ramen!!!
                                                          Edina is in the shopping center across 196th from Fred Meyer...196th and 44th.
                                                          It used to be another sushi place that was struggling, and after it became Edina, I never managed to stop by.
                                                          Not sure if they are Japanese or Korean, forgot to ask, but I think I saw some Japanese language magazines by the door.
                                                          The Tokyo Shoyu Ramen was the only ramen on the menu. And that is just fine by me!
                                                          It took a very long time for the ramen to be delivered to me. I don't know if that is good or not.
                                                          But it was delicious, IMHO.
                                                          The noodles were curly and just al dente enough, and had that special "noodle smell".
                                                          Boiled egg, spinach, mung bean sprouts and 4 very nice, somewhat overly lean pork slices.....and the special pepper seasoning.
                                                          Salty. Salty, Salty.
                                                          I was extremely satisfied with this ramen. Only complaint was NOT enough noodles!
                                                          I am going back there tomorrow for lunch and ask for more noodles and will take a picture.

                                                          6 Replies
                                                          1. re: ritabwh

                                                            I returned to Edina Sushi today. I asked for more noodles and got it.
                                                            Chatted with the waiter and I learned that the owners are Korean, the sushi chef is Mongolian! and best news...the kitchen chef is Japanese. That makes me want to try out their udons now.
                                                            The broth was a bit subdued today but still very good. The noodles, again, just al dente to suit my taste. The pork was fattier today, but seemed over cooked and tough...so I guess the pork will be a hit and miss.
                                                            I know Tonkotsu is very popular now. But this bowl of shoyu ramen reminded me of the ramen I had, growing up in Japan a hundred years ago. Yes, many, many years ago back in the 1960s
                                                            I'm reply to my previous post because, I'm not sure to how to link posts into another post. <sigh> I am no going to try to attach a photo I took with my phone.
                                                            I hope some locals will try it out too, and let me know what you think.

                                                            1. re: ritabwh

                                                              Do they have different broths? My favorites have been shoyu and miso but the distinctions seem to be getting blurred. I went to Santouka earlier this year in SoCal and their Shio broth was actually Tonkotsu (a bit on the thin side, but thats how I like it). The piece of pork was wonderful - fatty, tender, and flavorful.

                                                              1. re: kirkj

                                                                No. Edina Sushi has only the Tokyo Shoyu Ramen, which I think is fine, since they are not trying to be a ramenya and a sushiya. <G>.
                                                                Not sure if I mentioned it, but here's their address :
                                                                Edina Sushi
                                                                44th Ave W (and 196th St SW)
                                                                Lynnwood, WA 98036
                                                                (425) 776-8068

                                                                1. re: kirkj

                                                                  Yup, agree with the original reply, but after reading this thread I went there and they did make me a tonkatsu ramen. Broth wasn't pork, it was generic, but they dropped a nice sizzling hot tender sliced slab of tonkatsu in there. I got some sushi while I waited (sake) (meh) but the ramen was worth a return visit. Thanks for the recc ritabwh!

                                                                2. re: ritabwh

                                                                  Loved the pics, thanks!

                                                                  Just a heads up, I peeked in and work has finally begun on the new Samurai Noodle location on University Way. Yay...!

                                                                  1. re: Lets_eat

                                                                    Thanks for the Thanks!
                                                                    I can't believe I lurked for so long before actually joining in the conversation.
                                                                    Posting the pictures were not as painful as I thought.

                                                              2. This is an informative post by a truly obsessive, and authoritative source. Rameniac ranks the top (only?) ramen shops in town. http://www.rameniac.com/index/comment...

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: equinoise

                                                                  I saw that. I follow rameniac and was thrilled to see his recap our Seattle area ramen shops.
                                                                  And, I agree with his reviews of Samurai.

                                                                2. Kushibar in Belltown has decent ramen. It's not quite as good as Samurai (but nothing in Seattle is) but if you're not up for a jaunt to the ID it's totally serviceable. Also try the chicken hearts, yum!

                                                                  Kushi Bar
                                                                  2319 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: ingopixel

                                                                    I had a a very early dinner at Kushibar 2 weeks ago, and had their shoyu ramen, because I read about their ramen on an online article.
                                                                    The ramen, IMHO was ok, just ok. Ok, just barely ok.
                                                                    The broth was thick and I thought, muddy. The noodles were too thick, as if they had used yakisoba noodles.
                                                                    The pork was paper thin slices of rolled pork belly. No flavor at all.
                                                                    The food on sticks were good. The okonomiyaki was so-so and did not have the bonito flakes.

                                                                      1. re: christy319

                                                                        I'll be interested to see what people think of this place. It's packed everytime I walk by. I enjoyed my miso ramen and the potstickers, and I'll definitely go again since it's 3 blocks from my house, but I am not at all a ramen connoiseur. It's been too long since I've been to Samurai for me to compare. It's just a husband and wife operation and they were hustling but it still took about 15 minutes to get the ramen.

                                                                      2. re: equinoise

                                                                        I ate dinner there on Friday and it was ok. Short menu - (1) ramen: miso, shio or shoyu broth with charsiu, fishcake, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and green onions, (2) potstickers, and (3) garlic charsiu rice. On Fri they also had curry rice as a special. I had the shoyu ramen and potsticker combo. The ramen was ok - but nothing to rave about. The noodles were nice and chewy, the broth was fairly mild (and not a salt bomb, thankfully). The potstickers were throw-aways. I'd go back, but I'd skip the potstickers.

                                                                        1. re: akq

                                                                          we ate there tonight. I had high hopes and had the shio ramen. it was ok - nothing special. I think Samurai is better, and the Uwajimaya in Bellevue.

                                                                          Great service though.

                                                                      3. Long time reader but first time poster.

                                                                        You guys have been GREAT on every place I've been so far on my Portland/Vancouver/Victoria/Seattle adventure except this one time.

                                                                        After all the talk about how wonderful Samurai Noodle was my friend and I decided to pay it a visit tonight since it was our first night in Seattle.

                                                                        It was really not good at all.

                                                                        Let me start off by saying that I just was in Vancouver, BC and man o man did we have some wonderful noodles there.

                                                                        I may just be spoiled by those as tonight I was really dissappointed. They had mediocre service to start. The noodles were soggy even though I got medium firmness and they tasted like Chinese egg noodles that you would normally find in a Wonton Noodle Soup. They were not nearly as thick and firm once in your mouth as should be expected with a traditional Japanese ramen. Next, we were out of luck since they were out of the pork slices and instead we got shredded pork and they took off a dollar which was nice. I've heard good things about those pork slices but we missed out on them. My next complaint is the egg. The egg should be partially cooked through the middle not all the way. Finally the broth was not flavorful and it may have been because I ordered the pork broth.

                                                                        To make sure it wasn't a fluke I ordered some cold noodles with dipping sauce and although they were better than the hot noodles I had they were still below par to say the least.

                                                                        I wouldn't be recommending Samurai for any of my friends who might have an inkling of what proper Ramen should taste like.

                                                                        9 Replies
                                                                        1. re: civic4982

                                                                          Samurai is definitely hit-or-miss. I'd trade all our trendy "Japanese" joints with subpar food (kushibar, wasabi bistro, boom noodle, wann izakaya) for just one consistent ramen-ya.

                                                                          1. re: civic4982

                                                                            I need to get back to Samurai. I just had ramen at Kintaro in Vancouver and thought the noodles at Samurai were better than those at Kintaro (the broth and the pork slices were way better at Kintaro). My complaint was the noodles at Kintaro were too soggy and that Samurai's were more firm. Maybe I am misremembering?!

                                                                            1. re: Lauren

                                                                              My experience there last night was that the noodles at Samurai were not nearly thick enough and were quite stringy like a wonton noodle soup noodle. I forgot to mention in the previous review that the shredded pork was well liked by my friends and the Mentaiko "Spicy Roe" was quite tasty although the rice I had it on was COLD.

                                                                              The noodles I had at Motomachi Shokudo in Vancouver were hands down the service, noodles, experience I have had in my short experience through the world of Ramen.

                                                                              Motomachi Shokudo
                                                                              740 Denman St. Vancouver, BC
                                                                              They're closed Wednesdays.

                                                                              The place was one I just stumbled upon after doing a bicycle tour around Stanley Park.

                                                                              If one can find noodles of this caliber here in Seattle while I'm here I would possibly sell my rental car Prius to a shady corner scam artist and walk my way back to Texas.

                                                                              1. re: civic4982


                                                                                Samurai is, debatably, the best ramen in Seattle. There are, however, many place in Vancouver, BC that out-do Samurai. Vancouver is just a much better city for Ramen (and a number of other Japanese cuisines). Seattle has them (again, debatably) for better Thai, and better Vietnamese, though.

                                                                                1. re: Booklegger451

                                                                                  Hmm... Perhaps I made a mistake in hoping for Seattle to out-do Vancouver on the Ramen forefront. As I've had plenty of Vietnamese in Westminster, CA and Houston, TX I think I'll take a gander at some threads on Seattle, WA Thai delights.

                                                                                  Thanks for the suggestion!

                                                                                  1. re: civic4982

                                                                                    It's been weird for me, too... I moved here about a year ago, and have a few friends up in Vancouver. Vancouver seems to have better Japanese and Chinese (though maybe not better sushi). Seattle seems to have better SE Asian (Vietnamese, Thai, Cambodian, Malaysian). Not what I would have expected before I got here.

                                                                                    1. re: Booklegger451

                                                                                      Seattle has had relatively little Chinese immigration in recent decades (but lots of Vietnamese). Vancouver, on the other hand, has had an extraordinary amount. So it makes sense.

                                                                            2. re: civic4982

                                                                              The one and only time I had ramen at Samurai, I was quite disappointed and puzzled by the rave reviews.
                                                                              I always felt I had missed something at Samurai Noodles.
                                                                              Then, I read Rameniac's review on Samurai Noodles.
                                                                              I felt better after having read the the review.

                                                                              1. re: civic4982

                                                                                I'm glad you posted this because when I visited Seattle last time, I went to Samurai Noodle and didn't really get blown away at all either. Three of us ordered all different dishes and were all pretty meh about it. I had fun shopping in Uwajimaya around the corner though!

                                                                              2. I went to Samurai Noodle after going to school at UW, and seeing that COMING SOON SAMURAI NOODLE banner a year ago and to realize that the place was never going to be opened. For some reason I never knew about the Samurai at Uwaji, so I went, and was so dissapointed and pissed off. Constantly I kept asking myself why was my bowl so small? Why was it so costly? Why why why why why.....what irked me the most was the "save your broth, you can order more noodles" sign....so what you're saying is the portion you're serving is not that great, so I should be ready to order MORE food?....

                                                                                I had the tonkatsu chiasu, and the wife had the shoyu....nope no good

                                                                                so i went on yelp, and people suggest Fu-Lin. i went back the VERY next day and to my surprise....that was one damn good bowl of Tonkatsu ramen....i mean seriously. The pork broth was cloudy and tasty......the pork people complain about it being cold and served sliced? i've really never had this prob, as i immediately am used to mixing my bowl of ingredients immediately when i receive it

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: daaznfella

                                                                                  I just had lunch at the Samurai on the Ave, having their #1, tonkotsu. The menu listed thin noodles for that one, thicker noodles for most of the other styles. I had the choice of firm, medium, soft noodles. Overall I was pleased. The broth was cloudy and well flavored. My only complaint is that I felt quite thirsty after the meal.

                                                                                2. report on ramen at Kikuya, in Redmond.
                                                                                  after repeated suggestions, i finally tried the ramen at Kikuya in Redmond. i had been told that Kikuya had recently added ramen to their menu. i have never been to kikuya.
                                                                                  first, the sushi chef is from Nagasaki. he's been in the u.s.a. for about 30 yrs, and the last 10 yrs here, in the seattle area. forgot to ask how long he has been at kikuya.
                                                                                  there was a bit of confusion when i ordered the ramen, as it is not on the menu. so i ended up with a miso ramen, instead of my benchmark Shoyu/Tokyo ramen, since i did not know shoyu ramen was available.
                                                                                  what a pleasant surprise. a giant bowl of noodles. the straight noodles. moyashi, kamaboko, spinach and paper thin slices of green onion, a wonderful boiled egg with a just barely soft yolk, and (sigh) lean pork slices.
                                                                                  the broth had a nice miso flavor, and not so in your face.
                                                                                  as i chatted with the chef, Hara san in japanese, i found out that tonkotsu and shoyu ramens are available. and he makes the stock and the tare in-house, but not the noodles.
                                                                                  having lived in Yokohama as a child, i prefer shoyu ramen, and i have never acquired a taste for tonkotsu ramen. so i would be interested in your opinions.
                                                                                  i am definitely returning for the shoyu ramen.
                                                                                  i also ordered the maguro-natto plate. again, another wow. the $9.99 price seemed expensive until i was served a beautifully arranged and generous serving.
                                                                                  the ramen is not on the menu. you must ask for it.
                                                                                  so, give it a try, y'all. let me know what you think!
                                                                                  i regret i didn't have my camera with me.
                                                                                  one of these days, i might try their sushi. :-))

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: ritabwh

                                                                                    CORRECTION, Hara san is from Nagoya, not Nagasaki.