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Nov 25, 2006 09:53 PM

Best Ramen near Cleveland (eastside)

Wishful thinking I'm guessing, but anyone have recommendations on the very best bowl of authentic ramen soup closest to Shaker Heights? I'm just asking for the best around here, not the best in the nation. And... if there isn't any decent ramen w/in 20 minutes, how about simply the best bowl of Asian soup -- nevermind the country of origin?

I've tried Superior Pho and #1 Pho downtown.

I like em, but they don't serve ramen.

Anything on Mayfield maybe?

Please, please help me.

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  1. let me try and work backwards on this one. Is this Japanese,Chinese or Korean? or are these the type noodles you get for 5 for $1 and the grocery store? Do you know the base of the noodle(rice, buckwheat,wheat, ect?) . I adore Superior Pho but it sounds like you are looking for a whole different thing. Siam Cafe (dont let the name fool you -it is mostly Chinese food) has a ton of noodle dishes. It is located on the 3900 block of St Clair. I like to try a lot of the Asain places, but just have not seen the word "ramen" on the menu-maybe they want to avoid association with the grocery store stuff? I do see those noodles (along with dozens of other variities) at the Asia Market on St.Clair at 3100 block. Let me know if you have any more clues and I will try and think.

    edit: Have you been to Pacific East in Cleveland Hieghts? It is Japanese and Sushi-I have seen some firmer textured noodle dishes there...may want to check it out (best sushi in town BTW)

    1. I can only offer first hand advice regarding Asian soups in general.

      They do use ramen noodles in a soup at Korea House. It's spicy noodle soup with sausage. It's only available for two. I had it for the first time recently. It's absolutely phenomenal. The noodles are tasty. The sausage is great, the two king of beef are great and the broth is great. Overall, it's one of the tastiest things I've ever eaten.

      There are several noodles soups at Siam Cafe. They serve pho but don't identify it as such on the dinner menu. I believe it is properly identified on the lunch menu. They have "rare beef noodle soup" and "well done beef noodle soup." They're both very good - and in each case the beef is phenomenal. They also have chicken noodle soup which may be even better. Finally, the bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup) is possibly the best of the bunch. In fact, it may just be one of the best things you'll ever eat unless, of course, you don't tolerate spicy food well.

      It's been a very long time since I've had the laksa (sp?) at Pacific East but I remember being very impressed by it. It's a Malaysian noodle soup. There was another noodle soup there that was also fabulous. It was heavy on the potato - so much so that it was barely a soup. It was also delicious.

      Still, none of this is actually ramen. I went on a sushi binge a while ago searching for the best sushi. Unfortunately, I ignored the entire cooked portion of the menu at all of these restaurants. It's hard to motivate myself to go back to try the ramen if I already know that the sushi is mediocre. But I'm getting more and more interested in finding good ramen so it just may come to that. If you find it , I hope you'll remember to share it with us on Chowhound. I checked a few menus, online and print, and can say that Sushi Rock, Fujiyama, Sunset Lounge, Wasabi, Sushi Katsu and Matsu don't have it. Pacific East does have it. Sushi on the Square also has it. I'm not impressed with the sushi at Sushi on the Square. Maybe the cooked food is better.

      1 Reply
      1. re: stuart

        I'm going to tie several of my comments to the relevant entries in the new places database. Sorry for the bump but it's better than referencing of my old comments in each new thread were they're relevant. I'll try to be selective and do it all at once so that it's as painless as possible.

        Siam Cafe
        3951 Saint Clair Ave NE, Cleveland, OH 44114

        Pacific East Japanese Rstrnt
        1763 Coventry Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118

      2. Sorry for the late response. I just found this website 10 minutes ago. :) I've actually been looking for a good bowl of traditional ramen in the NE Ohio area as well, having been raised primarily on Japanese food.

        Shinano (across from Richmond Mall) is the *only* Japanese restaurant I enjoy eating authentic Japanese food. I would not recommend them as having the best ramen in NE Ohio, but it's close to Mayfield. =) However, I can order Japanese dishes that are not on the menu, unlike the other Japanese restaurants I've been to in Cleveland (Downtown/east/west/south side) where the cooks are not Japanese and have no clue how to prepare Japanese food other than what recipes are under their nose; Shuhei is a prime example of this.

        Unfortunately, the best bowl of traditional Japanese ramen closest to NE Ohio thus far has been in Columbus, at Restaurant Hama in Easton Town Center. :) Their sushi is quite delicious as well, and they have the best traditional Japanese curry w/ rice in Ohio - hands down. Check them out when you have the time and want to visit a really nice shopping center!

        I've always found rating pho to be really difficult. The flavor varies from restaurant to restaurant. Not being an expert on Vietnamese cuisine, my best guess is that it's dependent on regional cooking styles. #1 Pho has a strong cinnamon flavor, whereas Minh Anh has a more floral flavor. Superior Pho, formerly Pho Hoa, is right in the middle. I prefer the flavor of Minh Anh, but had a very serious incident there where my husband and I walked out without eating the last time we were there 6-8 months ago. #1 Pho and Superior Pho are great because they have a menu that is *worth* eating and aren't just one trick pho/bun ponies. I haven't gone to Phnom Penh(Cambodian/Vietnamese) in many years to comment on the 'pho' they serve. Tea House Noodles may have improved since the last time I went when they were at the old Arcade downtown...I'll have to check both of those restaurants out some time! :)

        Somewhat off-topic, the best bowls of Japanese noodles I've had are at Jimbo in Honolulu. That restaurant stop is a must on my trips there, as well as To Chau (pho) and Sorabol (Korean food).

        1. What's good at Shinano? I'd love to try some authentic Japanese food. What off-menu items would you recommend? What would you recommend from the menu? How's the sushi? What comes with the ramen?

          Also, what restaurants shouldn't I bother with? Which other restaurants have you tried and found unsatisfactory before you settled on Shinano? What about Pacific East? I've always liked the sushi but I've been afraid to really explore most of the other stuff.

          How does Hama compare to Japanese restaurants in other cities?

          I've long given up on the prospect of eating Japanese food in Ohio so I hope that you'll forgive the barrage of questions.

          Thank you.

          6 Replies
          1. re: stuart

            And while I'm asking, what about Fujiyama?

            1. re: stuart

              Ooh another restaurant for us to try! We haven't tried Fujiyama. Do they have items other than sushi, sashimi, and hibachi items? What do you think of Fujiyama compared to the other Japanese restaurants you've been to?

              At Shinano, I really enjoy their tempura donburi (ten-don). Their gyudon is pretty good. I also like their croquettes. These are not on the menu. The unajyu is really good, if you like Japanese-style eel - not sure if it's on the menu or not. I have yet to meet someone who said they hated eel after trying it for the first time. Sorry it's a little hazy what is on/off the menu since I don't really look at the menu. :(

              To start, I order the Volcano roll each and every time - it's a California maki base, with cooked scallop, tako, mixed with Japanese mayo, and tobiko topping. The salmon skin maki is quite delicious. I like their gyoza(dumplings) and usually order it to come during dinner instead of as an appetizer since the flavor detracts from the sushi, if you know what I mean. Their sukiyaki is good, as well as their salmon teriyaki teishoku(box set). I wouldn't recommend the curry with rice, it's rather bland. Dinners come with salad and miso soup - unless you order ramen.

              Other Cleveland Japanese restaurants I've tried: Shuhei, Sakura(strip mall at Great Northern, N Olmsted - best ramen-ya in Cleveland at the time, but closed down ~10 years ago), Ginza, Daishin, Sakura(Brecksville, haven't tried the one in Lakewood yet), Benihana, Sushi Rock, Otani, ... I think that might be it. I wasn't living here when Shujiro was open - I've heard a lot of good things about that place. I've been meaning to try Matsu and Pacific East, but haven't gotten around to it for one reason or another. When I go to Coventry, going to Mint Cafe and BDs Mongolian Barbecue always tempt me away from going to Pacific East. :P Of the lot I've tried, I'll never go back to Daishin and Shuhei because they're the most fake Japanese restaurants in the area.

              Restaurant Hama compared with other Japanese restaurants in other US states...hmm. For the price, quality, and service, Hama is pretty good (compared to the Japanese food I've had in San Francisco and Honolulu). There is a very high Japanese concentration in those two cities, so more effort needs to be made to stay in business that it's an almost unfair comparison. Oh, if you ever find yourself with a layover at Detroit Metro airport, there is a Japanese restaurant that isn't bad at all. :)

              Relatively recently, Hama's menu began serving Korean food, which at first really disappointed me. I've recently gained an appreciation for Korean food so I need to try it there. They serve what you'd expect - kim chi ramen, bulgogi, kalbi, etc. I've been discouraged by Korean friends NOT to try Korean restaurants in Cleveland. When I try the Korean food at Hama, my comparison will be with food made at someone's house and restaurants in Honolulu.

              1. re: Cassaendra

                seoul hot pot on payne used to be great. i haven't been in several years, though.

                1. re: Cassaendra

                  I haven't been to Fujiyama. I just went to their website ( for details on their menu and it seems like they've streamlined their cuisine since I last checked. I recall more noodle and soup options. They do have udon soup, tempura bentos, teriyaki dishes and a handful of chef's specialties including kobe beef. But it's really mostly the teppanyaki and sushi. I was hoping someone could scout it for me.

                  I always liked Matsu but even though I live very close to it I generally travel a little farther to Pacific East when I want sushi. I haven't done much exploration off the sushi menus at either restaurant though.

                  I have no basis for comparison but I like the food at Korea House and Seoul Hot Pot is okay, too. I think you should try them. At the very least, you'll be able to tell us how they compare to Honolulu.

                2. re: stuart

                  In my previous post, I forgot to mention Kimo's Sushi on Fulton just past West Side Market. We usually order their California and shrimp tempura maki sushi, as well as Kimo's spin on inari sushi (he adds imitation crab salad to it, which surprisingly works!). Their sushi is pretty good, but what sets them apart is that on most Fridays and Saturdays, you can get local Hawaiian "plate lunches" (available for lunch and dinner). It includes teriyaki chicken, kim chi, kalua pork, potato salad, white rice, sweet potato, and haupia for dessert. It's outstanding. The udon isn't bad either.

                  1. re: Cassaendra


                    Do you know of any other places to find Hawaiian "Plate Lunches" in cleveland, ohio?

              2. "I've long given up on the prospect of eating Japanese food in Ohio"

                Columbus has good Japanese. Some people attribute it to the big Honda plant in Marysville.

                1 Reply
                1. re: kura kura

                  Wow, I didn't realize that! That makes sense!