If there’s one thing Los Angeles does better than almost anywhere else, it’s ramen. This Japanese soul food has taken Southern California by storm, with ramen-yas (ramen shops) firing up their burners from Downtown to the Valley. A recent Yelp survey solidifies LA County’s ramen reign, ranking over a dozen local spots among the top ramen restaurants in the entire state.

LA’s deep Japanese roots and insatiable appetite for culinary innovation set the stage for this ramen renaissance. From traditional tonkotsu broths simmered for days to imaginative fusion spins, the repertoire is vast. The ramen scene reflects the city’s incredible diversity, allowing ramen lovers to enjoy an authentic Tokyo-style bowl one night and a vegan mazemen the next. Ramenists can hopscotch from classic pork-based tonkotsu to unconventional chicken or seafood renditions without leaving their zip code.

Leading the pack at #1 is Susuru Ramen Bar, a “hidden gem” drawing rave reviews for its pork-bone tonkotsu adorned with pork belly chashu, perfectly seasoned wood ears, and a velvety ajitsuke tamago. Over in Highland, the #4 spot belongs to RamenKoko, where the chefs labor over their tonkotsu for over 28 hours to achieve a depth of flavor that can’t be rushed. Customization is king here, with veggie and vegan options alongside premium add-ons like chashu pork belly.

Santa Clarita’s Sen Noodle House (#6) earns kudos not just for its ramen, but also for its exceptional service guiding diners through the dizzying menu. First-timers can explore regional ramen varieties from around Japan with the staff’s friendly expertise. Culver City’s Moto Ramen (#8) is a standout for starters like the crispy chicken karaage and addictive pan-fried gyoza. And in Sherman Oaks, Umigame Japanese Kitchen (#10) is a destination for the unusually lush, deeply savory black tonkotsu ramen made with an intense triple-garlic oil.

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Beyond exemplary broths, LA ramen-yas excel at the total ramen experience. At Pisces Poke & Ramen (#11), stylish diners slurp amidst tropical-themed decor and nosh on signature poke bowls. And Iki Ramen (#13) channels a hip, underground izakaya vibe with inventive offerings like its decadent A5 Wagyu mazemen and indulgent uni mazemen starring fresh sea urchins.

From mom-and-pop shops to ramen empires, the county’s top artisans are drawing global accolades—and hungry slurpers willing to endure long waits for their coveted bowls. Ramen hunters flock to Kaiba Japanese Ramen Sushi & Grill (#14) in Pasadena for the spicy miso ramen and fresh sushi made with a deft hand. In West LA, Mogu Mogu (#15) has achieved cult status for its broth-less “mixing” mazemen that diners prepare tableside per the chef’s instructions. And Suban Sushi & Ramen (#16) in Canoga Park garners praise for its creamy signature suban ramen and crispy rice appetizers.

With new ramen concepts constantly emerging alongside longstanding favorites, LA’s love affair with ramen shows no signs of fading. Case in point: the highly anticipated Hokkaido Ramen Festival coming to LA April 19-21, 2024. This three-day celebration will feature ramen makers from the ramen capital of Hokkaido, Japan showcasing their regional styles and specialties. Upcoming ramen festivals and pop-ups like these will undoubtedly continue to stoke the flames. This enduring love affair is a delicious reminder that in the ramen capital of America, there’s always room for one more slurp.