The ultimate guide to the best ramen in Charlotte, from Tonkotsu to miso and more

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Photo via @futobutaramen on Facebook

Winter is coming (sorry, ladies, Jon Snow is not… until April 2019), so I thought it would be a good time to venture out and find the best places to slurp ramen around the Charlotte region.

But first, here are some pointers on how to eat ramen like a pro:

(1) Begin by using chopsticks to taste the noodles. Don’t try and gulp the entire bowl of noodles at once. (I know it’s tempting.) Take a small amount of noodles and dunk them into the broth prior to eating.

(2) Slurping is necessary, so don’t be shy if you’re on a first date. Dunk, slurp, chomp, repeat. Fun fact: In Japanese culture it’s insulting to the chef to eat your ramen quietly. The louder you are, the better.

(3) Do not, I repeat, do not stir toppings into soup. The meat and egg are meant to be enjoyed separately. Think of these as side dishes floating around in your broth. Remember that it’s OK to take a bite and put it back in the bowl.

(4) Eat your bowl quickly. Do not sit and indulge in the sight and smell of your flawless ramen bowl. Ramen is meant to be a quick meal that’s enjoyed while it’s still piping hot.

Now here’s where to get the good stuff.

Charlotte

CO

Two Charlotte Locations

Recommended Ramen: Masa Ramen – Drunken pork belly, shoyu egg, corn, bean sprouts, wakame, scallions, and crispy garlic served in a tonkotsu broth. miso chili per request (do it).

Deejai NoDa

3629 N. Davidson St. 

Recommended Ramen: Ramen Short Ribs – Ramen noodles, slow cooked short ribs, boiled eggs, bok choi, scallions and cilantro.

Futo Buta

222 E Bland St. 

Photo via @futobutaramen on Instagram

Recommended Ramen: Buta Bowl – Chicken and dashi broth, double noodle, pecan smoked pork belly, onsen egg, duck confit, spicy pork, ona chili sauce, sweet white corn, leek, scallion, cayenne pepper threads.

Musashi Japanese Restaurant

10110 Johnston Rd.

Recommended Ramen: Ton-Kotsu Ramen – Real Japanese egg noodle topped with seaweed, slices of pork, marinated bamboo shoot and scallions in a rich pork-stock based stock.

Ru Sans

2440 Park Road.

Recommended Ramen: Kyushu Gomoku Champon – Chuka egg noodles in piping-hot soy ramen soup that is topped with calamari, scallops and shrimp.

Yama Izakaya

1324 Central Ave.

Recommended Ramen: Spicy miso ramen – Spicy miso broth, chashu (pork), nori, sesame seeds, scallions, menma, seasoned egg and fishcake. I like adding bean sprouts as well.

Yamazaru

2173 Hawkins St. 

Reccomended Ramen: Miso – ground pork, veggies, moyashi, corn and egg.

YUME Bistro

1508 S. Mint Street

Photo via @yumeclt on Instagram

Recommended Ramen: YUME Special Vegan – Special homemade black garlic infused vegetable broth with gluten free rice noodles and selected toppings.

Lake Norman and Cabarrus

Kung Foo Noodle

8625-C Lindholm Drive, Huntersville

Recommended Ramen: Curry Kick – Coconut curry broth, chicken, herbs and string beans.

E Noodles

360 Exchange St. NW, Concord

Recommended Ramen: Miso Ginger Pork Ramen Bowl: Miso ginger broth, Napa cabbage, tender pork slices, onions, carrots, scallions and topped with a fresh fried egg.

eeZ Fusion & Sushi

16925 Birkdale Commons Parkway, Huntersville

Recommended Ramen: Tonkatsu – Ramen noodles, smoked pork belly, soy marinated egg, steamed bok choy, housemade pickles, enoki mushroom, scallions and microgreens.

Ramen Soul 

694 Brawley School Rd. Mooresville

Recommended Ramen: Shiso Veggie (vegan optional) – Brown rice miso & oyster mushroom broth that’s topped with charred veggies, crispy tofu, oyster mushrooms, roasted corn, scallions and aromatic shiso sweet potato oil.

Honorable Mention: 

Seoul Food Meat Co has a Ramen Mac and Cheese that’s equally delicious as it is adventurous.

31 COMMENTS

  1. Sorry, but the one and only time I had “ramen” at Ru Sans it tasted like the cheap packaged kind you buy at the grocery at eight for a dollar. It had about as much resemblance to genuine ramen as Spaghettios have to fresh pasta in bolognese sauce.

      • Sorry, Hank. You must work at Ru Sans. Look below, though, and you’ll see a couple of people who agree with me that Ru Sans’ ramen is not good. Also, funny how you call me a troll while trolling me.

      • Hi Debra, thanks for your comments! We visited Ru Sans with a large group of friends and everyone had a fantastic time. I’m sorry you’ve had such a bad experience there. I will defiantly look into the other suggestions you made and check them out. Have a great day!

        • I haven’t had positive experiences with Ru Sans, but I’m glad you and your friends have. I love your pointers on how to enjoy ramen. Thanks for the good read! Have a great day!

  2. The best ramen in town go to Kung Foo, Yama Izakaya and Musashi. All traditional flavors. Wus cajun isnt ramen, its a dish with ramen noodles and the noodles are really gummy. Futo Buta lacked traditional flavors and was very bland to me and Ru Sans, i agree with the previous comment – not good. Yume Bistro is another option of traditional flavors and real ramen.

  3. …..that’s also cuz you went to Ru San’s in the first place. Place is a like a dump of a restaurant for fake sushi and fake ‘japanese’ food.

  4. Yuma Bistro. I’ve spent a lot of time in Japan…these folks are the most authentic in the area. Many of the places you mentioned are just riding the Ramen trend. Futon Buta is good too.

    • The best ramen I’ve had around here was at a little place in Huntersville that’s no longer around. I’m still searching for the next really good one. But I can tell you, Ru San’s ain’t it. Not even close.

      • Vinny, give YUME a try. I’ve been driving down to Matthews for it since they opened and am glad they have a new location opening up soon (I think) in South End.

      • Vinny, you might be referring to Noodlestasia in Huntersville. The owner Tommy sold the business, went to NY for a while, came back and I believe does Kung Fu noodles in Exit 25 in Birkdale.

        • Yep it was Noodletasia. Keep meaning to go to his new place. We ran into him at some other restaurant one time and he said he’d opened up a new one. Have you been there?

  5. Not in Charlotte proper – but I think it is the best in the area is Yume Bistro! Lived in Japan for three years –
    and I have tried several of the restaurants you named. I like some of them – and not others – BUT, I liked Yume the best.

    Check it out 1369 CHESTNUT LANE
    Matthews, North Carolina, NC 28104

  6. Thank you Jay, Jason, Tish, Scott & Pat for you’re reccomendations on YUME Bistro! I haven’t had the chance to venture down to Matthews yet, but I’ve heard great things and will check them out the next time I am in that area! Emily – I noticed the type-o earlier this morning, will update soon! 🙂

  7. MFW you leave off the only legit Japanese restaurant in Charlotte. Visit Japan and tell me the swill they try to pass off here is ‘ramen’.

  8. Yikes. I lived in Osaka for 17 years! My fVe and only ramen in Charlotte is Futo Bata and Yamazaru. Yume Bistro also good.
    Thanks-
    Jakarta

    • hello Jakarta im in college for culinary arts and would be honored if would give me a few tips how people in Osaka make ramen because I want to learn how to make authentic ramen and if you know of any where else that you liked the ramen if you know they did it can u please tell me that would very very helpful! thank you!

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