After enduring one hell of a ride, we all deserve some delicious comfort food to give 2020 its proper send off. And nothing screams “comfort” more than one of Japan’s most delicious imports: ramen. Luckily, the options in Los Angeles are virtually limitless-whether you’re after rich, pork-fueled tonkotsu, umami-enriched tsukemen, or brothless mazemen. And while nothing beats slurping down a steaming hot bowl at your neighborhood ramen bar, every restaurant on this list now offers takeout, pickup, and delivery-so you can enjoy fresh noods from the comfort of your home. To make your ramen journey a little easier, we’ve narrowed the field down to 26 standout shops that run the gamut from the San Fernando Valley to the South Bay, the Westside to the SGV.
DTLA Top Chef winner Ilan Hall’s first restaurant in LA, The Gorbals, shuttered several years ago, but soon after, he partnered with Rahul Khopkar to debut their Grand Central Market vegan ramen stall. Each bowl is a veggie-friendly melange of bean sprouts, scallions, bok choy, king oyster mushrooms, nori, chili threads, and al dente noodles, all swimming in a surprisingly rich, creamy soup. Creating the savory broth is a process: Kelp and shiitake mushrooms are simmered to extract umami flavor, combined with miso-roasted sunflower seeds, and pressure-cooked. Even the “egg” is vegan; the silky-soft, wiggly dupe looks exactly like the real thing, but it’s made with GMO-free soy milk, agar, and nutritional yeast. How to order: Order for pickup via their website; pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Virgil Village Rhode Island transplant Ken’s Ramen recently opened its doors in Virgil Village, marking a homecoming for owner and Los Angeles native, Will Hu. Instead of utilizing the far more ubiquitous tonkotsu soup, Ken’s crafts a rich, chicken-based broth made from free-range whole birds that are simmered for over 20 hours. The stock is aged at a low temperature for at least a day, which results in a golden broth that packs depth and flavor. From their Hell Paitan Ramen (blanketed in their signature Japanese chile oil sauce) to their Tan-Tan Mazeman (wavy noodles coated in a spicy roasted sesame puree), each bowl (except for a vegan option) comes with cuts of tender Berkshire pork belly-which you can order extra of on the side. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Toast, Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Culver City Launched by industry veteran Sarah Kim-Jenkins-who, with her mom and chef Yuki Nakamoto, opened and operated Marina Del Rey’s acclaimed Irori Sushi before selling the business-Moto Ramen is an homage to Nakamoto’s Okinawan roots. The boldest bowls also happen to be its tastiest-from a tastebud-tickling tonkotsu that sings with piquant black garlic to a nutty, sesame-infused cold tantanmen that melds ground pork and a velvety-soft egg. Supplemented with a selection of small izakaya-style plates, rice bowls, and rolls, the well-rounded menu is just what the Westside needs. How to order: Call 310-815-8776 for takeout; pickup or delivery via Toast,Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash.
Beverly Hills Any restaurant located on the same block as Matsuhisa and Lawry’s needs to do something extra to stand out, and in Kazan’s case, that means serving high-end bowls starring memorable house-made noodles crafted with a mysterious flour blend. Thin strands are aged for five days, cooked al dente, and carry enough tensile strength to (probably) pull a truck down the street. Kazan serves thicker, fettuccine-like noodles designed for a creamy broth bombed with greenery and cheese, and crafts notably pricey ramen with whole chicken legs and lamb chops (when available), but start with their shio-based chicken and vegetable broth floating with firm pork shoulder chashu, delicate shrimp and pork wontons, and truffle oil. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Toast, Postmates, UberEats, Grubhub, Caviar, and DoorDash.
Koreatown Saikai Ramen Bar makes a surprisingly light shoyu tonkotsu ramen bowl, but mazemen is likely the best choice here. This broth-free ramen features spicy ground pork belly, nori strips, umami-boosting fish powder, crunchy julienne cucumbers, and a vivid seasoned egg yolk that seemingly floats above the center of the bowl like a specter and radiates like the sun. Mix to integrate the different flavors and textures. Plus, it’s accompanied by steamed white rice that’s designed to soak up residual juices. How to order: Call 323-378-6518 for takeout; order for delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, and Caviar.
West LA The ramen at Mogu Mogu is brothless mazemen, but the flavor definitely isn’t missing. Curry and cheese versions are enticingly novel, but the “deluxe” bowl is clearly the smart initial play; thick, crimped noodles meld beautifully with thick-sliced pork chashu, spicy minced pork, a poached egg and a soft-boiled egg, chives, minced garlic, fish powder, Japanese leeks, and two types of seaweed. Stir to fully meld the different flavors, and pour on kombu and chile pepper-infused “umami vinegar” when you’re halfway done to reinvigorate the cooling mazemen. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via ChowNow, Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash.
Koreatown With a name that translates from Japanese as “cool” (and n/naka’s GM in the mix), it’s no wonder this airy restaurant shines brighter than its lowkey strip mall surroundings. Iki specializes in tangy, highly repeatable yuzu shio ramen; yuzu zest and yuzu juice temper the richness from slow-braised Niman Ranch pork belly slabs, along with the standard accompaniments, all nestled in a clear, organic chicken broth made with house dashi. Add hanjuku (half-cooked) seasoned egg for a different taste of concentrated poultry flavor. How to order: Order for pickup via their website.
Torrance This Nagoya-style ramen joint serves standout tantanmen that features spicy ground miso pork and house-made chile oil, either with or without soup. Soup is clearly the way to go, though, since the creamy, moderately spicy pork and chicken broth is so savory, and finished with fish for an additional umami boost. Bean sprouts deliver another layer of crunch to the broth, which hosts a generous thatch of thin noodles. Josui translates from Japanese as “clean water,” and it certainly feels effortless to let their ramen broth wash over your palate. How to order: Order for pickup via their website.
West Hollywood This Japanese import built a loyal following in New York City and partnered with Panda Express for its stateside expansion. Although its Santa Monica location closed last year, its West Hollywood outpost is still going strong-serving up Hakata-style tonkotsu broth blasted with mysterious moto dashi, roasted black garlic oil, pork back fat, and umami-rich akamaru paste. Their Akamaru Modern ramen delivers an added chile kick, along with thin noodles cooked to your desired firmness, thin-sliced pork belly chashu, cabbage, and sesame seeds. How to order: Call 310-986-2717 for takeout; pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
Momota Ramen House
University Park and Beverly Hills This successful LA chain is named for the owner’s favorite Japanese wrestler, and it definitely delivers a successful K-O. The black garlic ramen is particularly satisfying, featuring tonkotsu broth that simmers for 16 hours, roasted black garlic oil, house-made chile paste, rich pork belly chashu, and gooey marinated soft-boiled egg. Sure, they’ve got standard toppings, but still accent with spinach and bright red (yet deceptively mild) chile threads. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, and Uber Eats.
North Hollywood This bright blue restaurant serves some of LA’s most notable vegan ramen bowls, featuring a blizzard of vegetables and textures. Their spicy mayu garlic jalapeño broth comes fortified with mayu (sesame oil), earthy black beans, fibrous jicama, baby bok choy, fried garlic, and roasted jalapeños. Gokoku provides a soft-boiled egg option that re-categorizes each bowl from vegan to vegetarian. They even let you build your own ramen from a list of wholesome broths and toppings and provide a choice of flour, whole wheat, or gluten-free noodles; anything goes, except meat. How to order: Call 818-505-8113 for takeout; order for pickup via their website or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash.
Various locations Kai’s black ramen features a nutty black garlic oil floating in flavorful salt-based pork broth that cooks for 12 hours and co-stars sticky flavored egg, crispy onions, crunchy marinated bean sprouts, and if you prefer, “jumbo noodles” versus their thinner default pasta strands. Red is spicier and white incorporates corn and butter. Chef Tomo Nishimura honors his son with this dragon-themed ramen bar that started in Alhambra and also operates in DTLA, Arcadia, Koreatown, Melrose, Santa Monica, Sherman Oaks, and West Hollywood. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Postmates.
Century City Executive chef Brandon Kida debuted luxurious lobster ramen in 2015, featuring the meat of a whole one-and-a-quarter to one-and-a-half-pound lbs of lobster in each bowl. Each order features a luxurious lobster and chicken broth that chef Kida boosts with aromatic tare. Sweet lobster meat, crunchy wood ear mushrooms, chile oil, and a jammy onsen egg further bolster this impeccable bowl, as do the supple, spaghetti-like noodles that Kida personally makes when he’s in the kitchen. Hinoki & The Bird only serves lobster ramen in cooler months so take advantage while it lasts. How to order: Order for pickup via Tock; pickup or delivery via Postmates.
Venice Skilled ramen chef Hideki Mochizuki has been a Tokyo pro since 1994, and debuted an oceanic outpost less than a mile from Venice Pier in 2016. His hard-cooked egg is a decidedly off-trend choice, but it’s easy to forgive this facet given the ramen’s beautiful pork broth. Tokyo tonkotsu salt ramen is the restaurant’s star bowl, featuring cloudy pork broth, roasted pork chashu crafted from lean thigh meat, standard accoutrements, and the aforementioned egg. Make your ramen spicy by bombing the broth with a scoop of shichimi togarashi (Japanese seven-spice blend), or add chopped cabbage for more crunch. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, and DoorDash.
Torrance and Little Tokyo A fierce dragon keeps watch over the South Bay outpost of this popular ramen chain from Chef Kousuke Yoshimura. The “tonkotsu black” ramen features a creamy pork-based broth that radiates thumping base notes through garlic oil and gritty black pepper. Each bowl also touts thin noodles and luscious, fat-streaked pork chashu, but be sure to add a flavored egg to round out the bowl’s flavor profile. How to order: Order for pickup via their website; pickup or delivery via Grubhub and Postmates.
Pasadena and Silver Lake Rich, creamy tonkotsu is a hallmark of ramen that originates in chef Ryuta Kajiwara’s hometown in southern Japan, which is where he founded Ramen Tatsunoya in 1999. The company proliferated across Japan and in 2015, expanded to Old Pasadena. While we look forward to one day sitting around the striking communal wood table that centers on a tree as the main design feature in the restaurant’s open kitchen layout, the main draw remains their ramen bowls. Koku tonkotsu is the more formidable broth, versus the milder Jun, and comes with classic accompaniments, fat-streaked chashu, and optional, but essential flavored egg. How to order: Order for pickup via their website; pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Culver City The initial Sawtelle Japantown location of this popular family-run Kyoto import didn’t last long, but the outpost on America’s shortest Main Street is still going strong. Tentenyu specializes in tori paitan, a chicken-based ramen that simmers and wafts intoxicating poultry aroma from their exhibition kitchen. If they could bottle the scent, we’d consider buying a vial. The broth has concentrated chicken flavor, enough to battle the fiercest cold, and comes dressed with crunchy bean sprouts and ultra-lean chicken breast chashu, an element that might be divisive for richer ramen fans. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Men Oh Tokushima
Little Tokyo This franchise hails from Shikoku Island, a pig-farming hotbed, so it makes sense that its signature Tokushima ramen would pack this much porcine goodness into each bowl. The tonkotsu cooks down for 16 hours and melds with soy sauce to form a savory broth that supports medium thickness noodles of customizable firmness, butabara (stir-fried pork belly), chashu (simmered pork belly slabs), notably thick-cut menma, and runny-yolked ajitama that bleeds into the broth. The base bowl has flavor to spare, but customers can still pile on more punch by adding a spicy miso ball or habanero paste. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Hollywood This strip mall location may not have the glamour of the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Chinese Theatre movie premieres, but don’t be fooled: Siraprapa Buranaprapaphan and Prinya Siripaibul serve Hollywood’s best ramen at their pan-Asian restaurant. Chibiscus specializes in satisfying tonkotsu broth topped with torched roast pork belly discs, runny sliced egg, and fibrous bean sprouts. Crushed sesame seeds provide particularly nice touches: nutty flavor, with a gritty texture. They’ve also expanded to Alhambra and Pasadena. How to order: Order for pickup via ChowNow and delivery via Postmates.
Various locations This was one of the first ramen bars to catch on in LA, and the owners have expanded beyond Little Tokyo in the last few years. Their signature Daikoku ramen touts a cloudy tonkotsu broth balanced with special blended soy sauce, custom noodles, roasted sliced pork belly chashu, marinated hard-boiled egg, bean sprouts, and sesame seeds. Enrich your bowl with complimentary kotteri (pork fat oil), or keep things light. Daikokuya also has locations on the Sunset Strip and in El Monte, Sawtelle, and Monterey Park. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Mar Vista and Torrance This Japanese import was another ramen brand to gain early traction in LA, filling stalls at Mitsuwa market food courts on the Westside and in Torrance. The salt ramen is particularly addictive, teaming a cloudy, powerfully savory tonkotsu broth with fatty pork chashu, menma with pronounced medicinal bite, sesame seeds, a fish cake sporting a spiral pattern, and a single umeboshi (pickled plum) that may be tiny, but delivers outsized pucker. For truly hearty eaters, Santouka also provides the option to form a combo with a rice bowl, including a version with salmon flakes and bursting ikura. How to order: Order for pickup or delivery via Postmates and DoorDash.
Gardena Shin-Sen-Gumi became one of the area’s first breakout ramen stars when it opened, partly by providing so much flexibility. A creamy tonkotsu base comes topped with juicy pork chashu, punchy pickled ginger, and scallions, but each bowl is a canvas for customization: you dictate your noodle firmness, soup oil level, and saltiness. From there, Shin-Sen-Gumi provides a choice of over three-dozen bonus toppings, including cod roe, pig ear, and a scoop of borderline dangerous Carolina Reaper pepper paste. The menu has become increasingly elaborate over the years, now including an “overload” bowl that combines three pork preparations and “spicy breakfast” with bacon, egg, and spicy miso paste. Shin-Sen-Gumi also runs LA ramen locations in Rosemead, West LA, and Little Tokyo. How to order: Order for pickup via ChowNow or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Studio City and DTLA Branches now crisscross the country, and newer outposts have become increasingly stylish, but this low-key restaurant nestled in the SFV was ground zero for the company’s expansion, and remains a draw today. Jinya chef-founder Takahashi Tomonori’s menu has become increasingly elaborate over the years, complete with shrimp wonton ramen and “flying vegan harvest” featuring tofu two ways, but basic tonkotsu ramen continues to impress most. Rich pork broth hosts fat-rimmed pork loin chashu, spinach, and a hard-boiled egg. As Jinya Ramen Bar’s literal poster boy says on the wall: “No Ramen No Life.” How to order: Order for pickup via their website; pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Umenoya Ramen Co.
Torrance Another LA stalwart that’s been popular outside the city center since way back in 2005, Umenoya has a surprisingly diverse ramen roster, including one bowl spiked with garlic shrimp paste, though we prefer the spicy miso version. A murky orange pork broth delivers lingering kick and hosts noodles with good bite (especially if you order them “hard”), along with thin-cut pork chashu, shredded pork, a soft medium-boiled egg, crunchy cabbage and bean sprouts, minced leeks, and eye-catching chile threads. How to order: Order for delivery via Grubhub.
Sawtelle Tsujita provided Angelenos with a quantum shift in ramen understanding when Tokyo master Takehiro Tsujita opened up shop in 2012. His company followed up that megahit with this ramen-only annex across the street that specializes in even more intense bowls. Tsukemen is the clear choice, featuring thick, al dente Sun noodles, a soft-boiled egg, fat-rimmed chashu, a sizable mound of peppery bean sprouts, and tangy, savory tonkotsu broth bobbing with pork fat. To bolster your bowl, spoon on minced garlic or onikasu (red spice) for “extra flavor.” They’ll even provide extra pork back fat for true pork hounds. How to order: Order for pickup via ChowNow; pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.
Sawtelle The in-your-face name, red walls, and jars of fiery spices show that Tsujita isn’t holding back with their umpteenth Westside concept. Their mission statement promises “painful, delicious and spicy” tantanmen in three different versions, all available either soupy or stir-fried. Crank up the ma (numbness from prickly ash) or la (spiciness from cayenne pepper) on a 0 to 6 scale, depending on your preference; take note that the “Standard” 3 is plenty spicy and tongue-tingling. As it turns out, though, the best bowl here doesn’t require flame retardant. “Original style” tantanmen delivers a less tongue-tingling spice profile by blasting Killer Noodle’s clear chicken and pork broth with cayenne and black peppers, and bumping up acidity with lemon. Tofu cubes, ground pork, garlic, pickles, and cabbage help balance the bowl. How to order: Order food pickup via ChowNow; pickup or delivery via Grubhub, Postmates, DoorDash, and Uber Eats.Sign up here for our daily LA email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun Los Angeles has to offer.
Joshua Lurie founded the LA-based website Food GPS in 2005 and leads custom culinary tours. Follow him on Instagram.
Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains and known for its vibrant creative community, Topanga is one of Los Angeles’s most prized destinations for art and outdoor enthusiasts alike. And while LA boasts its own sprawling landscape of fun to tap into, you’d be remiss to miss a chance to explore this tucked-away collection of state parks, and cafes, and restaurants-especially when it all rests just 20 minutes away from the city. From a quaint café with dazzling canyon views to a world-renowned, open-air theatre, here are the best ways to pass some time in Topanga now.
Book dinner at Inn of the Seventh Ray
Owner Lucille Yaney opened this iconic restaurant in 1975 after spotting the property on a drive through the canyon with her late husband Ralph, and it’s safe to say she had a good eye. The land perfectly fits into Yaney’s vision of a romantic, alfresco dining space with tables tucked into cozy nooks and gazebos, all beneath canapes and fairy lights. Today, Yaney co-owns the venue with executive chef consultant Brad Miller. Together, they continue to fulfil the restaurant’s original mission to serve pure, natural foods reflective of the season’s best. That approach appears in dishes like 8-Hour Black Vinegar Braised Short Rib with creamy rosemary polenta, duck bacon Brussels sprouts, and caramelized onion and fig jam; Roasted Mushroom Toast with oyster mushrooms and sherry tarragon cream; and Beets & Whipped Black Pepper Creme Fraiche. Consider the carbs here. Pastas and sauces are made in-house and from scratch, as is the bread (available regular or gluten-free), an order of which you won’t want to miss. Check out the wine list, too, which offers a robust organic and biodynamic selection that has helped the restaurant garner some impressive accolades in recent years.
Check into Topanga Canyon Inn
In addition to plenty of excellent Airbnbs available to rent in the Canyon, there’s Topanga Canyon Inn, a charming bed and breakfast comprised of two Mediterranean-style buildings-Casa Blanca and Casa Rosa-both built by the owners. Guests can enjoy bespoke design details in each room, along with gorgeous mountain views from their own private balcony. Come morning, join other travellers for breakfast, served daily at Casa Rosa.
Get coffee at Café on 27
Ready your camera for a coffee date at this AM eatery and café, where ample (and busy) outdoor seating offers some of the Canyon’s best views. A full breakfast and lunch menu is available (complete with hearty orders like eggs Benedicts, soups, and club sandwiches), but for lighter morning fare, spring for a pastry and any of their specialty drinks, such as the turmeric latte or Moroccan mocha.
Hike Topanga State Park
Spanning 11,000 acres and 36 miles of trails, Topanga State Park is the largest state park within the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the world’s largest parks within city limits. Visitors can access the grounds via more than 60 entrances. Once on the trails, enjoy sweeping vistas while exploring the region’s range of plants, habitats, and wildlife, including several resident bird species.
Grab lunch at Topanga Living Café
Guided by their Topanga upbringing and need for a community gathering spot with great eats, sibling team Agustina Ferguson and Bayu Suryawan opened this daytime eatery in 2016. Ever since, locals and visitors have found refuge in the café’s warm, airy space and nourishing, hyper-fresh fare-all California-inspired with global influences. Check it out in plates like the Island Style, a breakfast salad with Balinese corn fritters, a poached egg, and house-made chilli jam, or the tacos (Baja Fish or Baja Shrimp, Carne Asada, or Kabocha Squash), made-to-order and served on handmade tortillas. If you’re seeking something shareable, try the Farmers Market Crudite, a seemingly humble order whose bright beet hummus reminds us that eating your vegetables is, indeed, very cool. And take a drink to-go. The team here takes great pride in their coffee (organic espresso, courtesy of their iconic pink La Marzocco machine) and a lineup of made-to-order smoothies, juices, and teas. Shop your way through town
Visitors can stroll through the town centre’s most popular shops for various fun finds, including Moona Star, Pebbles, and Topanga Homegrown. Be sure to stock up on specialty, local snacks at Canyon Gourmet and satiate your sweet tooth while you’re at it. The organic soft-serve there is a must. Pro tip: Top it with any of their artisanal syrups for a winning combo, namely, the vanilla with cardamom.
Catch a show at The Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum
This beloved open-air theatre has hosted productions for decades and is recognized worldwide for its Shakespeare interpretations. In addition to its annual summer season, which includes works like Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the venue hosts concerts, rehearsals, and classes throughout the year for budding actors and playwrights of all ages.
Snag a slice at Endless Colour
This family-run pizza joint specializes in from-scratch pies with clever topping combinations (think purple potatoes, fontina, and truffle oil in the Purple Molly Potato or spinach, leeks, and goat cheese in the Super Greens). Bring some friends, order a pie or two, and check out the drinks list, which includes offbeat options like orange wines and hard kombucha.
Check out The Canyon Bakery’s “Sunday Funday”
Situated on the grounds of the aforementioned Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, this bakery specializes in naturally leavened breads, pastries, cakes, and cookies using locally sourced, whole grain flours. There’s a takeout window on Sundays, from 9:30 am until the bakery sells out. A strong following lines up for favourites, such as whole grain croissants and gluten-free pizza, so be sure to arrive early to get your fill.
Try tacos to-go at La Chingona
On your way out of town, grab some tacos at La Chingona, where a team puts forth fresh, organic, gluten- and dairy-free tacos. Orders range to include options like grass-fed beef (carne asada), shrimp (wild-caught), and soy chorizo and can be fashioned into plates beyond tacos, too (think tostadas, salads, and bowls). Open only on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays; this taco stand sees good demand. Plan accordingly, pending your travels, especially to savour an order or two of the churros.