Düsseldorf / Restaurant Guides

Ultimate Guide to the Best Ramen Restaurants in Düsseldorf

Surprising to many, Düsseldorf Germany has one of the largest Japanese diaspora populations in all of Europe. Some have even coined it “Tokyo on the Rhine”. You’ll notice neighborhoods like Japantown or Little Tokyo with shops and restaurants dedicated almost entirely to Japanese culture and food.

It is also home to some of the best ramen I have ever eaten. 

I have already visited Dusseldorf several times since moving to Germany, and I am so impressed by the quality of the ramen restaurants! You’ll even find it list on my 48 hour Düsseldorf itinerary, because I think it is an essential part of visiting Düsseldorf. I live in the nearby city of Cologne, which isn’t super diverse in its Asian food offerings. Anytime I am hankering for a hot bowl of ramen, I take the 40 minute train ride up to Dusseldorf. Each time I visit, I try to eat at a new ramen shop so that I can sample from many different chefs.

Ultimate Guide to the Best Ramen Restaurants in Düsseldorf

History & Culture of Ramen

For readers who might not be familiar with the joy of eating ramen, let me give you a quick crash course. Traditional Japanese ramen is SO much more than the little dried noodle packs you might be used to. In Japanese, ramen actually translates to noodles pulled into broth. Most of the major cities in Japan have their own regional twist on ramen, so there are a lot of different varieties of ramen. I’ll talk about below. But if you want to dive deeper into this amazing cuisine, Kobi Kitchen has a fantastic breakdown of all things ramen! 

Ramen is widely consumed across Japan, typically in fast-casual restaurants at train stations or in tiny hole-in-the-wall locations. It isn’t seen as haute cuisine; instead ramen is something deeply comforting and personal to Japanese people. Ramen shops are quite small, usually not seating more than 20-30 people along a bar overlooking the kitchen. Because of the small size, it is customary for ramen shops to have lines or queues in front of the restaurant. This is a characteristic you’ll find at almost all the ramen shops in Düsseldorf! 

What You Need to Know About Ramen

At its core, ramen broth is pretty basic. It is typically pork bones, chicken bones or a combination of the two slow boiled in water over several hours to draw out the meat flavors. Once the base for the broth is ready, additional flavors can be added and this is where the unique magic of ramen really comes into play.

Broth

Each chef and restaurant might have its own spin or combination on their broth styles that make it unique. There are 4 main flavors of ramen broth that you will find on ramen menus around the world, including in Düsseldorf:

  • Shio (pronounced shee-yoh): The most traditional of the ramen flavors, this is a simple salt broth, and will typically come out as an opaque white soup. 
  • Shoyu (pronounced show-you): This broth has fermented soy (soy sauce) added, and it will usually come out as a dark colored clear broth. This is my favorite of the ramen broths. 
  • Miso (pronounced mee-so): As the name would imply, this broth is flavored with miso paste and tends to be the most complex and hard to find of the ramens. This broth tends to be much stronger in flavor with more umami notes. 
  • Tonkotsu (pronounced ton-kaht-zoo): This is Sam’s favorite broth because it has a rich meat flavor, thanks to the extended boiling time. Tonkotsu is boiled with pork bones until all the gelatine is released, so it tends to have a slightly thicker + fattier consistency. 

Noodles

A majority of ramen shops that you see outside of Japan will have noodles that look similar to the ones you see in the grocery store packs. But trust me, they are 87516192 times better. These are high alkaline eggless wheat noodles, which gives them a unique springiness and stable yellow color. The noodles can be served fresh, dried or aged. They will be the first thing added to the bowl and the broth will be poured over.

Toppings

Once the noodles and broth are assembled, the meat will be added. Traditionally, thin sliced pork belly is the most common meat in ramen. You will also find chicken, shredded pork, tofu, or even seafood in ramens. The texture and flavor of the meat is what separates a good ramen shop from a great one in my opinion. The pork should be tender and chewy, but not overcooked. It also should have a flavor of its own.

The final thing that every good bowl of ramen should have is a few extra toppings. Similar to the broth, this is where a ramen shop can distinguish its own identity, depending on which unique toppings are added to a ramen. The most common toppings are raw green onions, seaweed paper (Nori), bamboo shoots and a soft-yolk egg. ALWAYS get your ramen with an egg — if it doesn’t come with it, add it in. I promise you won’t regret it.

Spices

Ramen is typically rich in flavor, but not usually spicy. This is a common misconception! It will definitely be piping hot when it comes out, but not a spicy hot. If you want a spicier ramen experience, you can usually request spice be added or they might even have a spicy variety on the menu. My favorite of all ramens is a spicy tan tan ramen! 

How to Eat Ramen

When eating ramen, you will be served with chopsticks and a soup spoon. The first bite of ramen should always be a spoonful of the broth, because that is where all of the flavor lies. You want your tastebuds to be coated in broth and then you can eat the noodles. The broth will be served scorching hot, so eat your first few bites with caution. The last thing you want to do is burn your mouth before getting to enjoy your ramen! It is acceptable to slurp your ramen, and in Japan, it is often seen as a good sign that the soup is delicious.  

Where to Find the Best Ramen Restaurants in Dusseldorf

Tokyo Ramen Takeichi

The specialty at Tokyo Ramen is chicken based broths and they CRUSH it. The portion sizes here are slightly smaller, but it doesn’t compromise the filling nature of a hot bowl of ramen. The toppings and noodles at Tokyo Ramen are simple and unassuming, which further highlights the incredible flavor of the rich chicken broth. It is meaty and full of umami flavor and truly delicious. If you could only eat at one ramen restaurant in Düsseldorf, I would probably say this is the one to try.

Takumi

Arguably the most famous ramen shop in Düsseldorf, Takumi is the OG ramen restaurant in the city. It was opened by two brothers and specializes in Sapporo-style, a shoyu based ramen. The aged noodles are really the star of the show at Takumi. I had never eaten aged ramen noodles before, but they make a massive difference in the flavor. The noodles pack a punch and the texture is perfect. I personally thought the meat at Takumi was overcooked and I found the proportion of vegetable toppings too abundant, which distracts from the soup. 

Tonkatsu Takumi

As the name would indicate, the speciality at this ramen shop is Tonkotsu-style ramen. Tonkatsu Takumi was opened by one of the brothers from Takumi just a few blocks away from the original location, and now the two shops have a bit of a rivalry. It is all in good fun, but there are visitors who are pretty loyal to one or the other.

This ramen shop combines the amazing aged noodles of Takumi with slightly more modern flavors and toppings. I love the black garlic tonkotsu here because pretty much every component of the soup is perfect — delicious aged noodles, well-balanced toppings, and of course rich flavor! Don’t miss their perfectly fried gyoza — the little pillow dumplings are the best way to start your meal! 

Takumi Chicken & Veggie 

While beloved Takumi staples still adorn the menu, I was impressed by the number of new options on the menu at the Chicken & Veggie outlet. Especially the vegan options. The broth has a clean, strong taste and the crispy fried veggies are delicious. Like all of Takumi’s locations, aged noodles are really the star of the show. 

Naniwa Noodles & Soup 

Where the two Takumi shops focus on specific styles of ramen, Naniwa offers a wide variety on their massive menu. You’ll find many different types of ramen (and other noodle dishes) at this restaurant, so this is the perfect place to try a style you haven’t had before. They also have more vegetarian or vegan varieties than the other ramen shops on this list. I love that Naniwa’s flavors are clean and distinct, so that you can really get a sense of what, for example, shio or miso ramens are about. 

Takezo 

For a totally different type of ramen experience in Düsseldorf, try Takezo which is renowned for its TantanMen Ramen. This is a spicy Chinese version of ramen, which has been popularized around the world. I found that Takezo’s other ramens were a little bland and missing the finesse of flavors, but the TantanMen is genuinely delicious! It is perfectly spicy with the chili paste but then mellows out thanks to the rich flavors of fermented bean paste and pork belly. 

My Noodlehouse

I love the low-key, cozy vibes at My Noodlehouse. Plus, their ramen is delicious!! This small family owned restaurant makes its noodles in house, giving the soups and ramens are really authentic taste. The menu has a huge selection of noodles, Korean and Japanese style plus some picks from Thailand and China. It’s tasty, but it’s not the same as other ramen restaurants. Some dishes are really spicy too!

This post was originally published in August 2021, and updated in October 2023 after return visits to Düsseldorf.

Do you have questions about finding the best ramen in Düsseldorf? Comment below!

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