Tonkotsu or shoyu, hot or mild, with or without bamboo shoots – whatever you order, ramen is bound to be satisfying.
But there is great ramen and there is acceptable ramen. To decide which ones are worth your time and dollars, take a look at this obsessive rating of 145 restaurants serving ramen in the Bay Area.
Visualization is business Rajesh Niti, a cancer researcher in Los Altos and the same man behind the collapse of Bay Area Indian restaurants that has angered people. The graph plots the suppliers of ramen on the price (vertical) and taste (horizontal) axes. The restaurants in the lower left quadrant are said to be cheap but not tasty. Those in the upper right sector drain your wallet but on most accounts they are sublime. The sweet spot is lower right, where the price is low and the taste scores are high.
good morning #Gulf area . Here’s a cost vs. rating analysis for 140+ # ramen Restaurants [bigger dot = more reviews].
Use the link below to find your favorite restaurants. https://t.co/gGeJsu8FVA#foodie #foodblogger #SFO # japanese_food # California #food pic.twitter.com/07kidl3yrP
– Rajesh Niti (@messidude) May 5 2022
“This analysis was specifically done at the request of my childhood friend (we have known each other for 29 years),” explains Rajesh. “She loves ramen and has her favorite in this area, and wanted to see how it ranked against other ramen sites.”
For the account, Rajesh scraped review and price data from websites like Yelp and Zomato, and delivery sites like Grubhub and Uber Eats. He only included restaurants with a large number of reviews. (The bigger the dot on the graph, the more comments the restaurant gets.) Some people might notice places not particularly well known for ramen—Berkeley Manboku, for example, is famous for its large portions of sushi.
“I didn’t try to separate (places like this) because I saw that some sushi places seemed to be well known for their rhinities as well,” Rajesh says.
The visualization sheds some light on the landscape of ramen in the bay. “It’s no surprise that San Francisco has so many good places alongside San Jose,” he says. Seems to be the most expensive ramen restaurant from Berkeley. Auckland shows up with some good ramen places too. It also seems that ramen locations are popular near universities.”
What is the “best” quality ramen for cost? show yourself. Top scorers include Ramen Nagy (a South Bay chain), Notts in San Francisco (which has a Thai menu?) and Jigimi, also in San Francisco that specializes in Korean-Asian fusion (? !!).
Arguably the most expensive but worthwhile ramen, at least according to these accounts, is jigin ramen – it’s in Sebastopol in Sonoma’s wine country, so this isn’t particularly shocking. (You get “shoyu paitan” with asparagus and “rolled lamb shoulder chashu.”) Notable stand for the “more expensive than average but not tasty” label is the Ramen Store in Berkeley. Chez Panisse staples specialize in cooking using sustainable, local ingredients, preparing ramen with braised daikon and smoked duck from Liberty Farms. While bowls certainly aren’t cheap at up to $25, in this journalist’s opinion they’re not worth that disgrace.
Is Rajesh even Such as Ramen, anyway?
“I absolutely enjoy ramen. Instant ramen made me an instant fan, and there was no turning back,” he says. “I love Ramen Seas in Sunnyvale, but my childhood best friend is Myzen Ramen (in Sunnyvale) – she totally swears by it.”
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