Ramen Wars: San Francisco — Part 3

It’s time to check out more of the ramen joints in the area to see if there is a new leader in the San Francisco Ramen Wars! My current top pick for ramen is Iza Ramen, and I’ve checked out Slurp Ramen, Kan Ramen and The Ramen Bar to see if any of them can do a better job! I’ve also decided to include a running ranked list of the places I’ve tried at the end of the post.

1. Slurp Ramen

When I tried Ramen Underground soon after my arrival in San Francisco, I only went because Slurp Ramen was closed (but it was because there was a birth in the family, so I completely understand). I was slightly disappointed, and even more disappointed when I went to Ramen Underground. So I was eager to go back and give it a try. I’ve actually tried two different bowls here, as I went the first time on my own, and the second time with a friend who works nearby and was really craving some. I have had both the Spicy Miso Tonkotsu (because I’m a huge fan of spice) and the Shoyu Ramens here. Both bowls had a really flavorful broth with some great noodles that still had quite a bit of a bite to them. The chashu pork topping was a bit chewy and overcooked but still tasty. The egg is cooked really well (and is included in the price), and I was lucky enough that my friend didn’t want her egg, so I got to have hers as well. I was really satisfied with both bowls of ramen, and both of them come in at $13.50 (although some of the bowls here are cheaper). They also offer a lunch deal that allows you to add a side for an additional $4.00, so it’s a pretty good deal for lunch.

Noodles: ★★★★☆ 
Soup: ★★★★★
Toppings: ★★★★☆
Egg: ★★★★☆
Price: ★★★★☆

2. Kan Ramen

I first went to Kan Ramen when I was in North Beach planning to grab a bite at one of my favorite restaurants from before my move to London. Sadly, Cafe Divine is no more, so I decided to give Kan Ramen a try. I’ve also been here twice now, the first time going for the house specialty of Black Garlic Ramen (for around $15), and it was really good, so I wanted to go back and try the other ramen which was only $10 a bowl. It sounded like a great deal, so I went for the Miso Ramen. They also have varying spice levels depending what you want, and I went for medium spicy as I wasn’t sure exactly how spicy it would be. I really loved the noodles here, they were perfectly cooked and tasted superb. The egg here is also one of the better eggs I’ve had as it’s soft boiled and soy marinated (and also included in the price). The chashu pork was nice, but definitely not the best I’ve had. The miso broth was nice with a good amount of spice, but not nearly as good as the black garlic broth. I definitely want to try the hottest spice level next time I go. And for the price, I can see myself coming back here for a very satisfying and cheap bowl of soup.

Noodles: ★★★★★ 
Soup: ★★★★☆
Toppings: ★★★☆☆
Egg: ★★★★☆
Price: ★★★★★

3. The Ramen Bar

Something about the name of this place kept making me shy away from this place, but I decided in the name of research, I just had to come in and give their bowl of ramen a try. I originally planned on getting the Hokkaido Ramen, but when I arrived, they have a Tan Tan Ramen that they’ve introduced, so I decided to give that one a try. The soup looked alright with the bowl arrived. I wasn’t really impressed with the soup or the noodles, they both were fairly standard, and the soup felt like it should be spicier for getting a Tan Tan Ramen. However, they do supply spicy miso at the table for you to add to your soup, so I did crank it up a bit by adding that. The pickled mushrooms are a nice touch on top, and this egg was served very soft, almost as if it were sous vide instead of the standard marinated egg. (Although I did see regular bowls being made, and it looks as if they serve a whole marinated egg in the other ramen bowls, and at no additional cost at all!) So overall, the bowl was pretty solid, but it did leave me wanting a bit more.

Noodles: ★★★☆☆ 
Soup: ★★★☆☆
Toppings: ★★★★☆
Egg: ★★★★☆
Price: ★★★★☆

Winner: Iza Ramen

For me, Iza Ramen is still the best with its amazing broth and noodles. And their lunch special is pretty fantastic. However, Kan Ramen really is a very close second, and given they are open more days for lunch, I will probably end up there more often. Slurp was also really close, and it’s also quite close and has some kale noodles my friend really likes, so I see it being a return venue in my future as well. This time I had three really solid bowls, and I’m hoping to find more bowls like these in the Ramen Wars future!

Ranking:
1. Iza Ramen
2. Kan Ramen
3. Slurp Ramen
4. The Ramen Bar
5. Katana-Ya Ramen
6. R&B Cafe
7. Ramen Underground
8. Kiramachi Ramen
9. Orenchi Beyond

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