A hot bowl of ramen might just be the perfect way to welcome the looming winter breeze in the UAE. Thankfully, there is no scarcity of options in both Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Here are some to check out.
The Filipino-owned ramen place in Wasl Port Views gained popularity on social media for its solo dining area, made up of bocchi seki or “lonely seats” in a sectioned-off booth.
Helmed by three brothers, the trendy noodle house serves everything from small bites to desserts, but the main event is ramen. Variations include shiro paitan white broth; spicy tantanmen; and midori paitan with pesto.
IchiRyu is a labour of love for the trio, as well as a representation of their appreciation and respect for Japanese culture. Upon entry to the humble venue, cultural immersion is immediately evident, with a faux cherry blossom and a life-size Gundam statue.
Must try: Aka paitan or red ramen
Open Monday to Thursday, noon-11pm and Friday to Sunday, noon-midnight; Building 7, Wasl Port Views; 050 375 0354
A ramen round-up would not be complete without Kinoya, the award-winning brainchild of chef Neha Mishra.
It all started as a supper club called A Story of Food that gained a cult following. In 2021, Mishra opened Kinoya, serving izakaya-style dishes as well as five types of speciality ramen. The chef's aim is to “bring you to the heart of Japan” through her food, as well as the whole restaurant experience.
Earlier this year, Kinoya was named the seventh best restaurant in the entire Middle East and North Africa by the World's 50 Best group. It is also part of the Michelin Guide's Bib Gourmand category. Just last month, the Dubai-born restaurant opened its first international outpost in London.
Must try: Shio paitan
Open Tuesday to Sunday, noon-1am; The Greens Souk; 04 220 2920
This noodle house in the artsy Dubai Design District promises to serve a “health-conscious” ramen, using local chicken, antibiotic-free eggs and no chemical seasonings.
On the menu are classic ramen flavours such as shio paitan with chicken and yuzu ship with Wagyu slices. There is also a vegetarian option made of vegetable-based miso broth with sweetcorn and bok choy among others.
Must try: Yui Original
Open daily, noon-10.30pm; Building 7, Dubai Design District; 04 243 4217
Daikan, Dubai and Abu Dhabi
Another neighbourhood favourite is Daikan, which has branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The Japanese restaurant serves a bunch of non-noodle dishes, including a variety of sushi and sashimi. There are also offbeat options such as avocado steak and spicy Korean chicken wings.
But just like the other places mentioned in this list, the piece de resistance is their hearty ramen bowls. There are several options in this category, including shoyu and ship variants, as well as the chef's special.
Must try: Spicy miso
Daikan, JLT, is open Monday to Thursday, noon-11pm and Friday to Saturday, noon-midnight; Daikan, Yas Bay, is open Monday to Thursday, noon-midnight and Friday to Saturday, noon-1am; @daikanramen_ae on Instagram
SLRP Ramen by 3 Fils, Abu Dhabi
The ramen house in Yas Mall comes from the team behind the award-winning 3 Fils.
The kitchen is helmed by executive chef Shun Shiroma, who previously worked at Michelin-starred Tokyo restaurant Tsuta, which specialises in Japanese soba noodles. A selection of sushi, from dragon rolls to avo maki, is on the menu, as well as prawn gyoza, salmon carpaccio, seaweed salad and Wagyu dishes.
Of course, the ramen is the star, with varieties including miso, Wagyu truffle and yuzu tori, plus vegan options.
Must try: Wagyu truffle
Open daily, noon-11.30pm; Huna Yas, Yas Mall; 054 252 3905
Kaizu, Abu Dhabi
The fully fledged Japanese restaurant serves an expansive menu, from a selection of raw and cooked sushi options, yakisoba or stir-fried noodles, and main courses such as miso black cod and grilled chicken donburi.
There are five varieties of ramen at Kaizu, including two new additions to the menu – shoyu beef and beef tantanmen.
Must try: Chicken tantan ramen
Open daily, 1pm-11pm; Al Zahiyah, Abu Dhabi; 058 691 1981