Las Vegas

Slurp Down Some Noodles At These Las Vegas Ramen Shops

For those cool desert nights.

Ramen Sora
Ramen Sora
Ramen Sora

The concept of “Vegas cuisine” is inextricably tied to the Strip, and that’s unfortunate: some of the most interesting restaurants are located off the Strip, and some of Vegas’s best restaurants are the unassuming Asian joints located in strip malls in and around our woefully underrated Chinatown. There is a huge Asian presence in Las Vegas, and not just in the Asian whales keeping this city’s gaming industry afloat — we’re basically a suburb of Los Angeles, after all. You can find a plethora of various Asian cuisines all over the Las Vegas Valley — places that specialize in pho, ramen, udon, sushi, bibimbap, bulgogi, galbi, dim sum, teppanyaki, curry, pad Thai, and just about everything else you can think of. Here, we’re focusing on ramen.

YU-OR-MI Sushi & Sake Bar

Arts District
This was a tough year for restaurants, and that is a grotesque understatement. But as restaurants all over the country have shuttered permanently, including many in Las Vegas, the Downtown Las Vegas Arts District has absolutely exploded with new openings this year, which included the long-anticipated YU-OR-MI Sushi & Sake Bar located just across the street from the always-bustling Esther’s Kitchen. This is a wonderful spot, and a welcome addition to the Arts District, which did not previously have any kind of Japanese restaurant. Though the focus here is primarily on sushi, sashimi, and hot small plates, like their take on takoyaki with truffle oil and their outstanding bluefin tuna caprese, the one ramen dish on the menu is worthy of your attention. A shoyu ramen with choice of chicken or chashu pork that like all other menu items, is only available in limited quantities each day. Warm up with a hot bowl and enjoy some sake or a skillfully crafted cocktail made with one of their many Japanese whiskeys while you’re there.
 

8 East

Fremont Street
Now open inside the bajillion-dollar brand-new Circa Resort & Casino on Fremont Street (okay, billion-dollar, but close enough), 8 East is a pan-Asian concept from Chef Dan Coughlin of DTLV’s Le Thai fame. “Inspired by metropolitan Asian food markets,” 8 East covers a LOT of culinary territory, with fusion-minded interpretations of Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, and Thai dishes. There is only one ramen dish on the menu, but it’s one worth noting: the “8 East Ramen” is made with osso buco, wild mushrooms, soft-boiled egg, shredded bok choy, nori, and kimchi mirepoix.
 

Ramen-ya

On the Strip
Located at the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally’s, Ramen-ya is maybe/probably the first and only ramen shop (we’re talking places specifically dedicated to ramen) on the Strip. It’s a small space, as ramen shops tend to be, in what is basically a strip mall ON the Strip (once again, for those in the back: Vegas loves its strip malls). While there are indeed better bowls of ramen to be had off the Strip, if you’re ON the Strip and looking for some hearty broth and noodles to fill your belly, this place will do the trick. They mainly serve simple, classic ramen but also try to cater more to the American palate with options for beef and fried chicken ramen (beef definitely being an oddball offering). Just note, you will pay the tourist tax here, but if you’re a tourist then it comes with the territory!

Moko Ramen Bar
Moko Ramen Bar
Moko Ramen Bar

Moko Ramen Bar

Charleston Preservation
A ramen bar geared to the student crowd conveniently located literally across the street from the College of Southern Nevada’s Charleston campus, Moko is a casual but modern and stylish space open for lunch and dinner. They’ve got some fun ramen specials, like the Rib Tonkotsu Ramen made with tonkotsu broth, two pieces of pork ribs, kikurage, black garlic oil, half an egg, nori, shredded cabbage, and green onion; and the Yellow Curry Ramen made with Japanese curry, veggie broth, thick noodles, chicken katsu, spinach, shredded cabbage, relish, and green onion. The non-ramen rest of the menu is a bit of a grab bag of Japanese and Korean items, but they seem to have a good grasp of their college student demographic and the dinner menu is surprisingly sophisticated.

Sojo Ramen
Sojo Ramen
Sojo Ramen

Sojo Ramen

South Jones
From the same folks behind the popular SOHO Japanese Restaurant and Soho SushiBurrito, Sojo Ramen pretty much immediately became the new favorite place of all the local ramenistas when it opened in 2019. There are a variety of ramen options available, including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free (noodles can be made with tofu or rice). But as much as people love their ramen, Sojo also has a devoted following for their appetizers, and they’re all under $4. Order the pork chashu tacos and chicken karaage to start and try their signature “Black Garlic Tonkotsu,” made with 30-day house-roasted black garlic.

Ramen Arashi 

South Fort Apache 
It’s a ways off the Strip in one of Las Vegas’s many, many boring strip malls (we do not so much have neighborhoods here as we do collections of strip malls with names) with its closest landmarks of significance being Lowe’s and Home Depot, but rest assured that Ramen Arashi is one of Las Vegas ramen devotees’ favorite spots, arguably more so than some of the better-known joints on Spring Mountain. Get the rich, creamy tonkotsu ramen with a choice of thick or thin noodles (also available gluten-free).

Tomi Ramen & Sake Bar
Tomi Ramen & Sake Bar
Tomi Ramen & Sake Bar

Tomi Ramen 

West Sahara
It would be easy to miss this place entirely since it’s not visible from Sahara, the Palace Station dominates this corner, and dodging the clusterf*ck of traffic from east of I-15 tends to be the priority. All that said, this place is worth seeking out. It’s one of the hipper/trendier ramen joints in town-clearly operated by younger folks who know how to ‘gram, and there’s a prominent Korean influence throughout. Plus, there are some playful menu items to match the atmosphere, namely the “Naruto Ramen” (pork and chicken) with bulgogi fries.

Izakaya Go

Chinatown
Even in all this COVID weirdness, Izakaya Go is still open until 2 or 3 am daily. Despite being located in yet another soulless strip mall, the interior design is actually quite fetch. The menu at this “Japanese tapas bar” is extensive, with ramen being only one small part of their inventive fusion and traditional offerings. But this is a list about ramen, and here your choices are shio (soy), shoyu (salt), or miso ramen, all spicy and all made with a chicken broth base. (If the different broth options confuse you — hi — read this). If you’re going slightly left of center of traditional ramen, you can try their ramen burger with braised pork belly, egg, and vegetables sandwiched between ramen noodle “buns.” If you’re going totally off-script, their sea urchin pasta is kind of a must. They also have an excellent booze selection, if that is a concern of yours.

Ramen Sora
Ramen Sora
Ramen Sora

Ramen Sora

Chinatown
Most restaurants in Vegas are imports from elsewhere-LA and NYC, mostly. Ramen Sora is also an import, but this one hails all the way from Sapporo, Hokkaido-the northernmost main Japanese island. Helmed by Japanese chefs Tomio Takada and Yoshinari Ichise, the ramen can be quite a bit more unique than at other places. Try the rich Corn Butter Ramen or the aptly named and VERY spicy Killer Spicy Umami Ramen for further proof of that.

Kokoro Ramen
Kokoro Ramen
Kokoro Ramen

KoKoRo Ramen

West Summerlin
KoKoRo is another of the hipper and trendier ramen joints in town, also located in a soulless strip mall because, again, pretty much everything not on the Strip is. Order its unique signature midori basil or black garlic ramen, and be sure to start with the takoyaki-crispy, ample-sized fried balls of octopus.

RAMEN HASHI
RAMEN HASHI
RAMEN HASHI

Ramen Hashi

Spring Mountain
Billing itself as more of a Japanese-style ramen house, Ramen Hashi features a long bar where patrons can fill out a form selecting their desired ramen options. The kitchen is open, and everything is made here from scratch without MSG (That means it might not be as noticeably salty as other places, which may or may not matter to you). They also provide hair ties to further facilitate your slurping, which is both hilarious and incredibly practical. The chashu is the real standout here, and the tantanmen ramen is a customer favorite. Also worth noting: the non-vegetarian broths are made with a chicken broth base rather than pork, which may be welcome news to semi-observant kosher and halal ramen-lovers bored of miso broth (there is also miso broth available).

Monta Japanese Noodle House

Chinatown
When Las Vegans talk about ramen, they talk about Monta. In this intimate, wood-paneled space, you can choose from tonkotsu, shoyu, tonkotsu-shoyu, and miso ramen. Cold noodle ramen is also an option. This place is a great spot for ramen noobs to be introduced to the different styles of ramen, as the menu gives thorough descriptions of what each style is, what it’s made from, and the flavor profile for each. In most other places, you kind of just have to know what you’re ordering. If you’re out on the east side, they’ve got a location in Henderson called Monta Chaya. If you’re on the west side, there’s Ramen Kobo.

Ichi Ramen House
Ichi Ramen House
Ichi Ramen House

Ichi Ramen House

Centennial
One of Ichi’s biggest selling points is that it’s one of the only options for ramen in the northwest ‘hood of Centennial. Ichi is definitely solid, with a menu of standard ramen dishes that stacks up to most other ramen joints in the Las Vegas Valley, plus a few non-standard options like tomato seafood, black garlic, curry, and vegetarian ramen. Ichi prides itself on using fresh noodles, authentic ingredients, plus long-simmering broth varieties that each take three full days to cook.
 

Ohjah Noodle House

Southwest Vegas
Ohjah Noodle House is a cult favorite in Las Vegas (although locals should note that their Henderson location has closed). Get the Ohjah House Ramen with oxtail, beef, egg, bean sprouts, seaweed, and wood ear mushrooms-it’s the specialty and this is one of the few places around town where you can get oxtail in your ramen.

JINYA Ramen Bar
JINYA Ramen Bar
JINYA Ramen Bar

JINYA Ramen Bar

Flamingo and Decatur
JINYA is a ramen bar chain with locations throughout the US and Canada-basically trying to be the Chipotle of ramen, but it’s still a favorite in Las Vegas. “Have it your way” customers will appreciate the level of customization available, although that number of options can be a little overwhelming. Considerations include a variety of tonkotsu and chicken broth ramens, as well as vegetarian and vegan options. If you’re more of a ramen traditionalist, you can stick with one of the more standard flavors, but they’ve also got unique choices like spicy umami miso, and, shall we say, more “marketable” choices, like wonton chicken (ramen with dumplings), and chef’s specials like karaage chicken (ramen with fried chicken).
 

Ramen Tatsu

Chinatown
You will either like Ramen Tatsu’s deconstructed ramen presentation, or you will not. The specialty here is tsukemen ramen, which basically means the broth is dense (for dipping) and served separately from the extra-thick chewy noodles and toppings. If you’re not into that, no worries, the menu is full of all the standard ramen options as well, and if you like your ramen real spicy, they offer broths made with their homemade habanero sauce. And if you hate your digestive tract, they also have a homemade habanero and ghost pepper sauce for “Jigoku Style” up to spice level 18. *cries just thinking about it*
 

Ichiza

Chinatown
Another well-known late-night ramen joint, Ichiza has its die-hard devotees as well as its die-hard detractors. Love it or hate it (and probably it’s one or the other), Ichiza has a massive menu with a LOT of options, of which ramen is a fairly small portion. Definitely something for everyone here, at least, and they have some good offers for pickup and delivery during these COVID times.Sign up here for our daily Vegas email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Nicole Rupersburg is a Vegas-based writer covering food, travel, arts, culture, and what-have-you. Follow her on Instagram.

Las Vegas

Actually Cool Things to Do in Reno Right Now

Thrift shops, street art, bakeries, and beer are just a few things Reno does very well.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.‚Äčcom
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.‚Äčcom
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.‚Äčcom

Reno’s charm lies in its pretense-free attitude. The “Biggest Little City in the World” has¬†a relaxed, Old West vibe that persists even as a bevy of tech giants like Tesla and Google have set up shop there in recent years, expanding the local economy and population.¬†Artists, chefs, brewers, and entrepreneurs have all benefited from the boom, sprouting a food and booze renaissance fueled by a collective creative spirit. Add to that the surrounding natural beauty-including imposing Mt. Rose and nearby¬†Lake Tahoe-and you’ve got yourself a required stop on any trip through Northern Nevada. Here are the best things to while you’re in town.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Tour the city’s magnificent street art

Multiple locations
There are dozens of street murals in the¬†Reno¬†area, showcasing the city’s lively art scene and creative spirit. Much of it is curated by Art Spot Reno, a local nonprofit that leads a downtown gallery tour,¬†Art Walk Reno, on the first Thursday of every month. You can also follow their free interactive map for a self-guided tour of these colorful, captivating street pieces.

The renowned¬†Nevada Museum of Art¬†(more on that later) features sculptures once featured in Burning Man’s Black Rock City. But you’ll find evidence of Burning Man’s eccentric influence all over town, with public art installations like the iconic 50-foot Space Whale in City Plaza, and the imposing Desert Guard warrior who looms 49 feet above the city’s new billion-dollar downtown development, Neon Line.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Go rock climbing above the Reno Arch

Downtown
Basecamp at the Whitney Peak Hotel has the world’s tallest artificial rock-climbing wall-and the Guinness Book of World Records is more than happy to back up that claim. The wall stretches 164 feet high and affords a one-of-a-kind view of the famous Reno Arch below. Open until 9 or 10pm, the experience is especially cool after dark, when your climb is¬†illuminated by the glow of the Arch and nearby casino marquees. The wall is suitable for beginners, and experienced climbers can also check out the 15-meter certified speed wall and indoor harness-free bouldering on large artificial rocks.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

What’s your winter style? Checking double black diamonds off your list or sipping a double espresso? Either way, Reno Tahoe has what you’re looking for-lake views and city vibes within 30 minutes of each other. Spend the day on the slopes, exploring a winter wonderland, then kick back in the Biggest Little City in the World, filled with top-tier restaurants, luxurious resorts and plenty of craft breweries and coffee shops. Start planning your next getaway at VisitRenoTahoe.com.

Inclined Burgers + Brews
Inclined Burgers + Brews
Inclined Burgers + Brews

Detour to Incline Village

One of the largest towns on Lake Tahoe, Incline Village will set you up for a full day of eating, drinking, and exploring the lake’s beautiful northern shores. The village-named for the Great Incline Tramway, built by loggers in the 1870s-provides quick access to a ton of trails and activities at Lake Tahoe State Park, as well as Sand Harbor and Diamond Peak, where you can take in panoramic lake views from the slopes. From there you can hop on the Tahoe East Shore Trail or hike to Monkey Rock, grab a beer at Alibi Brewing, and get lunch at Inclined Burgers.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Sip and sample the craft brewery scene

Multiple Locations
Reno loves beer. And it’s got enough local producers to help put a boozy spin on the character of the city. Revision Brewing¬†in Sparks seems to be getting the most attention these days, with a heavy IPA selection and a whimsical attitude reflected in labels designed by local artists. Great Basin Brewing Company, with locations in South Reno and Sparks, is credited for putting the craft brew scene on the map here with its best-selling Great Basin Icky IPA.

The Depot, Nevada’s first combined brewery and distillery, is a historic three-story former train station. It’s within blocks of Pigeon Head (known for its German-style lagers and pilsners), Lead Dog (with a diverse lineup of recipes), and IMBń™B¬†Custom Brews (try the barrel-aged sours), which together make up the Brewery District.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Check out the Riverwalk District

Riverwalk District
The Truckee River runs through the heart of downtown, providing a welcome splash of nature in the heart of the city. The parks and walkways that surround it are known collectively as the Reno Riverwalk District-all close to plenty of great restaurants, including Campo and Wild River Grille, whose large patios overlook the water. Head to Liberty Food & Wine Exchange for shareable plates and fantastic cocktails-or even better, grab it to-go for a picnic on the grass at Wingfield Park and watch kayakers paddle by.

Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Explore Reno’s casino culture

Multiple locations
Gambling is legal in Nevada, but you won’t find any mega-casinos a la Vegas. Downtown you’ll find¬†THE ROW, home to¬†Circus Circus, Silver Legacy, and Eldorado, which are¬†connected by a nifty pedestrian overpass that allows you to carry booze between the casinos. THE ROW also rocks excellent martinis at Roxy’s, bottomless whiskey deals at Novi, and a unique atmosphere at¬†Rum Bullions Island Bar.

Further south, you’ll find Reno’s largest casino resort, the Peppermill, as well as Atlantis, which boasts an overachieving restaurant lineup. East of downtown, the Grand Sierra Resort¬†offers a great package overall: clean, modern, and fully renovated. Perks include a lakeside driving range, nightclub, and the Ultimate Rush slingshot that propels riders 180 feet in the air.

Liberty Food & Wine Exchange
Liberty Food & Wine Exchange
Liberty Food & Wine Exchange

Take a bite out of some of Reno’s best restaurants

Multiple locations
Much like the city itself, Reno’s dining scene has some serious momentum at the moment, featuring a combination of classic favorites-like Louie’s Basque,¬†Casale’s Halfway Club, and¬†LuLou’s-and inventive new concepts, like Churrasco Brazilian Steakhouse and¬†Von Bismarck. In Midtown,¬†S√ľp (which specializes in homemade soups) and Midtown Eats¬†draw loyal crowds. And Mark Estee, the most well-known chef in town, earned national acclaim and a James Beard nomination after founding Campo by the river. He later moved on to Liberty Food & Wine Exchange a block north in downtown Reno.

Photo courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Photo courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com
Photo courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Bike the Tahoe-Pyramid Trail

North Lake Tahoe and Reno
The Tahoe-Pyramid Trail follows the Truckee River from Tahoe City in California to Pyramid Lake, north of Reno. The trail is divided into five sections with ranging degrees of difficulty, but you can also tackle the scenic trails on foot. The whole concept was founded by Janet Phillips, a retired Reno-Sparks city official, who spent nearly two decades promoting and implementing the 114-mile trail.

Old World Coffee
Old World Coffee
Old World Coffee

Wake up to Reno’s¬†coffee shops and bakeries

Reno packs a hard caffeine punch with multiple high-quality local roasters and cafes throughout the city. Hub Coffee Roasters has a few different locations, but the one you want is located just off the Reno Riverwalk in a charmingly renovated old home from 1932. This location is also home to Hub Coffee’s Tea Bar, where they serve teas from around the world.

Check out Old World Coffee Lab¬†near downtown for precision-roasted, small-batch, hand-brewed coffees. In Midtown,¬†Pangolin Caf√©¬†is a¬†beautiful caf√© and confectionary that specializes in Turkish teas and sweets, house-made toffees, and liege waffles. (They’ve also got an espresso bar for your Americanos and lattes.) And whatever you do, do not leave Reno without paying a visit to Perenn Bakery. This artisan bakery makes the most gorgeous breads, croissants, and other pastries and baked goods. The golden flake and airy crumb of their croissants is nothing short of art.

Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art
Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art
Courtesy of Nevada Museum of Art

Spend a day at the Nevada Museum of Art

Riverwalk District
The Nevada Museum of Art over-delivers as one of the most rewarding experiences in Reno. As the only accredited art museum in Nevada, the institution brings world-class exhibits to town such as¬†Living Modern, a tribute to Georgia O’Keeffe. City of Dust, NMA’s¬†exhibit dedicated to the 30-year history of Burning Man, is now touring the country. The museum is also responsible for the colorful Seven Magic Mountains¬†installation outside Las Vegas, and even launched an art satellite (!) into space. And as if the two gallery levels, sculpture garden, and rooftop space with killer city views weren’t enough to fill an afternoon, the property is also home to chez louie, a French bistro by famed local chef Mark Estee.

M. Vinuesa/Shutterstock
M. Vinuesa/Shutterstock
M. Vinuesa/Shutterstock

Take a quick day trip out of town

Virginia City
Taking the half-hour drive from Reno to Virginia City is like traveling through a time portal. The former mining community of just 1,200 people provides a snapshot of the late 1800s with wooden sidewalks, saloons, shops, and museums preserved in Old West architecture. Hop on board a vintage locomotive and tour the mines that once made Nevada rich with gold and silver. Other popular historical day trips from Reno include a visit to Carson City and Fort Churchill State Historic Park.

The Emerson Bar
The Emerson Bar
The Emerson Bar

Dive deep into the biggest little cocktail scene

Midtown’s cup runneth over with quality cocktail bars.¬†Death & Taxes is a dark, dramatic speakeasy with a multi-page menu full of classics and their own specialties (many with some mention of “death,” “devil,” or “demon” in the name), as well as a premium “Baller List.”¬†The Emerson is the aesthetic opposite: a bright, bubbly cocktail bar that puts a mid-century modern twist on its creative cocktail program and hosts drag brunch, drag bingo, and open-mic comedy nights.

Rum Sugar Lime brings a bit of Caribbean flair to Midtown with island vibes and a rum-based menu. Chapel Tavern is a stylish-but-casual neighborhood bar that takes its cocktails VERY seriously, and none of them are over $12. Then there are specialty spots like Amari, a small but gorgeous space where amaro takes center stage, and Whisky Lounge, with an extensive selection of brown spirits from around the world.

The Lucky Star Gallery
The Lucky Star Gallery
The Lucky Star Gallery

Find treasures at Reno’s many thrift shops

Turns out, Reno is a bit of a vintage thrifter’s paradise. At¬†Junkee Clothing Exchange in Midtown, you’ll find everything from outlandish second hand costumes to kitschy antiques. Bad Apple Vntg is a quirky spot with a particular fondness for the ’80s and ’90s. For mid-century modern furniture, check out¬†The Nest; for Western and Americana vibes, try the¬†Lucky Star Gallery at the Vassar House. And while the Melting Pot World Emporium is not a vintage store, it is a must-visit when in Reno. It bills itself as “Reno’s coolest counter-culture store” and is stuffed full of clothing, costumes, accessories, d√©cor, instruments, flasks, pipes, tarot cards, and pretty much everything a person needs for Burning Man and beyond. Know your customer-this place was actually the Burning Man ticket outlet for 14 years.

Rob Kachelriess has been contributing to Thrillist for more than five years. His work has also appeared in Travel + Leisure, Modern Luxury, Leafly, and Luxury Estates International‘s seasonal publication. He thinks Reno has a better airport than Las Vegas. Follow him on Twitter @rkachelriess.

Nicole Rupersburg lives in Las Vegas where you can find bottomless mimosa brunches every day of the week, A-list musicians in residency every night of the week, and snow still on the mountains in the middle of August when it’s 115 degrees outside. Follow her on Twitter @ruperstarski.

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