Washington DC

Slurp Some of DC's Best Ramen This Winter

Toki is just the tip of the iceberg.

UZU
UZU
UZU

There was a time when DC’s relationship with ramen was little more than college students, interns, and other budget-conscious diners boiling store-bought noodles. That all changed dramatically in 2011, when Toki Underground began offering Taiwanese-style ramen and drawing hour-long lines to its small Northeast loft. The years that followed saw a surge in like-minded restaurants (even pop-ups) offering savory, steaming bowls of ramen topped with pork, vegetables, and even fried chicken. Many make their noodles in house, and a few even source them straight from Japan. With the pandemic shifting dining habis, restaurants have gotten creative about how to package this delicate dish for optimal home dining. Here are the most essential spots in the District for when you want to slurp down some A-plus ramen.

Pete's Place
Pete’s Place
Pete’s Place

Pete’s Place

Various locations
Acclaimed Philadelphia chef Peter Serpico has come south to DC to offer his Korean-esque spin on noodles. Pete’s Place ghost kitchen will provide craveable dishes for delivery throughout DC. His chicken soup comes with wavy noodles and pulled chicken with miso, soy, scallion, garlic and carrots. For more heat, go with the spicy pickled pepper variation, which packs a punch from serrano peppers and can be made vegan on request.
How to order: Place delivery through DoorDash.

Hatoba DC
Hatoba DC
Hatoba DC

Hatoba

Navy Yard
Hatoba, meaning “dock” in Japanese, is DC’s third (and newest) Sapporo-style ramen shop from the Daikaya Group. Dishes like red miso with clam or spicy red miso with pork and seafood nod to its Navy Yard location and ship-inspired decor, which includes private booths and artificial food displays that invite guests or order with their eyes. A more delicate garlic shoyu and a vegan tomato curry soup don’t skimp on the comforting vibes, either. As always, you can load up on extra pork, vegetables, spices and a soft egg to complete the bowls. Sake, beer, wine and cocktails are all available, which will come in handy during baseball season pregaming.
How to order: Carryout orders can be made online through Toast, and delivery is available on Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash.

UZU
UZU
UZU

Ramen by Uzu

Ghostline, Glover Park
Operating out of Ghostline, a communal “ghost” kitchen, this ramen shop offers bowls of hot and cold ramen to Glover Park and the surrounding neighborhood. Hot broths include classic shoyu, shio, miso along with a vegan option. If it’s not soup season, tsukemen is a chicken-based dipping ramen served cold with pork loin, a poached egg and vegetables. The menu also includes a selection of appetizers, like seaweed salad and fried “karaage” chicken. And the beauty of being set up in a ghost kitchen means that you can order from a variety of restaurants at the same time.
How to order: Pickups can be made on-site and delivery is offered through Toast.

Shibuya Eatery
Shibuya Eatery
Shibuya Eatery

Shibuya Eatery

Adams Morgan
Chef Darren Norris knows his way around Japanese food, and earned notoriety in DC for his skills at Kushi in the mid-2000s. He got back into the game this summer with Shibuya Eatery, which specializes in small plates and grilled skewers along with plenty of noodle options. The hot options swim in a bowl of dashi broth and combinations like roasted vegetables, sugar-cured kurobuta pork belly, broiled eel or wagyu beef. Cold noodles come with cold dashi dipping sauce-try the variation with the shio koji chicken. Shibuya offers buckwheat soba (gluten free), udon and matcha green tea soba noodles.
How to order: Call the restaurant for pickup or use Grubhub, DoorDash, Uber Eats or Postmates for delivery.

Akira Ramen & Izakaya DC
Akira Ramen & Izakaya DC
Akira Ramen & Izakaya DC

Akira

Rockville, Adams Morgan
This local izakaya makes two kinds of noodles-skinny and curly-for its seven types of ramen. The signature Akira Ramen bowl is loaded with pork and vegetables and flavored with tonkotsu salt broth and a hit of black garlic oil. Sweat it out with the chili kick of the volcano ramen, or double down on the comfort food vibes with deep fried “karaage” chicken or shrimp tempura. Akira’s small plates and appetizers deserve attention, too-especially the succulent grilled yellowtail collar.
How do order: Select pickup or delivery through ChowNow or call a location directly.

Daikaya - Ramen - the Izakaya
Daikaya – Ramen – the Izakaya
Daikaya – Ramen – the Izakaya

Daikaya

Chinatown
During normal operations, crowds would swell at this Chinatown ramen joint, forcing hungry guests to wait patiently for a seat in the small downstairs dining room. This spot offers five kinds of Sapporo-style ramen, and they take authenticity seriously: Their noodles are imported from Japan, made from a recipe developed specially by Daikaya, and the nuanced Chintan stock takes more than 16 hours to make.
How to order: Carryout items can be ordered through Toast, and delivery is offered through DoorDash and Uber Eats.

Bantam King
Bantam King
Bantam King

Bantam King

Chinatown
Chicken ramen is the star of the menu at Bantam King, which is housed in a renovated Burger King (there are plenty of nods to the original design, like fast-food booths and cafeteria trays on the walls). There are several possible combinations of broths and flavors centered around the cloudy paitan stock. It’s hard to pass up the kick of the spicy miso ramen or the delicate flavors of the shoyu (soy) Chintan broth. Bowls come with the option to add on items like a seasoned egg, corn, or extra meat. Also, guys, it’s basically impossible to ignore the restaurant’s extremely shareable fried chicken platter, which marries fiery Nashville hot chicken with Chinese flavors. It’s great for soaking up Bantam King’s very solid Japanese drink list, including sake, beer, and Japanese whiskey (although the ramen does that job pretty solidly on its own).
How to order: Carryout items can be ordered through Toast, and delivery is offered through Caviar and Uber Eats.

Oki Bowl DC

Georgetown
It’s clear from the moment you enter Oki Bowl that this restaurant is a little different from the typical ramen joint: The dining room is doused in ambient blue light and decked out with all kinds of decor, from birdhouses to old computer parts. The same goes for the funky outdoor space. The menu breaks from the standard mold a bit as well-alongside miso and kimchi ramen bowls, there’s also a spicy Tom Yum option with fried jumbo shrimp, mushrooms, and bean sprouts. Pork belly, fried chicken, eggs, and vegetables are all available as add-ons (and when there is an option to add pork belly to anything, you should probably take it). The curry ramen is tough to stop slurping. Oki Bowl’s goods are available in the Georgetown neighborhood, too, at Wisconsin and Q Street NW.
How to order: Delivery is available through Postmates.

SAKURAMEN
SAKURAMEN
SAKURAMEN

Sakuramen

Adams Morgan
Sakuramen is an affordable spot to take refuge from the Adams Morgan madness. To start, don’t miss out on the large selection of steamed buns, which come in everything from bulgogi beef to mushroom. For the ramen, the shoyu gojiramon is the most traditional choice, with chashu pork, scallions, nori, and sprouts. The shoki bowl is worth going for if you’re feeling especially carnivorous: It’s loaded with meat, like bulgogi beef, a heap of chashu pork, and comes with a seasoned egg. Sakuramen serves choices of vegetarian and spicy recipes, too.
How to order: Delivery orders are handled in-house, with a $25 minimum.

Toki Underground
Toki Underground
Toki Underground

Toki Underground

H Street Northeast
Toki Underground was in many ways DC’s original ramen hotspot, attracting rave reviews and long lines and laying the groundwork for other businesses to follow suit. Original chef Erik Bruner-Yang has stepped down to pursue other ventures, but wait times can still balloon for a shot at this Taiwanese ramen. For ramen, the Toki classic, which comes with pulled pork and soft egg, is a popular option, and the spicy and savory red miso and kimchi choices (it’s especially funky) are other good bets.
How to order: Order pickup and delivery directly with Toki, through Toast.

Chaplin's
Chaplin’s
Chaplin’s

Chaplin’s

Shaw
Chaplin’s may be best known for cocktails and dumplings, but they also have a completely decent ramen selection waiting to soak up a night of drinking in the always buzzing Shaw neighborhood. The standard-issue bowl is made with pork belly and tonkotsu, but vegetarians and vegans have choices as well, like miso and shio broths. We’re in favor of the Chaplin A.S.S. bowl, which combines Asian spicy sour chicken, scallions, lemongrass, coconut milk, red chili paste, and pork butt. There’s also the option to add extra ingredients like pork butt and even gyoza-and who has the power to say no to dumplings on top of ramen?
How to order: Order delivery through Caviar.

JINYA Ramen Bar
JINYA Ramen Bar
JINYA Ramen Bar

Jinya Ramen

Logan Circle
Jinya may be a national chain, but it takes its ramen seriously. They offer tons of combinations, though the restaurant’s “flagship” is the Jinya No. 1 tonkotsu black, a classic ramen mix of pork broth, chashu, nori, green onions, egg and garnishes. If that seems old hat, consider adding spicy ground chicken or pork. There are plenty of other directions, too: Heat seekers will likely dig the spicy chicken ramen, and vegetarians have a few options to pick from. The restaurant also offers a big list of rice and curry bowls and small plates for non-ramen outings. Jinya has area locations in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
How to order: Pickup orders can be made online.

Haikan
Haikan
Haikan

Haikan

Shaw
Haikan’s Sapporo-style ramen is a cornerstone of Shaw’s hip Atlantic Plumbing building, and for good reason. It shares DNA with Daikaya, Bantam King, and Hatoba, all top ramen spots in Washington. Noodles are specially made in Japan and married in-house with the delicate Chintan stock. Grab a table in the narrow dining room, along the high-energy kitchen bar or at a communal patio table and get slurping. Bowls of shio, shoyu (soy), miso, or spicy shoyu soup can be customized with a whole range of additional toppings from butter to bamboo to a seasoned “nitamago” egg. Cold noodles make an appearance during summer months. As an added bonus, most of the ramen varieties are available in both large and small portion sizes, leaving flexibility to stop in for a snack or pair a bowl with another appetizer like crab rangoon or a mapo tofu-inspired poutine.
How to order: Carryout orders can be made through Toast, and delivery is available through Uber Eats and Caviar.Sign up here for our daily DC email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun in town.

Travis Mitchell is a freelance writer who has been enjoying DC’s ramen scene for years. Follow @travisjmitchell on Twitter and Instagram.

Washington DC

The Eight Most Exciting Suburbs Outside DC

You could use a little space.

Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock
Regine Poirier/Shutterstock

When people say Washington, DC, it’s hard to tell if they’re talking about The District proper, or the sprawling metro area that is sometimes nicknamed the DMV: The District, Maryland, and Virginia. The fact is that DC is made whole by its vibrant suburbs, whether you’re looking for a shopping center dedicated almost entirely to Vietnamese cuisine, a rock climbing wall in-you guessed it-Rockville, or a wetland preserve that’s wide open for hiking and fresh air.

The DC suburbs practically have it all, and you can reach many of these neighborhoods by bike, public transit, or a set of four wheels. Here are eight great suburban destinations that you may find yourself visiting soon. We won’t judge you if you want to stay.

Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville
Earth Treks Rockville

Rockville

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Many people will inevitably cruise Rockville Pike, aka 355, for all of its big-box delights, since this retail corridor has always been a sprawly place to shop for decades. But more recently, Rockville has become something entirely different. It’s walkable and bikeable, thanks to the Pike & Rose development. And it remains a destination for some of the best Chinese soup dumplings in the DMV at A&J Restaurant and Bob’s Shanghai 66. Rockville is also, fittingly, home to the best rock climbing wall attracting serious spelunkers and climbing newbies alike. And it remains a place for family-run restaurants, many of which are run by immigrants. For a small taste of the magic of this Montgomery County suburb, visit Bombay Bistro for Chef K.N.Vinod and Surfy Rahman’s take on Indian fare from the country’s southern region. Like many of the best eateries in Rockville, this restaurant is tucked away in a shopping strip. When you find it, you’ll be rewarded with mouth-watering dosas, biryani, and vindaloo.

Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette
Fresh Baguette

Bethesda

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
Anyone who grew up near Bethesda has probably spent their early teenage years loitering at the Bethesda’s Regal Cinema or by The Barnes & Noble water fountain. Now, both of those legendary spots of yesteryear have been transformed into a suburban-style city with sidewalk cafes, trendy shopping, and an upgraded Capital Crescent Trail-a longtime favorite with joggers and bikers. Bethesda is also home to a world of flavors: Fresh Baguette for Parisian-style pastries, Pesca Deli for Portuguese, Taqueria El Jalapeño for tasty tacos, and Passage to India just to name a few. To reach all of these places, you can hop aboard the Bethesda Circulator, a free shuttle service that picks you up at the Bethesda Metro station and takes you in a loop around town.

Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks
Brookside Gardens, Montgomery Parks

Wheaton

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
There is absolutely no beating Wheaton when a food craving hits, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner. This Maryland suburb, just north of DC on Metro’s red line, has one of the best diners in the region, Nick’s Diner, owned and operated by Nick Markopoulos and his Greek family. For lunch, Wheaton is home to a handful of pupuserias that are indicative of this neighborhood’s Salvadoran community. Pupuseria La Familiar, Los Chorros, and Irene’s Pupusas are three great options. Finally, for dinner, Peruvian chicken at El Pollo Rico or Bolivian fare, and specifically the beef silpancho, at Kantuta’s are hearty and tasty offerings. Finish your day of dining on a high note with a cannoli or rainbow cookie from Filippo’s Deli. After a day of eating, you’ll need to walk off all those carbs. Go for a leisurely stroll around the pond at Wheaton Regional Park’s Brookside Gardens. The park is a five-minute drive north of Wheaton’s retail corridor, and it’s free and open to the public year-round.

Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.
Streetcar 82 Brewing Co.

Hyattsville

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
A brewery tour is a safe bet when visiting Hyattsville, Maryland-a community with a small-town vibe, located in Prince George’s County, just across The District line. A primary reason why beer nerds flock here is Franklins, a brewpub that last year opened a tiki-themed bar in its parking lot to adapt during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more than a dozen beers on tap, plus Franklins makes its own root beer if you prefer some nonalcoholic suds. That’s in addition to a historic hardware shop that’s been converted into a bottle shop, with a wide collection of craft beer and local wine. Nearby on Route 1, find a local brewery that specializes in outdoor drinking. Streetcar 82 Brewing Co. opened two years ago and is named in homage to the 82 Streetcar line which ran by the brewery’s site from 1888 to 1957. This converted auto garage now serves hop-forward beers and has bike rack parking and picnic tables, perfect for a Sunday Funday. For more craft beers from around the country paired with wood-fired pizza, Pizzeria Paradiso is a top-notch eater across the street, and cap off your crawl by swinging by Maryland Meadworks, which serves a range of meads from sweet to semi-sweet to dry.

Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary
Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary

Upper Marlboro

Distance from DC: 45 minutes
Fulfill your childhood wonder and delight at the greatest playground in the DMV. Watkins Regional Park is great for kids (or the kid at heart) looking to romp around themed playgrounds. The first is a horse-racing-themed playground, part of Maryland’s legacy as a horse racing capital. Meanwhile, the second option is the stuff of fairy tales-a Wizard of Oz-inspired playground, complete with a yellow brick road, a ruby slippers slide, and an Emerald City climbing wall. Grownups and kids alike will also enjoy the hiking options at nearby Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary, an expansive preserve that’s part of the tidal reaches of the Patuxent River. There are more than 1,700 acres of unique freshwater marshes, forested wetlands, creeks, meadows, pines and sand barrens, plus fields and park areas for an afternoon picnic. If you’d rather fuel up than bring-your-own food, Upper Marlboro’s Main Street Coffee & Treats is where the community gathers for coffee, pastries, fresh-pressed juices, and vegan cupcakes at all hours of the day.

Photo Courtesy of Ada's on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River
Photo Courtesy of Ada’s on the River

Old Town Alexandria

Distance from DC: 20 minutes
With waterfront views, historic homes along cobblestone streets, and a trolley that goes up and down King Street for free, it’s hard not to imagine why Old Town Alexandria wouldn’t be on our suburban list. You might come for the charm, but there’s a lot more to this city than just Instagram-worthy streetscapes. The Torpedo Factory is a burgeoning artist enclave for purchasing one-of-a-kind sculptures and artwork. Those who prefer a pleasure cruise down the Potomac can take the Potomac River Water Taxi to or from the city. And outdoor eating by the water offers plenty of space and social distance. The food and outdoor surroundings at Ada’s on the River and King & Rye, two of Alexandria’s latest eatery additions, are great places to book a weekend brunch.

Eden Center
Eden Center
Eden Center

Falls Church

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
Most people know Falls Church as the home of Eden Center-a shopping center with dozens of Vietnamese businesses and restaurants. This might be the biggest draw for Falls Church food lovers. However, there are several more reasons to make this Northern Virginia suburb a part of your food bucket list. Start at Takumi, a popular Japanese sushi spot, serving quality grade sashimi, sake, and sushi tastings. Got a craving for cavatelli? Then book it to Thomspon Italian. Chef Gabe Thompson and Pastry Chef Katherine Thompson are a husband and wife team who make this spot feel more like home. While the dining room remains closed, Thompson is offering several of its top dishes, including housemade pasta and gelatos, for pickup.

Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap
Wolf Trap

Tysons Corner

Distance from DC: 30 minutes
When you visit Tysons Corner, you’re probably here to do one thing-shop until you drop. Tysons is home to two malls, sometimes nicknamed Tysons I (Tysons Corner Center) and Tysons II (Tysons Galleria). The former is pretty typical while the latter leans more upscale. Not surprisingly, Tysons II also has good taste in food. Find the Urbanspace Food Hall, home to Donburi DC and Andy’s Pizza, plus an upscale pastry shop called Lady M. Aside from the shopping and dining, another good reason to visit Tysons this summer might be for a concert. The Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts recently announced its outdoor summer concert lineup, which could start as soon as the end of May. We’ll keep our fingers crossed!

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Tim Ebner is a contributor for Thrillist. 

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