“The Ramen Review” at Don Too (CBD), Ramen-Ya (CBD) & Ajisen Ramen (Hawthorn)

Now when it comes to Ramen in Australia, I think it’s a safe bet to say that for me (and many) that there are few, if any that can match up to the ramen served in Gumshara in Sydney.

Don’t be put off that it’s situated in a humble but extremely busy corner of the Eating World Food Court. It will be one of the best Sydney eating experiences you will ever have.

Sadly, in Melbourne, there aren’t any real contenders in the same league as Gumshara.

However, beggars can’t be choosers and sometimes we have to assent that it’s not very feasible to keep flying up to Sydney just to have a bowl of heavenly Ramen.

We have tried our hands at making ramen broth and ramen cup noodles (Momofuku version) and can attest that it is no easy task!

What we do have here in Melbourne isn’t all that bad and we do have a few ramen bars to choose from.

In this post, we investigate 3 Japanese restaurants who specialise in serving up ramen to Melburnians.

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Don TooLt Lonsdale St, Melbourne CBD

No stranger to the scene, Don Too is the bigger sit down establishment of the busy sister outlet on Swanston Street in Melbourne city.

Serving only lunch boxes (Bentos and Dons) to the busy lunch crowd you won’t be able to get your hot little hands on a bowl of ramen from Don Too until dinner. I found this out the hard way after lining up all the way to the front counter during one lunch hour and was told that there was no ramen to be had.

In terms of ramen quality, the Boy reckons that this is the best out of the three we have put up here.

The broth at Don Too is suitably rich and sticky and contains the smoky-charred bone flavour which is the key to a good ramen broth.

The only niggling factor I have about Don Too is the usage of beansprouts in the broth. I like beansprouts in general, but just don’t think that it fits in with the whole ramen theme.

All in all, I have been back to Don Too many times for their ramen, so no complaints in the taste department. Service is fast, friendly and efficient.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings & review are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit

Food/ Cuisine: Japanese
Dining Style: Casual Dining

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday, 11:00am – 3:30pm; 5:00pm – 9:00pm
Saturday, 5:00pm – 9:00pm

Address:
330 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

Tel: (03) 9670 7113

How to get there:

DonToo on Urbanspoon

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Ajisen RamenHawthorn, Vic

Our attention was brought to Ajisen Ramen in Hawthorn when Katspat excitedly mentioned that she had found the best Ramen restaurant that Melbourne had on offer.

Caught up in her excitement and finding ourselves free for dinner one weeknight, the Boy and I set off to Hawthorn to try it.

Feeling a tad hungrier than normal and noticing that there was fried squid tentacles (Ika Geso Karaage) on the menu, I couldn’t help myself! I love squid!

Soon after, the ramen arrived.

Whilst I ordered the classic Ajisen Ramen which is the original Kumamoto styled ramen served with charsyu, egg & vegetables, the Boy had the Charsyu Ramen with the only difference being his ramen came served with extra charsyu as well as egg and vegetables.

For some reason, I really liked that it came served with wood ear fungus as well. So good in delivering slightly different textures in a sticky salty and sweet broth. I thought the broth at Ajisen was quite well balanced. It was only missing that slight smoky charred bone flavour in the soup which Don Too had.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings & review are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit

Food/ Cuisine: Japanese
Dining Style: Casual Dining

Address:
367 Burwood Road
Hawthorn VIC 3122

Tel: (03) 9818 0818

Website: http://www.ajisenramenmelbourne.com.au/

How to get there:

Ajisen Ramen Hawthorn on Urbanspoon

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Ramen YaBourke St, Melbourne CBD

Bash it as you may, I have a soft spot for Ramen Ya. Sure the broth served here is usually on the saltier side, but I always seem to find comfort in walking in on a Friday afternoon and slurping a big bowl of ramen all by myself.

It certainly pales in comparison to the other two but I can’t stop coming.

I know what the secret is to the reason of my constant return as well. It’s the completely tender and sticky charsyu that comes adorning the ramen. It is so light, delicate and completely disintegrates upon entering the mouth. But the flavour and texture is just too addictive.

I always have the Char Su Ramen with Tonkotsu based soup whenever I dine at Ramen Ya. The quality of the ramen here isn’t entirely consistent and the quality of your ramen really depends on how busy the kitchen is when you’re dining in.

*Disclaimer: All food ratings are purely based on my own experiences and how I feel about the service, food and quality at the time of visit

Food/ Cuisine: Japanese
Dining Style: Casual Dining

Opening Hours:
Monday to Tuesday, 11:30am to 4:30pm
Wednesday to Saturday, 11:30am to 9:00pm
Sunday, 12:00pm to 4:00pm

Address:
Shop 25G Melbourne GPO
350 Bourke St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Tel: (03) 9654 5838

Website: http://www.ramenya.com.au/

How to get there:

Ramen Ya on Urbanspoon

28 Comments

  1. I been to Ramen Ya & Don Too, agree with the boy, Don Too is pretty good! I now have Ramen lunch cravings, oh dear…
    Fatboo recently posted…Clement Coffee Roasters

    Reply
    • I always have Ramen cravings :P

      Reply
  2. I haven’t eaten my ramen in my time on earth, but will use the influential one’s guide to finding the good ramen in Melbourne ;) x

    Reply
    • What never?? WOMAN! I shall bring you forth to Ramen hunting!!!

      Reply
  3. I agree with your comment on ramen-ya. the 2pm ramen tastes better than the 1pm ramen. :D
    Michelle recently posted…Macaron Tower

    Reply
    • It’s so unpredictable isn’t it?

      Reply
  4. Ohhh I’m really liking your reviews of a few places :) I’m not really a big fan of ramen hehe but agree that there are few places in Melbourne that serve good Ramen ~

    I’ve only visited Ajisen Ramen and only the one in the city and Glen Waverely which weren’t very good ~ I have heard that the one in Hawthorn is the best.

    I drive past Don Too so much, can’t wait to give it a go hehe is it really small? What’s the best time to go~
    Daisy@Nevertoosweet recently posted…Alphabakes – Sago (Gula Melaka) Pudding

    Reply
    • Awww thanks Daisy :) Try the Hawthorn one then you can do an Ajisen round up!

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  5. yum, i have to try the ajisen in hawthorn, none of the ramen in the city seems to appeal to me.
    Kim recently posted…Dean and Deluca, Singapore

    Reply
    • Sad I know.. I just want good ramen!

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  6. I also am liking these reviews that cover a few places – gives a good point of comparison :). I’ve been to Ramen-Ya a number of times but have yet to visit the other two.. The Ajisen ramen looks really good though !
    Ames recently posted…much room for improvement – Pho Chu The, Box Hill

    Reply
    • Then you surely must go to the other two!

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  7. Aaaaaaargh agree – Ramen such a hotly argued topic in the Melbourne food scene.

    Dontoo – good, until you pointed it out I forgot about the beansprouts lol! In my post I forgot to also raise the issue of cabbage bahahaha. Beansprouts and cabbage is a bit… meh? I still like them though, probably just the beansprouts and the cabbage and also their noodles (I prefer Kokoro’s noodles).

    Ramenya – good, but the eggs and the noodles bahahaha. And sometimes their broth is also merely only lukewarm noooooooo!

    Kokoro – looks like ramen on TV shows and all but… lukewarm boooooooooo!!!

    Anyway, to Gumshara and JAPAN! :D

    Reply
    • Ahahaha… Kokoro looks and smells like the real thing, but there’s a reason why it didn’t make it to this round-up review. I just found it too salty and ermm.. not quite like the real thing!

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    • Oh and you are right, the eggs at Ramen-Ya are a fail.. hahaha… Ajisen.. Mmmmmm

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  8. Went to Ajisen the other day and loved the spicy miso broth! Though, I’d prefer if the noodles were softer! :D
    Vien recently posted…Apple Crumble Cupcakes

    Reply
    • Yayy for Ajisen win! Boo to soft noodles :P

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    • Yeah I know.. Ramen-Ya has a certain appeal to me, and also I have no idea where else to go for Ramen during lunch hour that is good.

      Reply
  9. Now that I’m suitably hungry… I must add Don Too to my list. I’ve only ever been there around the lunch rush, which as you said, is not the best time to go. I pass Ramen Ya on the way to the gym all the time, but haven’t ventured in!

    I trust your opinion so will definitely give some of these a go.
    Yasmeen @ Wandering Spice recently posted…Braised Kale with Chick Peas and Pine Nuts

    Reply
    • You must! I want to go have a Ramen splurge right now!

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    • Ooh did you know you can get them to ‘water’ it down? I did that once accidentally (as I preferred it that way) and the Boy was mad at me :( The broth at Zenya (in Eastwood) is just as good. Less thick and the noodles nicer consistency :)

      Reply
  10. I so love these review posts – so helpful when a craving strikes :) I just come here & choose a place to visit haha.
    Heidi xo
    p.s. hope wedding prep is all coming along well, lovely!! It’ll be a beautiful day – have a blast!
    Heidi – Apples Under My Bed recently posted…Cherry Ripe Coconut Fudge Cake

    Reply
    • You are so welcome Heidi :)

      Reply
  11. Gumshara is amazing. I hope something like that opens in Melbourne soon. I think I like the Don Too one best in Melbourne.
    Thanh recently posted…Huxtable – Excellent Fusion Food

    Reply
    • Told you so *smirks*

      Reply

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