Updated: Jan 19
We, like a great many of you Dallas foodies out there, love a good steaming bowl of ramen or Pho, so we wanted to turn your attention toward some of our favorite spots in town for both. But first, a primer. A lot of people ask, what's the difference between the two? Well first off, Ramen comes to us from Yokohama, Japan —specifically the Chinatown part of that city — while Pho is originally a Vietnamese dish. Secondly, while ramen noodles are made from wheat flour, Pho noodles are made from glutinous rice flour, but are also readily available gluten-free. Also, as a rule of thumb, Pho has fewer ingredients than ramen, and Pho is lighter and fresher, while ramen is packed with flavor and has a thicker, heavier broth.
1. oni ramen
By the name of the place you can easily tell that Oni focuses on Japanese Ramen dishes. They have two Dallas-area locations, in Deep Ellum and in Richardson. We love their Rich Tonkatsu Ramen, in a creamy pork broth seasoned with Japanese salt and soy. It's topped with pork belly, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, woodear mushrooms and green onion. With all sorts of additionals toppings available, you can really make this traditional dish your own. Oni a Dallas staple for us.
2. wabi house
Wabi House, again, is primarily a Ramen shop, with locations both on Greenville Avenue and in Fort Worth. If you're there during dinner hours, you have to try their Tsukemen, which is served with chashu, that really fatty, salty-and-sweet, melt-in-your mouth pork belly, as well as applewood bacon. It also features scallions, ajitama egg and chili strips, all in a pork broth.
3. cris and john vietnamese street food
The first Vietnamese spot on our list is Cris and John, in North Dallas — though they do also feature some Japanese ramen-inspired dishes as well, in the fusion section of their menu. We love their Angry Pho, a spicier option that comes with your choice of Rare Beef and Brisket, Beef Meatballs, Beef Short Rib, or Grilled Chicken, served with a lemongrass and cayenne pepper infused beef broth, with a side of pho garnish. If you're feeling a little adventurous, try one of their Pho-rittos or Ramen-rittos from their fusion menu, where they bundle all sorts of Vietnamese and Japanese ingredients into a flour tortilla and pan-fry those suckers.
4. jinya ramen bar
Continuing the fusion trend, we now come to Jinya Ramen in Downtown. We absolutely ADORE the Jinya mini-tacos that come two to an order for $8. They're crispy wonton taco shells filled with either salmon poke, spicy tuna or Impossible meat substitute. If you're looking for something a little more traditional, try the Yuzu Shio Delight ($16.50), the Spicy Umami Miso Ramen ($16.80) or the Shrimp Wonton Ramen ($17.80).
5. pho crimson cafe
For the perfect, traditional Pho soup and Bahn-Mi sandwich combo, it's Pho Crimson in the West Village Uptown area, every time. We can hardly bring ourselves to try anything other than the Rare Beef Pho and a Chicken Bahn-Mi because they're both so stinkin' good. But one time we did venture outside our regular order and opted for the spicy Curry Chicken Pho, and that was outstanding as well.
6. ten ramen
Ten Ramen has locations in West Dallas near Trinity Groves and in The Colony, and this place is our JAM. The spicy Lobster Miso and, again, the Tonkatsu are our go-tos here, but you really can't go wrong just closing your eyes and pointing to anything on their menu. The West Dallas location is kind of tucked away, facing the food market in the Sylvan Thirty development, but when you find it, you'll be in noodle nirvana.
7. ngon vietnamese kitchen
Ngon on Lower Greenville is one of the Dallas Observer's 2023 100 Favorite Restaurants, and for us it's probably even further up the list. Don’t skip the bun bo Hue, with a perfect bite of spice (as long as you put in all the chili oil), to go with the ever-present, fragrant lemongrass wafting from the bowl. As an added bonus, this restaurant is women-led.
8. monkey king noodle company
Oh, Monkey King. How we love your noodles. These folks have quickly grown their noodle-based empire to five (count 'em, 5) Metroplex locations after opening their first noodle shack in Deep Ellum a few years ago. DFW just can't get enough of this place. They don't use the word Ramen for any of their dishes, but this is some of the most genius Japanese street food, much of it in a noodle-and-broth based, so we just had to include it on this list. We love the Spicy Garlic Peanut Noodles ($11) and the Beef Wonton Soup ($13), but sometimes we just want some straight-up Wontons in Chili Sauce ($12) or even just a quick bite of some Wok-fried Bok Choy ($6.50).
Everything is so bright and beautiful at Dalat Vietnamese Kitchen on Fitzhugh — we just love visiting this spot. They have so many cool and unconventional menu items to go along with some of the best Pho in town, too! Try their Bahn Mi Tacos, their Dorito-viche, their Dalat spicy pork shooters and their super-popular Dalat Rolls, which are egg rolls rolled up inside spring rolls.
10. k-pop ramen
If you hear us slurping from the bowl at K-Pop Ramen, sorry, but we're not sorry, it's just that good. Aside from your standard Ramen menu, this place also features great Bao and great Korean-style hot wings, too. We absolutely love the K-Pop Soup (pictured above, $13) and the K-Pop Seafood Soup ($17), as well as the K-Style Wings ($14 for 6 pieces), the K-Style Fries ($8) and the Oh Dang ($8), which are fried fish balls on a kebab skewer.
11. sushi axiom
Sure, they've got sushi in their name, but Sushi Axiom is known to dabble in other Japanese culinary disciplines at all five of their DFW locations, namely Ramen. Find them in Fort Worth on West 7th and on Hulen, also in Tarrant County up in North Richland Hills, or at their two Dallas-area locations: on Oak Lawn and in Addison. If you're looking for Ramen here, go with the Spicy Miso Ramen or Garlic Ramen (both $12.95), or the delicious Yakisoba ($12.95 + extra for meat).
12. Tuesday Ramen Special at Kessaku
Located on the 50th floor of The National, Kessaku is the one of the coolest and most luxurious sushi and sake lounges in town. And on Tuesdays, they do a Ramen special that is absolute FIRE. The restaurant's name means "masterpiece" in Japanese, and that's exactly what their Ramen is. The weekly Ramen feature is different every Tuesday, but they NEVER miss at Kessaku.