Ramen Tatsu-ya is my favorite and a crowd favorite ramen restaurant in Austin, Texas. Read on to learn why it’s one of the best restaurants in Austin.
They say you never forget your first love.
Ramen Tatsu-ya was my first taste of ramen not from a Styrofoam container requiring you to sprinkle in a slightly questionable flavor packet, and they had me at first slurp.
In my eyes, Ramen Tatsu-ya is the OG ramen shop in Austin, Texas. At least, it was the first ramen-focused restaurant while other restaurants had it on their menus among other items. When it opened in 2012, every foodie was talking about the place and clamoring to get a taste. The line was out the door all the time. And eyes wide, Austin foodies were thinking – this is what I’ve been missing?! In addition to the fact that Ramen Tatsu-ya excels in their offerings, Austinites had yet to taste “restaurant ramen” or ramen in Austin.
The ramen craze had arrived in Austin.
The restaurant woos with its simple yet appealing Japanese-inspired design, fashioned in red, white, and black. Wood features (usually tables) are seen throughout the restaurant. The counter-service makes ordering easy but study up on the menu before you arrive to not make people behind you in line antsy. The outside of the South Lamar location features a large mural.
For all you newbies, ramen is a Japanese dish (though some argue it’s Chinese) with a rich and filling broth. There are different variations of broth, and tonkotsu broth is made from pork bones. Many times broth is flavored with soy or miso. Nevertheless, the broth is usually boiled for hours for the depth of its flavors. For toppings, you’re likely to see chashu, which is braised pork belly, and ajitama, which is a marinated soft boiled egg, in ramen.
I tend to stick with what I know I like when it comes to ramen, so I’m loyal to the Tonkotsu Original. It’s pork bone broth with chashu, ajitama, woodear mushroom, and scallion. They also have a menu of bombs and extra toppings if you want to add more spice or make your bowl heartier. If I ever let myself stray from the original, I would go for the Ramen Tsukemen, the dipping ramen. If you’re vegetarian, they also make a Veggie Ramen here.
Don’t forget the drinks! The Sugardog is sake, fresh grapefruit juice, mint, and a sea salt rim. Check out their happy hour from 2-6pm for drink specials.
The order without additions usually fills me up, but sometimes I can’t help but indulge in their appetizers and sides. The Munchie Katsu Slider is a panko beef patty on a Hawaiian roll. It’s crispy and juicy, and can I put katsu sauce on everything? My other favorite is the Sweet & Sour Yodas or also known as spicy Brussel sprouts.
The great thing about ordering at the counter is that you have no choice but to get dessert before you know if you’ll be able to fit it in. Yuzupioca is a Japanese citrus tapioca with strawberry, basil, and pink peppercorn crumble. They also have Gotcha Matcha, a matcha pudding with kukoto crunch, and blackberries. The desserts come in small sizes, which is the perfect amount after a big bowl of ramen.
It’s hard for other lovers to live up to a first love, and so far, Ramen Tatsu-ya has proven to be deserving of all the love and awards and honors it receives. When you’re in Austin and looking for ramen, this is the place to go!
Locations and Hours
- North Austin: 8557 Research Blvd #126, Austin, TX 78758
- South Austin: 1234 S. Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX 78704
- Hours for both locations: 11am-10pm daily
- Houston, you’re in luck! Go to 1722 California Street, Houston, TX 77006. Same Hours.
Have you been to Ramen Tatsu-ya? What’s your go-to order?