Kaotan | かおたんラーメンえんとつ屋 南青山店
Style: Tokyo-style Shoyu w/ Onions
Bowl to Crush: Ramen | ラーメン
Most Tokyo party people have ended up at Kaotan for a drunken bowl of ramen at least once. Easily accessible from the nightlife epicenter of Roppongi, it's located in the heart of Nishi-Azabu, an area that's otherwise bereft of really great ramen shops.
Kaotan is more of a shack than a shop. It's been open for over 30 years. People keep coming back for three simple reasons: it's open late; the atmosphere is funky and the ramen ain't bad. The shop interior is set up so that you often end up sitting at the same table as strangers. Since it's a late-night spot and most customers come here drunk, it can be an interesting place to strike up a conversation. If you want to impress an out-of-town friend with your knowledge of Tokyo's hidden, after-hours spots, this is your place.
The ramen here is shoyu-based and flavored with roasted onions. It's a very simple ramen, similar to Chorori in Ebisu. After some heavy drinking, the soup is especially delicious. The onions give it a sweet taste, which is by far the bowl's best feature. The chashu is juicy and fairly respectable. The gyoza are big and filling. Wontonmen is also on the menu.
The master only works during the lunchtime hours. Apprentices man the late shift, so the food falls off a bit after dark. It makes our list thanks to its location, late-night hours and predictably unpredictable atmosphere.
Opening Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:30am-5am; Fri-Sat: 11:30am-6am
Days Closed: Sunday
2-34-30 Minami Aoyama, Minato-Ku, Tokyo