The snow may have melted away but there are still months of gray ahead of us. If your family is fighting off the chills and cabin fever, give them a boost with a steaming hot bowl of Japanese-style ramen. You and your little foodies will enjoy picking a favorite style: shoyu (soy), shio (salt), miso (fermented soy) or tonkotsu, the ultra-rich pork broth. Read on to find out where the best spots to slurp noodles with your littles in Portland are.
Photo: Sandra V via Yelp
Boke Bowl’s two locations are the epitome of casual, kid-friendly family dining. The restaurants are spacious, with plenty of room for a high chair at the table ends. Though you order at the counter before you sit down, the roaming servers are highly attentive to any needs, including bringing plastic cups and ‘beginner’s’ chopsticks with dinosaurs connecting them.
There are lots of options for little eaters. The food is delicious, with noodles swimming in deep bowls of savory broth, and plenty of add-ons (like a creamy poached egg) available. A smaller version of the bowls, with or without broth, is available for kids, or try the steam buns in flavors like friend chicken, miso mushroom, or even PB&J! Each location has a specialty, like Dim Sum weekends on the West Side, or Thursday night Korean Fried Chicken on the East.
Boke Bowl West
1200 NW 18th
Boke Bowl East
1028 SE Water Ave.
Both locations: 503-719-5698
photo: Colleen S via Yelp
This restaurant is a huge hit in Tokyo, and recently made its US debut in Portland to much fanfare. You can find them in two locations, on SE Ankeny or the Pine Street Market. The Ankeny location has plenty of space inside and out, high chairs that clip onto the tables, and a rotating menu of ramen. Try the shoyu bone broth in regular or spicy. There are also varieties in chicken, vegan and even cold versions for hot days! Additional menu items are available as well, like rice bowls, daikon salads, pickled vegetables and gyoza dumplings.
609 SE Ankeny, Suite A
Pine Street Market
126 SW 2nd Ave.
photo: Jermel-Lynn Q via Yelp
A successful Japanese chain with outposts along the west coast, Kizuki has been hailed by the Oregonian as the best bowl of ramen in Portland. That means a busy place, but it also means bouncy noodles in rich savory broth and toppings like bamboo shoots, pork belly, roasted seaweed, chicken karaage, or a perfectly seasoned half-egg. Lots of choices and small plates give your tiny taste-testers plenty of palate teasers, and the bustling air masks any noise of happy slurping.
11830 NW Cedar Falls Dr.
photo: Joe T via Yelp
This casual sister space of Biwa is great for kids. Though there’s no kid-specific menu, the steaming bowls of ramen will hit the spot for any noodle-lover, big or small! Happy hour is from 4-6pm every day, and is the perfect way to try new things, like not-too-spicy kimchi, cheese croquettes, fried tofu, or plump gyoza dumplings. Top the meal off with a soft serve cone of genmai (green tea and brown rice), and be ready to face the rain again!
1430 SE Water Ave
Have you discovered a favorite bowl of ramen in the area? Tell us in the comments!