Ramen at Kaotan (かおたんラーメンえんとつ屋 南青山店)

Ramen at Kaotan (かおたんラーメンえんとつ屋 南青山店)

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Recommended bowl: Shoyu ramen shack

Kaotan is more of a shack than a shop. It's been open for over 30 years, and is open until 5 am or 6 am depending on the day of the week. The ramen here is shoyu-based and flavored with roasted onions. It's a very simple ramen, old-school nostalgic Tokyo style. 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 dumplings are big and filling. Wontonmen (ramen with wontons) is also on the menu. The master only works during the lunchtime hours, with apprentices manning the late shift.
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 wild 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, afterhours 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.

7 / 10