The Atlanta Ramen Smackdown

The Atlanta Ramen Smackdown

Photo of Creative Loafing Atlanta

Atlanta's ramen scene has simmered for years throughout the city's farther reaches, from Marietta to Suwanee and back to Buckhead. More recently, the simmer has boiled over in the heart of the city.

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    Jinbei's tonkotsu came with a heavy sprinkling of sesame seed that overwhelmed the aroma of the broth. Amidst the brown on brown shades in the bowl, an oval slice of pork atop the noodles looked dry and unappetizing, and tasted the same.
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    Umaido's tonkotsu bears a slick of black garlic oil on its surface, adding a heady aroma that works well with the tangle of mushrooms and runny-yolked egg. Umaido's noodles are thinner than most with a great springy bite to them.
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    Taka's tonkotsu is an eye-pleasing work of art, splashes of red pickled ginger playing off green onion and the pure white and yellow of an almost-firm sliced egg, all masterfully placed inside the ceramic bowl.
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    Raku's tonkotsu is a big, broad, gorgeous bowl of ramen. It's topped with two brown-around-the-edges slices of pork belly, bright red pickled ginger slivers, and a pile of crisp bean sprouts and sliced scallions.
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    Gato's ramen was certainly the least traditional of the group. The housemade, tea-infused noodles were chewy and firm with a starchy, almost nutty flavor. The shimmering broth packed a pork-y punch, though maybe a bit too much salt.
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