I believe ramen is one of the best cures for pretty much anything, a cold, a heartache and especially good for a gross rainy night. On one drizzly cold night we went to one of our favourite ramen places downtown, Tanpopo Ramen.
When you walk in the staff yell ‘irasshaimase’ across the restaurant and within seconds you’re sitting down with a menu. The place is small, but warm and friendly with a tropical vibe. Michio the owner loves scuba diving and you can tell from the decorations.
There’s usually a lot of activity going on – the staff poke fun at one another, re-stock things left and right and every order is yelled across the room to the kitchen in the back. The menu is pretty simple but if you’re new to ramen, they have a fantastic list on the back that explains each ramen’s history and taste. We ordered the Miso Ramen ($15) with extra seaweed ($1) and the Tanpopo Ramen ($15). They also have a selection of beer, wine and sake which are all good value; if you’re looking for cheap drinks in Auckland always check out the ramen shops!
I’m always amazed at the speed of the service at Tanpopo. Only three short minutes after our orders are yelled to the kitchen, our ramen arrives. Mine is overflowing with vegetables plus the extra seaweed – which I love! Sometimes other ramen joints don’t give you a lot of veggies, but Tanpopo never fails. Their miso broth is light and refreshing and the noodles are chewy and thick.
The Tanpopo Ramen looks smaller with less vegetables and thinner noodles, but the flavour is amazing! It has a smoky sesame taste that is light, but packed with flavour, giving it depth without feeling too heavy. We really like the red garlic on top as well.
Tanpopo is best for a date, a solo quick lunch, or a small group of friends. Large groups might have trouble getting tables without booking ahead. Their service never disappoints and the food warms the soul and fills you up. Also, check out the bathroom when you go, it feels like a mini tiki party!