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Ganko Ittetsu Ramen

Fred Chang

Photos and words by Amanda DeJesus

More and more ramen shops are finding a home in the Boston area, and one of the best is Ganko Ittetsu. This restaurant is the definition of a hole-in-the-wall: it’s located in Coolidge Corner’s Arcade building and seats twenty-five at most. The sign out front only has Japanese characters, so you really have to know where you’re going. But trust me, this is worth the effort.

Ganko Ittetsu, number 20 on Boston Magazine’s list of top 25 new restaurants, showcases Sapporo style ramen. Sapporo is a city with a climate similar to Boston’s, so it made sense to bring the cooking styles here. What makes it different from your typical bowl of noodles? The ingredients are all caramelized in a wok before they are combined with the broth, adding depth of flavor and aroma.

Ganko Ittetsu keeps the menu simple with three different options: the traditional miso, shoyu, or spicy tan tan. Each bowl comes with a unique set of ingredients, but you can add extras as well, such as black garlic oil, Gan-Kara (a chili paste that adds a lot of spice), or extra pork/noodles.

The miso ramen, which comes with simmered pork that falls apart in your mouth, had an incredible broth with a lot of umami flavor. It pairs particularly well with the Gan-Kara. I got the tan tan ramen, which has a spicy sesame broth and ground pork. It had just the right amount of spice and texture variation. The noodles were chewy and obviously fresh and the toppings (corn, sesame seeds, and scallions, to name a few) were beautifully presented. Even the vegetarians were enjoying themselves: they got five-minute-eggs and veggie broth in place of the pork.

The service was attentive and swift, and the juxtaposition of the old-school-cool decor and the modern indie music was fun. The space is cozy and warm, particularly this time of year when the surrounding Arcade area is filled with Christmas music and decor. Plus, pro-tip: they are on the Nowait App, which allows you to check in to a restaurant when you are on your way. So next time you’re in the need of a steamy bowl of noodles, make sure to hit up Ganko Ittetsu, you won’t be disappointed!

Ganko Ittetsu
(617) 730-8100
318 Harvard St #3,
Brookline, MA 02446