Takadanobaba has gained a reputation as one of Tokyo’s fiercest Ramen battlegrounds. In a quiet back alleyway located is this popular shop called “Watanabe”.
The owner of Watanabe also works as a ramen consultant and has launched numerous shops—his influence has extended to Japan’s ramen industry.
Ramen. Their ramen bowls are made in Fukuoka Prefecture, using a traditional pottery style called Koishiwara-yaki.
The toppings include the traditional ramen ingredients which are chashu, flavored bamboo shoots, and green onions. Their flavored bamboo shoots has a bold flavor and it is very unique.
Watanabe is known for their seafood tonkotsu (gyokai tonkotsu), which has stirred a trend in the Japanese ramen industry in the past years, creating a new genre of ramen. This seafood tonkotsu can be found in several places in Japan today, however, when Watanabe first opened the concept itself was still very much new and rare.
The soup really highlights the bonito flake’s flavor but without any of the fishiness to it, as expected from a top notch Japanese ramen shop.
When they first opened in 2002 it was still a new concept, however, you can find several ramen shops that offer this seafood tonkotsu on their menu today. Despite the flood of ramen shops that started serving this trendy ramen, Watanabe still holds the title as one of the top and continues to excel with their extensive care for quality and attention to detail. The soup tasted even more refined than the last time I tried it. The interior of the shop is stylish as well. The overall atmosphere hasn’t changed—the service is always attentive and friendly, it feels great coming back here.
Watanabe has mastered the art of providing a true experience, not just through their ramen bowls but also through the shop’s atmosphere and service. It is because of this mastery that Watanabe is still standing strong today.
2-1-4 Takadanobaba, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo-to