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Katsu's shoyu (foreground) and tan tan ramens. —Photo by Sarah Boyum

Top Ramen

Where to dig into Denver's piping-hot ramen scene.

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KATSU RAMEN

For all of its ethnic eateries, Aurora has typically been devoid of notable ramen houses. Not anymore. Katsu Ramen chef Shinsuke Hirao, who earned his cred in Osaka, Japan, serves traditional ramens. Try the spicy chicken version with thick noodles and peppery broth. 1930 S. Havana St., Aurora, 303-751-2222


UNCLE

If a line out the door is a sign of a good spot, Uncle in LoHi is winning. Fans clamor for Tommy Lee’s boldly flavored ramens, all six of which are built on dynamic, layered broths that can hold up to the spice and umami-rich flavors of the toppings. And heck, if your noodles need more heft, Lee offers sides of what he calls “umami bombs”—such as miso-bacon jam and spicy seven-pepper paste. 2215 W. 32nd Ave., 303-433-3263

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OSAKA RAMEN

Good things take time—like the tonkotsu ramen at Osaka Ramen. The stock, which gets its rich pork flavor from boiled pig femurs and feet, is simmered for 36 to 48 hours before it hits your bowl. Chef-owner Jeff Osaka then tops the soup with pickled ginger, marinated braised pork belly, and a poached egg. 2611 Walnut St., 303-955-7938; 2817 E. Third Ave., 303-524-9229


SAKURA HOUSE

The smell of bubbling soup greets you at this downtown spot, which is home to an extensive ramen menu. The nine options include the standout umani, in which stir-fried zucchini, carrots, cabbage, and beef accompany the silky broth. The wavy noodles cling to the stock—and each other—in such a way that you may ask for “kaedama,” a second serving. 1255 19th St., 303-292-2323


SAKANA SUSHI & RAMEN

This spot ladles out five styles of ramen: thick-brothed curry topped with fried chicken; spicy miso with marinated pork; soy-heavy shoyu; vegetarian; and traditional shio ramen. Go for the shio, with its subtle, salty broth and tender pork—and stir in butter and corn, popular add-ons in northern Japan. 7520 Sheridan Blvd., Westminster, 303-429-6646


BONES

Not all ramen spooned up around town is of the traditional ilk. Bones in Capitol Hill bends the rules and mixes and matches ingredients and cuisines. The shop plays with influences as diverse as French beurre blanc in the lobster ramen and hominy and Cotija cheese in the green chile bowl. In this kitchen, newfangled combos will reward you for breaking with tradition. 701 Grant St., 303-860-2929

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