Today, friends, we’re going to talk about noodles. And not just any noodles—the BEST noodles in the Bay Area, according to some folks who identify as local food enthusiasts.
From ramen and udon to spaghetti and linguine, these noodle recommendations span the gamut of a dish few humans dislike. The judges? Off the Grid’s “Insiders”—a fun and diverse group of food-loving folks from around the Bay Area who are always game to eat food and talk about it with us.
We ask our OTG Insiders about what their favorite types of noodles are, their go-to spots and why they love them. Here’s what they had to say! (And if you’re interested in becoming one of these super-duper cool Insiders yourself, head here!)
20 Places To Find the Best Noodles in San Francisco, San Jose, Oakland, the Peninsula and Beyond.
1) Udon noodles from Marugame Udon
Chad, San Francisco
Why: They are fresh made noodles daily and they prep/cook them right in front of you. The broths are so aromatic and bursting with flavor. They have several different options to choose from, so you’ll never get bored. Truly some of the best noodles I have ever had.
2) Ramen noodles from Taishoken
Queena, San Francisco & Peninsula
Why: They are known for their tsukemen, which is a dipping ramen made with pork, chicken, dried anchovy, and dried bonito. You get to try the nice chewy texture of the ramen noodles and dip it into the perfect amount of rich sauce. Their pork chashu is the best I’ve ever had and goes well with the tsukemen because it’s flavorful and so tender. They also offer soupless ramen and the traditional ramen with broth. Taishoken delivers quality food and provides the chance to experience different types of ramen!
3) Wagyu beef chow fun from Palette Tea House
Amy, San Francisco
Why: I love all noodles! The wagyu beef chow fun from Palette Tea House is a splurge worthy version of a Cantonese classic. It has the typical bean sprouts and onions, but the tender beef and smoky wok fried noodles make it something extra special.
4) Ramen noodles from Ushi Taro
Lainie, San Francisco
Why: It has a small menu, maybe even a tiny menu. But everything is delicious. I love their vegan option and I order it spicy.
5) Garlic noodles from Perilla and PPQ Beef Noodle House
Erika, San Francisco
Why: So garlicky and such a nice noodle texture. Tomato Beef Pan Fried Noodles from China North. Tomato Beef reminds me of my childhood. Perfect ratio of crunchy to saucy tomato and chunks of beef.
6) Kao soi (Thai curry noodles) from Spice Me
Jennifer, San Leandro
Why: When I was working in Half Moon Bay I always craved noodle soup on those famously foggy days, but there were no convenient pho or beef noodle soup places. One day, out of desperation, I ordered the Kao Soi and haven’t gone back. The slurpable noodles, tender beef chunks, and subtly sweet coconut milk curry with a fresh squeeze of lime has never disappointed.
7) Garlic noodles from PPQ Beef Noodle House
Myra, Daly City
Why: Some places have garlic noodles, but you can barely taste the garlic, but at PPQ the noodles are garlicky and buttery.
8) Old Peking Minced Pork Noodles from Pan Fried Dumplings
Mark, East Bay
Why: Just a great mix of noodles veggies and mix seasoned perfectly
9) Pho gai (chicken) from Sai’s Vietnamese Restaurant
Sarah, San Francisco
Why: Because it has a really flavorful, clear, not overly-salted, and piping *hot* broth. Farmhouse Thai for khao soi – hefty serving of although there aren’t many places that have khao soi so I definitely could be missing a place that has a version I might like better! Also I just checked their menu and they apparently don’t even have it anymore….
10) Ramen noodles from HiroNori Craft Ramen or Ramen Nagi
Davelyn, Mountain View
Why: I’m a vegetable lover and I love how ramen is so inclusive of different kinds of foods like protein and veggies. The noodles at these spots are also very fresh and tasty.
11) Pho soups from House of Pho
Cheryl, San Jose
Why: They have flavorful pho soups and great portions.
12) Hot & Sour Noodle Soup and Duck Noodle Soup from Chong Qing Xiao Mian
Judi B., San Francisco
Why: I get warmed up with both their “Hot & Sour Noodle Soup” and “Duck Noodle Soup” Super fine fresh ingredients and unique combinations create inimitable noodle soups that rock my soul!
13) Udon noodles at Kagawa-Ya Udon
Victoria, San Francisco
Why: They’re homemade udon noodles that are thick and chewy paired with delicious broths (favorite: kitsune udon). PPQ Dungeness Island for really good garlic noodles; rivals the Anh the Go food truck. Lastly, BarZotto: Pasta counts as noodles, right? BarZotto has really good spaghetti that’s extra long, also made in house.
14) Italian pasta at Doppio Zero
Bria, Pleasant Hill
Why: It’s super authentic! There was also a food truck that came to the Pleasant Hill markets with fresh pasta and the option to create your own xombo with meat and sauce. Can’t remember their name (we miss you out here!) but they were really good too
15) Vermicelli and pad thai from Thai Farmhouse, MAU, House of Nanking
Orkid, San Francisco
Why: My favorites are Thai Farmhouse, MAU, House of Nanking (I know old news), YAMO, Noodle in a Haystack… too many places are good.
15) Ramen at Ramen Nagi
Gabrielle, San Bruno
Why: Customization options are very similar to how it is in Japan, broth is delicious; Hinodeya Ramen Bar — can order/pay bill all through phone, has vegan options, broth also delicious and large servings.
16) Pho curry chicken soup from Pho Element
Why: Always delicious, Don’t see this elsewhere Pho has a very nice balance to make the curry rich but not heavy. Gives it a delightful unctuousness.
17) Chinese-style noodles from Bund
May D., San Francisco
Why: Authentic Shanghai style soy sauce noodle. Delicious and authentic. Taiwan – very reasonable and old school style of Taiwanese noodle.
18) Dan dan style noodles from Kagawa-Ya Udon and Chefus
Why: I love spicy noodle dishes in all formats (but particularly dan dan style). It is nice to have it in deep, rich broth. I love when there is minced meat. I have had spicy beef dan dan udon noodles from Kagawa-Ya Udon. This had spicy minced beef and it had the richest broth. It came with fresh cilantro and scallion which amplified the flavor. This had homemade udon noodles.
My second favorite noodle place is from Chefus (a delivery service for the bay) and they offer spicy noodle with minced pork. It comes with fresh flavors from scallions, peanuts, and preserved mustard greens. Both places have a good variety of texture, colors, and flavor in these minced meat noodle dishes.
19) Pho from Ben Tre
Dan, Daly City
Why: Great broth, generous meat portions.
Robyn, San Francisco
Why: All of them! but garlic noodles and bun cha(y) are up there. I love the Bun Cha Gio Tofu Chay at Ben Tre in South City because I get to have vermicelli and vegetarian imperial rolls, which are surprisingly difficult to find! And their garlic noodles are super tasty and supposedly vegetarian as well. The vegetarian bun was always great at Mau in Valencia, just really flavorful. They closed, but they have their sister restaurant Tin on Howard that I’m sure is similar, so I need to head there since it’s by my work anyway.