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YoiTei Ramen Restaurant, Yokohama

Delightful miso ramen and sui gyoza in Yamate

Winter bliss

Ramen could be a plain form of survival food when you are in a hurry, or it could become a taste of pure and absolute bliss in the cold long winter days. This is what ramen in YoiTei means. A little restaurant on Honmoku dori that makes ramenly delights for those in the neighborhood and is good enough as to attract visitors to this seemingly uneventful street.

The ramen

Ok, so you’ve been to Chinatown. A 15-minute walk, or shorter if you come from Yamate Station, will lead you to YoiTei, a ramen restaurant specialized in Miso ramen. My mouth automatically utters the words “Natto ramen, onegaishimasu”, an uncommon combination that may sound weird if you’ve never tried it but it’s remarkable... if you are in good terms with fermented soy beans, or course. Otherwise you’ll get it right with the chashyu, which contains one slice of pork They both come at the decent price of 850 yen, but there are also cheaper kinds of shoyu and salt based ramen. Any bowl is not only delicious and filling, but visually attractive with the right color combination of light brown miso based broth, thin yellowy noodles an Italian would describe as “al dente” and a fair amount of light green, white and orange fresh vegetables only slightly stir-fried so they keep their crisp bite till the end.


To start with, the place itself is inviting and cozy and elegant. Elegant? Well, yes, as elegant as a local neighborhood ramen place can get, with dark wooden interiors, zen corners and moderate lighting. Very hygienically, there is a glass panel in between the counter and the main cooking area. Of course, don’t even doubt it, you’ll be able to sit yourself and that of your companion at the longish counter fitting about 10 people, or if you come with a more extensive group, there is a small sitting area at the back which will welcome around 10 other people. And there is my favorite table by the counter, in a space that seems dug into the wall.

Interesting staff and gyoza

But to be honest, give me a stool by the counter so I can see the chef at work. It’s not because of his (bleached) sunny blonde hair, that helps, but because of his efficiency and the love for his work that oozes out of him. When he stirs the ingredients, he doesn’t do so by moving his arm, but his whole body! I’ve more than twice stared at him, mesmerized by his stirring routines. His wife is equally efficient, and as in most of these restaurants, she serves the bowls and cleans up, but is also in charge of the other star plate, the dumplings in their two varieties: sui-gyoza, the most popular, boiled in the same huge metal saucepans as the noodles, and yaki-gyoza, grilled in a large round pan. 5 of them will only cost you 400 yen. If you have cravings for their gyoza you could always buy some for takeout to cook yourself at home.

Does not fail

On the down side, you’ll need to wait longer than the average time. No soft boiled eggs, nor nori, garlic paste nor free green tea. But you know what? You won’t even miss any of it. In the past they’ve attempted at times to make some changes, such as hiring more staff, increasing the menu options or adding an extra room to make the noodles, but none lasted for long. Their original formula does not fail: quality food prepared at the very instant you order it (nothing is pre-cooked except for the pork).

Whether you are into trying different ramen joints during your visit to Japan, or if you are looking for your new weekly restaurant, Yoi-Tei won’t disappoint you. Itadakimasu!

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yukicurryandrice 12 years ago
Today's a bit cold again. This miso (and natto) ramen sounds perfect for a day like this!! Yum, yum!!

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