Photo by Alexis Savary

By Gyuri Kim

The weather is getting colder, and you might want to explore for something special to warm you up. A shortcut to Tokyo is near you. Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya in Bellevue serves amazing ramen that will make you feel like you are eating on the streets of Tokyo. I previously had a bad memory of ramen, even after eating it in Japan. But having ramen at this restaurant changed my perception of ramen. Your choices in Kizuki are varied: as the name suggests Kizuki’s main dish is ramen, with options to add a variety of toppings; but the restaurant also offers many rice dish choices, as well as several attractive small plate choices like chicken karaage, takoyaki octopus dumplings and chicken wings. The top 3 favorites at Kizuki as far as ramens are garlic tonkotsu shoyu ramen, chicken rich ramen, and yuzu shio ramen.

To help you navigate the menu, “shoyu” means soy sauce, “shio” means salt. If you don’t like salty foods, you can request low sodium options. Kizuki Ramen has vegetarian options as well. Ramen prices vary from $9 to $13, and you can ask for additional noodles for $2. Both garlic tonkotsu shoyu ramen and yuzu shio ramen, from the top three of Kizuki’s ramens, are $13. The price of chicken rich ramen is $12.50. Small plates prices vary from $3 to $10.50, and the prices of rice dishes vary from $2 (side rice) to $10. You can enjoy toppings on your ramen for an additional $1 per topping. I tried tonkotsu shoyu ramen, which was recommended by my Japanese friends. It had fresh vegetables, bouncy noodles, great smelling soup, soft-cooked egg, and spring onion on it. A deeply brewed soup with bouncy noodles in Kizuki made the ordinary ramen perfect. Even though it wasn’t considered one of the most popular items on Kizuki’s menu, this dish was amazing.

“It’s as delicious as Tokyo’s ramen,” said one of my friends.

Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya is located Bellevue Square. For 5 people to have dinner on weekends, expect to wait approximately 30 minutes. It accommodates almost 90 people within the bar and tables. Compared to other popular local Asian restaurants, services were very fast. Waiters came to customers and checked how they were doing at the right time. The restaurant had a lively interior, with traditional Japanese decorations. The temperature and light made the atmosphere cozy, making it a perfect place for families to dine out. Because of that, it was quite noisy. Kizuki’s philosophy is to serve the most traditional, authentic and delicious Japanese ramen you can get without flying to Japan. Kizuki imports all of their ingredients directly from Japan to make the same style and quality of ramen as you can find in Tokyo. Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya is now expanding rapidly in the US, so I recommend that you try it.

For more information, visit the ‘Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya’ homepage