Sshhh…Ani Ramen Is Open In Montclair

ani

An amazing ramen house opened in Montclair. Don’t tell anyone.

ramen

You can understand how I might want to keep the news of Ani Ramen in Montclair a secret. There are certain favorite meals in my family, and ramen (the real stuff) is at the top of the list. Finding authentic ramen usually meant a trip to Manhattan or Mitsuwa Market in Edgewater. Now, Ani Ramen House in Montclair (officially open today after a soft open last week) has made our ramen dreams come true. We just want to be able to get a table.

Walk into Ani Ramen House and your first impression is a fun, funky feast for your eyes. The bold black and white decor makes the most of the restaurant’s modest space. We loved the attention to detail –light fixtures dripping from the ceiling like ramen noodles, newspaper wallpaper on one wall and a whimsical black and white mural on the other.

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The menu offers several types of ramen –including a vegetarian broth — and the option to add in marinated soft boiled egg, braised pork belly or pork shoulder as well as homemade seasoning oils so you can kick up the level of spice/heat to your individual liking.

The noodles glistening in our bowls of ramen were incredible and plentiful (if you still crave more, you can order extra for $2). Our host Luck shared that the noodles are from Sun Noodle, the Teterboro-based noodle factory that supplies to Momofuku Noodle Bar. Nary a noodle was left as we emptied our bowls, enjoying comfort food much closer to home.

dumplings

What we tried and liked (make that loved): Classic Ani ramen, spicy miso ramen, sea salt and chili charred edamame, pork buns with spicy miso mayo and beautiful crispy gyoza — handmade pork-garlic and chive dumplings (above) with a soy sauce-chili oil dipping sauce each created with its own a crunchy “sea fan.”

What we want to come back and try: The brothless ramen and the upcoming duck “ramen project.”

Ani Ramen’s tag line is Slurp. Sip. Repeat.

We are happy to follow these orders again and again.

Ani Ramen, 401 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair, 973.744.3960

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Different Noodle place, Ani’s owner is the son of the family that owns Spice next door. This place is one of the most exciting new additions in town. Been there twice already, and planning a third trip. Don’t miss the wings and ask for some of the Kimchi on the side. The pickled vegetables that come with the Gyoza are also special.

  2. msmr – You are correct. Until recemntly, Noodle Cafe was located at 401 Bloomfiekd Ave.

    I am as perplexed as you.

    Same owners? Different owners? Barista, can you help clarify?

  3. Noodle Cafe was operated by the same woman who owns Spice II. She made the decision to close the Cafe and concentrate on Spice II. She told us her son is the owner/operator of Ani. From all early reports, it sounds like a winner. We’ll be sampling it either tomorrow or Friday. Can’t wait.

  4. Wish them the best of luck. Be sure to read their detailed instructions on how to properly eat Ramen on their web site. There have been so many restaurants at this location — Noodle Cafe, Kei Kabob, Habaneros Restaurant just to name a few. Wish there was better parking in this area. But then again don’t we all wish there was better parking in all of Montclair.

  5. Are the folks that own Spice II in Montclair the same people who own Spice in Bloomfield?

  6. No. On the Spice web site they specifically state that they are not affiliated with Spice II.

  7. I’m smiling a bit because ramen (the cheap kind) was an important staple in my diet as a poor college student (as it was with many college students). It has certainly come a long way since then.

  8. Thanks softrider. We love the Spice in Bloomfield but never been to the Montclair Spice.

    Mrs M, I still get nostalgic for my college days when I see those ramen packs at the grocery store. I can taste the MSG laden salty goodness now.

  9. The woman who owns Spice in Montclair, Sherrie, was the original owner of Spice, on Belleville Ave., in Bloomfield.

  10. FYI there’s a world of difference between Nissan’s Cup of Noodles or the cheap ramen packs with their dry soup/spice/msg packets which we all use to eat (and perhaps still do) during our college days compared to the quality and taste of ramen which you can get in Japan or a good ramen restaurant in America. Much of this is due to the time and trouble they take to prepare the underlying broth of the ramen dish. Then there is the quality of the noodles and the additional ingredients you choose to add to the dish.

    If you don’t mind subtitles but you’re interested in seeing an old but entertaining movie about starting a ramen restaurant, check out “Tampopo” which is available in the Montclair library. Otherwise a popular TV series about Japanese culture had a couple of segments on raman. Here are some links to the YouTube copies of these programs:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RosUc9UVuos&feature=kp

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6-ICLjZiWM

  11. Tried it, liked it! Will definitely go back to try other dishes. I had the miso ramen, which was very good, although a little spicier than I am used to. The ramen noodles were everything I expected and more. The staff is polite, the service was excellent, and the decor is “downtown chic.” The only thing (and this is not a criticism, just a suggestion) would be to put more veggies in the soup.

  12. Thank G-d we made a reservation tonight…the place was mobbed with people waiting outside. Food all as advertised – we can’t wait to go back. The only issue was the ventilation. It got stuffy until they opened the front door as we requested.

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