Sapporo Restaurant

DSC00399There seems to be a big split among ramen eaters in this city.  Those who love Momofuku Noodle Bar in the East Village, and those who crave a more “authentic” experience.  In many of the anti-Momofuku posts there are lists of authentic Japanese ramen bars in the city… and lucky for us one of them is right here in Midtown.

Now let me just say in advance, I am big fan of Momofuku, but I’m also up for trying new and more authentic places… and Sapporo is definetely worthy of a trip.  The first tip off is the crowd.  They are always crowded during peak lunch hours, and it’s a sit down place- so be prepared to wait. There was a line of about 8 people ahead of us, and we only waited about 5 minutes- so don’t worry too much if you only have an hour for lunch.  The food comes out pretty quick.  If you are a party of one, you should be able to get seated right away at the bar.

What we ate, and the +/- after the jump…

DSC00397Went with the Miso Ramen (first one one the list).  Big soup with pork, ground pork, and fish cakes.  Good flavor, and salty.  The pork was not the greatest quality ever, but good enough.  The noodles were great… definetely the star.  The two guys next to us had the Syoyu Ramen (soy sauce flavored soup) which also looked good.

Followed that up with some Gyoza Rice ($6.05), which was excellent but a pricing mystery to me since it was only a plate of Gyoza served with white rice… only $5.85 if you ordered the two things ala carte.  Despite being jipped our 20 cents we really enjoyed the gyoza which were awesome and definetely recommended.

DSC00398They also have various fried cutlet plates, which looked great and come with rice and soup… plus some chef’s specials that we will have to go back and try (Pork curry over rice, Japanese Fried Rice, and Yakisoba).


  • An authentic Japanese Ramen bar in midtown.
  • Great noodles
  • Quick for a sit down place
  • If you are with a friend, each get a soup and split an order of Gyoza.  Definetely the way to go.
  • Single diners get in quicker by eating at the bar


  • You may have to wait, and it is very cramped despite being a fairly big place
  • This is not a berkshire pork, East Village psudo ramen bar… this is the closest thing to the real deal (in Midtown)- so don’t go if you’re into a more Americanized experience

Saporo Restaurant, 152 W. 49th St., btw. 6th & 7th 212-869-8972


  • I’ve been to this place a few times. It looked like a disaster before they redid it. If you’re looking for good, cheap ramen this is the way to go. They give you a huge bowl with assorted ingredients. The major downside is that their their ingredients are fairly sub par. I wouldnt call anything “fresh” here and the meat looks like “pork stock”. There are not a lot of options for vegetarians either.

  • Just got back from Manhattan (11/28/07) and this place was great – loved the ramen! We wanted to go someplace where the locals ate, and this appeared to be true.

  • i went to this place when i went to visit NY for the first time in october…my friend recommended it and said they have great ramen…it was actually okay…not bad, not too good…just okay…i had better ramen….i guess its the closest thing to an authentic ramen that you can find in the city…we went here before lunch break starts and after 15minutes of being in the restaurant, the place was jampacked…there was even a line outside…so dont come here during lunch time if you want a quick bite…unless you wana come early….ill give this a 6 out of 10…

  • Momofuku’s noodles are so bad. Mushy. If M was in Asia and served those noodles, the place would close in a day.

    Sapporo is an institution. I have been going for more than 10 years, when it was purely a hangout for Japanese businessmen who wanted an authentic meal. Have been back many times since. Food is pretty good, especially considering price and noodles are 1000% better than Momo! It is a good place to go pre-theatre because they get you in and out quickly without fuss. I like Sapporo Special Ramen, curry , and Katsu Don. Stay away from wings. Gyoza’s are ok, nothing special. I have had better noodles (in Chinatown) but for midtown and for the price, you can’t beat it.

  • Sapporo is awesome! I have lived in Japan and I have to say that the Ramen you get at this restaurant is EXACTLY like what you get in Japan! Anyoneone who says that the Ramen here is sub-par or just okay should probably go to an Americanized Japanese restaurant. In fact, the reson I came on the site was in hopes that they would have a HOW-TO section. Don’t see one…sad

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    They’ve cleaned up their act over the past few years. I mean that literally. I ate there a great deal through the late 90′s, got sick twice… should have wised up after the first time, eh? The place was downright dirty until their renovation some years ago, they’ve done even more since then to brighten things up and scrape some of the accumulated grease off of various surfaces. I used to sit at the bar and one of the things that blew my mind was they’d chop raw chicken up on the same cutting board they’d slice cooked pork and chicken cutlets on without cleaning it. They’d take a swipe with a dirty rag just to get the bits off and the rag was used for all sorts of other things and used again on the cutting board. And they’d do it over and over and over again as I sat there. I stopped ordering the delicious cutlets after my first view of this and stuck to noodles with cooked products in them. As slap dash as it is, Menkui-Tei is a much more authentic, much better tasting “go to” noodle shop. Again, Sapporo has cleaned itself up but I rarely eat there due to bad memories.

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