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I have a such a deep love for ramen it actually surprises me that I had never even tried ramen until I was like 30-years-old. It’s one of those always delicious, eternally comforting dishes. As such, I am always hoping for new ramen-eating opportunities in the DMV area. As soon as I heard about Akira Ramen & Izakaya opening on Rockville Pike, I booked it over there to tear into a steaming bowl of their ramen.

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The venue itself is small, with about 40 seats, but comfortable, with spacious booths and plenty of space around the open kitchen for solo diners or those in a rush. My friend and I took over a booth so we could spread out – I need space and time to become one with my ramen. I ordered the veggie ramen, which came piping hot and enticingly fragrant. It had a light, savory vegetable broth and was chock full of veggies including bok choy, mushrooms, bean sprouts and nori, which adds this deep seafood flavor without actually incorporating any seafood.

They make and age their noodles in house which you can immediately tell upon tasting. The noodles are springy, light and chewy – exactly like they should be. Apparently the staff was trained in noodle making by Shuichi Kotani, a soba noodle master, which explains why their noodles have such great texture and flavor.

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In addition to being a ramen shop, Akira is also an izakaya. You can order all kinds of small snacks to eat before or with your ramen. We tried the seaweed fries, which were sprinkled with bits of seaweed, again adding a sort of vegetarian fish flavor to the fries which I loved. I also had the spring rolls, which were fried deliciousness, and fried tofu that came with a soy sauce based dipping sauce. There’s also fried tempura, edamame, and an avocado salad.

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Sake is in abundance, which pairs well with the small snacks, and beer and wine also available. One bonus is the price. The veggie ramen is a reasonable $11 and snacks like the fries are $5.

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The only downfall? Well, I wish Akira was closer to the city so I could go more often.

Akira Ramen & Izakaya, 1800 Rockville Pike H1, Rockville, MD 20852

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