Lunch for $10 at Republic Ramen and Noodle Bar
But where can you the real stuff, Ramen made fresh with actual vegetables and meat? No, you don't have to travel to Japan--or even Japantown. We stopped in for an affordable noodle lunch at Tempe's Republic Ramen and Noodle Bar on University Drive.
For under $7, Republic Ramen offers six varieties of ramen and seven other noodle dishes. Sides such as pork gyoza and seaweed salad ring up at under $3 allowing lunchers to get a full meal (ramen, side and drink) for just over $10.
For side we selected edamame and gyoza both of which only cost an extra $2. Salads and tempura will put you back an extra dollar but will still keep your total under a ten spot. If you don't feel like ramen, you can always opt for udon, similar to ramen but with thicker noodles, or soba, also similar but made with buckwheat noodles.
After ordering we grabbed seat by the large windows, which give the restaurant a pleasant open feeling. While I chose a spot on the chic but rather uncomfortable bench, my lunch companion made the wiser choice to pull up a chair.
The shio broth was light and the perfect amount of salty without feeling like a saltlick. The real star however was the tonkatsu broth, which had a full-flavor and heavier consistency. Noodles in both dishes retained a slight chewiness and vegetables were neither wilted nor overly raw.
In terms of authenticity, Republic still falls on the low end of the scale but there's no denying that they offer a tasty, filling meal at a great price. The location just off campus is also perfect for students looking for a quick bite on the way to those things you're supposed to go to...what's the word...oh right, classes.
Republic Ramen is open 11 am to 9 pm Sunday through Wednesday and stays open an hour later till 10 pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday.