Noodle Heaven

Review of Local Soup Spots


Photo by Anthony Whiting

For this winter season, a good bowl of soup is the perfect remedy. Pictured above is the new storefront of Ramen512, which is open Wednesday through Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. as well as Saturday and Sunday during mid-day lunch times and the evening. Pho and Ramen have a variety of options just to one’s liking and provide a great hearty meal to stay healthy in cold temperatures.

Anthony Whiting, Reporter

Although the first day of winter isn’t until Dec. 21, it feels like it has already arrived for Central Texans not conditioned to cold weather like myself. Recently, I’ve gravitated towards having more soup or broth based meals and had to review some local restaurants. Soups can be both hardy and filling with countless variations in preparation and national origin. I will be reviewing Ramen and Pho (two types of noodle soup of Japanese and Vietnamese origin)from four different restaurants.


This spot opened recently and it’s the closest location to the school campus. It’s located next to Randall’s on Cypress Creek. I ordered the Signature Shoyu option. This ramen included chicken and pork, a variety of vegetables, and a fish cake. It was very appealing to the eye, but I wish there was slightly more broth for all the toppings and the thicker style of noodles. It was also the most expensive dish I reviewed, but only by a few dollars, and they provide even more add-ins such as soft boiled eggs, pork belly and nori, which I appreciate. Overall, I rate this ramen a 6/10 with room for improvement as they transition from their soft open hours.

Pho Thanh Nhi

Located in the 1890 Ranch Shopping Center, this is not my usual spot to order pho, but I was impressed. I ordered their pho with round steak, which is a leaner cut of meat that comes out piping hot in a big bowl of broth. I loved the herbal qualities of mint, which was missing from the dish at Pho Saigon. The vegetable toppings come out separately and the sauces and pastes are on the table so you can add the level of spice of your desire. The noodles are thinner than most ramen dishes, so it is a matter of individual preference. I rate this a 8/10.

Michi Ramen

At Michi Ramen, I ordered their Sapporo Ramen, a different style of ramen than what I ordered at Ramen512. The creamy broth served was plenty of toppings with a slice of butter. It included a cut of pork, corn, bean sprouts, mushrooms, and green onions. The noodles are thick and chewy with a pleasant nutty flavor and the broth is very savory. The corn surprised me in that it reminded me of tortilla soup, which I also love. I rate this a 7/10.

Pho Saigon

Finally, the place that started my love for pho. Located in the Chinatown Center off N Lamar in Austin, it is always busy, with almost every table full on some occasions at lunch hour, with groups of everyone ranging from police to office workers indulging. The table service is insanely fast and I don’t know of a quicker wait time than this, even though pho is easily assembled once made. I got the same eye round steak dish also known as Pho Tai. I added some sprigs of basil, bean sprouts, jalapenos, lime, hoisin sauce and chili paste. Along with the friendly service, I think I will always remember the grandmother-like cashier or manager that is always at the front with her stern and steadfast attitude for some odd reason. I may be biased in this rating, but Pho Saigon gets a 9.5/10 because nothing is perfect.

Overall, I enjoyed all of these restaurants I visited and the cheerful mood I had afterwards. Unlike other common soups, pho and ramen are specially made in-house and have carbs in the noodles to balance the other ingredients. Collagen in the broth is beneficial to human connective tissue as well as bones, teeth and hair. Any of these ramen or pho dishes were just right to warm up on a cold day and hopefully keep me prepared for any future winter battles.