Ramen is a reliably satisfying, complex dish. Like a superb mole, the best ramen depends on deeply layered flavors developed over time from quality ingredients. The appetite for carefully crafted ramen has only increased over the last decade here in New York City, and there are no signs of its popularity slowing down. Check out the best ramen restaurants in New York on Caviar, ranked in order of popularity, for an anytime bowl of comfort.
1. Chuko Ramen
Chuko means "vintage" in Japanese — befitting of a ramen restaurant in Brooklyn, the borough whose brand was built on the vintage aesthetic. Chuko’s now been operating out of its brownstone storefront for more than ten years, which perhaps isn’t enough for it to be considered “vintage,” but it’s an accomplishment nonetheless. Regulars love their crispy fish sauce-laden chicken wings in addition to that ramen. Whether you’re a meat eater or vegetarian, a good place to start is the popular sesame garlic ramen with wood ear mushrooms, mustard greens, and scallions; pick a protein (roast pork, crispy tofu), and add an egg. Perfection.
2. Ivan Ramen
Whether you’re new to the ramen craze or not, you may have heard of Ivan Orkin, the chef who is arguably the greatest force behind the culinary ascension of this dish in the five boroughs. Trained in Japan, chef Orkin popularized this dish here in 2013 after opening two spots in East Asia. The sides deserve their own spotlight, so be sure to add some Japanese fried chicken or crispy eggplant into your cart.
3. South Slope Ramen
There are more than a dozen versions of ramen on the menu at this Brooklyn darling, the most inventive of which is the soy sauce-based ramen with Mexican-style birria beef. Another ramen employs hot and sour egg drop soup. The whole menu has a fusion feel: There’s pork katsu with Japanese-style curry sauce, shrimp fried rice, and tuna poke. It’s a grab bag, but a consistently delicious one.
4. Jun-Men Ramen
Opened in Chelsea in 2015, Jun-Men Ramen is a noodle parlor without pretense. Executive chef Jun Park serves a succinct menu of nuanced ramen, each of which shines in its own unique way. The dry-style (i.e., no broth) uni mushroom ramen combines roasted pancetta, porcini butter, truffle oil, fried shallots, and Parmesan cheese in an unexpectedly delicious way, the superfresh uni lying atop adds a luxurious richness. The veggie ramen might look straightforward with the mushroom miso broth and generous portions of wild mushrooms, but the creaminess is due to sesame purée. Genius.
Brooklynites love to DIY, whether that’s canning their summer tomatoes, building their (questionably legal) roof decks, or building their own ramen bowl. Both the classic tonkotsu and veggie ramens here are customizable. Choose your spice level, whether you want scallions or extra noodles, how rich you’d like your broth, and more. If you want to go the extra DIY mile and cook it yourself, order Ichiran’s take-home ramen kit, which has a long shelf life and easy-to-follow instructions.
6. Minca Ramen Factory
Here’s a ramen restaurant that was years in the making — and has been open almost as many years as it took to incubate. Chef-owner Shigeto Kamada spent 20 years tasting authentic ramen in Tokyo and reading and watching everything he could about this most soulful of Japanese dishes before opening Minca in 2004. His broth is made from vast amounts of pork bones and chicken bones, and utilizes heartyJapanese ingredients like seaweed, dried bonito, and dried shiitake mushrooms imported from Japan. You can taste all his hard work in the most popular bowl, Minca Sio Ramen, or pork bone soup.
7. E.A.K. Ramen West Village and E.A.K. Ramen Hell's Kitchen
E.A.K. started in Machida City, Japan, in 2008 with a mission of bringing the lesser-known Iekei style of ramen to the world. (It’s a blend of creamy tonkotsu and Tokyo-style chicken shoyu.) Less than a decade later, the West Village location opened its doors and has earned scores of fans, as has the newer Hell’s Kitchen outpost. The signature E.A.K. Ramen, thick, bold, and delicious with grated garlic on top, is the best way to get acquainted with this style.
8. Jin Ramen West Harlem and Jin Ramen Upper West Side
Jin Ramen, which has repeatedly earned Michelin Bib Gourmand nods, opened its first spot in New York City in 2012 and has since opened two more. The spicy tonkotsu, which has received accolades from Eater, is alway a great way to go here. There are 25 optional add-ins available, from tofu and enoki mushrooms to sesame oil and a pork-seasoned egg. The kimchi ramen is made for people who like a little spice. If you’re craving something cool in the summer months, check out the hiyashi chuka. Served cold, this seasonal special has cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomatoes and is dressed in a refreshing lemon soy vinaigrette dressing.
9. Kuu Ramen
The menu at Kuu Ramen in lower Manhattan reflects centuries of family cooking showcasing mostly traditional dishes, all skillfully cooked. That extends to the ramen. They have nine varieties — all excellent — but we are partial to the Kuu Chili Chili Ramen with chicken and fish broth, spicy ground chicken, Kakuni pork, egg, green onion, bamboo, sesame, panko, chili skin, and chili oil. It’s unforgettable.
10. Hide-Chan Ramen
Ramen runs in the family at Hide-Chan. Hideto Kawahara opened Hide-Chan Ramen in Japan in 1993, and his father has run Daruma Ramen in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, for more than 50 years. Hideto brought his creamy pork hakata tonkotsu to New York ‘s Midtown and has since been recognized by Eater, Gothamist, and The New York Times. They recommend starting with the spicy garlic ramen with mushrooms and pork. No arguments here.
11. Ten-Ichi Ramen
For nearly seven years, Ten-Ichi has been feeding Park Slope ramen fans. And with seven varieties on the menu, along with three special versions just for kids (chicken, veggie, or pork), Ten-Ichi has a ramen for almost anyone. The spicy Tan Tan Ramen with ground pork, fish cake, and corn is worthy of your attention and appetite.
12. Ramen Ishida
If you’ve only tried tonkotsu ramen, likely the most popular in America, Ishida has something different (and still equally delicious) for you. Chef-owner Yohei Ishida (formerly of Ippudo) opened this eponymous ramen shop in 2017. He embarked on a mission to introduce New Yorkers to ramen in the style of his hometown, Tokyo, which is made with clear chicken broth, and is every bit as flavorful as creamy tonkotsu broth.