The Absolute Best Bowls of Ramen in Chicago
The ultimate cold-weather dinner.
Ramen is a perfect food. In its least refined form, the block of instant ramen offers a 2 am respite, and a canvas for home cooks to add soft boiled eggs, green onions, rotisserie chicken, and whatever else their munching heart desires. At its best, though, ramen is a feast for each and every one of the senses: Bright colors swirl in the bowl; broth flavor-bombs the tongue with umami, salt, and spice; and there's that signature soft, pleasantly chewy texture of a perfectly cooked noodle. The only drawback might be all those loud slurping sounds. Experience all of that and more at these—the best ramen shops in Chicago, each available for pick-up and delivery during these trying times.
Logan Square, Lakeview
Furious Spoon has been taking over Chicago at lightning speed. The chain is hard to miss, with its graffitied aesthetic and hip-hop bursting out the door of every location, the staff inside hard at work whipping up winter lockdown comforts. The ramen snobs of Chicago will insist this isn’t where you can get the best bowl, but the broth is rich and hearty, the options are endless, and the fun vibe comes through hard. To boot, they’ve recently added a boatload of booze for delivery and pick-up, including stellar sake bombs. Take that, pandemic.
How to order: Call 773-770-3559 for Logan Square and 773-697-9085 for Lakeview or order online via Caviar (Logan Square, Lakeview), GrubHub (Logan Square, Lakeview), Uber Eats (Logan Square, Lakeview), PostMates (Logan Square), and DoorDash (Wicker Park)
You have got to try the pork belly ramen here. It’s thick and tender and served in massive portions. The vegetable ramen is also some of the best in the city, and if you’re looking to branch out to other dishes, this place has some great donburi (rice bowl dishes), too. It’s a small, casual spot with fast and friendly service, perfect for a quick take-out lunch or lazy night in.
How to order: Call 773-857-0117 or order online via ChowNow, Uber Eats, GrubHub, and Postmates
Wicker Park, New City
If you’re thinking Kizuki, the Shoyu Ramen (pork broth flavored with slightly sweet soy sauce from Japan’s Yamaguchi prefecture) is a fantastic place to start. The bones are roasted before they’re boiled into stock, resulting in an almost creamy, intensely flavorful base. Both locations boast speedy and efficient delivery, making them an excellent choice for warming your belly without battling that biting winter wind.
How to order: Call 773-270-4150 for Wicker Park and 312-285-2775 for New City or order online via Caviar (Wicker Park, New City), GrubHub (Wicker Park, New City), Uber Eats (Wicker Park, New City), PostMates (Wicker Park, New City), and DoorDash (Wicker Park, Lakeview)
This sleek, modern outpost puts a lovely twist on traditional ramen noodles by weaving in French and Italian influences, taking the comfort food theme to an entirely new level. In addition to eight delectable ramen variations, they also stock a bounty of small plates from pillowy buns stuffed with tender duck breast and daikon sprouts to pan-seared portobello mushrooms. And don’t sleep on the creme brulee with espresso caviar for dessert—sweet dreams are honestly made of these.
How to order: Call 773-360-8791 or order via Oiistar’s online portal for pick-up
The northwest suburbs have long been rife with world-class Japanese joints, but this humble strip mall storefront might just be the area’s most beloved ramen supplier. The cheery noodle shack peddles a particularly delicious pork tonkotsu teeming with succulent braised pork in complex, slow-simmered broth. An enticing Taiwanese take, kicked up with spicy ground pork and laden with soft, toothy egg noodles, is another sure bet.
How to order: Call 847-496-4189 or order online via GrubHub and Postmates
Misoya’s heaping bowls of wonderfully umami-forward—and markedly reasonably priced—ramen is well worth a trip out to the ‘burbs. It’s a humble spot that takes its stock seriously, guiding curious noodleheads through a handful of miso variations each with their own distinct flavors and aromas. There’s also toppings aplenty, so prepare to meet your dream bowl.
How to order: Call 847-437-4590 or order via Ramen Misoya’s online portal for pick-up
River North, Fulton Market, Streeterville
Ramen-San’s heated patio would be a great place to take a first date, but considering we should all be limiting our social circles, swinging by to slurp down a solo lunch shouldn’t be out of the question. In fact, their $16 Express Lunch is a must-try. Pick a rice plate, a ramen, and beverage, and enjoy. This is also a great spot for drinks and apps like chicken wings, dumplings, buns, and more, both in-person and from the comfort of your living room. (Also delivery and take-out orders arrive in super adorable containers made to look like old-school boomboxes.)
How to order: Make a reservation on the heated patio through Tock (River North, Fulton Market), call 312-377-9950 for River North, 773-645-0085 for Fulton Market, and 312-767-4075 for Streeterville, or order take-out and delivery online via Caviar (River North, Fulton Market, Streeterville), GrubHub (River North, Fulton Market, Streeterville), Uber Eats (River North, Fulton Market, Streeterville), PostMates (River North, Fulton Market, Streeterville), ChowNow (River North, Fulton Market), and DoorDash (River North, Fulton Market, Streeterville)
Ramen Takeya, sister restaurant to Menya Goku in West Ravenswood and Wasabi in Logan Square (also on this list), specializes in chicken paitan ramen, featuring a lighter, more nuanced broth than you might find at other noodle joints. The restaurant is designed to look like a Tokyo alleyway and the heated patio is about as romantic as it gets—especially when you throw in a few Green Geisha cocktails.
How to order: Make a reservation on the heated patio through Tock, call 312-666-7710, or order online via Toast and Postmates
South Side slurpers already know the magic that is Shinya’s ramen menu, a dense lineup of 15 (!!) different styles that run the gamut from soulful classics like Hakata tonkotsu and Sapporo miso to tomato vegetable with earthy matcha noodles and zesty yuzu chicken. The rest of the bill is equally adventurous, including a huge spread of grilled specialties and tongue-tickling starters like fried milk bread.
How to order: Call 312-877-6008 or order online via GrubHub, Caviar, DoorDash, Uber Eats, and Shinya's website
Chinatown, Lakeview, Hyde Park
Strings remains one of Chicago’s most popular ramen shops, not only because of their satisfying bowls but also for their dedication to educating folks about the dish’s fascinating background. Menus, available online as PDFs, showcase a fun map of Japan dotted with ramen-specific locations plus historical notes, terminology, and pro tips on how to optimize your slurping experience. And if you live for spice, make a beeline to their famous Hell Ramen, flavored with a fiery combination of spicy pickles, spicy ground pork and baby clams, and, according to the menu, “hot pepper and chili made from hell.”
How to order: Call 312-374-3450 for Chinatown, 773-661-6442 for Lakeview, and 773-633-2797 for Hyde Park or order online via SlickMenus (Chinatown, Lakeview, Hyde Park), Caviar (Chinatown, Lakeview), GrubHub (Chinatown,Lakeview, Hyde Park), Uber Eats (Chinatown, Lakeview, Hyde Park), PostMates (Chinatown, Lakeview), and DoorDash (Chinatown, Lakeview, Hyde Park)
This upbeat Wicker Park dumpling specialist from Charlie Trotter alum chef Bill Kim is a wise choice for ramen newcomers as there’s only two bowls on the streamlined menu. Of course, they’re both delicious—especially the “Phat” option that incorporates plump housemade pork dumplings—and if you decide you’d like to follow it up with some curry pho, Thai fried chicken, or togarashi fries, you’re more than covered.
How to order: Call 773-904-8606 or order online via Caviar, DoorDash, Ritual, and Postmates
Wasabi is a Japanese-owned restaurant that offers both traditional and contemporary Izakaya-style dishes. They prepare the broth by boiling pork bones for days (yes, days!), and the effort totally pays off the second you dip your chopsticks into the velvety layers. Snag a spot on this Logan Square hipster haven’s heated patio or trade the skinny jeans for PJ pants and take yours to-go—either way, be sure to try the pork belly and kimchi spring rolls while you’re at it.
How to order: Make a reservation on the heated patio through Tock, call 773-227-8180 or order online via Toast
In the Before Times, ramen fiends used to line up around the block to score a table at this subterranean Fulton Market noodle den. And while the pandemic put the kibosh on that particular evidence of High Five’s eminence, their revved up delivery and pick-up service certainly gets the job done (plus, no more standing outside in the cold). Your choices might be limited to just two, here, but the customizable heat level, which ranges form no spice to the face-melting kanabo, keeps you on your toes.
How to order: Order pick-up through Toast and delivery via Caviar, DoorDash, and Uber Eats
The newest of Satoko Takeyama and Jee H. Kim’s growing Wasabi empire, this contemporary noodle shop centers around updated, globally influenced recipes prepared with premium farm-to-table ingredients. Case and point, their signature tantanmen ramen, a riff on Sichuan dan dan noodles that weaves together Berkshire pork bone broth, braised ground pork spiked with miso, and mouth-numbing peppercorns, or the Modern Shoyu, a picture of culinary refinement with its free range chicken and dashi broth, sous vide pork and chicken, and luscious ajitama egg.
How to order: Call 773-942-6701 or order online via Toast and Postmates
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