The 33 Best Ramen Shops in America

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

Ramen used to cost 10 cents. Now it costs a trained crew of culinary professionals several days of their lives watching broth boil.

Like a pot of pork bones, ramen's popularity has been simmering for a long time. In the year since we released our initial list of the 21 best shops in the country, the noodle trend has reached a full boil, so much so that we felt the need to expand our list to a whopping 33 ramen-yas. Since making great ramen is a time-honored art, our new list pays respect to some of the more iconic trailblazers, as well as celebrates a few promising newcomers. Happy slurping!

Bassanova
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Bassanova Ramen

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
New York, NY
 
What you're getting:
Tondaku green curry
Description

The second-generation Japanese-American chef at Bassanova was such a ramen geek that he made a pilgrimage to Japan to learn the craft, only to return to the States to post up in NYC's Chinatown and supply the Big Apple's noodle-fiends with one of the country's most unique slurpables: the Tondaku green curry, a fiery Thai-inspired broth that's simmered for 12 hours -- and makes the perfect complement to caramelized slices of Berkshire pork.

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Biwa
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Biwa

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Neighborhood/Location
Portland, OR
 
What you're getting:
 House hybrid ramen broth with smoked pork shoulder
Description

It's easy to look past Biwa with Portland's wealth of ramen options. And also because they don't have a sign. But after seven years, the city's trailblazing ramen-ya is still ladling out the best ramen in town from the basement of an old church. The hybrid pork/chicken/tare broth is a solid defense against Portland's relentlessly grey climate, and a ton of other izakaya and sushi options have you covered in the warmer months.

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Boxer Ramen
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Boxer Ramen

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Neighborhood/Location
Portland, OR
 
What you're getting:
Spicy red miso and okonomiyaki tots
Description

Burgers, fried chicken biscuits, donuts, and ramen. None of these things are much like the others, but the guy behind Boxer somehow manages to knock them all out cold. The two tiny Boxer Ramen shops are always full, but seats flip quick, and the spicy red miso is the move, with a subtler pork base than their tonkotsu, but a spicy kick to round it out. 

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Adam Robb/Thrillist
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Cheu Noodle Bar

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Neighborhood/Location
Philadelphia, PA
 
What you're getting:
Brisket ramen
Description

The dudes at Cheu prioritize “keeping it real” over authenticity to the point that their shop was originally going to be called Roundeye. After opting for a less offensive moniker, Cheu has noodled its way into the hearts of Philadelphians with a tiny 28-seat restaurant whose walls are decked with ramen blocks, and bowls are filled with some of the most inventive takes on the noodle in the country. The coconut curry has drawn rave reviews, but the don't-miss bowl is the brisket ramen with matzo balls and kimchi.

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Courtesy of Lucky Belly
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Lucky Belly

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Neighborhood/Location
Honolulu, HI
 
What you're getting:
Belly Bowl with pork belly, applewood bacon, and Japanese kurobuta sausage
Description

The broth is the benchmark of any good ramen-ya, and Lucky Belly's is what makes it stand out. The steaming soup is a mix of miso, pork, and sesame, aiming to represent the melting pot of Hawaiian cultures. Their brisket-loaded Beast and mushroom-heavy Fungi are good choices, but the Belly's the move, because where else are you going to find Japanese sausage?

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Liz Newman/Thrillist
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Momi Ramen

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Miami, FL
 
What you're getting:
Oxtail tonkotsu
Description

At $20+ per bowl, Momi's tonkotsu comes with a hefty price, but the sticker-shock disappears once you're nose-down in the intoxicatingly rich, five-times-filtered pork broth. They make their noodles in-house using Japanese flour, scour out rare authentic ingredients like nameko mushrooms, and soup-up the soup with creative meats like shredded oxtail. Adventurous ramenites might also opt for a seldom-seen jellyfish salad.

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Flickr/lam_chihang
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Momofuku

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Neighborhood/Location
New York, NY
 
What you're getting:
Momofuku ramen
Description

By now, most people are familiar with David Chang's culinary empire. The chef's Midas touch has blessed diners with a slew of Momofuku-associated choices: cocktails, pastries, fine dining, but above all, dude knows his ramen. He worked in Japanese shops way back in the early aughts before jump-starting the NYC ramen craze in 2004 with a double-threat pork belly and shoulder tonkotsu. And to further show he's not just a ramen shop/cocktail bar/dessert shop/fine-dining restaurant owner, his culinary tentacles now spread to the rest of the world via the gospel of his publication Lucky Peach.

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moto-i
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moto-i

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Neighborhood/Location
Minneapolis, MN
 
What you're getting:
Brothless abura ramen
Description

It might only climb above 80 degrees one month out of the year, but for those few days of heat, moto-i's brothless abura ramen is a treasure. Chili oil, ponzu, and bonito flakes lubricate the noodles and smoked pork shoulder adds the girth. You'll be happy you skipped the water weight thanks to the wide selection of house-brewed sake.

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Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist
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Mu Ramen

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Neighborhood/Location
Long Island City, NY
 
What you're getting:
Mu ramen
Description

Once the last bagel of the day has been served, Bricktown Bagels makes the unlikely transition to world-class ramen shop. The 10-seat counter offers a killer tonkotsu with broth brewed over the course of a week from a cauldron of 100lbs of bones, but the move is to get weird with their signature Mu ramen: it's built on an oxtail and bone marrow broth with unconventional toppings like brisket, half-sour pickle, cabbage, and dried bamboo shoots.

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Trevor Felch/Thrillist
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Nojo

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Neighborhood/Location
San Francisco, CA
 
What you're getting:
Shoyu ramen
Description

A Japanese izakaya/yakitori-ya hybrid by both day and night, Nojo really comes alive at... brunch? Their ramen's only available on weekends at midday, but the scarcity can't subtract from the flavor. The shoyu broth is a stunner, and it's only intensified by a hunk of grilled chicken confit.

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Noodle & Pie
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Noodle & Pie

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Neighborhood/Location
New Orleans, LA
 
What you're getting:
Eight-hour brisket bowl, chocolate cream pie
Description

Started as a pop-up in late 2013, N&P puts Tulane dorm room ramen to shame. In true NOLA fashion, the sweet-toothed, campus-area noodle shop is alive with color, from the bright-orange walls to dangling colored lights. They've gained a following for spot-on small plates like deep-fried Brussels, gluttonous desserts, and of course, steaming bowls of ramen. The crab broth with pork is a solid curiosity in the ramen canon, but the star is the eight-hour brisket bowl.

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Orenchi Ramen
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Orenchi Ramen

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Neighborhood/Location
Santa Clara, CA
 
What you're getting:
The Orenchi ramen, duh
Description

From master ramen wizard Yoshiyuki Maruyama, Orenchi is more of an experience, as it often includes wait times that would rival any of the most popular rides at Disney World. (Except the Jungle Cruise. No one is really going on that anymore.) But there is a reason for that, and it is his almost perfect broth, made with kurobuta pork simmered for 18 hours, plus more pork, green onion, and a perfect soft-boiled egg. Just promise us you’ll go early. Like, really early.

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Ramen Champ
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Ramen Champ

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Neighborhood/Location
Los Angeles, CA
 
What you're getting:
Tonkotsu, side of octopus/cod/potato Tako Tots
Description

For many, the ultimate bite of ramen comes with a mouthful of soy-soaked egg, so it's only natural that one of the newest bowls on the crowded, noodle-filled blocks of LA comes from an egg lover. Or to be exact, an Eggslut. The Ramen Champ dude's other huevo-centric venture draws huge lines, and his new Chinatown noodle shop is no different. The rich tonkotsu broth is tempered by fresh farmers' market veggies and that ever-important runny egg. Add an order of their take on traditional fried takoyaki balls and you'll certainly leave feeling like you're wearing a heavyweight belt.

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Flickr/_e.t
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Ramen Halu

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Neighborhood/Location
San Jose, CA
 
What you're getting:
Halu ramen
Description

Don’t be weirded out by the aquarium atmosphere (are those fish on the ceiling?), this is the place you’re looking for. The move here is the signature Halu ramen, which -- unlike most -- comes from “two kinds of rich and clear soup broth blended.” That broth combination is not like most other ramens we’ve ever had, and some people find it a little bracing or even sour, but once you mix it in with the chashu pork, and those thick noodles, it all mixes together into some sort of alchemist magic potion of love.

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Ramen Lab
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Ramen Lab

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Neighborhood/Location
New York, NY
 
What you're getting:
Torigara shoyu ramen
Description

Every shop on this list is capable of schooling your taste buds, but only one is also going to tantalize your mind. Ramen Lab serves as equal parts restaurant, school, and flavor laboratory. The operation is speaheaded by Sun Noodles, the go-to supplier for most of the nation's best shops, and a chef who was recognized as a master in Japan at the age of 25. The torigara shoyu chicken broth is made from a 105-year-old recipe, so the only reason not to order it would be if they've unveiled their forthcoming ramen flight menu option.

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Joe Starkey/Thrillist
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Ramen Shop

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Oakland, CA
 
What you're getting:
Whatever miso ramen they’ve got
Description

Here’s a recipe for success: take three chefs from uber-lauded Chez Panisse, and have them break away to start a casual noodle shop in downtown Oakland offering up a limited menu of three types of ramen, plus a few apps and ice cream sandwiches. Since it opened, Ramen Shop has been an absolute success, not only because of the reps of its owners/chefs, but because of the quality of the salty, spicy broth. The last time we were there, they had a kogashi miso ramen with ground pork belly, and some sort of shoyu-marinated egg that was mind-melting. And then, of course, we ate black sesame ice cream sandwiches. Life was good.

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Dan Gentile/Thrillist
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Ramen Tatsu-Ya

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Austin, TX
 
What you're getting:
Tonkotsu ramen
Description

Started by a DJ who's also staged at a Michelin-starred LA sushi joint, Tatsu-Ya steams their pork broth for 60 hours, resulting in a soup you can't help but slurp. Topped with perfectly charred chashu, a bowl of tonkotsu is definitely worth the hour-plus wait. Wash it down with either a Sapporo or a canned brew from Austin Beerworks.

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Slurping Turtle
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Slurping Turtle

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Neighborhood/Location
Chicago, IL
 
What you're getting:
Roasted chicken shoyu ramen
Description

All the ramen joints on this list encourage slurping, but there's only one that wears their slurp on their sleeve. With a Michelin star to his name thanks to his eponymous fusion spot (whose Sunday ramen nights are quite popular in their own right), Chef Takashi opened Slurping Turtle and quickly catapulted to the top of Chicago's tonkotsu ranks. His traditional pork broth is the jam, but for a more unique offering, go with the roasted chicken shoyu featuring homemade noodles topped with poached egg, scallions, bok choy, and bamboo shoots.

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Strings Ramen
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Strings Ramen

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Neighborhood/Location
Chicago, IL
 
What you're getting:
Tonkotsu with duck breast and Berkshire pork
Description

Strings reps the Second City with an arsenal of secret weapons up their broth-stained sleeves: an imported Japanese noodle machine, 48-hour Berkshire broth so thick they call it pork milk, and seldom-seen proteins like duck breast.

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Tiger Den
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Tiger Den

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Neighborhood/Location
Houston, TX
 
What you're getting:
Garlic black bean ramen
Description

Houston's generally more of a pho town, but Tiger Den is making waves for a style of ramen most commonly seen in the Southwestern city of Fukuoka. The house-made noodles are thinner, firmer, and straighter than most. You won't be able to find their garlic-bombed black bean flavor anywhere else.

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Thrillist
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Toki Underground

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Washington, DC
 
What you're getting:
Taipei curry chicken
Description

Likely the only ramen shop on this list decked out with skateboards as hand rails, they're also known to throw pop-up parties for guitar-effect pedal companies. In addition to sake and nine Japanese beers, they're pouring off-the-wall cocktails like the pork belly-topped Toki Monster (Bulleit, Barenjager, Peat Monster Scotch). The vegetarian broth comes highly recommended, but the signature bowl is the Taipei curry chicken with a curry-infused tonkotsu broth.

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Totto Ramen
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Totto

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Neighborhood/Location
New York, NY
 
What you're getting:
Totto spicy ramen
Description

Totto is a tiny Hell's Kitchen hide-out that chars each piece of pork with a blowtorch. The tiny space leaves little elbow room: if you're sitting at the bar, you'll probably feel some of the heat from the torch. The chicken stock of their original paitan ramen is souped up with spicy sesame oil that exponentially increases the umami. For competitive eaters, they've also got a mega-bowl loaded to the brim with pork. If the original shop is full, try their second location nearby.

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Flickr/T.Tseng
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Tsujita Annex

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Neighborhood/Location
Los Angeles, CA
 
What you're getting:
Tsukemen
Description

This LA institution consistently takes top honors in local polls for its house-made curly noodles and an exciting atmosphere that splits the difference between welcoming and exclusive. It's open until midnight, but expect a wait, made much more pleasant by a BYOB patio and neighboring Asian outposts hawking snacks like chicken lollipops. The move is the tsukemen, a bowl of fresh noodles accompanied by a concentrated dose of broth that will make your eyes roll back in your head.

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Chuko
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Chuko

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Neighborhood/Location
Brooklyn, NY
 
What you're getting:
Kimchi ramen
Description

Ippudo and Momofuku might've started NYC's ramen craze, but Chuko is one of a new class of slurpers that deserves serious praise. The brainchild of three Morimoto expats, this austere Prospect Heights noodle nook has been slinging some of the city's best ramen since their opening in 2011. The veggie broth is surprisingly flavorful thanks to a healthy dose of natural MSG via seaweed, but the kimchi is the standout. For dessert, walk down the block to one of the 21 best ice cream shops in the nation, Ample Hills.

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Chona Kasinger/Thrillist
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Tsukushinbo

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Neighborhood/Location
Seattle, WA
 
What you're getting:
Old-school shoyu ramen
Description

Six days a week, Tsukushinbo serves up some of the best sushi in Seattle, and on the seventh day they do the opposite of rest -- they ladle out perhaps the hardest-to-get ramen on this list. The broth of their old-school shoyu ramen takes four days to make, so they can only cook enough to feed a few dozen hungry fanatics on Friday afternoons. Wash it down with a side of crispy gyoza dumplings.

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Daikokuya
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Daikokuya

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Los Angeles, CA
 
What you're getting:
Tonkotsu ramen
Description

Daikokuya is perhaps LA's most beloved ramen shop -- there's a line outside the nondescript Little Tokyo door most times of most days. Neophyte competitors have come in and made LA a ramen town, but this OG stands tall, thanks to a slow-cooked tonkotsu broth that somehow still manages to be silky rather than over-rich, and a rustic, traditional feel that transports you to Japan from the moment your name is called and you sit down at the ramen bar, feeling the steamy heat and getting ready to open your mouth -- and your veins -- to classic, salty goodness.

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Johnny Noodle King
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Johnny Noodle King

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Neighborhood/Location
Detroit, MI
 
What you're getting:
Red curry
Description

If you're looking for sliders in the D, you go to Green Dot Stables. If you're looking for slurpers, you hit their other spot -- Johnny Noodle King. They do the typical shoyu and miso, but also lesser-known Japanese variants like the seafood-filled champon, and off-the-wall bowls like the pickled tomatillo Southwest and tomato broth Minestrone. Bonus points for the tableside torched mackarel and bacon fried rice.

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Dante
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Dante

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Cleveland, OH
 
What you're getting:
Pork broth ramen
Description

After dark, this Cleveland Italian restaurant goes Gremlin and mutates into a devilishly delicious noodle house. Take a seat at the guitar-shaped bar and enjoy pork broth ramen with a side of Michelin star until 1am. Pro-tip: ask for an extra egg. Extra pro-tip: after eating, head downstairs for a cocktail.

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Lee Breslouer/Thrillist
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Uncle

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Neighborhood/Location
Denver, CO
 
What you're getting:
Kimchi ramen with shredded pork
Description

If you've visited Momofuku in New York, walking into Uncle might feel like deja vu -- the plentiful bar seating, wall-to-wall wood paneling, and pulsing soundtrack all feel reminiscent. But owner Tommy Lee has never shied away from saying he was inspired by the hugely successful NYC ramen shop when he opened his own two years ago. Since the opening, he's been packing in crowds with a menu that's branched off into un-Momofuku-like directions -- bibimbap and sashimi, along with an array of seasonal ramen that pleases Mile High crowds on the daily: kimchi with shredded pork, prawns in a miso broth, and standbys like the spicy chicken or chashu.

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Andrew Zimmer/Thrillist
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Ivan Ramen

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
New York, NY
 
What you're getting:
Chicken and dashi broth shio ramen
Description

Ivan is an unlikely ramen master. After a post-college stint in Japan, he went to the CIA and returned to the Land of the Rising Sun to open his own ramen shop. He gained unprecedented notoriety for a foreigner, then brought his skills back stateside to start a stand at the Gotham West Market and an LES brick-and-mortar. The broth leans more Japanese than most, using a double-broth technique with two separate stocks to create a flavor as complex as tonkotsu, but far lighter. Rye noodles further distinguish him from the pack. If you want to go experimental, try the four-cheese mazemen.

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Dan Gentile/Thrillist
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Kome 

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Austin, TX
 
What you're getting:
Spicy tonkotsu
Description

Kome offers affordable sushi, an unpretentious environment, and most importantly, a killer lunch-only bowl of spicy tonkotsu. It spins the creamy flavor of the traditional broth into a chile-infused bomb of savory that's perfectly complemented by subtle fish cakes, generous sticks of ginger, and the all-important soy-soaked egg.

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Ippudo New York
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Ippudo

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Neighborhood/Location
New York, NY
 
What you're getting:
Shiromaru Hakata Classic
Description

A worldwide ramen empire launched in Toyko in 1985, Ippudo is one of the undeniable OGs of NYC's ramen scene. Their two NYC-based shops are known for their classic tonkotsu, which on paper may look like anyone else's, but comes with a side of intangible excellence that has made Ippudo a must for any ramen pilgrim. And thankfully, they'll be making it easier to get your hands on their ramen via a to-go option at their new Times Square location in the ROW NYC Hotel.

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Flickr/Brian Del Vecchio
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Yume Wo Katare 

Venue Node ID
 
Neighborhood/Location
Cambridge, MA
 
What you're getting:
 Buta Ra-men
Description

If there's one thing Boston has, it's freezing temperatures. And if there's one thing that combats cold, it's ramen. So naturally, the ramen playing field is crowded, but most agree that Yume is the top slurping dog. They don't consider themselves a traditional ramen shop, but rather "a place where dreams are achieved." Basically, if you can finish their massive bowl, you can do anything! It's an unconventional concept, but their ramen is so dreamy that it's not unheard of to see a two-hour line for the 24-hour pork broth, whose richness is soaked up by a thick in-house noodle. Pro-tip: go with five slices of pork instead of the standard two.

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Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's National Food and Drink team. He slurps with reckless abandon and never abandons a bowl until he's recklessly full. Follow him to obnoxiously loud slurping sounds at @Dannosphere.

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