Food & Drink

The Absolute Best Places for Ramen in NYC Right Now

Published On 09/21/2014 Published On 09/21/2014
Momosan Ramen
Momosan Ramen | Evan Sung
Melanie Rieders & Julie Florio


Lower East Side

Ramen rock star Shigetoshi "Jack" Nakamura saw mass success in Japan after opening his ramen-ya, Namanura-ya, at age 22; he debuted his skills in New York in 2015 as the chef-in-residence at artisanal ramen noodle manufacturer Sun Noodle’s Ramen Lab. Earlier this year, he opened his own ramen-ya, a hidden gem right underneath the Williamsburg Bridge.

The Torigara ramen, Chef Nakamura's signature, is a delicate broth loaded with deep flavor. A traditional, standard style of ramen, the dish features a chicken-bone broth with ginger, kombu, and fish dashi, which adds a smoky umami flavor. Chef Nakamura adds his signature shoyu (soy) seasoning and tops the bowl with a slice of chashu, spinach, menma, and nori. Nakamura's ajitama (soft-boiled egg) is always served separately, as he believes the egg changes the broth’s flavor, so he lets you make the call of when you want to drop it in. If you're looking for something extra, get an order of the thin-skinned gyoza, which are quite possibly the crispiest in town. With only 18 seats, the place packs up fast, and the colder it gets, the longer the lines. Be prepared and keep in mind: It’s well worth the wait!

Flickr/Michael Vito


Alphabet City

Minca Ramen Factory is one of the few ramen joints in New York that pre-dates the full-on craze. The tiny ramen-ya has an extensive menu with around 15 options including chicken, vegetable, and seafood, and a tonkotsu broth, but the choice pick is the Minca Sio, a bowl flavored with salt and roast garlic, topped with sliced stewed pork and vegetables. Minca lets you choose from five different styles of noodle for your ramen (thick, thin, wavy, whole wheat, or gluten-free bean), but the wavy noodle really grabs the garlic-rich broth well. Don't miss the chef using a blowtorch on the pork chashu to add a nice smoky flavor. If you can’t get in to Minca, head over to the sister ramen-ya Kambi on 14th St. It’s the exact same menu, the only difference being Kambi is bigger with a more modern look (Kambi also has great lunch specials).

Courtesy of Ivan Ramen

Ivan Ramen

Lower East Side

Long Island-born Ivan Orkin went to Japan to learn the ramen trade and ended up becoming one of the most recognized chefs in the country. He then returned back to the states to open two ramen-yas in the city: The Slurp Shop, located in the Gotham West Market in Hell’s Kitchen, and Ivan Ramen on the Lower East Side.

There are several great options to choose from at Ivan Ramen -- including the ultra-heavy Triple Pork Triple Garlic Mazemen with tonkotsu broth, pork belly, and whole-wheat noodles. Should you want to go down a lighter path with the broth, order the Tokyo Shio (salt flavor) or the Tokyo Shoyu (soy sauce flavor). Both of these bowls are served with Ivan's famous rye noodle, as opposed to the typical wheat variety. Run out of noodles before you finish the broth? Just say "kae-dama" for an extra round. 


East Village

Misoya focuses solely on miso (fermented soybean) broths. If you're new to miso-based ramen, start with the Shiro Miso, the lightest and cleanest of the flavors, and then work your way up to Misoya's miso curry chicken katsu ramen; the bowl features three massive pieces of crispy chicken, ground pork, egg, fried potato, and pickled daikon radish in a rich miso broth that's balanced by sweet curry.

This is one of the heartiest bowls of ramen in the city, and on top of that, miso broth is traditionally served 10° hotter than all other bowls of ramen... Meaning, in the the dead of winter, when it’s bone-chilling cold out and you're ravenous, this is where you should be going.

Flickr/Mikey V


East Village

Generally, if you mention ramen in New York, someone will mention Ippudo. Hailing from Fukuoka, Japan, Ippudo has become a worldwide name thanks to tonkotsu broth made of pork bones and simmered for days, a traditional and laborious technique that few ramen-yas still dedicate time to. Ippudo is also one of the few ramen-yas to make its own house noodles (not an easy feat). 

To best taste the tonkotsu, order the Akamaru Modern ramen: onkotsu soup noodles topped with Ippudo’s secret “Umami Dama” miso paste, pork chashu, cabbage, sesame kikurage mushrooms, scallions, and fragrant garlic oil. Be sure to add on nitamago (soft-boiled seasoned egg) and takana (pickled mustard leaves). Work on finishing your noodles first and leave yourself with a decent amount of broth, so you can say “kae-dama” for some more noodles. 

Flickr/Dave Liao


Hell’s Kitchen, Midtown West, Midtown East

What started at one very tiny ramen-ya on West 52nd St has now grown into three exceedingly popular locations. Totto remains a staple in the NYC ramen scene because of its paitan broth, which is arguably the best in the business. The rich and creamy chicken broth gets paired with a springy, golden, wavy noodle, and topped off with pulled chashu pork and tender pork belly chunks. Be sure to add on a poached egg and Totto's rayu (a chili oil filled with garlic, onion, dried shrimp, and scallops) -- all the flavors blend together so well, and the special rayu (chili oil) adds a kick you won’t get elsewhere.

Ramen Lab by Sun Noodle

Ramen Lab


Ramen Lab could be the tiniest ramen-ya in the city, but it’s also the most unique. Owned and operated by Sun Noodles, a noodle maker who works with ramen chefs to develop unique broth and noodle pairings, Ramen Lab hosts a new ramen-ya guest in residence nearly every month. These ramen masters come from all around the world (Japan, Hawaii, and Italy to name a few) to serve up their ramen creations in the tiny, 15-person restaurant (there are no chairs here, prepare to stand). With the kitchen directly in front of you, you can watch your bowl be assembled from start to finish. Most importantly, you're encouraged to ask the chef questions while you watch him shake the noodles you're about to slurp.

Benkei Ramen (inside of Ramen Yebisu)


In the dead of winter 2013, if you were in the know, you were showing up at a sushi joint on Houston after closing time. From midnight until 4am, chef Ito Shigeru would take over with a ramen pop-up known (to the lucky) as Benkei Ramen. There, Ito served up a very limited menu: seven different bowls of ramen, a handful of appetizers, and a few toppings. Ito quickly developed a cult following, until one very sad day, he vanished seemingly out of nowhere. Months later, Ito’s Benkei Ramen returned to Hill & Dale on the Lower East Side after-hours. But then it happened again. Now, yet again, Ito has reappeared, serving the ramen he’s known for.

Chef Ito serves his cult-favorite Benkei menu during normal operating hours at Ramen Yebisu, rather than at 3:30am. To begin your experience, start off with the chashu don. Ito’s chashu is not too fatty and encased in a ring of bark that could match any great BBQ joint. Next, order the Kaisen ramen, a unique seafood-laden bowl of scallops, crab legs, shrimp, and a giant clam. The noodles are made with a touch of tapeoa, which gives them a slightly smooth and creamy feel and works perfectly with the broth, which has a burst of shoyu in it. An extremely close second on the menu is the tonkotsu ramen with rich pork, strong umami flavor, and dark sticky black garlic oil. 


Hell’s Kitchen

Around the corner from Ippudo West and with a much shorter line, Chef Yasuo Okada's Mentoku serves an extremely unique and slightly unusual style of tonokotsu ramen from the Hakata region of Japan. The special pork bone broth takes 15 hours to cook, which gives it a creamy, rich favor.

The bowl to order is the Yuzu-Kosho ramen with the spicy whipped cream topping, which comes loaded with spicy pork soup noodles, peppery yuzu paste, and pork loin chashu. The broth has a nice spicy kick to it that gets balanced by the citrusy flavor of the yuzu. The potato-based whipped cream is surprisingly not sweet, but rather a little spicy as well. Whether you’re a vegetarian or not, the healthy (and tasty) Matcha ramen is also wroth a try. The bowl, which takes on a shimmering emerald hue from the matcha, is topped with konjak (a black yam cake), menma, kirurahe mushrooms, soy milk, and green tea soup noodles.



West Village

Head to the original Ramen-ya on West 4th and order one of the top two bowls: the Musashi Pork Shio Black Ramen or the Kojiro Chicken Shio Red Ramen. The first features straight, thin noodles in Tonkotsu broth, topped with pork chashu, kikurage musrhooms, nitamago (seasoned egg), scallions, and black garlic oil. The other bowl features a wavy, thick egg noodle (great for the broth to cling to) in a salt-based Chicken Paitan, and is fiery read, a sign of exactly how spicy it really is. Need your ramen fix late-night? Ramen-ya stays open until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.

Evan Sung

Momosan Ramen & Sake

Midtown East

Morimoto's ramen-ya brings everything you'd expect to find from an Iron Chef. Get the tantan ramen, which has an amazing, bright-orange-colored broth that’s comprised of spicy coconut curry, pork chashu, red miso ground pork, aji-tama, and cilantro. The coconut curry with red miso is the star of the bowl, and the noodles have a nice bounce to them. Morimoto and the world-famous Sun Noodle designed a special noodle that doesn’t decompose as quickly as a normal ramen noodle, meaning you can take your time with your bowl. The restaurant also offers the rare opportunity to order just half a bowl, which allows you to order a second and try more.

Hide-Chan Ramen

Midtown East

Owned by the team behind Totto Ramen, and located directly above it, Hide-Chan specializes in Hakata tonkotsu -- known for its cloudy-white color, long noodles, and its deep pork flavor with a creamy consistency. You have complete control over customizing your bowl -- from the firmness of your noodle to how much fat you want in your broth (either a lot, aka “Hakata-style” or medium, aka “NY-style”). Be sure to try the Hakata kuro ramen with ma-ru (a small blast of semi-burnt garlic oil). The garlic oil is extremely fragrant and has a roasted, nutty, slightly earthy flavor to it that plays well off of the broth. It’s a cornucopia of flavors when the topping of the scallions, the salty nori, and the crunchy kikurage come into play with the ma-ru-infused pork broth. Also, Hide-Chan is open until 4am Friday nights to cure your late-night ramen cravings!

Kogane Ramen

Kogane Ramen

Brooklyn Heights

Kogane Ramen makes its own homemade noodles fresh daily, the style of which rotates. Currently, Kogane is producing Tokyo-style (which are thin and kinky) and Hakata-style (which are long and thin). The bowl to order is the tonkotsu ramen, with a bone-white broth sparkles like fine china. Hovering on top of the broth are dark black spots that are made of aromatic black garlic oil. The whole thing gets topped off with scallions, egg yolk, wood ear mushrooms, menma, and pork jowl lay on top of the golden noodles. The heavy bone broth mixes well with the nutty garlic oil, the noodles are wonderfully elastic, and the crunchy menma and earthy mushrooms add texture and a fresh taste. Still, the star of the show is undoubtedly the pork jowl, which is unbelievably tender. 

Shuya Cafe de Ramen

Shuya Cafe de Ramen


Astoria now has its fair share of ramen-yas, but Shuya Cafe de Ramen stands out as one of the best for its signature shuya ramen, topped with Top Neck clams, pork chashu, seaweed, and a flavored egg. This full-body paitan broth is unique in that it’s made from chicken, fish, and clam broth, giving it a strong umami taste. The smoky chashu is buttery soft and the flavors play well together when coated in the slightly briny broth. The flavored whole egg and the noodles are slightly chewy but still cling on well to the broth. Be sure to pay attention to the broth at the bottom of the bowl, which has a stronger salty taste (and if you let the pork soak in it a bit, a pumped-up flavor of the meat).

Flickr/Steven Leung

Rai Rai Ken

East Village

A 15-year East Village staple, Rai Rai Ken has slowly expanded over the years. In 2001 it opened in a very, very tiny space on East 10th. Then, 11 years later, it moved a few doors down to a much bigger and more beautifully designed space. After one year in the new expansion, the team opened a second shop in Harlem. All this is based around a ramen menu that’s barely changed. That says a lot. Rai Rai Ken is Rai Rai Ken.

The shoyu and shio ramen both come loaded with great toppings: roasted pork, bamboo shoots, boiled egg, spinach, fish cake, dry seaweed, and scallion. If you don’t mind a little extra work, the DIY tsukemen ramen is also delicious, with thick, chewy chilled noodles that you dip into a rich pork and seafood broth. Whatever you order, be sure to add on the crunchy chili oil, which deserves to be sold to the public in jugs.


Mu Ramen

Long Island City

A few years ago, Joshua Smookler and his wife Heidy opened one of the first ramen-ya pop-ups after-hours in a bagel shop -- and after a glowing New York Times write-up, they mysteriously shut it down. About eight months later, the duo reappeared with a permanent LIC restaurant.

For first-timers at Mu, it’s all about Smookler's take on pork broth, in the Tonkotsu “2.0.” After boiling pork bones for hours, Smookler skims the fat from the broth resulting in a less greasy and dense concoction than most tonkotsu broths, with a stronger pork flavor. Layered beneath the broth are slightly al dente Sun Noodles that grip the pork well. Toppings include chashu pork jowl, kikurage, naruto menma, and scallions. Mu also offers a small list of additional toppings including two types of eggs: nitamago (seasoned) and onsen (sous vide). It’s slightly more expensive than other ramen-yas, and the bowls are a bit smaller, but Tonkotsu “2.0” is on the heavier side, which makes you feel like you’ve gotten your money’s worth.

Flickr/S Chia


Prospect Heights

The only thing that could possibly ruin a great ramen experience? Dining with that one vegetarian friend who can’t find anything on the menu to eat. Take that friend to Chuko. Veggie-minded diners have four broths to choose from, including the spectacular Veggie Miso. This rich, white miso broth is hearty with a light pepper flair and comes with floating cubes of tofu, cabbage, bean sprouts, enoki mushrooms, and snow peas. If you're at Chuko for meat-based broth, grab the pork bone ramen, which comes with long, thin noodles, chashu, scallions, mushrooms, and a boiled egg. The chashu isn’t fatty at all and loaded with flavor. The broth is the star, even though it can be slightly greasy. The noodles are fat, golden and slightly chewy. Two things to note: One, the sake list here is almost as good as the ramen, and two, you know this already, but be prepared to wait in line (it’s worth it).

Courtesy of mokbar



At Esther Choi's Korean-style ramen-ya, you'll find two styles of ramen: “brothy” and “saucy,” both of which infuse traditional Korean soups with ramen noodles. The best by far is the brothy kimchi Jjigae, which is a kimchee bacon broth topped with braised pork, stewed kimchee, and scallion. The broth is bright orange and thick, with spicy kimchee tang and a smoked-bacon pop that plays off the sweet tender pork. The menu also offers a robust list of toppings including poached egg and pork belly (both a must with this bowl) as well as a nice selection of kimchee that’s sold in take-home jars (try the daikon).

Courtesy of Mr. Taka Ramen

Mr. Taka Ramen

Lower East Side

In just one year, a little ramen-ya on the LES has become a strong contender for best new ramen in NYC. Before opening an American spot, chef Takatoshi Nagara ran a Michelin-noted ramen-ya in Tokyo with a childhood friend. That experience has helped make his little LES joint a strong contender for best ramen in NYC after less than a year in operation. Taka keeps his menu fresh with unique weekly specials (like a spicy tomato miso chili ramen or a Christmas-only seafood ramen). On the normal menu, the Yuzu Shoyu, a white soy sauce-flavored chicken and bento fish broth with a zing of yuzu, is a stanout, while the Spicy Tonkotsu has a slick and creamy pork broth that contends for best pork bowl in the city.

Ramen Shack 屋台

Ramen Shack

Long Island City

Chef Keizo Shimamoto is every ramen enthusiast’s hero. He's a Japanese-American former computer programmer who left his career in the US to travel throughout Japan, conquering 55 bowls in just 28 days. He then became ramen master Ivan Orkin's apprentice, working out of his Tokyo ramen-ya. After he returned to the States, Shimamoto continued his journey slinging ramen for both Ramen Co and Bassanova. Oh yeah, and he's also the man behind the ramen burger. The next move on his noodle quest was his traveling pop-up, Ramen Shack. At spots like Smorgasburg, Shimamoto was able to experiment with new recipes while continuing to develop and perfect his staples, like his Dirty Shoyu ramen -- a traditional Tokyo-style, soy-sauce-based, broth-infused bowl with a magical paste made out of fried sardine heads.

As of late last month, you can now find Ramen Shack at a permanent location in Long Island City. The façade on the front of the shack is now attached to Shimamoto’s commercial kitchen, where you get to watch him in his element, serving eight different kinds of ramen plus three different kinds of ramen burgers. One of the specialty bowls is appropriately named The Quiet Storm (a Mobb Deep reference), a rich 13-ingredient broth with a shoyu overtone. It’s topped with slightly fatty pork chashu, spinach, menma, naruto, scallions, and the perfect lava egg that will make for great #yolkporn on Instagram.

Rebecca Fondren



The first US outpost of this famous Japanese ramen chain was 10 years in the making, and it's finally arrived. In addition to the 82-seat ramen-ya, the Bushwick location has an attached production kitchen where the noodles are made fresh daily. Ichiran is known for its classic tonkotsu broth, as well as those house-made noodles. Here, your ramen can be customized completely to your liking -- you’re able to choose the amounts of dashi, the richness of the broth, the amount of garlic, the spice level, and the firmness of noodle. But the actual act of consuming the ramen here is just as alluring as the ramen itself. It’s all about the “Ichiran System” which essentially amounts to dining with zero human interaction in a private "Flavor Concentration Booth" alone, or at a table in the communal dining room.

In the booth, you’ll face a window with a bamboo shade drawn down, and when your ramen is ready, the shade will go up as two arms pop through the window, placing your ramen in front of you (to see more about the experience, watch it here). The solo dining allows you to focus on the little details that make Ichiran's ramen stand out: the broth is lighter than most pork broths yet still creamy and full of the umami flavor. The hiden no tare (spicy red paste) is a complex concoction made of 30 spices simmered to a bright-red perfection -- the additional heat makes the broth pop more. If you want your long, thin noodles al dente, check off “extra firm” on your menu ticket and you’ll experience that fun springy noodle sensation. The only downfall here? The ramen is pretty damn expensive, at $18.90 a bowl plus tax (and toppings cost extra).

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1. Nakamura 172 Delancey St, New York, NY (Lower East Side)

Leading ramen master Shigetoshi Nakamura recently debuted this ramen resto in NYC's Lower East Side. Hailed as a "Ramen God" in his native Japan, Nakamura's noodles are purportedly life-changing. Expect crowds to gather for this sure to be be awe-inspiring ramen.

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2. Minca Ramen Factory 536 E 5th St, New York, NY 10009 (Alphabet City)

Minca Ramen Factory is a tiny ramen spot in Alphabet City that delivers top-knotch, soul-satisfying noodle soup without the hype (and crowds) of Ippudo and Momofuku. Minca opened around the same time as Momofuku and has developed an under-the-radar following for its signature half-pork, half-chicken broth, as well as its noodle varieties (choose between thin, thick, wavy, or whole wheat). The house-made gyoza, filled with pork or shrimp, are pan-fried to perfection. Note that it's cash-only.

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3. Ivan Ramen 25 Clinton St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

There’s so much more than noodles to be had at Ivan Orkin’s NYC flagship, especially at lunch when fusion sandwiches like the Herbie’s International (Chinese-style roast pork and Tokyo duck sauce on a toasted miso garlic hero) and pork meatballs make an appearance. But don’t get us wrong, there’s a reason “ramen” is the name of the game: noodle guru Ivan Orkin has fused his Long Island upbringing and Tokyo training with age-old ramen traditions to make original and delicious dishes right here at home. The weekend brunch features a combination of whole-wheat noodles, cheddar broth, crispy bacon and scallion omelet ramen.

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4. Ramen Misoya 129 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003 (East Village)

Misoya has one of the biggest bowls of ramen in the city, and offers a wide variety of toppings. Three types of miso -- namely Kome, Mame, and Shiro -- are their calling card, though, and you won't find any other place in the city that serves 'em.

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5. Ippudo 65 4th Ave, New York, NY 10003 (Greenwich Village)

As the flagship (and first international) location of the acclaimed Japanese ramen empire, the East Village's Ippudo holds one of the catalyst titles for the noodle craze. Get there past 5pm and you'll bear witness to the restaurant's absurd popularity due to its ultra-rich tonkotsu pork ramen with house-made noodles, and secret "Umami Dama" in the Akamaru Modern bowl.

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6. Totto Ramen 366 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019 (Hells Kitchen)

Though located in the middle of Hell’s Kitchen, Totto Ramen mimics the atmosphere of a high-volume, lunch-hour ramen shop in Tokyo. Deviating from the standard pork-based broth, Totto touts its penchant for poultry and spice with chicken-based ramen, but fear not, there’s plenty of pork to be had beyond the broth (like in the steamed bun appetizers). There are four staple bowls to choose from, plus a few rotating specials and toppings like poached eggs, bamboo shoots, and kikurage mushrooms. The below-street level spot is open for lunch and dinner, leaving its upstairs neighbor, Hide-Chan Ramen, responsible for the 2am ramen seekers -- but only on Fridays.

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7. Ramen Lab 70 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 (Nolita)

A culinary laboratory devoted to all things ramen, this pint-sized shop in Nolita cranks out creative iterations of the Japanese noodle soup daily. Run in conjunction with Sun Noodle, the company that makes the noodles used at many of the country's ramen shops, Ramen Lab is constantly experimenting with different broths and toppings. Aside from nightly dinner service, it frequently hosts pop-ups and tasting dinners.

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8. Ramen Yebisu 126 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (Williamsburg)

You don't have to go to Hokkaido, Japan's northernmost island, for Sapporo-style ramen, which is a relatively rare find in the tonkotsu-ridden landscape of New York City slurp shops. Named after the Japanese god of fishermen, Ramen Yebisu specializes in seafood-laced broth that has a fermented, miso taste. The bowls carry strong aromas and come in a few varieties, and you should either take the seafood theme to the extreme with the eponymous Yebisu bowl (the noodles come swimming with prawns, snow crab, mussels, and scallops) or get your roasted pork fix with the salty Shio ramen.

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9. Mentoku 744 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (Manhattan)

The unsung hero of ramen is the broth, and at Mentoku, pork bones are cooked for some 15 hours to create the delicate and complex base for the headlining tonkotsu version. Vegetarians will find a hearty alternative to the meat-based soups with the matcha ramen, made with a green tea soup noodles, kikurage mushrooms, and soy milk. The bowls are served at the bar or at four-top tables in the narrow space, and if you want more than soup, a plate of fried chicken is a good place to start.

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10. Ramen-Ya 181 W 4th St, New York, NY 10014 (West Village)

Located inside a West Village townhouse, Ramen-Ya is a tiny cash-only joint that serves a small but well-rounded selection of the Japanese noodle soup. The top bowls to order are the pork Shio black and the chicken Shio red; the first features straight thin noodles and a tonkotsu broth, while the second is made with thicker and wavier egg noodles in a spicy red chicken broth. Make sure to order the spicy pork gyoza as an appetizer -- the pan-fried dumplings come with a fiery topping of chili oil that'll get your tastebuds ready for the main event.

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11. Momosan Ramen & Sake 342 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto's fast-casual ramen joint in Murray Hills offers tonkotsu broths plus creative riffs, like a coconut curry and red miso take. Along with ramen, expect regional sakes and appetizers like peking duck tacos. Keep an eye out for the chef himself, who can usually be found greeting diners or preparing orders himself.

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12. Hide-Chan Ramen 248 E 52nd St, New York, NY 10022 (Midtown East)

This second-floor branch of a Japanese chain isn’t attractive and appetizers can be skipped, but the ramen bowls are reason to visit. A pork-based tonkotsu ramen is affordable and well-executed, but the specialty dish is Hakata kuro ramen, which is mixed with burnt garlic oil, giving it a dark and murky appearance and a sour taste.

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13. Kogane 76 Henry St, Brooklyn, NY 11201 (Brooklyn Heights)

At this narrow and simply ornamented Brooklyn Heights ramen refuge, noodles are made fresh daily (something surprisingly rare to find), in both Tokyo and Hakata styles, and the head chef made a trip to Japan just to get the production process right. Some eight ramen variations are offered, with a creamy Tonkotsu, with melt-in-your-mouth braised pork jowl, as the menu’s must-order. Trend-chasers can get a take on the ramen burger, with noodle discs replacing traditional buns around a curry-spiced beef patty.

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14. Shuya Cafe de Ramen 42-13 Broadway Astoria, NY 11103, Queens, NY (Astoria)

Shuya Cafe de Ramen off of the Steinway subway stop in Astoria, feeling as it were transplanted from Tokyo with low tables and chairs in a peaceful dining room, sets a contemplative scene for seven ramen variations. Chef Shuya Miyazaki bucks tradition by turning away from the more common pork broth in favor of lighter fish and chicken alternatives. Attractive clay bowls serve as the vessels for the brothy noodles, which you’d do well to add the house-made spicy sauce to. Pork bun starters with egg-tartar sauce taste great alone or dipped into your ramen.

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15. Rai Rai Ken 218 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003 (Manhattan)

This dark, old school East Village outpost is small, with fourteen stools lining a rustically cut polished wood bar along the open kitchen, but the ramen they serve is big in flavor. Lunch sets make an engaging meal, with appetizers like pork gyoza, any of the ramen options, and a cute mochi dessert providing plenty of plates to peruse. Don’t forget: if you’re not slurping, you’re being rude.

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16. Mu Ramen 1209 Jackson Ave, Queens, NY 11101 (Long Island City)

What started in the back of a bagel shop in Queens has become a molten-lava-hot spot. Expect top-notch ramen like the namesake Mu Ramen, with an oxtail and bone marrow-based broth, brisket, a half sour pickle, menma, cabbage, and scallions, plus delicious non-ramen touches like deep-fried chicken wings stuffed with foie and brioche.

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17. Chuko 552 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Created by three Morimoto vets, this Prospect Heights noodle nook slings some of the city's best ramen. Chuko offers a few varieties of noodle soup bowls, from classic miso, pork, and chicken broths to the more fusion kimchi version with ground pork, scallion, and egg. The steamed pork buns are solid appetizers, but the fried Brussels sprouts with fish sauce and peanuts, and the miso-dressed kale salad with crispy sweet potato, are welcome, if untraditional, complements to the silky, steaming entrees.

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18. Mokbar 75 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011 (Chelsea)

This Korean-style ramen stand in Chelsea Market makes two styles of the noodle soup: "brothy" and "saucy," both of which infuse traditional Korean soups with ramen noodles. The brothy kimchi Jigae -- a kimchee bacon broth topped with braised pork, stewed kimchee, and scallion -- is by far the best bowl on the menu. The thick, bright orange soup tastes and smells pungent (spicy kimchee and smoked bacon are in a league of their own), so for the sake of others, eat your ramen at Mokbar's counter instead of taking it elsewhere in the market. Kimchee fans will find a nice selection of the fermented speciality to take home, as well.

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19. Mr. Taka 170 Allen St, New York, NY 10002 (Lower East Side)

Before opening this Lower East Side ramen shop, chef Takatoshi Nagara ran a Michelin-noted ramen-ya in Tokyo. Soy sauce-flavored shoyu ramen is the central dish at Mr. Taka, but a rich and creamy pork-based tonkotsu broth is also served, as well as small plates like Japanese chicken wings and potato tempura. The open kitchen forms the hub of the slender space, where blonde wood contrasts nicely with glasses of plum wine.

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20. Ramen Shack 13-13 40th Ave, New York, NY 11101 (Long Island City)

You’ve been living under an overturned ramen bowl if you haven’t heard of Keizo Shimamoto's ramen burger (an umami-rich beef patty between buns made of ramen noodles), which he first debuted at Smorgasburg after learning the tricks of the ramen trade as Ivan Orkin's apprentice. The chef gives a permanent home to his creations at this LIC restaurant, where more traditional bowls of tonkotsu broth are available alongside the aforementioned burger and the signature Dirty Shoyu ramen, a soy-sauce-flavored broth with a paste made out of fried sardine heads.

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21. Ichiran 374 Johnson Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11206 (Bushwick)

A ramen branch from a beloved and expansive Japanese chain caters to the anti-social side of hungry New Yorkers where you can order a bowl of noodles without having to speak to a soul, let alone look into anyone’s eyes. Eating at Ichiran is an exercise in isolation: after you buy a meal ticket, choose a seat from an electronic seating chart, and settle into an individual dining booth partitioned by wood dividers. After you write your order down on a paper form, the bamboo shade in front of you will roll up and a server's hand will take it from you. All of the ramen is pork-bone tonkotsu broth, but you can customize it for spiciness, noodle firmness, richness, and with add-ons like kikurage mushroom and dried seaweed. The bowls come out quick, and once they’re delivered, you can slurp noodles (refills are available) and sip Japanese beer in peace.



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