CHIReview

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Four bowls of ramen on a wooden table.
8.6

Akahoshi Ramen

JapaneseRamen

Logan Square

$$$$Perfect For:Casual Weeknight DinnerDining Solo
RESERVE A TABLE

POWERED BY

OpenTable logo
Earn 3x points with your sapphire card

Included In

Waiting an hour outside before Akahoshi Ramen opens, you’ll likely hear whispers about some guy named “Ramen_Lord.” This Logan Square spot is the latest chapter in the unconventional saga of the Redditor-turned-chef, known for his sold-out pop-ups and now a permanent noodle shop with instantly vanishing reservations and long walk-in lines. But hype isn’t what makes eating at Akahoshi Ramen so exciting, it’s their meticulous attention to each bowl.

A dining room with a long communal table and open kitchen.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

A dining room with booths, lamps, mirrors, and a communal table on the side.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Wooden booths and mirrors and lamps hanging on the walls.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

A dining room with a long communal table and open kitchen.
A dining room with booths, lamps, mirrors, and a communal table on the side.
Wooden booths and mirrors and lamps hanging on the walls.

Akahoshi’s decor is strictly minimal, with just a few mirrors, lamps, and wall planters, but that only emphasizes the focus on the food, and the collective thrill of being in its constantly packed space. Couples in booths steal tastes of each other’s ramen, while shoulder-to-shoulder strangers at the long communal table randomly synchronize their spoon lifts. Our favorite place to sit is at the kitchen counter, with its view of cooks making giant noodle pulls using equally giant chopsticks, woks breathing fire, and Ramen_Lord blow-torching pork slices. But as long as a bowl of ramen is in front of you, there isn’t a bad seat at Akahoshi—even if you’re stuck sitting at the window, gazing at the post office across the street.

The menu channels the same simplicity as the space, with only four types of ramen (plus a rotating special) and two side rice dishes. The bowls are also minimalist—over-indulgent toppings like edible gold flakes aren’t just thrown in for the hell of it. Whether it’s fattiness from chashu, smokiness from wok-fried bean sprouts, or freshness from chopped green onions, every ingredient has a specific role in each ramen’s trapeze act of flavor. 

One ingredient in particular sets Akahoshi apart from other ramen places in the city: their incredible housemade noodles. Thin, firm ones with crinkles act like ski-lifts for the two soup-filled bowls, transporting drops of umami-packed miso or light shoyu broths up with every slurp. For the two brothless dishes, soft thick noodles are the perfect vehicles for the spicy tantanmen’s chili oil and pork saboro or the crispy garlic and soy sauce in the aburasoba. 

A hand lifts flat noodles with chopsticks from a red bowl of soupless tantanmen.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

This careful consideration extends past Akahoshi’s food. Chopsticks with special grippy ridges at the tips transform novice users into confident experts. Bowls quickly travel from kitchen to table the second they’re plated, making sure the soup and noodles arrive piping hot. Drinkwise, imbalanced cocktails that lean too boozy or too sweet are a stark contrast to their food, but that’s an inconsequential blip. We don’t fight for reservations or risk long wait times here to just linger and drink. We go to Akahoshi for the best ramen in Chicago.

Food Rundown

A bowl of miso ramen with pork chachu, bamboo shoots, and green onions.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Akahoshi Miso

Quit reading and just order this. The miso blend and generous amount of lard turn a light chicken broth base into an umami-packed soup. Smoky wok hei flavor lingers with every bite of fried bean sprouts, the pork belly is rich and fatty, and the thin Sapporo-style noodles have a chewy bite. And though adding ajitama costs two extra bucks, the jammy egg is a necessary upgrade.

A bowl of shoyu ramen with wavy noodles, pork chashu, and nori sheets.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Shoyu Ramen

This bowl comes with the same toppings and crinkly noodles as their signature bowl, but is ideal if you want something lighter. It’s also made with chicken broth base, though the shoyu tare is less in your face than the miso, and the pleasant soy sauce flavor has just a hint of fish.

A bowl of soupless tantanmen with spicy ground pork, bokchoy, and thin flat noodles.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Soupless Tantanmen

Our favorite soupless ramen is this adaptation of Chinese dan dan noodles. Thick, soft noodles coated in sesame and Sichuan peppercorns have a comforting nuttiness and heat, while pork saboro adds bursts of salt. This is pretty damn rich, but the bok choy keeps it from going overboard. If there’s still some residual sauce left, order a side of rice to polish it off.

A bowl of aburasoba with chopped up pork chashu, and garnishes like nori, fried garlic, and green onion.

photo credit: Kim Kovacik

Aburasoba

If you want something lighter and soupless, this is perfect. Crispy garlic bits and soy sauce are front and center, while green onion and chopped-up chashu add extra layers of freshness and fattiness. The rice hack from above applies to this, too.

Rice Bowls

The small rice dishes on the menu are very simple: rice topped with ikura or chopped-up chashu. The ikura bowl is our favorite, since the salmon roe has a pleasant pop and saltiness that’s different from the ramen. If you haven't met your daily pork quota, get the chashu.

Monthly Special

Be on the lookout for their rotating special every month. Whether it's a bowl of noodles laced with fruity yuzu, spicy miso, or curry, chances are it’s going to be tasty.

Included In

FOOD RUNDOWN

Infatuation Logo

Cities

2024 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.
The views and opinions expressed on The Infatuation’s site and other platforms are those of the authors and do not reflect the official policy or position of (or endorsement by) JPMorgan Chase. The Infatuation and its affiliates assume no responsibility or liability for the content of this site, or any errors or omissions. The Information contained in this site is provided on an "as is" basis with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy, usefulness or timeliness.

FIND PLACES ON OUR APP

Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store