The Best Ramen In NYC guide image


The Best Ramen In NYC

Where to go when you want something better than a block of dried noodles and a powder-filled foil packet.

Yes, you can technically cook ramen at home in three to four minutes, but slurping some broth that takes hours—even days—to make is a whole different experience. New kinds of ramen seem to be popping up in the city each week, made with everything from brisket and Wagyu beef to bone marrow and black garlic oil. Save those instant noodles in your pantry for the next time you forget to buy groceries, and head to one of these places for an exceptional bowl of soup that you couldn't make yourself.


photo credit: Okiboru House of Tsukemen

Okiboru House of Tsukemen review image

Okiboru House of Tsukemen


117 Orchard St, New York
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If you see a line of people on the sidewalk around Orchard and Delancey, it’s probably for Okiboru. Even if you’re not in the mood for noodles, go ahead and join. At this LES ramen shop, the namesake tsukemen comes with udon-like cold noodles you dip in a warm, concentrated broth that tastes like it’s made with a million bonito flakes. The soupy ramen, which is just as good, is made with a super rich, milky broth that'll immediately conjure images of pork bones in your head. We overheard someone ask their friend: “How was it?” Response: “It was bomb.” We agree.

The East Coast outpost of this popular San Francisco ramen shop is one of the better options for a quick bowl of noodles in the East Village. Tonkotsu ramen is their speciality, and the pork broth here is some of the richest, creamiest we’ve had. The Hakata Tonkotsu DX version comes with not one but two kinds of pork belly, both meltingly tender and deeply spiced, as well as corn, nori, and a very perfect soft-boiled seasoned egg. The noodles are of the thin variety, and they have a pleasantly chewy texture.

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NR’s ramen ranges from simple Kyoto and Sapporo-style bowls to more unique options like a soupless ramen made with Wagyu beef and bone marrow. And while you might raise an eyebrow at a bowl of noodles that sounds like stunt food, you don’t have to worry about that here. Everything on the menu at this UES spot is great. Just go with what your heart wants.

Tucked away inside the Wyndham Garden Chinatown hotel, this place isn’t the easiest to find, but that’s good (for you) because it keeps the crowds away. Stop by for a bowl of Shinka’s bone marrow ramen with murky, beefy broth. It comes with well-marbled slices of brisket, tons of garlic chips, discs of daikon, and a big bone sawed in half so you can scoop out all the marrow to make the broth even richer.

You’ll have to sit quite literally shoulder to shoulder to eat at this teeny tiny LES ramen spot, but their shoyu and miso ramen are totally worth it. The thick, chewy noodles wrap around each slab of fatty pork like an octopus gripping onto its prey, and the broth is flavorful enough to function as full-on aromatherapy. Despite there being only eight seats in the cramped space, you rarely end up waiting more than 10 minutes to sit, and no one will rush you. Take your time and order some appetizers, too. We sometimes stop by just for pork buns and karaage.

You’ll find some of the more inventive bowls of ramen in New York at Karazishi Botan, which was opened by the former ramen master at Ippudo. The signature Pan Head, made with a pork and miso broth and straightforward toppings like chashu and bamboo, is assertively salty in the best way. Other options change often, but we recently had a chicken-based ramen that came with a scoop of mashed potatoes and a shot glass of lemon juice on the side. It was a wild ride. 

If you’re looking for a relatively rare bowl of ramen, head to E.A.K. in the West Village. Their iekei-style ramen comes with a broth made from chicken and pork bones (in addition to shoyu tare), with thick, spaghetti-like noodles and spinach instead of scallions. The result is a salty, milky, and rich broth that looks like cream of chicken soup. We have no complaints about the namesake E.A.K. Shoyu bowl—except that the chashu is among the best we’ve had, and only two small slices are included. Get extra.

Minca’s cramped dining room is situated around an open kitchen, hot steam constantly flowing through the space. It’s perfect for a soothing solo meal or casual date night when you don't want it to seem like you’re trying too hard. We love that you can get a bowl made with half pork and half chicken broth, and the tsukemen here is particularly great. The daikon salad, a mountain of shredded radish drenched in sesame sauce, is one of our favorite ways to eat that particular vegetable.

The rich, porky ramen at Ippudo is still one of the best bowls of noodle soup one can eat in New York City. The original East Village location has absurdly long waits much of the time, so consider making a solo pilgrimage, or just tell your boss you have to leave work at 4pm for a doctor’s appointment. Their pork buns are a must-order as well.

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Ivan Ramen



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Will Ivan Ramen’s Spicy Red Chili Ramen burn a hole in your esophagus? Don’t worry about that now. For the time being, just eat your way through this very hot ramen until tears drip down your face. They do have non-spicy options too, and the lively Lower East Side space is a fun place for a small group dinner.

At this Midtown spot, the broth is made from chicken rather than pork. The soup still comes topped with pieces of pork though, so this isn’t exactly a light meal. It is a very, very good one though, and everyone in the Midtown area knows it. Expect to wait, or come solo.

Ichiran is Japanese chain with a location in Bushwick where you can eat your ramen in a “flavor concentration booth.” Think of it as a study carrel in a college library, but for solo ramen eating. Ordering here is done by filling out a form and pressing a button, so human interaction is minimal. If you’re afraid of loneliness, you can eat in an actual dining room (or just lower the partition between booths). The highly customizable ramen is solid, and the overall experience makes this place worth visiting at least once.

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