When I was younger, the only time I ate soup was when I stayed home from school with a cold and watched that Campbell’s commercial where the snowman melts into a smiling kid. After bowls of chicken noodle, and even a bunch of Top Ramen in my Rutgers dorm (I added garlic powder to make it “fancy”), I eventually realized that nothing beats a warm bowl tonkatsu, shoyu, or really any kind of ramen. Thankfully, Philly has several places to hit up when I’m in the mood for long noodles and savory giant bowls. Here are 12 places that are serving great ramen in the city right now.
When the seasons change, one of the first things you probably want is a liter of hot broth to warm you up. Neighborhood Ramen, one of the best places to grab ramen in the city, has you covered on that front. When you stop by the Queen Village noodle shop, try the shoyu ramen. Each bowl has a couple of pieces of pork chashu seeping with flavorful chicken broth, house shoyu, and toppings like scallion, menma, kaiware, and ajitama.
If you’ve ever driven past Race & 9th, you’ll notice a line growing around the corner. And no, it’s not people forming up to play minigolf at Franklin Square - everybody’s waiting for fantastic ramen from Terakawa. One of our favorites is the mildly spicy tan tan ramen that’s bathing in spicy miso and chicken broth, minced pork, bean sprouts, and chopped scallions.
Tomo Sushi & Ramen
The tonkotsu ramen at Tomo Sushi & Ramen is the perfect cloudy soup for every cloudy day. At this Old City BYOB, you can get rich and creamy broth topped with bamboo shoots, scallions, red ginger, but it’s the pork base and tender pork belly that steal the show.
We don’t know if it’s the broth, thick slabs of pork belly, or the chewy noodles that make the cha su ramen from Da-Wa: Joseph’s Sushi and Ramen one of our go-tos. OK, it’s all of it. From the sauce flowing with chili oil to the smokiness of roasted corn, it all comes together to make a soup that’s just spicy enough for you to feel some heat but not so overpowering that it takes away from its buttery pork-flavored broth.
The brisket ramen at Cheu Fishtown is more satisfying than a barista spelling your name right on the first try. The brisket is soft, juicy, and incredibly flavorful. It’s not every day you see a matzo ball in a ramen bowl, but the combination really works in this delicious and spicy dish.
Aki Nom Nom Sushi & Ramen
Aki Nom Nom Ramen is one of the many places in the city that started to offer outdoor seating for the first time over the last few months. Whether you’re inhaling the fragrant “Karai Chintan Ramen” on their streetery or taking it to go, the earthy spice of the black garlic oil and the rich and milky broth make this a dish that’s hearty and silky smooth.
The soft wavy noodles in the “Zenbu No-Se Ramen” at this University City spot are great for making sure you get those extra drops of broth with each bite. And this tonkotsu-broth option feels like it has more toppings than South Street has bars. There’s marinated chashu pork, corn, menma, red pickled ginger, kikurage, a half-boiled egg, naruto, nori, sesame, and scallions, all sprinkled with roasted garlic oil on top. From the nutty flavor of the garlic to the tangy ginger, each element of this soup just works.
At Ramen MNYK
Spicy things are a dare for some people. The same reason behind letting wasabi wage war against your sinuses whenever you eat sushi is similar to why many grab a bowl of spicy katsu ramen at this Manayunk spot. The deep-fried pork loin is great for sopping up every drop of their signature fiery sauce, but we definitely recommend having a drink on-hand.
This small Japanese spot in South Philly is only doing delivery and takeout for now. So, after finishing a bowl of their warming “Magu Ramen” at home, you can conveniently be under-the-blanket ready. Filled with bamboo shoots, scallions, ginger, and mushrooms, this ramen has a ton of richness from the broth while having salty flavors from the mayu oil and braised pork.
Maple Japanese Ramen
Even though it’s one of the spicer ramens at this Center City spot, the “Hakata Ramen” is still nicely balanced with pickled cabbage, red ginger, seaweed flakes, and a marinated egg. Plus, the tender char siu melts in your mouth. This creamy soup has some sweetness from the cabbage and ginger and while also bringing some heat with its fiery pork base.
There’s something about eating a bowl of ramen that makes us feel like we’re getting a warm hug from the Phanatic (in a totally safe and nonthreatening way, of course). And that’s exactly how we feel when eating Yamitsuki’s veggie miso ramen. This bowl is long-weekend level restorative, with salty and miso flavors coming through in every spoonful of the broth that’s covered in sweet corn, scallion, bamboo, and bean sprouts.
Megumi Japanese Ramen & Sushi
One of our favorite dishes at this Chinatown restaurant is the Megumi spicy miso ramen. With curly noodles, heaps of cabbage, fried burdock root, onion, and chashu swimming in the bowl, the only time you’ll pause while eating is deciding whether to use your spoon or chopsticks for the first bite.