Our Top Picks for the Best Ramen in NYC

New York City is a melting pot of cultures – and what is a better symbol for that than a bowl of ramen? With Asian flavors and aromas mixed with western ingredients and eating habits, ramen bowls have become one of the leading carriers of Asian traditions in America. The best ramen in NYC can transport you to small villages in Japan and many other nations where this is a crucial cultural symbol. 

Ramen soup with egg, noodles and meat
Go ahead and taste the melting pot of the city’s dining scene with the best ramen in NYC. Photo credit: Hari Panicker

Over the centuries, Japanese populations have come to New York, settling in the city and finding different ways to express their complex culture. With cooking, they could communicate their longing for home, blending home spices and cooking traditions with the ingredients and customs of their new home. You will find great examples of restaurants that translate such a rich tradition here. 

Ippudo NY, Multiple Locations

Ippudo was one of the pioneers in the breakout of ramen restaurants in New York. And since the beginning, they have served some of the freshest and most aromatic tasty soups in the city. A Japanese-based chain, Ippudo now has multiple locations across Manhattan, where you can taste their famous vegetarian and pork broths and the spicy Karaka bowl. 

This is the place to go for sake lovers. Their sake list is extensive, and they offer various pairing options, so you always make the most of your meal. Get the pork-broth ramen with an umami paste on top, and break the saltiness with the sweet and light flavors of sake. 

Ippudo also offers different limited edition ramen like this Kuro Kasane with black garlic oil. Photo credit: Wally Gobetz

Jun-Men Ramen Bar, Chelsea

Jun-Men means “pure noodle” in Chinese, so you can imagine the perfected simplicity of the kitchen in Jun-Men Ramen Bar (249 9th Ave). Working with traditional flavors from chashu pork belly blended with slow-simmered bone broths, the restaurant is a counter-based spot where you can taste some of the most authentic Chinese ramen in New York. 

Along with authenticity, Jun-Men also works with ramen that drafts inspiration from different culinary cultures worldwide. The unorthodox Uni Mushroom dish is a perfect example, where roasted pancetta and porcini butter dance with truffle oil and parmesan cheese over dry noodles.  

Totto Ramen, Midtown West

Totto Ramen is famous for its chicken-broth ramen. And is one of the best comfort-food spots in the city. Made daily in the early morning, the broths here are always incredibly fresh and tasty, blending free-range chicken with potatoes, onions, and other house ingredients. 

Wanting to break from the traditional pork or tonkotsu-based broths, Totto specializes in making some of the best chicken broths in the city. Order from the hefty and aromatic ramen menu and taste fried chicken, miso, veggie, and the famous chicken paitan ramen.   

chicken ramen bowl
Totto Ramen collaborated with different Japanese chefs to create the perfect chicken-based ramen. Photo credit: Garrett Ziegler

Ivan Ramen, Lower East Side

Ivan Ramen is one of those places where you could recommend the entire menu, and it still wouldn’t be enough to express how delicious it is. 

For those who love the classic flavors of Japanese-based ramen noodles, the Tokyo Shoyu ramen is a good order. You will feel how balanced every single flavor is. The restaurant was born 15 years ago in Tokyo, and now it serves traditional and modern tastes in New York. 

Nakamura, Lower East Side

Nakamura serves six different ramen bowls, all with their particularity and delicious appeal. A famous option is the Truffle Miso. This vegan bowl comes with bean sprouts, chewy noodles, sautéed crimini mushrooms, and cauliflower, all floating on a blend of miso broth and white truffle oil. For those who love classic flavors, the traditional pork broth ramen is another attractive choice, along with the Jidori Chicken or Chicken Curry bowls. 

In a restaurant that seats 18 people, find curry and spiciness perfectly combined, and an aromatic stock from chicken bones simmering alongside ginger and soy sauce. 

Nakamura’s Chef Shigetoshi Nakamura is known as a “Ramen God” in Japan. Photo credit: Wally Gobetz

Minca, Brooklyn

At Minca (536 E 5th St), you get to build your ramen bowl – it’s kind of like playing God for a meal. 

First, choose your noodle, and you will be surprised with how many different options you can pick from, including thick, whole-wheat, wavy, etc. Then, pick from the 12 different broth types, from traditional pork broth to spicy or miso (a house favorite). We guarantee everything will be delicious, so feel free to mix and match however you’d like!

Ichiran, Multiple Locations

Ichiran is that famous Instagram ramen shop where you dine in solitude. With single-seating booths that face a blank wall. Here, people can dine with no human interactions at all. Even when ordering, you can simply fill out a flyer, and they deliver the plate to you through a small window by your table. 

There is only a single ramen flavor, the classic tonkotsu ramen, with a broth made out of pork bones that have been marinating for a long time, all to give that foggy look and umami flavor to the mix. It is pretty much perfect. 

ramen bowl on wooden booth
Ichiran’s story began in Hakata, the epicenter of the tonkotsu ramen movement. Photo credit: City Foodsters

Chuko, Brooklyn

Chuko (565 Vanderbilt Ave) means “vintage” in Japanese, which can be perfectly explained by this establishment’s 90’s hip-hop vibe. The kitchen is dominated by chefs that have long studied the Japanese concept of comfort food, bringing it to the New York dining scene in the form of vegetarian dishes. 

With four different ramen bowls, where you can add on as many toppings as you wish, Chuko has conquered the hearts of many new yorkers. Get the sesame garlic ramen with spicy mustard greens and scallions, and add cabbage, bamboo, fried tofu, and many other options. 

Mr. Taka Ramen, Lower East Side

Mr.Taka is perfect for spice lovers, with a menu filled with ramen bowls that will light your mouth on fire (in a good way). Order the Spicy Stamina bowl, for example, and you’ll understand what we’re talking about. For the vegans, order the bowl with soy milk and experience Japanese heaven on earth. 

ramen bowl with noodles, eggs and greens
Mr. Taka’s chef Takatoshi Nagara is mentioned in the Michelin guide as one of the 20 best ramen shops in Tokyo. Photo credit: lulun & kame

Momofuku Noodle Bar, East Village

Momofuku Noodle Bar is an entity in Asian-based New York cooking. David Chang founded the restaurant in 2004, and it is still a reference for all of those who seek authentic flavors in their dishes.

Although they serve everything from crispy Korean fried chicken to soft and warm pork buns, for the sake of this article, we recommend you try the garlic chicken ramen or the smoked pork ramen. 

dark ramen in white bowl
Momofuku has been delighting customers with its ramen since 2004. Photo credit: Matthew Mendoza

Zurutto Ramen, Upper West Side

Although pork-broth ramen is always the go-to at these restaurants, Zurutto breaks the chain by offering some of the best chicken-broth ramen in New York. In a small venue on the Upper West Side, you will find a cozy and unpretentious restaurant serving Japanese chicken soup that can cure any cold or broken heart in the city. 

Vegan and vegetarian options are also popular here, all just as aromatic and flavorful. It is best to visit Zurutto after the lunch-hour craze. This way, you will be able to unwind in a calmer environment.