Although winter has been slow to arrive (hello, 73 and sunny in December) the cold front has hit and we need more than gloves and scarves to keep warm. Nothing is better than walking blocks in the snow with the promise of a warm meal to greet you, and nothing hits the spot quite like ramen. From traditional bowls to modern takes, we’ve scoured the city for the best places to get your noodle fix (our jobs are very, very hard.)
And while we know you’re going to eat this list up, we’ve likely forgotten your favorite place, so call it out in the comments and let us know where you like to get down.
Momofoku Noodle Bar, East Village
Any ramen list that doesn’t lead with David Chang isn’t worth it’s weight in broth. Two hour waits? Who cares! Every delicious dish from Noodle Bar is pure delight. We wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out that Chang’s Noodle Bar was the trendsetter who brought ramen back into the spotlight, but don’t tell the other shops. Be sure to get a side of pork buns and save room for whatever devilishly delicious soft serve they have on tap–and honestly, maybe take a few pork buns to go. Yes, they’re THAT good.
Ippudo NY, East Village
With over 7,000 Yelp reviews, this place is no secret–but it is an amazing place to grab a bowl of ramen. Hype or not, Ippudo NY turns out damn fine dishes, including their signature tonkotsu pork ramen. Although it can be a pain in the pork buns to get a table, you won’t be sorry when you taste the rich, incredible hand made noodles. In addition to ramen, they make a mean green tea cheesecake to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Mentoku, Hell’s Kitchen, Theater District
This joint just opened a few months ago, but we’ve already become addicted to Yuzukosho-Men, a spicy broth loaded with perfectly crisp vegetables and expertly cooked pork chashu. The noodles are light, tender, and flavorful without the oiliness that can sometimes come with ramen. The service is another perk–the waitstaff are attentive and ready to make suggestions, but don’t overwhelm the dining experience. Be sure to ask about daily specials, since that’s how we discovered their matcha ramen. And be prepared, Mentoku is cash only.
Yakitori Totto, Midtown West
This place is a little pricier than others, but oh, the amazing ingredients are well worth the cash! If you can resist the meatballs and yakitori, the Paitan ramen is one of our favorite bowls. It’s nothing super innovative, just high quality, rich broth, bouncy noodles, and fresh veggies. Note: the ramen is only available for the lunch seatings, so plan accordingly (and come hungry.)
Ivan Ramen, Lower East Side
Spicy red chili ramen. Tokyo Shio ramen. Triple pork triple garlic Mazemen. Is your mouth watering yet? Ivan Ramen is a staple for noodles, and they have earned every bit of hype. From their fresh, tasty noodles to their lovingly made broths, every choice is a culinary adventure. The smashed egg and rye noodles are inventive and surprising updates to traditional bowls of ramen, and the servers are always attentive and happy to help you figure out the best bowl. Oh, and make sure to ask for an extra topping of roasted tomato on your ramen–you don’t be sorry.
Hide-Chan Ramen, Midtown East
Don’t be confused–Hide-Chan is next to a couple of other ramen shops, but if you follow the signs you’ll find your way to a scrumptious bowl of garlicy goodness in their signature Spicy Garlic Ramen. One of the coolest features of Hide-Chan is the customization of your bowl. You can choose from wavy or straight noodles, and even specify the degree of firmness you’d like (trust us, it makes a difference.) Their creamy tonkotsu broth is a little saltier than similar dishes, but well balanced with the addition of mushrooms, egg, and pork cutlets. If you love spicy soup, go for the Red Dragon ramen and be sure to ask for an extra glass of water.
Rai Rai Ken, East Village, Harlem
This place is a NYC ramen staple, having emerged on the scene years ago and still satisfying diners with their dinner deals and fabulous broths. Straightforward, unpretentious, and affordable, Rai Rai Ken is the epitome of cold weather eats. Not only do they offer tight bowls of ramen, but their appetizers (especially the veggie gyoza) are epic. The curry ramen is especially tasty, with rich flavors and a hint of spice. Probably our favorite leftover.
Make the trek simply for the short rib ramen alone. This Brooklyn noodle shop serves up a wicked spicy miso, a delightful house special, and ridiculously satisfying wings. Brave the hipsters (and the odd decor) to sample their menu, because nothing hits the spot after a chilly subway ride like a pile of steaming, salty noodles. Make sure to try the braised pork–tender and juicy and oh so right dipped into your broth.