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A bowl of ramen topped with scallions and chashu pork
Classic tonkotsu ramen from Ichiran comes with all sorts of optional extras.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

29 Bowls of Ramen to Chase Away the Chill in NYC

Eater's senior critic recommends both no-frills and fanciful varieties of the noodle soup

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Classic tonkotsu ramen from Ichiran comes with all sorts of optional extras.
| Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Fall’s first frost is upon us, marking the unofficial beginning of ramen season. This New York City phenomenon, kindled in its current form by Momofuku Noodle Bar in 2004 (though there were precursors like Tokyo LaMen in the last century), has faithfully stuck with us, and the city’s enthusiasm for the carefully made wheat noodles in a pork, chicken, or vegetarian broth has only grown. New variations have continued to appear since last year’s list.

And as the pandemic continues, you can still enjoy a steaming bowl outside, which is an added pleasure. Why have ramen restaurants fared so well during this era? Perhaps because these noodles are a fundamental comfort food, nourishing and soothing in times of stress. Here are 29 of the city’s most captivating bowls.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; the latest data about the delta variant indicates that it may pose a low-to-moderate risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Spicy tonkotsu at Jin Ramen

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This gem in Harlem (there’s another on the Upper West Side) provides an astonishing range of ramen, both dry and wet, with two noodle styles: thin, straight, and white; and thick, curly, and yellow. One bowl sets your mouth aflame with kimchi, but our favorite is the spicy tonkotsu, which is based on a pork-bone broth packed with chile oil and black garlic.

Bright red tonkotsu broth with a black sheet of nori in a white bowl
Spicy tonkotsu at Jin Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Kuro ramen at Zurutto

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An Upper West Sider since 2016 and conveniently located near the express 72nd Street stop, Zurutto deploys a chicken broth in most of its bowls, sometimes modified with sesame seeds and oil. The signature Zurutto kuro ramen incorporates both ground pork and sliced pork into the broth, along with miso, corn, bean sprouts, and cabbage. Also available are a curry ramen and a vegetarian soy milk miso ramen.

A tangle of ramen noodles with pork chashu in a black bowl
Kuro ramen at Zurutto.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hinomaru ramen at Hinomaru

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The focus of the menu at this very serious ramen joint on Astoria’s main drag is a creamy 17-hour Hakata-style tonkotsu broth. Have it with the traditional additions, or better yet, go wild with “New York Style”: two kinds of fish cake (one with a jovial monkey face) plus its signature “fireball,” a loose meatball of peppery ground pork that subsides into the soup as the flavor explodes.

A bowl of noodles with a fish cake sticking out that features a picture of a monkey’s face...
New York style ramen at Hinomaru.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chicken paitan at Toto Ramen Hell's Kitchen

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Founded in 2010, this intimate noodle parlor in western Hell’s Kitchen, with further locations in Midtown, Boston, and Taipei, takes ramen back to its Chinese roots, with a chicken-pork broth, wavy blond noodles, a hot-as-hell condiment called extreme rayu to be used sparingly, and a potential side of avocado. If there’s a line when you arrive, put your name down on the list by the front door.

A bowl of ramen with a side of avocado
Chicken paitan ramen at Toto Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Spicy beef ramen at Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen

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The facetious name and touristy location in the Theater District doesn’t inspire confidence that the ramen will be any good. But unexpectedly it is, at a few dollars less than many ramen parlors, and with fast delivery of the order to your table. The spicy beef ramen is a wonder with thick noodles, a real zap from the spice paste deposited in the middle (some of which can be removed to modify the level of heat), and a sizeable quantity of beef, which may leave you wishing for more noodles.

A blue bowl fills the entire frame, with red broth and bobbing slices of beef.
Spicy beef at Kung Fu Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mega ramen at Kyu Ramen

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Flushing’s Kyu Ramen attracted attention earlier this year by having one of the best designed outdoor dining pavilions in the city, with individual rooms for each table. The ramen menu features straight or wavy noodles, and the dozen choices include some fringe bowls. Our favorite, the mega, features both sliced pork and shrimp in a pork broth, and there are other dishes on the menu besides ramen, like omurice, which wraps a thin omelet entirely around a serving of fried rice.

A frame structure runs along the street with wooden screens and red trim and hanging paper lanterns.
The outdoor structure is one of the city’s best.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Smoked dashi ramen at Tonchin

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The menu of this deep narrow restaurant on the edge of Koreatown focuses on Tokyo comfort food, including a collection of ramen based on what it calls a Tokyo-style tonkotsu broth, and many of the bowls set off on strange but lovable jags. A case in point is the smoked dashi ramen, which begins with the broth and then adds fish oil and clams, for a spectacular combination of flavors. Noodles made on the premises are another plus.

A hand holds ramen noodles aloft with chopsticks over bowl of brownish reddish broth.
Smoked dashi ramen at Tonchin.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tan-tan ramen at Momosan

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Helmed by Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, with further branches in Seattle and Waikiki, Momosan brings celebrity luster to the genre. Six varieties are available, including a dry version of dan dan noodles, but the best is tan tan. It offers a spicy, porky, sesame-laced broth further inflected with scallions and cilantro. The bowl is recommended for folks who like a little spiciness, but not the mega-charge that characterizes most bowls of spicy ramen. The noodles are firm and spaghetti-like Sun noodles.

Noodles, ground meat, a boiled egg, and cilantro in a pink broth.
Tan tan ramen at Momosan
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Uni mushroom mazemen at Jun-Men Ramen Bar

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When it opened during the uni craze of 2015, Jun-Men chased the trend with this bowl of mazemen that features all sorts of surprising ingredients, including urchin, porcini butter, and pancetta. The place is one of the city’s smaller ramen parlors, outfitted with blond woods and an open kitchen. Also, don’t miss the spicy miso ramen with pork shoulder or the vegetarian ramen with maitake mushrooms and pickled mustard greens.

Brothless ramen with uni, mushrooms, and pancetta
Uni mushroom mazemen at Jun-Men.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Shio paitan at Nonono

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To this oddly named place (isn’t one “no” enough?), I’d have to say yesyesyes. While yakitori skewers and other Japanese small plates are the focus of this restaurant from the Her Name Is Han empire, ramen choices are distinguished in their thoughtful formulations. Shio paitan showcases the most soothing emulsified chicken broth imaginable, with slices of both chicken and pork enlivened with crunchy shallots.

A plastic spoon holds up noodles above a creamy yellow broth with wadded pork visible on top and a riot of other ingredients.
Shio paitan at Nonono.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The E.A.K. at E.A.K Ramen

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As with the other Japanese chains that have entered the sprawling ramen market here, E.A.K. offers a unique perspective and an attitude that might be described as extreme self-assurance. The broth in the signature bowl is a combo of pork and chicken, the noodles are firmer and thicker, and spinach has been substituted for the usual scallions. A nifty printed piece of nori branded with the restaurant’s name doesn’t let you forget where you’re eating.

Light ramen with a soy egg, spinach, chashu pork, and nori
The E.A.K. at E.A.K.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Gochu ramyun at Jeju Noodle Bar

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This West Village prodigy seeks to take Korean ramen (called “ramyun”) to new heights. The amazing gochu ramyun features a spicy red broth something like a chigae, thick slabs of pork belly, and noodles approximating packaged ramen: wiry and firm. The outside of this corner restaurant is often mistaken for the diner in Edward Hopper’s “Nighthawks.”

A red rimmed bowl with noodles being pulled out with chopsticks at the top of the picture, a boiled egg at the bottom, and dark pieces of pork belly in the middle.
Gochu ramyun at Jeju Noodle Bar.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Shio ramen at Menkoi Sato

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Maybe this is the ramen place you’ve always been looking for, a local spot hidden deep in the Village with no ties to an international chain. All three broths are represented among its seven regular bowls (shio, shoyu, and tonkotsu), one dry ramen, killer fried chicken as an appetizer, and vegetarian options. The curry ramen, a frequent special, is justly praised, but our favorite is the unfussy, chicken-based shio broth, which comes with a wealth of add ins, making what is almost a hot noodle salad.

A bowl of ramen with an Egyptian motif around the rim and the items so thickly crowded that you can’t see noodles and can barely see the beige soup.
Shio ramen at Menkoi Sato.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Spicy ginger stamina at Karakatta

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An attractively designed space near the NYU campus accented with neon lighting, Karakatta focuses on spicy renditions of ramen. Not that you can’t get some un-spicy bowls here — indeed, there are three cold ramen selections available, quite delightful in themselves — but the flagship is the spicy ginger stamina, pungent with fresh ginger and laced with chile oil. It comes in five levels of hotness; “two flames” is often hot enough, even for lovers of spicy food.

Bright red spicy ginger ramen in a white bowl
Spicy ginger stamina at Karakatta.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Cheeky ramen at Tatsu

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Tatsu represents our first branch of an LA ramen chain, and the noodle soups are a breath of fresh air. The merchandising style itself is remarkable, with names like old skool, soul, and hippie. The broths are mainly pork-based, and more strongly flavored than usual. Cheeky ramen boasts the thickest chicken broth you’ve ever tasted, flinging off subtle notes of citrus. The noodles are wiry and firm, and garlic presses are available in case you want to further elevate the flavor.

cheeky ramen chicken Tatsu with a tea boiled egg rising up out of the bowl of noodles...
Cheeky ramen at Tatsu.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Powdered snow miso ramen at Misoya

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Ever feel like a bowl of ramen doesn’t quite add up to a full meal? Specializing in a choice of three miso broths (one with “powdered snow” parmesan on top) that it makes extravagant health claims for, the East Village’s Ramen Misoya encourages you to supplement your noodles with added proteins, including lovely miniature pork cutlets and tempura shrimp. They contribute immeasurably to the pleasure of the meal.

Bowl of ramen with powdered parmesan cheese on top
Powdered snow miso ramen at Misoya.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mentaiko cream ramen at Izakaya NYC

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Don’t expect a whole slate of ramen at Izakaya NYC, but a single dish on its eclectic Japanese pub menu. That dish is mentaiko cream ramen, which lately has become a standard on Japanese menus. It features a twirling nest of ramen rich in cream and butter with plenty of saline cod roe, tinting the noodles a lovely shade of pale orange. The Sicilians might have invented this dish, but they didn’t.

An orangish heap of noodles with some green herbs on top.
Mentaiko cream ramen at Izakaya NYC.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tokyo tsukemen spicy miso at Minca

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This long-running East Village ramen parlor established itself way before Ippudo, and it takes its ramen every bit as seriously. It also hasn't hesitated to innovate, as shown here by this fashion-forward meal of ramen deconstructed in the Tokyo style, with a spicy miso broth and whole slew of extra ingredients, to be added to the bowl at your pleasure.

A deconstructed bowl of noodles in the tsukemen style, with a fiery broth and several add ins on the side.
Tokyo tsukemen spicy miso at Minca
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Wanpaku

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The most opulent bowl of ramen — certainly the meatiest — is found at small Greenpoint ramen parlor Wanpaku, which conceals the “secret” cocktail lounge Hidden Pearl in its depths. It’s not on the menu all the time, but the beef rib ramen has a massive, bone-in rib as its centerpiece, almost too much beef to eat in one sitting. Other worthy ramen soups include spicy pulled pork and miso beef.

A massive plank of beef rises from the broth with arugula and noodles in a black bowl.
Beef rib ramen at Wanpaku.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Spicy miso ramen at Mr. Taka

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This handsome but compact ramen-ya founded by two friends from Japan on the Lower East Side is known for its sprawling menu with lots of optional add-ins. Every bowl is an adventure, including the spicy miso ramen, which features a miso broth based on chicken and bonito, with ground pork and sliced pork belly thrown in.

A spicy bowl of noodles with cilantro sprinkled on top. Robert Sietsema/Eater

X.O. miso at Nakamura

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The Lower East Side has never seen anything quite like this noodle shop run by Tokyo ramen master Shigetoshi Nakamura, who skates on the edge of the ramen pond by making his own noodles in the basement and experimenting with the genre. The X.O. miso ramen is vegan, and boasts a fishless X.O. sauce.

A big wad of fishy tasting X.O. sauce sits in the middle of this bowl of ramen as a pair of chopsticks lifts a few noodles out.
X.O. miso at Nakamura.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Kuu chili at Kuu Ramen

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If you’re obsessed with chile, you can’t help but be impressed by the increasing availability of ramen spiked with hot peppers. This place features not the usual chile-laced miso, but a milky chicken paitan boiled for eight hours with “chili skin” called Kuu chili. Also find therein spicy ground chicken, pork belly in giant chunks, and greens that cook in the broth. The menu at this tiny Financial District ramen-ya offers things you won't find at similar establishments, such as beef ramen in a miso broth with garlic chips and butter.

A ramen bowl bursting with bamboo shoots, egg, ground pork, and fishcake
Kuu chili at Kuu Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Tonkotsu ramen at Ichiran

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This Japanese import landed with a thud in Bushwick five years ago, setting down in a dusty industrial area and immediately generating long lines. The place boasts two dining rooms, one allowing you to eat by yourself in a narrow carrel as if in a university library. The noodles, though, are exceedingly solid. They’re available in varying levels of thickness and doneness, and deposited in a tonkotsu broth a little lighter and silkier than most. Two Manhattan branches.

The classic milky pork bone broth is seen, with some shredded red ginger on top.
Tonkotsu ramen at Ichiran.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Parco ramen at Kogane

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Kogane offers nine bowls of ramen, some featuring ingredients like snow crab and lobster, along with noodles made in-house. The menu tends toward the quirky, such as parco ramen, which includes a whole pork chop in an unspeakably rich curry-laced broth. Besides the handsome Brooklyn Heights location, there’s another outlet in Chelsea.

Chopsticks lift noodles out of a bowl of curried ramen as a baby looks on.
Parco ramen at Kogane.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ramen B at U-gu

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This swinging sushi bar on the ground floor of a condo lies right across the street from the Pratt Institute in Clinton Hill. The sushi is better than average, and the ramen is equally good, with a couple of unexpected formulations. The spicy version of ramen B is ignited with lots of chile paste in a powerful tonkotsu broth, with sausages and Spam as add-in options.

Small frankfurters float in an angry red broth in a bowl of ramen, the noodles held aloft with chopsticks.
Ramen B at U-gu.
Robert Sietsema/Eater

Army budae at Mokbar BK

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With three locations — one in Brooklyn and two in Manhattan — Mokbar offers eights bowls of ramen from a Korean perspective, which means heartier, more jam-packed bowls. A perfect example is army budae, said to have descended from a doctored meal composed of surplus foods from U.S.soldiers. To a kimchi-laden broth it adds multiple forms of meat, akin to what you might find on a meat-lover’s pizza: Spam, pork belly, bacon, and little sausages, finished off with grated cheddar cheese.

Army budae ramen has spam and several other unexpected ingredients fit for a soldier’s mess...
Army budae at Mokbar BK.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Dan dan ramen at Momo

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This purveyor of dumplings and noodles is a couple of dollars cheaper than you might expect given its Park Slope location, and the menu contains a couple of surprises. One is a version of ramen inspired by dan dan noodles. The broth is based on beef bones, and thus might remind you of pho, but the spice level is elevated and a good pile of ground pork in the center enhances the meatiness. Watch for nifty lunch specials.

Dark brothed ramen with ground pork on top.
Dan dan ramen at Momo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Vegan negi-goma ramen at Ramen Danbo

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Ramen noodles can be ordered at several levels of firmness, and broths at several levels of density, at this Park Slope parlor that originated in Vancouver. Of particular note is a vegan bowl involving a rich broth laced with sesame oil, in which sesame seeds and scallions float in profusion. Deep-fried and sliced tofu add to this unique bowl.

Slabs of tofu, sesame seeds, and chopped green onions can be seen languidly floating on top of this bowl of ramen.
Negi-goma ramen at Danbo.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mt Fuji ramen at Ramen Setagaya Japan Village

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When East Village veteran ramen parlor Ramen Setagaya — long a favorite of NYU students — debuted its new branch in Industry City’s Japan Village food court, it introduced some really enthralling bowls. One was the so-called Mt. Fuji ramen, which featured a mountain peak of parmesan cheese in a pink broth the menu described as “tomato espuma.” It’s damn good, but reminded me more of tomato soup than ramen broth — in a positive way.

A bowl of thick, bubbly red tomato soup with a heap of grated parmesan in the middle.
Mt Fuji ramen at Ramen Setagaya.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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Spicy tonkotsu at Jin Ramen

Bright red tonkotsu broth with a black sheet of nori in a white bowl
Spicy tonkotsu at Jin Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

This gem in Harlem (there’s another on the Upper West Side) provides an astonishing range of ramen, both dry and wet, with two noodle styles: thin, straight, and white; and thick, curly, and yellow. One bowl sets your mouth aflame with kimchi, but our favorite is the spicy tonkotsu, which is based on a pork-bone broth packed with chile oil and black garlic.

Bright red tonkotsu broth with a black sheet of nori in a white bowl
Spicy tonkotsu at Jin Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Kuro ramen at Zurutto

A tangle of ramen noodles with pork chashu in a black bowl
Kuro ramen at Zurutto.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

An Upper West Sider since 2016 and conveniently located near the express 72nd Street stop, Zurutto deploys a chicken broth in most of its bowls, sometimes modified with sesame seeds and oil. The signature Zurutto kuro ramen incorporates both ground pork and sliced pork into the broth, along with miso, corn, bean sprouts, and cabbage. Also available are a curry ramen and a vegetarian soy milk miso ramen.

A tangle of ramen noodles with pork chashu in a black bowl
Kuro ramen at Zurutto.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Hinomaru ramen at Hinomaru

A bowl of noodles with a fish cake sticking out that features a picture of a monkey’s face...
New York style ramen at Hinomaru.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The focus of the menu at this very serious ramen joint on Astoria’s main drag is a creamy 17-hour Hakata-style tonkotsu broth. Have it with the traditional additions, or better yet, go wild with “New York Style”: two kinds of fish cake (one with a jovial monkey face) plus its signature “fireball,” a loose meatball of peppery ground pork that subsides into the soup as the flavor explodes.

A bowl of noodles with a fish cake sticking out that features a picture of a monkey’s face...
New York style ramen at Hinomaru.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Chicken paitan at Toto Ramen Hell's Kitchen

A bowl of ramen with a side of avocado
Chicken paitan ramen at Toto Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Founded in 2010, this intimate noodle parlor in western Hell’s Kitchen, with further locations in Midtown, Boston, and Taipei, takes ramen back to its Chinese roots, with a chicken-pork broth, wavy blond noodles, a hot-as-hell condiment called extreme rayu to be used sparingly, and a potential side of avocado. If there’s a line when you arrive, put your name down on the list by the front door.

A bowl of ramen with a side of avocado
Chicken paitan ramen at Toto Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Spicy beef ramen at Real Kung Fu Little Steamed Buns Ramen

A blue bowl fills the entire frame, with red broth and bobbing slices of beef.
Spicy beef at Kung Fu Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

The facetious name and touristy location in the Theater District doesn’t inspire confidence that the ramen will be any good. But unexpectedly it is, at a few dollars less than many ramen parlors, and with fast delivery of the order to your table. The spicy beef ramen is a wonder with thick noodles, a real zap from the spice paste deposited in the middle (some of which can be removed to modify the level of heat), and a sizeable quantity of beef, which may leave you wishing for more noodles.

A blue bowl fills the entire frame, with red broth and bobbing slices of beef.
Spicy beef at Kung Fu Ramen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Mega ramen at Kyu Ramen

A frame structure runs along the street with wooden screens and red trim and hanging paper lanterns.
The outdoor structure is one of the city’s best.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Flushing’s Kyu Ramen attracted attention earlier this year by having one of the best designed outdoor dining pavilions in the city, with individual rooms for each table. The ramen menu features straight or wavy noodles, and the dozen choices include some fringe bowls. Our favorite, the mega, features both sliced pork and shrimp in a pork broth, and there are other dishes on the menu besides ramen, like omurice, which wraps a thin omelet entirely around a serving of fried rice.