Time to start updating your Chicago restaurant bucket list, because the city’s got an amazing collection of ramen spots you definitely need to get in on. While there are certainly no shortage of them in the area, there are at least ten that deserve a spotlight. So go ahead, combat that bitter cold with a bowl of delicious hot soup and noodles. The stuff is made for weather like this.
1571 N Milwaukee Ave
If location is important to you, you’ll love Furious Spoon. It’s flagship ramen shop is conveniently located right off the Blue Line at Damen. They’re definitely more goofy and less traditional than other ramen spots in the city (you may have heard about their freestyle rap contest). They’re currently funding a new location in Logan Square, and a Kickstarter pledge of $250 or more will net you ramen noodles for a year. Chicago foodies swear by their rice bowls, but I keep coming back for their signature Furious Ramen.
59 W Hubbard St
Ramen-san is Lettuce Entertain You’s foray into the Chicago ramen world. As with any of their other restaurants, you can expect quality from start to finish, and you can use your Lettuce Entertain You loyalty card for points! Their Express Lunch menu is a value-packed, quick solution for the urban professional. You get a rice plate with meat (or mushrooms), a main dish, salad, and marinated cucumbers for just $15. Customize the dish for an additional cost with a selection of add-ons. We’ll mention too that the inside of the restaurant is warm and inviting, with long communal tables.
1629 N Halsted St
The best part about Strings (besides the noodles)? It’s open until midnight for late night cravings and is available for delivery on Postmates! There are two locations: one in Chinatown and one in Lincoln Park. Oh, and try their Hell Ramen—we highly recommend it.
116 W Hubbard St
Slurping Turtle is the kind of ramen shop that plays Japanese Anime on the screens while you slurp away at noodles. Everything is bright, colorful and uplifting, including the bowls of ramen and drinks that accompany them! In addition to rich and savory ramen noodle dishes, you’ll be pleased with their selection of Asian-inspired tapas, including hamachi tacos, fried brussels sprouts, and pork belly bao. It’s another great spot for a work lunch, as it’s right in the heart of River North.
112 N Green St
Chicago foodie Adam Sokolowski would count High Five Ramen in his top 3 ramen spots in Chicago, though he notes that the environment is constantly changing as new spots open up. His favorite thing about the restaurant is the level of spice in each bowl as well as the general vibe. To him, it feels exactly like being in a ramen shop in Japan.
553 W Diversey Pkwy
Jinya Ramen Bar upholds traditional ramen noodle standards, which is apparent in their rich flavors and fresh ingredients. Bowls are extremely customizable, and there are plenty of Asian-style tapas to pair with main dishes. Give their cold ramen a try for a very different ramen experience. Prices are extremely affordable, but Jinya has been known to run Groupons for additional savings! Keep an eye out.
1400 W Randolph St
Urbanbelly counts itself among the elite but affordable restaurants who have received a Michelin Bib Gourmand award year after year. It’s part of a restaurant chain that also features BellyQ (Asian-inspired BBQ) and BellyShack (comfort food from different cultures). Urbanbelly doesn’t just focus on ramen, but still has earned its place on this list.
1385 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago foodie Alex Jewell counts Oiistar among his top favorite ramen spots in Chicago (same with Sokolowski, mentioned above). He loves the tenderness of the pork belly—it seriously just melts in your mouth. He appreciates that the noodles are all handmade and always fresh. The broth is cooked longer than average, and the serving size is bigger than you’d expect. They’re somewhat less traditional in their inclusion of pulled pork, chicken masala and BBQ beef on the menu, so traditionalists may want to try another option on this list, but for the adventurous this is a great spot.
819 W Fulton Market
Ramen Takeya is another ramen shop that has the traditional look and feel of a ramen shop; in this case like the alley of a Japanese street. They take a more sustainable approach by using broth that’s made from cage-free chickens. If you like their sister restaurant Wasabi, you’ll love these guys.
1482 N Milwaukee Ave
The latest ramen restaurant to watch is Kizuki, a newcomer from Japan that opens next week. There’s not a lot to say about it yet, but the Chicago foodie community is already buzzing about it!