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Mu Ramen
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The 12 best ramen restaurants in NYC

Find tonkotsu temples and modern mazemen outfits among the absolute best bowls of ramen in NYC

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Bao Ong
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Between exclusive sushi counters and comfort-food dishes, NYC has some of the best Japanese food in the country. If you add our abundance of slurpable noodle destinations to the mix, that “some of” practically flies out the window. Seek NYC’s best ramen and you’ll find top-notch spots with icon status, modern fusion newcomers and beloved neighborhood destinations citywide. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

A ramen joint we love so much that we welcomed it into Time Out Market

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • DUMBO

You know the ramen is special when it garners a Michelin star in the city that specializes in bowls of toothsome noodles. Takatoshi Nagara, the head chef behind the lauded Bigiya Ramen in Tokyo, and his friend Takayuki Watanabe brought their acclaimed Japanese noodle soup to the Lower East Side with the opening of Mr. Taka in 2015. You can still see lines stretching out the door today, and with good reason. Now this Dumbo incarnation at Time Out Market is where we’ll be happily slurping up the miso ramen or the equally flavorful Taka vegan bowl. While you are here, make sure to order some gyoza for the communal table.

 

Best ramen in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

Shigetoshi “Naka” Nakamura, one of Japan’s most widely-recognized ramen toques, dazzled New York audiences at Sun Noodle’s Ramen Lab. After a stint as the noodle company’s corporate chef, Nakamura opened this 18-seat ramen-ya, where he peddles a curry-spiced ramen and signature shoyu varieties that employ his famed stock—chicken bones simmered with ginger and a proprietary soy-sauce blend—and a noodle choice of house-made strands or the Sun Noodle standard.

Tonchin excels at offering Japanese comfort food with a modern twist—think curry cheese chicken wings and a smoked dashi ramen. The dishes are creative without feeling gimmicky.

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Jun-Men Ramen Bar
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Chelsea
  • price 2 of 4

This 25-seat, noodle-focused counter (jun-men translates to "pure noodle"), tangles up traditional (14-hour-simmered bone broth with chashu) and unorthodox flavors, like an Italian-inflected, uni-bejeweled mushroom mazemen with crumbles of roasted pancetta and a dollop of porcini butter. Tuck into the soups at wooden communal tables beneath hanging lights and a reflective tiled ceiling.

  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

The usual noodle-bar expectations are not part of the equation at Minca. You can’t mix and match your meat and broth; instead, the gleaming East Village soup stop stays focused on 15 simple items. Nab one of the few bar stools overlooking the stoves and dive into light homemade dumplings stuffed with panfried minced pork, followed by chashu ramen, a buttery broth stocked with egg, bamboo shoots and sheets of nori, topped with thin, tender slices of pork.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

This sleek outpost of a Japanese ramen chain attracts Nippon natives who queue up for a taste of “Ramen King” Shigemi Kawahara’s tonkotsu—a pork-based broth. Try the akamaru shinaji, with noodles, chashu, boiled spinach and seasoned bamboo shoots in pork tonkotsu broth



  • Restaurants
  • Carroll Gardens

During his time at the popular chain Ippudo, chef Foo Kanegae helped introduce Americans to more than 600 types of traditional ramen. And, what opened as a "ramen diner" in the months before the pandemic is still going strong with innovative noodle-soup and comfort-food recipes that combine Japanese and Western influences.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4

Ivan Orkin first built his food-world fame in Tokyo, where he stirred up Japan’s devout ramen congregation with his light, silky slurp bowls in 2007. At his flagship Lower East Side restaurant, Orkin more than earns his keep in the ramen circle with rich broth and thin rye-flour noodles

Ichiran
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • price 2 of 4

Calling all solo diners: Take a seat in one of acclaimed ramen chain Ichiran's “flavor concentration booths" and fill out an order form—the kitchen focuses on pork-bone tonkotsu ramen, but you can specify preferences like “flavor strength,” “noodle tenderness” and “fat content." Push the call button and a server will lift the bamboo shade in front of you to deliver your ramen. There's also an adjacent dining room with traditional table service for more extroverted eaters.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

At this buzzy Brooklyn ramen joint—reminiscent of a less sceney Momofuku with its natural-wood aesthetic and ’90s hip-hop soundtrack—Morimoto vets Jamison Blankenship and David Koon bring their high-end training to Japan’s complex soul food. The pair has plenty to show for their tinkering: a gorgeous soft egg that spills its yolk into a complex and buttery miso broth; fat, springy noodles bobbing in the comforting soy broth; and a rich yet restrained tonkotsu, vivid with baconlike porkiness.

Totto Ramen
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 2 of 4

Like a traditional Japanese ramen-ya, this narrow, below-street-level noodle joint is designed for quick meals. The specialty here is paitan ramen, a creamy soup that’s a chicken-based variation on Hakata, Japan’s famous tonkotsu (pork) broth. The most basic version, the Totto chicken, is a flavorful, opaque soup bobbing with thin, straight noodles and slow-cooked pork ridged with satiny fat. The real winner, however, is the miso ramen, enriched with a scoop of nutty fermented soybean paste and wavy egg noodles.

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • East Village
  • price 2 of 4

David Chang's esteemed Noodle Bar is still original, fun and, at times, outstanding. The East Village stalwart made its bones with a close attention to ingredients like poached eggs and pickled pear, the latter turning pork broth in the beef brisket nguyen into a spicy fruit tea.

Hide-Chan Ramen
  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Midtown East
  • price 1 of 4

Hideto Kawahara, a ramen chef based in the Hakata region of Fukuoka, Japan, oversees the steaming bowls at this midtown noodle shop. Choose your noodle and firmness and dig into the classic, with sliced pork, scallion and mushroom, or special broth options like the Red Dragon, with bonito fish and veggie broth, ground pork, egg, miso, bean sprouts, leeks, garlic chips and red chili pepper.

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