Ramen is a beautiful combination of springy noodles, rich-flavored broth, soft-boiled egg, nori, scallions, and usually pork. Thanks to its soaring popularity, the Japanese specialty has also opened to vegan and vegetarian options. We rounded up eight of the best restaurants to order ramen in Chicago that will warm your body and soul. So whether you’re Team Slurp or not—it’s actually considered rude not to slurp in Japan—a hot bowl of ramen is waiting for you.
It’s hot broth season, baby! However, if you’re a reverse season person, check out our roundup for the best sushi places in Chicago.
2101 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Ramen Wasabi has long been a go-to spot for ramen lovers and first-timers alike. Wasabi has served the Palmer Square area since 2010 and is one of few Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants in the city with both traditional and contemporary Japanese fare.
The menu includes small plates, katsu sliders, rice dishes, and of course, the main event: ramen. The tonkotsu broth used in Wasabi’s ramen is rich and creamy, thanks to a labor of love and attention. It’s made with 100% Heritage Berkshire Pork bones and is slow-cooked for days.
Try the Original Tonkotsu Ramen, a classic you can’t go wrong with. However, if you’re looking for something with more of a kick, the Spicy Roasted Garlic Miso Ramen is loaded with chili peppers.
112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
Nestled underneath Green Street Smoked Meats, High Five Ramen is tiny, but mighty. The hidden ramen shop in Chicago brings an updated take on ramen and serves a selection of Japanese libations, including sweet slushies. The space is tight and the food is popular, so you might be waiting a while to sit, but once you’re in, your patience will be rewarded.
The High Five Signature Bowl has sliced pork belly, noodles, seasoned egg, black garlic oil, bean sprouts, pepper, dried Japanese chilies, nori, and scallions, all swimming in a traditional tonkotsu broth. Try the Maitake Ramen, made with a mushroom miso broth and served with maitake mushrooms for an earthy option.
For all ramens on the menu, you can add Kanabo Spice, a “face-numbing, tear-jerking, unbearable spice” that tests your willpower and heat tolerance.
553 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614
Tanaka Ramen is a Hawaii-based chain with locations in Houston, Atlanta, Hawaii, and Chicago. The ramen head chef traveled all over Japan to bring the most delicious and traditional ramen recipes to the states. From the classic tonkotsu to chicken broths—or even cold ramen—Tanaka has a big menu for you to choose from.
You can also build your own ramen, filling your bowl with all your favorite toppings. Three servings of pork chasu, please! Tanaka is also one of the most popular ramen spots for vegans and vegetarians. Try the Spicy Creamy Vegan Ramen served with kale noodles!
1482 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
1538 N Clybourn Ave, Chicago, IL 60610
Kizuki is a Japanese chain that has locations all over the world, including Taiwan, Australia, and Japan. The chain has two spots in Chicago, one in Wicker Park and the second in Lincoln Park. What sets Kizuki apart from other ramen shops is that they roast the bones before boiling, similar to the French style of preparing consommé.
If you are searching for the best places to get ramen in Chicago, this hip destination serves small plates, ramen, rice dishes, whiskey, sake, and beer in a modern setting. The menu also has vegetarian and gluten-free options. Try one of the signature Kizuki dishes, like the Yuzu Shio Ramen. This unique dish has pork, veggies, and an award-winning Kizuki soft-boiled egg with a citrusy yuzu finish in a light pork and chicken bone broth.
800 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
2410 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Furious Spoon has made a name for itself in not only serving delicious ramen but also head-bopping hip hop tracks. With locations in Logan Square and Lakeview, the ramen shop has become a popular destination for both local and visiting ramen lovers.
The Furious Ramen is the perfect choice for spicy lovers. It features a spicy miso pork broth topped with house-made chashu, steamed chicken and pork dumplings, crispy shallots, garlic relish, marinated mushrooms, fury sauce (the restaurant’s signature apple chili hot sauce), and a poached egg.
59 W Hubbard St #2, Chicago, IL 60654
165 E Huron St, Chicago, IL 60611
219 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
Slurp traditional and contemporary ramen varieties at Ramen-San, a hip, rustic ramen spot in River North with additional locations in Fulton Market and Streeterville. Right after it opened, the many Ramen-Sans have quickly risen to become one of the best ramen spots in Chicago.
For something different, try the Kimchi & Fried Chicken Ramen, crunchy and spicy ramen in pork broth featuring karage fried chicken and spicy kimchi—a mix of cultures! The menu also includes chicken wings, mantou buns, small plates, and limited edition specials, like its Late Night Fried Rice. Not just a ramen destination, Ramen-San serves Japanese whisky, cocktails, sake, and other libations as well.
919 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
2141 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
1453 E 53rd St, Chicago, IL 60615
First opened in 2014 in Chinatown, Strings Ramen Shop has become a staple for ramen in Chicago, expanding into Lakeview and Hyde Park as well as Indiana, Wisconsin, and New York.
Strings make fresh noodles daily and use high-end ingredients in their four ramen broth varieties. The menu varies from the classic rich tonkotsu ramens to lighter shoyu, shio, and miso ramens. Strings also serve yakisoba, a Japanese dish of pan-fried ramen noodles.
If you love food challenges and want to test your heat tolerance, endure the Monster Hell Ramen Challenge. Strings has five levels of Hell Ramen, with level five being the spiciest having Chinese Tian Jing red chili, Szechuan chili bean sauce, Thai chili, Piquin chili, ghost peppers, and scorpion pepper. The challenge is finishing the level 5 ramen in 20 minutes. If completed, you win a $50 gift certificate, Monster Hell t-shirt, your bowl free, and bragging rights.
1385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Oiistar is a Wicker Park-based Japanese restaurant with modern takes on ramen, buns, and small plates. The Oiimen Classic is your traditional ramen with Berkshire pork belly, ground pork, scallions, tree ear mushrooms, bamboo shoot, bean sprouts, soft boiled egg, and chili garlic oil. It’s a good place to start if you’re new to ramen!
For those who have spice in mind, whether you love it or hate it, Oiistar has spicy levels listed on their ramen menu—very considerate. Pair your choice with draft beer for a delicious meal!
Featured Image Credit: Ramen-San