We’ve done enough winter food round-ups lately: best fondues, best comfort food, even the best soup list we did last year. Okay, okay. You know where I’m getting at. Yes. After much expectations and many requests, here is Urban Matter’s latest Ultimate Chicago Ramen Guide, hot off the press. Log into Doordash, or get ready to head out — because this is the only list you’ll ever need to find the best Ramen shops in Chicago.
PS: The order goes vaguely from North to South across the city. It is not ordered based on how good they are! Try a few different places, until you find one that speaks to you!
1217 W Devon Ave, Chicago, IL 60660
Mura Mura was my goto when I lived near Edgewater. They may not have a fancy website or a huge social media following, but their ramens are solid. If you want to try some authentic Japanese flavors, give their Black Ramen a try. For those who aren’t as good with garlic taste, or prefer something more classic, they also have a great Tonkotsu and Miso. Finally, the Habanero Miso is designed for anyone who is desperate in need of a kick on the tastebud.
1131 W Bryn Mawr Ave, Chicago, IL 60660
There are many reasons why Blowfish is one of the best ramen bars in Chicago. Their black garlic tonkatsu and spicy roasted garlic miso are my personal favorite, and it’s always fun to pick one or two new things from their extensive appetizer list. But the main reason I absolutely love Blowfish is due to their Sake list. If you also believe that the correct pairing of ramen and sake is a form of art, you’ll dig Blowfish for sure!
4926 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640
RAKKAN might be new to Chicago’s ramen scene, their unique branding about making healthy, positive, and happy food quickly connected with Chicago’s many foodies. As one of Japan’s Top 100 ramen shops and the winner of many other ramen awards from its home country, real ramen lovers wouldn’t find RAKKAN’s name unfamiliar. Bringing the traditional Umami flavor to Chicago with an innovative twist, plus offering vegan options, RAKKAN will soon become your new favorite ramen bar in Chicago.
With three locations in Chicago, Strings is a safe bet when you’re craving ramen. Personally, I think their broth is a bit saltier than the other places listed here. However, they do have the best spicy ramen in Chicago! Choose your spice level, or try their Monster Hell challenge. You can also order their hell hot sauce separately and recreate the flavor at home!
604 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Ramen Kameya is kinda tucked away, but will keep you coming back. If you like innovative ramen that goes beyond chashu and bamboo shoots, you should come here for sure. My favorite is their Katsu ramen — it literally has a whole fried pork chop as the topping. They also have amazing dumplings! Don’t judge me, but I throw them into my ramen sometimes.
553 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614
If you like those high-top ramen bars you see in J-dramas, you’ll enjoy Tanaka’s ambience and interior. They also have some really tasty chicken ramen, so if you’ve never found a good Ramen bar in Chicago with solid chicken broth, this is your place. Tanaka also has a bunch of Japanese non-alcoholic beverages. Try the Royal Milk Tea or the Wasabi Ginger Ale if you want something different.
2101 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Established in 2010, Wasabi has been the “secret gem” among the local and non-local customers in Chicago’s new destination spot. Wasabi is one of few Japanese-owned Japanese restaurants in Chicago that offers a full range of both traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine to bring a unique Japanese dining experience. Indulge in Izakaya-style small plates and the most authentic Japanese ramen with broth made from boiling pork bones for days, topped with the freshest and highest-grade ingredients.
1482 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Kizuki is one of my personal new favorites. Specifically, their signature creamy garlic tonkotsu ramen is my go-to whenever I am in the neighborhood. For those who prefer lighter broth, I highly recommend Yuzu Shio and classic Shio. And don’t forget: they have a good list of whiskey, sake, and beer too!
59 W Hubbard St #2, Chicago, IL 60654
The best thing about Ramen-San is they have gluten-free ramen. If you have a gluten-intolerant friend, take them to Ramen-San and drag them into the endless ramen rabbit hole! Other than that, many would agree with me that Ramen-San is one of the best ramen bars in Chicago. The pork belly is always solid, the broth is top-notch, the noodles are cooked perfectly, plus, they have the best Japanese cocktails as far as ramen spots go!
916 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607
If it’s Bill Kim, it’s good. Winter time and a visit at the Time Out Market means Bill Kim’s Ramen Bar for many of us. Originally launched as a delivery-only concept, Bill Kim Ramen Bar specializes in broths that draw on Korean, Vietnamese and Mexican flavors, garnished with a creative array of toppings. Whether you’re looking for an impeccable bowl of traditional ramen or something a bit more adventurous, Kim has something you can enjoy by the spoonful.
112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
This is how High Five describes itself: an “updated takes on ramen plus Japanese beer and slushy cocktails in a hip basement with limited seats.” If you’re looking for a ramen bar in Chicago that offers a completely different experience, check out High Five. Cool atmosphere, funky music, and solid ramen. Nothing else needs to be said.
3240 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608
Shinya = Midnight =… Yup. If you’re a huge fan of the Midnight Diner series, you must check out Shinya Ramen House. Opening from 5:00 PM all the way into 1:30 AM, this is the spot if you had to work overtime and need somewhere to decompress and enjoy a good hot bowl. With 13 different ramen flavors, including Sapporo Spicy Miso Ramen, Tomato Vegetable Ramen, and Curry Chicken Ramen, plus an extremely extensive Japanese grill and appetizer list, Shinya is without a doubt a hidden haven for ramen and Japanese food lovers.
Featured Image: Ramen Wasabi