Chicago is the birthplace of improvisational comedy and a great city for eating. It makes sense then that the food scene enables Chicagoans to take great dishes and make them with the Windy City’s signature style.
Ramen is no exception. There are tons of local variations everywhere, from food trucks to starred restaurants.
But where do you find delicious ramen in Chicago? For my visit to the city, I looked for the best broths, the tastiest noodles, and fresh ingredients.
These spots served ramen that met all of my criteria! Check out this list for suggestions on where to get the best ramen in Chicago.
A Chicago favorite, with three locations in the northern area of the city, RAMEN-SAN serves stunning bowls of noodles attracting locals and tourists alike.
On my Chicago excursion, I visited the Huron Street establishment, which shares the building with Northwestern University.
The interior design here is sleek and streamlined but not fussy, creating a relaxing place to slurp noodles. RAMEN-SAN creates crave-able food with Asain flair, utilizing flavors from Korea, Thailand, and Japan.
Before ordering ramen, try out some of the appetizers. I sampled their Japanese eggplant fries, which featured vibrant herbs and a yuzu sauce that was mouth-watering.
There are quite a few ramen options here, with lots of add-ons. RAMEN-SAN serves a vegetarian ramen, which can be challenging to find in some places.
I recommend the tantan-san ramen as the spicy vegetable broth and silky tofu make for a great combination.
1482 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
The Wicker Park neighborhood is a hip area with an exciting nightlife scene, which is where you’ll find my next pick for the best ramen in Chicago.
Kizuki Raman & Izakaya isn’t open late, but it’s a great place to start your night if you’re planning on exploring the bar scene.
The brightly interior blends traditional Japanese style with an industrial edge cultivating a welcoming ambiance.
Kizuki serves authentic Japanese ramen. The restaurant pays particular attention to their broth, slow roasting bones before boiling them to pull out more flavor.
I tried this house-made ramen for myself, ordering the shoyu ramen. The broth in this dish was a rich blend of pork and chicken stock.
I could also taste the difference in the soy sauce added to this dish, which is imported from the Yamaguchi prefecture of Japan.
1385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622
Oiistar is another Wicker Park spot for delicious ramen. The restaurant is nestled between a galley and a piano bar in one of the city’s bustling commercial areas.
Its interior reflects this with a minimalist approach to design, but less fuss means more time to focus on the most important thing: the food.
As opposed to focusing on classic ramen, Oiistar serves the delicacy with its own twist. The chadolmen modern dish is made with beef brisket, ground pork, and kimchi.
In addition to ramen, Oiistar boasts exciting bao and filled buns. The traditional Chinese dish gets a new spin with unique flavor mashups.
My favorite was the pollo bun with spicy chicken and cilantro, marrying Chinese flavors with new ingredients for an overall delicious taste.
2101 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Logan Square is an old neighborhood with many trendy businesses bringing an off-beat vibe to this area of Chicago.
You’ll find Ramen Wasabi close to live music venues like the Concord Music Hall and Congress Theater.
Ramen Wasabi has the modern look of a city ramen eatery, but for the best experience, I recommend eating outdoors if the weather permits.
The dining area is shaded by a large tree and decorated with hanging plants, giving patrons a charming atmosphere to eat in.
Their signature broth is made with pork bones, which takes as long as 45 hours. I ordered the Hakata Red from this ramen spot, which uses this pork broth combined with a blend of numbing spices.
It was delicious without being too spicy.
112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607
High Five Ramen is a part of Fulton Market in Chicago’s former warehouse district. The sparsely lit basement venue is industrial but quirky, with the walls covered with sticks and unique accents around the restaurant.
Expect to encounter a moody but fun vibe, exactly what you’d expect from a converted warehouse space.
With only four options for ramen bowls, High Five has a smaller selection than other ramen spots on this list of the best ramen in Chicago.
However, what they do, they do well. I ordered the High Five Signature bowl of tonkotsu ramen with delicious pork and miso broth.
Since I’ve had bowls of tasty ramen ruined by soggy sprouts in the past, I appreciated the fresh, locally-grown bean sprouts that topped this fantastic bowl of food.
806 W Webster Ave, Chicago, IL 60614
A few blocks west of Chicago’s iconic Lincoln Park, Kameya is another great ramen place to eat outdoors.
A pop of color from the red folding chairs brightens the restaurant’s interior. Lots of string lighting and live plants make this elegant spot perfect for social media ready pictures.
Since Kameya specializes in fresh sushi as well as ramen, I thought this would be a great place to try a seafood variation of the Japanese soup.
I ordered my bowl with udon broth for a sweet and salty pairing with the five types of seafood in my bowl.
Lots of places offering Japanese fare have menus featuring edamame. Kameya serve their edamame alongside shishito peppers, a mild pepper that tastes incredibly delicious when grilled, which is how they do them here.
Another ramen spot that calls the former warehouse district home, Kinton Ramen, is recognizable from the street from its stunning mural.
The artwork features a giant yellow pig and, thematically, a bowl of ramen. This location is in the Fulton Market, with a second spot to the north on Milwaukee Avenue.
The interior of the Fulton Market storefront, which was what I visited, was sleek, unassuming, and modern.
It certainly fits well with the type of ramen they serve, a mix of classics done with fresh ingredients. Since I visited during the summer, I ordered one of their warm-weather specials.
The Amaze Mazemen comes without broth, making it a great dish to enjoy without getting too hot from eating lots of soup.
Its noodles were seasoned with sesame oil, garlic, and butter, creating the best ramen in Chicago sans broth.
3240 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608
The heart of the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago is Halstead Street. Here visitors will find diverse cuisine options, from Korean barbeque to taquerias.
Shinya Ramen House on Halstead Street is one of the neighborhood’s best places to eat if you’re looking for Japanese food.
Look for the dark, modern exterior of this ramen house to find this cute spot serving some of the best ramen in Chicago.
The ambiance here is pretty laid back, with rustic-looking tables and Japanese posters on the walls.
I tried the curry chicken ramen from Shinya since I had seen something like it on the menus of the other restaurants I visited.
This ramen is a flavorful amalgam of two quintessential Japanese dishes: curry and ramen. The karaage on top was perfectly crunchy, and I highly recommend this dish.
2141 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616
A few blocks from the Chinese American Museum of Chicago, Strings Ramen Shop has made a name for itself in the heart of Chinatown.
The restaurant is reminiscent of Tokyo-style dining spots, a long space with lots of seating along the sides.
In fact, the interior design is distinctly Japanese, too, creating an authentic, friendly feel to this ramen shop.
If you’re an adventurous eater who likes their meal to come with a challenge, you’ll want to check out the Hell Ramen challenge.
Choose one of the varying heat levels and enjoy ramen enhanced with the spice of hot peppers.
I wasn’t brave enough to try the level five spiciness, made with scorpion pepper (which is some of the hottest in the world).
However, if you’re up to the challenge and can finish your bowl, you’ll win free ramen and a gift certificate for your efforts.
My level three Hell Ramen was just spicy enough, and made it apparent to me that this place serves some of the most delicious ramen in the Windy City, especially if you like it hot.
451 W 31st St, Chicago, IL 60616
A few blocks north of the Chicago White Sox’s home field, E Ramen has established itself as a great spot to get Japanese comfort food.
This relatively small location has a cozy atmosphere with minimal decoration.
E Ramen doesn’t need anything flashy to attract customers, relying instead on ensuring their Japanese favorites are done right.
In addition to ramen, this restaurant serves tapas and sushi rolls. Try the Godzilla Roll for a crunchy, creamy accompaniment to your ramen.
While that looked intriguing, I ordered another ramen variety I hadn’t seen elsewhere at E Ramen.
The nabeyaki udon paired the earthy flavors of the broth and mushroom with sweet and crispy shrimp tempura.
Whether you’re a local or touring Chicago, you’ll find great spots to eat all around the city. There are many great ramen options here, ranging from traditional to modern.
Unlike some other places I’ve searched for good ramen, Chicago has a lot of variety, including plenty of places with vegan or vegetarian dishes.
A comforting bowl of ramen is the perfect way to warm up as you explore all this city offers. For some of the best ramen in Chicago, check out these spots I visited and loved!
Nothing’s better than a few drinks after a bowl of ramen in Chicago, so check out these bars around town!
Did we leave a restaurant out of this list? Make sure you leave us a comment, and we’ll check it out!