In Japanese, ramen literally means "pulled noodles," but the dish is a comforting meal of noodles and broth and topped with any variety of meat, fish cakes, scallions, or other ingredients. Ramen is a favorite meal amongst New Yorkers. Locals eat it when they are cold, sick, hungover, or just in the mood for something tasty. Regardless of where in the city you are, or how much money you have, you'll be able to find a great ramen restaurant in NYC; here are a few of our favorites.
At Ramen-Ya, a cozy joint with two locations around Greenwich Village, ramen is more than a meal. The owners believe it is a way to bridge Japanese and New York ways of life and the ramen here is sophisticated. Servers explain the difference between soybean and soy sauce flavors and will top it your choice with creamy vegetable soup or red ginger pickles. Regardless of what you order, you can be sure the ramen is authentic and elaborate. The restaurant even publishes a blog to explain the food in detail. Read up before you order.
E.A.K. Ramen is as authentic as it comes. In 2008 it started as a restaurant in Japan that specialized in the IEKEI style of ramen. That means it combines chicken and pork broth mixed with thick noodles and topped with a soft-boiled egg and green onions.
Now the brand has expanded to the United States, and you can find two shops in New York City: in the West Village and Hell's Kitchen. The chefs at each establishment take 18 hours to make the broth for the ramen. While there are only 6 items on the menu, they are each cooked to perfection.
Misoya is a restaurant in the NOHO neighborhood that specializes in miso broth ramen. Made of soybeans, rice or barley, and salt, the restaurant teaches you all about the health benefits of miso. You can order miso variations that vary in texture and flavor profiles. The soups also come with different toppings from spicy pickled vegetables to fried breaded shrimp. If you're hungry late at night, this is your place as it stays open to midnight Monday to Saturday and until 11 p.m. on Sunday.
Ichiran—a ramen chain with locations in Bushwick, Midtown, and Times Square—has a lot going for it. First, it specializes in tonkotsu ramen, a delicious broth made with pork bones that are boiled for several hours. This restaurant was the first to serve it with a thick, red sauce that adds a spicy kick. Second, the restaurant has solo booths so you can wander in alone, perhaps after a long day of work or sightseeing, and not feel out of place. Third, there is no tipping, which means everyone gets the same high-level of service.
YUJI Ramen has two locations: one in Japan and one in East Williamsburg, not far from the Lorimer Street subway station. The owner, named Yuji, is passionate about serving local seafood that is underutilized and other seasonal ingredients. As such, the menu changes daily based on the ingredients available. During the summer, for example, you can find ramen filled with monkfish liver or tuna belly. YUJI is only open for dinner from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. (to 10 p.m. on Sundays).
The restaurant also offers classes in topics including whole fish butchery and Japanese knives sharpening.
Mr. Taka is a casual joint in the Lower East Side started by two childhood friends that exudes fun. The restaurant serves several types of ramen along with numerous types of sake and beer. But don't let the casual vibes fool you. The ramen is authentic and as good as you can find in New York City. Some of it is creative including one dish served with spicy cheese and another that is vegan. And it's all served with salad or karaage, Japanese style fried chicken.
Minca Ramen Factory
Shigeto Kamada didn't initially set out to open a ramen restaurant. He actually had a career in music. But after the events of 9/11, he decided to do what he loved and learned how to do during his extensive time in Japan: cook ramen.
His restaurant, the Minca Ramen Factory, specializes in ramen with bold tastes. He uses seaweed, dried bonito, and dried shiitake mushrooms to enrich his flavors. And he loves inventing new ramen dishes, so it's a restaurant to return to again and again. You never know what will be on the menu next.
Opened in 2013, Tamashii Ramen was one of the first ramen restaurants in Astoria, Queens, and it was immediately a success. Locals flocked there to try the miso ramen, flavored with soybeans, or the shoyu ramen, made with soy sauce. Now the menu is extensive, and you can choose between various types of ramen, including vegetable options, Japanese curry, beef bowls, teriyaki, and more. The restaurant is proud that it does it a few things differently than other institutions. Most importantly it only makes its miso out of soy beans that have been fermented for two years. It also uses a special type of soy sauce without added wheat that used to be reserved for Japanese royalty.
Totto has become such a successful ramen chain, it now has four locations in New York City: Midtown West, Hell's Kitchen, Midtown East, and Flushing. This no frills restaurant makes ramen easy. You can choose from spicy or non-spicy variations off the menu. You also can make your own ramen with toppings including pulled char siu chicken, boiled eggs, bamboo shoots, corn, seasoned avocado, and more. You can also order a few Japanese beers and sakes. The line can be long, but the food comes out quickly.
This spot is over in Jersey city, but the food at Ani Ramen is worth the commute. The shop sells six different types of ramen that are clearly explained on the menu. It also has an extensive list of sides and small plates including buns, salads, and dumplings. If you like to drink while you eat, this is your place. Ani Ramen has an extensive list of Japanese whiskies that pair perfectly with the food.