Chefs Tell Us The Best Ramen Joints In The Country


A lot of us grew up eating instant ramen. It’s inexpensive (like dirt cheap) and honestly can be pretty damn tasty. But just as a can of Progresso doesn’t begin to compare with the glory of a steaming pot of homemade soup, instant ramen doesn’t prepare anyone for the glory of true ramen — with its silky, meaty broth and fresh wheat noodles. Enjoying a well-made bowl of ramen can be a transformative culinary experience, well worth your time and money.

We asked some experts in the culinary field where they’ve had the best ramen of their lives. If you live close enough to one of these shops, drop in ASAP. These people know what they’re talking about. And if you’ve only ever tasted Top Ramen or Cup o’ Noodles, you owe it to yourself to find a ramen joint in your neighborhood. We guarantee you won’t regret it.

Momi Ramen (Miami, Florida)

Brian Nasajon, Chef of Beaker & Gray and Mason Eatery in Miami, Florida

“Although it’s a bit pricey, I love the ramen at Momi Ramen.”

Ippudo (New York, New York)

Michael Beltran, Chef and Owner of Ariete in Miami, Florida

Ippudo in NY. I try to go every time in town. The ramen is insanely good!”

Ivan Ramen (New York, New York)

Travis Sparks, Chef of Tánsuŏ in Nashville, Tennessee

“I love Ivan Ramen in New York. They have a couple of locations and we try to go there when we’re in the city.”

Umami Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Ben Raupp, Executive Chef of The Howard in Oshkosh, Wisconsin

Umami Pittsburgh is a must visit in the City of Champions for sushi and ramen. It features traditional Japanese dishes but prepares them with modern techniques and local ingredients. Umami’s infrared robata grill cooks skewered meats and vegetables—traditional Japanese menu items, prepared in a modern manner. It’s a super cool place with a great atmosphere. Inside, there’s a small tatami room where patrons can sit and dine, wallpaper covered in the Umami logo (which looks like Japanese kanji) and red Japanese lanterns. Umami also has awesome cocktails like the Fizzy Lifting Drink, a low-proof alcohol-based cocktail with grilled pear and egg white, and some great Japanese whiskeys.”

HiroNori Craft Ramen (Irvine, California)

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Fernando Valladares, Executive Chef of Ground House at TRADE and 4th Street Market and Portside Fish Co at TRADE in Irvine, California

“Don’t let the long line at HiroNori Craft Ramen in Irvine discourage you, it’s worth the wait. Their tonkotsu ramen is some of the best I’ve ever had; the broth is rich, packed with flavor. Make sure to throw in some of their house-made spicy sauce and fresh garlic.”

Momi Ramen (Miami, Florida)

Santiago Gomez, Chef of Cantina La Veinte and Tacology in Miami, Florida

Momi Ramen in Brickell. Since moving to Miami, Momi has become my favorite ramen spot. Their food is very flavorful and the establishment is nice and cozy. It’s close to Cantina and Tacology, so it’s very convenient! They offer great service on a daily basis, too.”

Little Big Diner (Newton, Massachusetts)

Ian Maschal, Chef de Cuisine at Eventide Fenway in Boston, Massachusetts

“By far the best ramen I’ve ever had was out of a vending machine in Japan, but the Chefs Ultra at Little Big Diner is worth the wait in line. It’s super flavorful and comes with piles of protein.”

Terakawa Ramen (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Robin Miller, Host of Real Life Kitchen

“Nestled in a fun part of town (near Chinatown), Terakawa’s noodles are rock solid. My first choice: The Shoyu Ramen, slick noodles in a soy sauce-spiked chicken broth with chicken, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, scallions, fish cake, and seasoned boiled egg. And since you’re already in the ‘hood, I adore the hand-drawn noodles (that you can watch being drawn) right around the corner, at Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House.”