The winter blues are real, y’all. We know Chicagoans do everything they can during the cold months to try and keep warm, so we have put together our favorite spots to get your ramen fix in the city. Microwaves be warned, the game has changed. Brave the single digit temps and check out the spots below—it is worth the trek despite how much snow may be on the ground. Savory aromatic broths, hand-crafted noodles, tender pork belly, and lip smacking chiles will have you forgetting how cold it is in no time.
High Five Ramen
This cult classic ramen spot, located in the tiny space below Green Street Smoked Meats in the West Loop definitely tops our list of ramen recommendations. This cozy spot is equal parts amazing ramen and awesome ambience. If you like heat, then this is the kitchen you want to be in; this soup is spicy! Word to the wise: arrive early and put your name down on the waitlist then head upstairs for a drink. The spot is small and seats are limited.
High Five Ramen, 112 N Green St, Chicago, IL, (312) 754-0431
The ramen at Wasabi is so good, you can count on a line out the door almost any day of the week. If you are looking for a traditional, no-frills bowl of ramen, look no further. Their simple recipe is made with a classic tonkotsu broth, but we recommend adding spicy miso to your bowl.
Wasabi, 2101 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, (773) 227-8180
Hot broth, cold beer, and ’90s hip hop: what could be better? Come bop your head to the beats of Tupac, Notorious BIG, Jay-Z and other hip-hop greats, while chowing down on the restaurant’s’ signature ramen bowls, made with wavy Tokyo-style noodles. Add unconventional items to your bowls like fried chicken, molten egg, and ground pork. Our recommendation for a bowl? The vegetarian shiitake bowl is made with the most delicious mushroom broth that gives the meat broth bowls a run for their money.
Ramen-San, 59 W Hubbard St #2, Chicago, IL, (312) 377-9950
If you haven’t had ramen from Furious Spoon, you haven’t lived. This staple Chicago ramen restaurant is a must have, especially during the cold winter months. Furious Spoon offers a simple approach to ramen, you simply pick your broth, noodles and add toppings and voila! You can also choose from signature bowls. Our favorite bowl? The restaurant’s signature Furious bowl. You won’t be disappointed. We recommend subbing in the chili-infused noodles for a little extra heat.
Furious Spoon, multiple locations
Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya
The restaurant is opening their second location at the end of the month. Boasting traditional Tokyo-style ramen, Kizuki offers a true Japanese dining experience without having to fly across the globe. What makes the restaurant unique though, is that Kizuki makes four ramen broths from scratch daily in-house, and unlike other ramen shops, ramen broth is made with a unique method of roasting the chicken and pork bones before making the broth, resulting in soup that is richer in flavor. Bonus? The restaurant also offers five different types of noodles including the Chuka, Tonk, Tsukemen, Shirataki and Kale noodle.
Kizuki Ramen and Izakaya, 1482 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL, (773) 270-4150
No essential ramen list would be complete without UrbanBelly. This winter, ramen lovers can look forward to the restaurant hosting RamenFest on February 17. As Chef Bill Kim and his team gear up for the big day, ramen superfans will be able to get their fix via a pop-up dinner series at the Wicker Park restaurant. Starting Thursday, Jan. 31, guests can enjoy one-day-only specials from Ramenfest guest chefs. Each pop-up begins at 6 p.m. Look out for unique ramen dishes like chef Rick Ortiz of Antique Taco’s “It’s Nacho Ramen,” a tortilla broth base rounded out by spicy shishitos, scallions and queso crumbs.
UrbanBelly, 1542 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL, (773) 904-8606