The Best Ramen in Downtown Chicago

What used to be a college staple is now just a culinary staple, period, at least in Chicago. Ramen is a popular cuisine that’s found an avid audience in the Windy City, and it’s on menus all over the city.

There are even several restaurants dedicated entirely to the bowl full of noodles. If you’re in the mood for this traditional Japanese dish, here’s where you can find the best ramen in downtown Chicago.


With a name like Ramen-san, your noodle game better be on point. This Dining District restaurant scores with its traditional tonkotsu as well as its Korean-American fusion kimchi and fried chicken. With its exposed brick walls and hip-hop music, it’s got a cool vibe and is one of the more casual places in River North.

When you can't decide, order everything!

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Ramen Misoya

Ramen Misoya in Streeterville is part of a chain out of Japan, and when it opened there were lines out the door. It’s got a cafeteria feel, which fits right in with a bowl full of noodles. “Miso” is not just in the name; they’re known for their miso ramen, and signs on the walls extol the virtues of the soybean paste.


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Strings Ramen

You might not expect to find a Japanese restaurant in Chinatown, but considering ramen noodles originated in China it makes sense. Strings Ramen is one of the few places in the city that makes their own noodles, and they’ve got a special machine and scale in the basement that’s running all day long. In addition to their bone broth choices, they’ve also got great odon, or Japanese street food.

Slurping Turtle

Takashi Yagihashi’s original Bucktown location may be closed, but his ramen lives on at Slurping Turtle. His pork bone broth is so dense it’s opaque, and this location also makes its own noodles. If you’re watching your wheat, they’ve got a gluten-free version, too. If you’re looking for something a little cooler, they’ve got sushi and sashimi, too.

These are some of the best places for ramen in downtown Chicago, but they’re not the only ones. For even more slurps, follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

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