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A bowl of ramen on a wooden table.
Ramen is a joy all year round.
Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Where to Slurp Ramen in Chicago

Find the best bowls of ramen in Chicago and the suburbs

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Ramen is a joy all year round.
| Barry Brecheisen/Eater Chicago

Ramen is a Japanese specialty beloved by many and mastered by few. Springy noodles in hot broth with a layer of pork, soft-boiled egg, nori, and spices are an artful combination that can be enjoyed at just about any hour of the day. It's also a great hangover cure, and the increasing popularity of meat-free varieties has brought a whole new sector of vegan and vegetarian ramen fans into the fold.

The following places have ramen down to a science. Some even make their own noodles by hand and simmer the broth for days. It's the closest Chicagoans will get to the real thing outside of Japan, and for those whose only ramen experience has been the prepackaged instant variety, these bowls will be a revelation.

As of January 3, the city has mandated that those ages 5 and up be fully vaccinated and masked at public places indoors when not actively eating or drinking. For updated information on coronavirus cases, please visit the city of Chicago’s COVID-19 dashboard. Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may still pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission. The latest CDC guidance is here; find a COVID-19 vaccination site here.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Ramen House Shinchan

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1939 S Plum Grove Rd
Palatine, IL 60067
(847) 496-4189
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The city’s ramen scene has grown significantly over the past decade but it’s a suburban Palatine strip mall restaurant that’s churning out some of the finest tonkotsu in Chicagoland. A 15-hour cooking process yields a rich and intense pork broth that’s good enough to drink on its own. It’s paired with chewy egg noodles imported from the West Coast and tender braised pork. The kitchen also serves a spicy Taiwanese-style ramen featuring chicken broth, ground pork, garlic, scallions, bean sprouts, and green chives. Ramen House Shinchan offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery via third-party services. There’s a second location in suburban Vernon Hills.

2. Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai

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1129 N Roselle Rd
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
(847) 744-6425
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Hailing from the city of Kitakata, this Japanese chain has a busy local outpost in Hoffman Estates. The signature shoyu ramen is soy sauce-based and made with pork, while the flat wide-cut noodles are “hand crumpled” in house, giving them a distinct mouthfeel. It’s all topped off with slices of chashu, braised pork belly marinated in soy sauce. The restaurant is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.

3. Santouka

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100 E Algonquin Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 357-0286
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Noodle enthusiasts journey to the northwest suburbs for what might be the best ramen in the area. This outlet of Hokkaido’s popular ramen chain, tucked away inside Japanese mall Mitsuwa, has a devoted following. It’s not unusual to see a long line of people snaking through the food court during lunch hours. Wait it out, though, and the reward is shio ramen topped with toroniku chashu — tender pork cheeks that practically melt in the mouth. Santouka offers indoor seating and takeout or delivery via third-party services.

4. Ramen Misoya

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1584 S Busse Rd
Mount Prospect, IL 60056
(847) 437-4590
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Just like its nearby counterpart Santouka, this ramen shop is the local branch of a Japanese chain. The menu highlights three varieties of miso-based ramen, with the Hokkaido-style version being a favorite. This full-bodied, umami-packed broth is accompanied by toppings including ground pork, corn, fried potato wedges, and grilled pork. Ramen Misoya is open for indoor dining and takeout.

5. Chicago Ramen

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578 E Oakton St
Des Plaines, IL 60018
(224) 938-9982
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Despite its name, this ramen destination is actually located in suburban Des Plaines. Acclaimed chef Kenta Ikehata, who helped open Tokyo-based chain Tsujita’s first stateside outpost in Los Angeles, whips up an incredible version of tsukemen. The cold, thick noodles from Sun Noodles are meant to be dipped in a chicken-vegetable-pork broth that’s mixed with miso pastes. On the less traditional side, there’s a white mapo tofu ramen that pays homage to the Sichuan dish with a chicken broth, silky tofu, and lots of spicy peppers. Chicago Ramen offers indoor seating or takeout and delivery via third-party services.

6. Kameya Ramen & Sushi

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604 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 857-0117
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This Lakeview restaurant doesn’t always get as much recognition as some other noodle specialists in town, but its efforts are nevertheless deserving of praise. The ramen includes topping choices like pork belly, bulgogi beef, chicken katsu, and seafood. Kameya offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery. There’s a second outpost in Lincoln Park.

7. Tanaka Ramen

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553 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 857-5140
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Hawai’i-based chain Tanaka Ramen touts many of the same styles seen at other Chicago spots, but the local outpost has carved out a niche for itself with some of the most popular meat-free selections in town. Check out its spicy, creamy vegan ramen with kale noodles or vegetarian dan dan men.

8. Ramen Wasabi

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2115 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 227-8180
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Ramen is a labor of love and at Ramen Wasabi, it shows. Though the menu offers a selection of Asian small plates, ramen is the main attraction. Rich and creamy tonkotsu broth is slow-cooked for days and served with Berkshire pork belly, soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, scallions, sesame, wood ear mushrooms, and garlic oil. To dial up the heat, opt for the spicy roasted garlic miso ramen loaded with chili peppers. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dining and takeout or delivery.

9. Urbanbelly

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1542 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 904-8606
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Bill Kim’s fast-casual restaurant deploys a range Asian flavors in exciting ways. Noodles are a big part of the menu and the non-traditional ramen has been a longtime staple, featuring a pho-like soup base with braised pork belly, radish, mushrooms, and soft-boiled egg. Urbanbelly is open for indoor and outdoor dining, and takeout or delivery via third party services. Kim also has a ramen stall at the Time Out Chicago food hall in Fulton Market.

10. Kizuki

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1482 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 270-4150
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Ramen’s spike in popularity in Chicago has drawn a number of Japanese chains to the local market. One of those imports is Kizuki, a shop offering choices that range from garlicky tonkotsu and light yuzu shio ramen to traditional tsukemen dipping noodles. Kizuki is open for indoor dining, and takeout or delivery. A second location is in Lincoln Park.

11. Oiistar

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1385 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 360-8791
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Mussels, chicken tikka masala, and beef brisket aren’t common toppings in ramen but they’re what diners can expect to find at Oiistar. Try something a bit different with these modern takes on a classic dish. Options like the Tikkaman (chicken, masala, bean sprout, nori, roasted sesame, soft-boiled egg) and Musclemen (mussels, onion, chili pepper, scallions, bonito miso) are always reliable and comforting. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery.

12. Ramen-San

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59 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 377-9950
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Lettuce Entertain You’s dedicated noodle shop touts both traditional and unorthodox varieties. Slurp tonkotsu and shio broths, or go with the kimchi and fried chicken ramen. Ramen-San offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery via third-party services. Fans can find additional outposts in Fulton Market and Streeterville.

13. Ramen Takeya

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819 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 666-7710
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Ramen Takeya, a sister spot to Logan Square favorite Ramen Wasabi, specializes in a different type of ramen than its well-known sibling: the signature light broth, called paitan, is chicken-based and complemented by Berkshire chashu, soft-boiled jidori egg, bamboo shoots, kikurage mushrooms, diced onions, and scallions. Non-meat eaters can enjoy the vegan tantanmen, which is composed of buckwheat noodles and seitan ragu in a mushroom and seaweed broth. Ramen Takeya offers indoor and outdoor seating and takeout or delivery.

14. The Izakaya at Momotaro

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820 West Lake Street, Lower Level
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 733-4818
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Boka Restaurant Group’s contemporary Japanese venue is an impressive tour de force. Whether it’s immaculate nigiri or indulgent meats cooked on the robata grill, diners can sample some of the city’s most luxurious bar snacks. On the building’s subterranean level, the Izakaya offers a more laid back experience that echoes Japan’s bustling bar scene. The pub-inspired menu leans heavily on comfort, featuring tantanmen ramen (chicken broth, ground pork, sesame). The restaurant is open for indoor dining and takeout or delivery via third-party services.

15. Kinton Ramen

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163 N Sangamon St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 374-3942
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Canadian ramen chain Kinton selected Chicago for its first U.S. location in 2019 and followed up three years later with a second outpost in Wicker Park. Known for reliable and customizable pork, chicken, and vegetarian bowls soup with a choice of thick or thin noodles, the chain also features sake, beer, and refreshing booze-free drinks like yuzu lemonade.

16. High Five Ramen

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112 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 754-0431
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Hogsalt Hospitality’s subterranean ramen lair is an appealing experience for spicy food fanatics. The tonkotsu and mushroom miso ramen can be enhanced with kanabo spice, described on the menu as “face-numbing, tear-jerking, unbearable.” Just make sure to get there early or be prepared to wait in line as seating is limited.

17. Strings Ramen

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2141 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 374-3450
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Noodles are a vital component of the best ramen and few take it more seriously than this Chinatown shop, which makes its own noodles daily, using a Japanese machine to impart a firm and chewy texture. There are five different broths available, but the bravest eaters can earn a free bowl, T-shirt, and $50 gift card by finishing the level five “Hell Ramen.” This fiery dish is packed with Chinese Tianjing chili, Sichuan chili bean sauce, Thai chili, pequin chili, ghost peppers, and scorpion peppers. Additional locations are in Lakeview, Hyde Park, New York City, and Madison, Wisconsin. Strings is open for indoor dining and takeout or delivery.

18. E Ramen

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451 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616
(312) 624-9745
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This under-the-radar retreat in Bridgeport first opened in early 2020 and is steadily earning a local reputation for its rich chicken based-bowls with thin noodles. There are also plenty of porky tonkatsu options, like niku ramen with cilantro, corn, and pickled ginger, plus sides and rice dishes such as takoyaki and gyu don beef bowls.

19. Shinya Ramen House

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3240 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608
(312) 877-6008
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South Siders head to this Bridgeport izakaya to satiate their ramen cravings. The menu covers a variety of styles, including black garlic tonkotsu, curry chicken, tomato vegetable, and tofu miso udon. There are also several types of noodles to select from: egg, matcha, rice, yam, soba, and udon.

1. Ramen House Shinchan

1939 S Plum Grove Rd, Palatine, IL 60067

The city’s ramen scene has grown significantly over the past decade but it’s a suburban Palatine strip mall restaurant that’s churning out some of the finest tonkotsu in Chicagoland. A 15-hour cooking process yields a rich and intense pork broth that’s good enough to drink on its own. It’s paired with chewy egg noodles imported from the West Coast and tender braised pork. The kitchen also serves a spicy Taiwanese-style ramen featuring chicken broth, ground pork, garlic, scallions, bean sprouts, and green chives. Ramen House Shinchan offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery via third-party services. There’s a second location in suburban Vernon Hills.

1939 S Plum Grove Rd
Palatine, IL 60067

2. Kitakata Ramen Ban Nai

1129 N Roselle Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

Hailing from the city of Kitakata, this Japanese chain has a busy local outpost in Hoffman Estates. The signature shoyu ramen is soy sauce-based and made with pork, while the flat wide-cut noodles are “hand crumpled” in house, giving them a distinct mouthfeel. It’s all topped off with slices of chashu, braised pork belly marinated in soy sauce. The restaurant is open for indoor dining, takeout, and delivery.

1129 N Roselle Rd
Hoffman Estates, IL 60169

3. Santouka

100 E Algonquin Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005

Noodle enthusiasts journey to the northwest suburbs for what might be the best ramen in the area. This outlet of Hokkaido’s popular ramen chain, tucked away inside Japanese mall Mitsuwa, has a devoted following. It’s not unusual to see a long line of people snaking through the food court during lunch hours. Wait it out, though, and the reward is shio ramen topped with toroniku chashu — tender pork cheeks that practically melt in the mouth. Santouka offers indoor seating and takeout or delivery via third-party services.

100 E Algonquin Rd
Arlington Heights, IL 60005

4. Ramen Misoya

1584 S Busse Rd, Mount Prospect, IL 60056

Just like its nearby counterpart Santouka, this ramen shop is the local branch of a Japanese chain. The menu highlights three varieties of miso-based ramen, with the Hokkaido-style version being a favorite. This full-bodied, umami-packed broth is accompanied by toppings including ground pork, corn, fried potato wedges, and grilled pork. Ramen Misoya is open for indoor dining and takeout.

1584 S Busse Rd
Mount Prospect, IL 60056

5. Chicago Ramen

578 E Oakton St, Des Plaines, IL 60018

Despite its name, this ramen destination is actually located in suburban Des Plaines. Acclaimed chef Kenta Ikehata, who helped open Tokyo-based chain Tsujita’s first stateside outpost in Los Angeles, whips up an incredible version of tsukemen. The cold, thick noodles from Sun Noodles are meant to be dipped in a chicken-vegetable-pork broth that’s mixed with miso pastes. On the less traditional side, there’s a white mapo tofu ramen that pays homage to the Sichuan dish with a chicken broth, silky tofu, and lots of spicy peppers. Chicago Ramen offers indoor seating or takeout and delivery via third-party services.

578 E Oakton St
Des Plaines, IL 60018

6. Kameya Ramen & Sushi

604 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

This Lakeview restaurant doesn’t always get as much recognition as some other noodle specialists in town, but its efforts are nevertheless deserving of praise. The ramen includes topping choices like pork belly, bulgogi beef, chicken katsu, and seafood. Kameya offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery. There’s a second outpost in Lincoln Park.

604 W Belmont Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

7. Tanaka Ramen

553 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614

Hawai’i-based chain Tanaka Ramen touts many of the same styles seen at other Chicago spots, but the local outpost has carved out a niche for itself with some of the most popular meat-free selections in town. Check out its spicy, creamy vegan ramen with kale noodles or vegetarian dan dan men.

553 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614

8. Ramen Wasabi

2115 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60647

Ramen is a labor of love and at Ramen Wasabi, it shows. Though the menu offers a selection of Asian small plates, ramen is the main attraction. Rich and creamy tonkotsu broth is slow-cooked for days and served with Berkshire pork belly, soft-boiled egg, bamboo shoots, scallions, sesame, wood ear mushrooms, and garlic oil. To dial up the heat, opt for the spicy roasted garlic miso ramen loaded with chili peppers. The restaurant is open for indoor and outdoor dining and takeout or delivery.

2115 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

9. Urbanbelly

1542 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Bill Kim’s fast-casual restaurant deploys a range Asian flavors in exciting ways. Noodles are a big part of the menu and the non-traditional ramen has been a longtime staple, featuring a pho-like soup base with braised pork belly, radish, mushrooms, and soft-boiled egg. Urbanbelly is open for indoor and outdoor dining, and takeout or delivery via third party services. Kim also has a ramen stall at the Time Out Chicago food hall in Fulton Market.

1542 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

10. Kizuki

1482 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Ramen’s spike in popularity in Chicago has drawn a number of Japanese chains to the local market. One of those imports is Kizuki, a shop offering choices that range from garlicky tonkotsu and light yuzu shio ramen to traditional tsukemen dipping noodles. Kizuki is open for indoor dining, and takeout or delivery. A second location is in Lincoln Park.

1482 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

11. Oiistar

1385 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Mussels, chicken tikka masala, and beef brisket aren’t common toppings in ramen but they’re what diners can expect to find at Oiistar. Try something a bit different with these modern takes on a classic dish. Options like the Tikkaman (chicken, masala, bean sprout, nori, roasted sesame, soft-boiled egg) and Musclemen (mussels, onion, chili pepper, scallions, bonito miso) are always reliable and comforting. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery.

1385 N Milwaukee Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

12. Ramen-San

59 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654

Lettuce Entertain You’s dedicated noodle shop touts both traditional and unorthodox varieties. Slurp tonkotsu and shio broths, or go with the kimchi and fried chicken ramen. Ramen-San offers indoor and outdoor seating, and takeout or delivery via third-party services. Fans can find additional outposts in Fulton Market and Streeterville.

59 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654

13. Ramen Takeya

819 W Fulton Market, Chicago, IL 60607

Ramen Takeya, a sister spot to Logan Square favorite Ramen Wasabi, specializes in a different type of ramen than its well-known sibling: the signature light broth, called paitan, is chicken-based and complemented by Berkshire chashu, soft-boiled jidori egg, bamboo shoots, kikurage mushrooms, diced onions, and scallions. Non-meat eaters can enjoy the vegan tantanmen, which is composed of buckwheat noodles and seitan ragu in a mushroom and seaweed broth. Ramen Takeya offers indoor and outdoor seating and takeout or delivery.

819 W Fulton Market
Chicago, IL 60607

14. The Izakaya at Momotaro

820 West Lake Street, Lower Level, Chicago, IL 60607

Boka Restaurant Group’s contemporary Japanese venue is an impressive tour de force. Whether it’s immaculate nigiri or indulgent meats cooked on the robata grill, diners can sample some of the city’s most luxurious bar snacks. On the building’s subterranean level, the Izakaya offers a more laid back experience that echoes Japan’s bustling bar scene. The pub-inspired menu leans heavily on comfort, featuring tantanmen ramen (chicken broth, ground pork, sesame). The restaurant is open for indoor dining and takeout or delivery via third-party services.

820 West Lake Street, Lower Level
Chicago, IL 60607

15. Kinton Ramen

163 N Sangamon St, Chicago, IL 60607

Canadian ramen chain Kinton selected Chicago for its first U.S. location in 2019 and followed up three years later with a second outpost in Wicker Park. Known for reliable and customizable pork, chicken, and vegetarian bowls soup with a choice of thick or thin noodles, the chain also features sake, beer, and refreshing booze-free drinks like yuzu lemonade.

163 N Sangamon St
Chicago, IL 60607

Related Maps

16. High Five Ramen

112 N Green St, Chicago, IL 60607

Hogsalt Hospitality’s subterranean ramen lair is an appealing experience for spicy food fanatics. The tonkotsu and mushroom miso ramen can be enhanced with kanabo spice, described on the menu as “face-numbing, tear-jerking, unbearable.” Just make sure to get there early or be prepared to wait in line as seating is limited.

112 N Green St
Chicago, IL 60607

17. Strings Ramen

2141 S Archer Ave, Chicago, IL 60616

Noodles are a vital component of the best ramen and few take it more seriously than this Chinatown shop, which makes its own noodles daily, using a Japanese machine to impart a firm and chewy texture. There are five different broths available, but the bravest eaters can earn a free bowl, T-shirt, and $50 gift card by finishing the level five “Hell Ramen.” This fiery dish is packed with Chinese Tianjing chili, Sichuan chili bean sauce, Thai chili, pequin chili, ghost peppers, and scorpion peppers. Additional locations are in Lakeview, Hyde Park, New York City, and Madison, Wisconsin. Strings is open for indoor dining and takeout or delivery.

2141 S Archer Ave
Chicago, IL 60616

18. E Ramen

451 W 31st St, Chicago, IL 60616

This under-the-radar retreat in Bridgeport first opened in early 2020 and is steadily earning a local reputation for its rich chicken based-bowls with thin noodles. There are also plenty of porky tonkatsu options, like niku ramen with cilantro, corn, and pickled ginger, plus sides and rice dishes such as takoyaki and gyu don beef bowls.

451 W 31st St
Chicago, IL 60616

19. Shinya Ramen House

3240 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60608

South Siders head to this Bridgeport izakaya to satiate their ramen cravings. The menu covers a variety of styles, including black garlic tonkotsu, curry chicken, tomato vegetable, and tofu miso udon. There are also several types of noodles to select from: egg, matcha, rice, yam, soba, and udon.

3240 S Halsted St
Chicago, IL 60608

Related Maps