Before my first ramen experience, I thought the general term for “ramen” referred to the packaged ramen that’s supposed to be dangerously unhealthy (shameful, I know). My ramen affinity started a little later than most, but I owe my eventual path to ramen to one of my best friends, who celebrated her 15th birthday with a trip to Totto Ramen. Let’s just say, once you try ramen, you never go back.

That being said, there’s nothing like ramen in New York City. Especially as the winter “vortex” is fast approaching, a delicious noodle soup is what you need if you want to stay warm! Here’s a list of some of my favorite ramen places throughout New York City, a collection of restaurants I’ve visited throughout the years as an amateur ramen aficionado.

Naruto Ramen

Naruto Ramen is the ideal dish you imagine authentic ramen to look like, and it’s even topped with an iconic fish cake with the pink swirl.

I tried their Naruto ramen (since I always go for a restaurant’s special). The soup had a hefty portion of noodles and was topped with a boiled seasoned egg, scallions, cooked bamboo shoots, your choice of meat, and a seaweed strip. With its savory broth and its collection of different flavors from its toppings, the ramen was a classic dish. And with four other types of ramen available and a variety of appetizers ranging from edamame to gyoza, it’s a great place to start your path to ramen.

Naruto Ramen has four locations around NYC; it’s accessible and recommended for anyone looking for ramen at a decent price (priced at $9 for their Naruto bowl).

Ise Menkui-Tei

This one made the list because it's my best friend's favorite ramen place (and if anyone knows ramen, it's her).

Ise offers so many different kinds of broths, including rich pork bone, salt, miso, and soy sauce, to name a few. Topped with bean sprouts, scallions, and bamboo shoots, Ise knows ramen. Located midtown near the MoMA, it's definitely a must.

Ippudo NY

When you hear about ramen in NYC, you probably hear about this place. And the hype is real. The first time I went here, a line was already forming before the restaurant even opened.

First off, I absolutely recommend getting their Hirata (steamed) buns. Their signature dish is their tonkotsu ramen; the original "tonkotsu" (pork) broth with thin noodles topped with pork loin chashu, sesame kikurage mushrooms, menma, red pickled ginger, and scallions. Do I even have to say more?

Totto Ramen

Maybe I’m biased because Totto sparked the birth of my love for ramen, but I stand by my decision to say that Totto is my favorite ramen spot.

I never stray from their Paitan ramen, which is a creamy chicken broth-based soup topped with scallions, onions, a seaweed strip, and your choice of meat. Not to mention that their noodles are chewy, giving that al-dente touch. All in all, I've tried a good amount of ramen places in my day, but Totto's broth and noodles remain my favorite.

So if you're looking for the best noodles in town, I definitely recommend any of these places. Although I only have four spots listed, remember: quality over quantity. That motto especially applies to ramen.