Picture this: freshly cooked noodles, a savory broth, a balanced seasoning of spice, and a few of your favorite garnishes. No, this isn't your ordinary bowl of cup noodles. Being a ramen connoisseur myself, I only found it fitting that I provide my two-sense on the best ramen in New York City. Ramen, and I mean really good ramen, is one of the most decadent dishes, having uncompromising umami flavor leaving you only wanting more. 

Living in New York is a blessing and a curse. You're at the mecca of culinary ingenuity but are faced with the great difficulty of narrowing down your choices. That's why I've rounded up the best ramen spots in NYC, from authentic tonkatsu broths to innovative fusion ensembles. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, the winners of the best ramen in New York City.

1. Ippudo

Notorious for its long-waits, this ramen joint is sought-after for a reason. Imported from Japan, their authenticity is undeniable. I've tried a lot of ramen in my lifetime and can definitively say that Ippudo's flavor combinations are unbeatable. I recommend ordering the Akamaru Modern: a smooth rich broth topped with scallions, cabbage, roasted pork and a bed of perfectly-cooked noodles. If you're really committed to the meal, pair your savory dish with a side of pork buns: you won't regret it. 

What to Order: Akamaru Modern ramen and pork buns

2. Ivan Ramen

Owner and master chef, Chef Ivan Orkin combined his Jewish heritage with his interest in Japanese culture to open Ivan Ramen, a ramen staple of the lower east side locals and travelers from afar. With locations in Tokyo and New York, Ivan Ramen pleases taste buds worldwide. Unique to their menu, their base is made of rich chicken broth as opposed to the traditional pork. I recommend trying the Shio Ramen: a lighter take on the traditional Japanese staple with pork belly chashu, roasted tomatoes, scallions and soft-cooked eggs.

What to Order: Shio Ramen

3. Ichiran

You've probably seen the Facebook videos sharing this particularly individualized ramen experience. At Ichiran, it's more than socially acceptable to eat alone; it's actually encouraged. They offer table seating as well as traditional Japanese counters, where individuals are encouraged to focus on their personal meal experience: it's just you, the ramen, and all the time in the world. Specializing in tonkotsu ramen, Ichiran allows you to completely customize your bowl to your liking. From the spice level to the way your noodles are cooked, this dining experience is truly what dreams are made of. 

What to Order: Tonkotsu Ramen with garlic, green onions, sliced pork, and their original red sauce.

4. Jun Men Ramen Bar

Alison Tair

Chelsea, the ramen Gods have answered your prayers. Most of NYC's ramen hotspots are located in the East Village and Midtown; however, Jun-Men Ramen Bar provides noodle-loving Chelsea locals with the ramen spot they've been waiting for. Known for their pork bone ramen, Jun-Men also offers an array of delicious small plates and indulgent desserts including pork buns and Matcha cheesecake. With an aesthetically-pleasing ambiance, Jun-Men is a must-try if in the Chelsea area.

What to Order: Pork Bone Ramen, Pork Buns, and Matcha Cheesecake (pictured below)

Alison Tair

5. Mu Ramen

What started as an ordinary ramen pop-up shop has quickly transformed into a unique cult-favorite. Residing in the hub of Long Island City, Mu Ramen is home to some of New York's best Tonkotsu ramen. Topped with ground pork, chili oil, egg, and scallions, this tonkatsu ramen redefines simplicity without sacrificing undeniably rich flavor.

What to Order: Tonkotsu Ramen or Spicy Miso Ramen

6. Momosan Ramen

The brainchild of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Momosan Ramen features a menu of four distinct bowls of ramen including the signature Tonkotsu ramen, the Tan-Tan ramen with spicy coconut curry, the Tokyo Chicken, and the Tsukemen. Made with a special soggy-resistant noodle (Sun Noodle), these ramen dishes ensure that you'll be able to truly savor the flavor. Check this spot out to taste some of Morimoto's flavorful ingenuity. Trust Morimoto. (FYI- he competed on Food Network, so I trust him with all my heart.)

What to Order: Signature Tonkatsu Ramen or Tskukemen Ramen.

7. Totto Ramen

Specializing in their chicken broth ramen, Totto Ramen is a world-renowned favorite. With locations in Midtown West, Midtown East, Hell's Kitchen, and even the foreign land of Boston, Totto pleases crowds near and far. They allow you to completely customize your ramen, offering 20+ additional toppings including nori, egg, scallions, chili oil, ground pork, and more. Don't be surprised if you find yourself craving a second bowl.

What to Order: Chicken Paitan Ramen with Pork

8. Jin Ramen

Serving up some of the best ramen in the city, Jin Ramen is conveniently located in the Upper West Side and offers a plethora of ramen combinations. The most acclaimed options include the Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen and the Shio Ramen, made with chicken and vegetable broth. Grab your chopsticks and take a seat, this will be an experience. (Fair warning: don't be alarmed if you're tempted to lick your bowl clean; it's normal here.)

What to Order: Spicy Tonkotsu Ramen

9. Mr. Taka Ramen

At the forefront of Mr. Taka's Ramen artistry is their Shoyu ramen, a ramen noodle dish based in a rich soy sauce. The chefs at Mr. Taka understand that indulging in your Ramen takes some time. So, to ensure full pleasure in the experience, they use Sun noodles, which won't get as soggy as quickly as normal ramen noodles. Head over to Mr. Taka and ask for their Shoyu special; it's a winner in my book.

What to Order: Shoyu Ramen

10. Ramen Lab

Ramen Lab is an incredibly innovative take on a typical ramen restaurant. Marketed as an experimental Japanese ramen bar, Ramen Lab invites chefs near and far to showcase their innovative taste palettes and ramen creations. With a constantly changing menu, Ramen Lab never ceases to excite and surprise. This month, they've invited Sun Noodle, the artisan noodle operation responsible for the fresh ramen noodles across fan-favorite ramen shops, to devise a few slurp-worthy dishes. A stand out on the menu is their Tori Paitan Ramen, a rich chicken broth based noodle dish.

What to Order: Tori Paitan Ramen

11. Nakamura

Nakamura is NYC's latest and greatest ramen spot. Offering a finite four ramen dishes, Nakamura serves a limited menu that has been meticulously prepared and cultivated to satisfy Ramen lovers across the board. Their menu features a Torigara Shoyu (soy sauce) ramen, Miso Vegetarian ramen featuring dried seafood and Chinese ham, Curry Spiced Ramen that combines the best of Japanese comfort food: Japanese curry and ramen, and Yuzu Dashi-- the lightest of the bunch highlighting aromatic flavors. Nakamura pushes the boundaries of typical ramen, having dedicated half their menu to exotic concoctions and unique flavor combinations.

What to Order: Curry Spiced Ramen or Torigara Shoyu

12. Ramen Shack

The creative genius behind the original Ramen Burger, Keizo Shimamoto launched his own ramen shop, serving up bowls of heaven as well as the legendary ramen-burger hybrid. With a keen attention to detail, Shimamoto puts his heart and soul into producing these edible works of art. Each bowl is perfected with seasonings and topped with a few garnishes. My personal favorite is his Spicy and Dark Red Sunset Shoyu, which is topped with pork chashu, nori, and scallions. 

What to Order: Red Sunset Shoyu and Ramen Burger

Now, I just have one remaining question: do you slurp your noodles or lick your bowl clean? Whatever your method may be, we can all agree on one thing: ramen is comfort; ramen is home. Step into one of these hotspots and prepare to experience a flavorful breakthrough.