The Daily Meal recently published our 25 Best Ramen Shops in America for 2014, and in order to compile our ranking, we contacted the leading culinary authorities around the country to ask them about their personal favorite shops are (sticking to restaurants that specialize in ramen and noodles, as opposed to sushi bars with one bowl of ramen on the menu), and we supplemented those suggestions with ramen shops featured in local rave reviews and pre-existing local rankings. We then took that list of more than 100 shops from across the country and conducted a survey, with the shops separated by region. We invited our group of trusted panelists (made up of chefs, bloggers, journalists, and other culinary authorities) to vote for their favorites, and more than 30, including the Los Angeles Times’ Jonathan Gold and our fleet of city editors, cast their votes. In the end there was one clear winner, but the top shops aren’t all found in ramen hotspots like New York and the Bay Area; there’s great ramen all over America, including in Chicago.
Chef Takashi Yagihashi is one of the country’s leading Japanese chefs (you may remember him from Top Chef Masters and Top Chef Duels) and he’s turned his attention to Japanese comfort food at the casual and fun Slurping Turtle. There’s no Japanese dish that’s more comforting than ramen, and it certainly doesn’t get short shrift here. Three different bowls of ramen are available, all made with homemade noodles: Red Miso (with roasted chicken, bok choy, scallions, and sweet corn); spicy Tan Tan Men Ramen (with pork meatballs, chashu, and pork miso); and Tonkotsu (with chashu, bok choy, pickled mustard greens, braised mushrooms, and chile oil), and they all showcase Takashi’s trademark deft hand and eye for balance. Assuming you wash it all down with beer and sake, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more fun dining experience in the Windy City.
Slurping Turtle is the only ramen shop in Chicago to make our list, so it’s unequivocally the best ramen shop in the city this year.