Samurai Papa is without a doubt my very favorite Ramen spot in New York City. I'm lucky enough to live less than a 10 minute walk from this establishment, but I try to limit my visits because I'd truly become a Ramen monster if I went as frequently as I wanted. There's another Samurai Papa location deeper in Bed-Stuy, but I prefer this one for a few reasons: more seating, a larger menu, and the ability to order sushi. The other location only has a few select bar seats and a one-page menu (though it's still incredible).
My go-to? I always have the Shoyu Ramen here, and I play with all the little additions you can mix in. It's so much fun! I also get my ramen "Bukkake Style", where your ramen is served with a concentrated broth and you can dilute it to your own taste with another lighter broth given to you on the side. I also start with the tuna & avocado salad and push my dinner guest to get sushi so I can steal a bit.
Fun fact: the owners of Samurai Papa also own Bozu, my favorite sushi spot in Williamsburg. This is also a testament to the quality of their food - I cannot urge you to try it enough!
2. Ramen-Ya (181 W 4th St, New York, NY)
Nestled in my favorite neighborhood in New York City, Ramen-Ya does not disappoint whatsoever. There's limited seating, so be prepared to wait, or plan your meal time accordingly. I got the Shoyu Spicy ramen and it had a fantastic flavor. I personally prefer a thicker noodle, so if you're on the same page, make sure you substitute. It's a great date spot with lots of fun bars in the area to hit after! I also suggest the Gyoza as a starter.
I tried Kame Ramen with two of my coworkers on a chilly December day while I was in the middle of obsessing over a Japanese reality show -- it was impossible to be more in the mood for Ramen than I was at that moment. Kame Ramen was my coworker's suggestion, and I can't wait to go back. I had the Spicy Tonkatsu Ramen and I finished all of it. One of my coworkers doesn't like super salty Ramen and she was raving about how it was perfect for her - and it's full of flavor, too! We also split some appetizers (I highly suggest this) and I can't stop thinking about the perfect Gyoza.
There's a reason why everybody talks about Ippudo Ramen. There's always a line, an excruciatingly long wait, and you're not allowed to take leftovers home. They can so this because they absolutely have some of the best ramen around. This is also the reason why they're not #1 on my list, nobody likes a diva, and when I want my ramen, I want it without a hassle. If you really want to try Ippudo Ramen without the burden, head up with the Vanderbilt Urbanspace and snag it to-go (plus, Urbanspace is a culinary hidden gem in NYC).
I'm truly baffled that ICHIRAN doesn't have a higher rating on Yelp, but to each their own. I went to ICHIRAN with a friend while it was pouring down rain, and this hit the spot. This place gets a lot of buzz for their "flavor concentration booths", which are essentially private booths for you to sit at without having personal interaction with anybody. The ramen itself? Unbelievable in my book.
It was a sweltering June afternoon when I met a girlfriend here before watching basketball, and I have no regrets whatsoever. I don't remember too much about the ramen (not to say it wasn't memorable) but I do remember, given the weather and atmosphere, still slurping every last drop down and being so uncomfortably full for hours afterward.
For some reason when a guy hears like I love ramen, he suggests going to Ivan. Sure, the story is super unique and the ramen is fantastic, but you're not showing me some hidden gem and you better be making a reservation. Date or not, get that Triple Pork Garlic Mazemen with no apologies for your breath - it's worth it. I've tried other options here, and nothing compares (though it is on the salty side). Great beer menu, too!
I just tried this spot for the first time a couple weeks ago and I have to tell you - if the thought of Miso freaks you out, don't let it do that to you here. The Super Miso ramen is to die for (and if you haven't had Miso, than it's to "try" for, too). Delicious pork, perfect flavor broth, and great service. They're cash only!
Last but not least... Tabata Ramen. An unassuming storefront on 6th Avenue about a block from many other ramen spots, this understated restaurant is my top suggestion in the neighborhood. I got the special - some sort of black garlic ramen. Not only was is incredible, but they let me post up with my laptop (and their free wifi) and do work for 4-5 hours without any annoyance.