The focus here is strictly ramen, with fresh noodles daily and only four different types of ramen broth. Chef Pat Sheerin of Trenchermen highly recommends this spot, saying "I think it’s one of our best ramen shops in the city." 2141 S. Archer Ave., 312-374-3450
At this communal-table Vietnamese soup house, Chef Chris Pandel (The Bristol, Balena) always orders the extra-large beef noodle soup with "tripe and innards, and strange meatballs that you’re not quite sure what's in there, but they're delicious. You [also] get the star anise and the white pepper, and all the traditional flavors you'd expect, like fresh herbs and basil, pickled jalapeños, and all the good stuff that goes along with pho.” 4953-55 N. Broadway, 773-878-2253
Owned by restaurateur Brendan Sodikoff, this 16-seat, basement eatery makes classic ramen dishes that are generous with the spice.“I crave the garlic clam ramen,” says Chef Sheerin. 12 N. Green St., 312-754-0431
This elegant restaurant mixes contemporary French-American fare with Japanese influences. Chef Tony Mantuano (Spiaggia, River Roast) suggests coming here on Sundays for udon, soba, and pork buns. 1952 N. Damen Ave., 773-772-6170
Rick Bayless' casual street-food café, Xoco (Mexican slang for "little sister"), serves up hot-from-the-fryer churros and empanadas, Mexican hot chocolate, tortas (Mexican submarine sandwiches), and made-to-order caldos (meal-in-a-bowl soups), which come recommended by Chef Paul Kahan (Blackbird, avec). “Come here for incredible, super-flavorful soups—Mexican style." 449 N. Clark St.
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