If when you hear "ramen," you cringe while thinking of that crunchy, plastic-wrapped packet of noodles that likely served as half your diet in college, then you've been missing out. The Japanese dish was popularized in America as an quick dinner option in the 1970s, but the gourmet ramen you'll find prepared in restaurants is a totally different, veggie-and-meat-filled beast. On the heels of the announcement that Tokyo restaurant Tsuta has become the the first ramen eatery to earn a Michelin star , we bring you several spots to enjoy the hearty meal yourself, just in time for the winter cool-down.
This Suwanee spot is a ramen lover's paradise, featuring eight varieties of the dish including honey miso, wasabi shoyu and ultra spicy and an extensive list of Japanese appetizers and sides. It's also one of the only restaurants in metro Atlanta to find vegetarian ramen, courtesy of the soymilk broth. It even got a shout-out from Staplehouse chef Ryan Smith when we polled Atlanta chefs on where they like to eat .
Umiado, 5-9:30 p.m. Mondays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. Fridays- Saturdays; Noon-8:30 p.m. Sundays. 2790 Lawrenceville-Suwanee Road, Suwanee. 678-318-8568.
Chef Bruce Logue only offers one kind of ramen at his Edgewood pasta restaurant, but it's a goodie, served with collard/pork brodo, a momofuku egg and hot peanuts. It's a dish that helped the restaurant get a spot on our 10 favorite restaurants of 2014 .
Boccalupo, 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays and 5:30-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays. 753 Edgewood Ave., Atlanta. 404-577-2332.
If you're looking for ramen from an authentic izakaya, this is your best bet -- the menu boasts seven kinds of ramen, including shio butter corn and Tokyo soy -- as well as several varieties of yakisoba and udon.
Shoya Izakaya, 5-11 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and 5-10:30 p.m. Sundays. 6035 Peachtree Road, Doraville. 770-457-5555.
This Chinese-Korean spot loves ramen so much, it hosts a yearly ramen festival. On its seasonal menu, look for tonkotsu pork broth and chicken miso ramen.
Makan, 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Fridays-Saturdays; 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Sundays. 130 Clairemont Ave., Suite 100, Decatur. 404-996-6504.
There are Atlanta and Duluth locations of this Japanese restaurant, giving you geographic spread on some great ramen. Choose from tonkotsu, soy and miso broths, and order sides from the extensive menu if you have room for more. Read our review of Raku here.
Raku, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-11 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays and Noon-10 p.m. Sundays. 810 Marietta St., Atlanta, 404-500-1908 and 2550 Pleasant Hill Road #112, Duluth, 770-476-1212.
This Midtown spot offers up six different kinds of ramen, including white, red and black tonkotsu broths. Read our review of Wagaya here.
Wagaya, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. and 5-10 p.m. Fridays; Noon-3 p.m. and 5-10:30 p.m. Saturdays; 5-9:30 p.m. Sundays. 339 14th St., Atlanta. 404-390-3798.
This pop-up from chef Andrew Bantug made its debut at Tomo Buckhead in October and features ramen, pork buns and other Asian plates as a three-course, prix-fixe menu served family style. But make sure to get there early -- Upper Room doesn't take reservations, and there are only 50 seats available per night.
Chef Mihoko Obunai -- who won the ICC Ramen Battle held in Brooklyn in October -- brings her skills to The Sound Table's Monday night ramen extravaganza, featuring rotating Asian dishes and meat and vegetarian ramen option. Obunai often teams up with other local chefs, including Jey Oh of Craft Izakaya and Jiyeon Lee of Sobban to craft special ramen menus. Ramen Freak often takes breaks, so be sure to check their Facebook page to see if they're on an "on week."