Joan here. Lately, people have been asking me about my favorite ramen places. After having realized that we’ve been to more than twenty ramen places so far, I think this is a good time for me to start one of many blogs on our current favorites. This list will be updated every several months or so. Each restaurant listed will include a link to a blog or two about it. I hope this will come in handy anytime you’re out looking for ramen!
Hey! Tanya here. My input might run a bit small but I look forward to trying out new places.
1. Shin-Sen-Gumi in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
Joan: This is my number one ramen house because you can customize your ramen. And what better place to have ramen than in Little Tokyo? I’ve probably been here ten times or so since it opened. I probably would have gone more if I lived closer. Here is the blog from the first time I ever went there:
2. Ramen Nakamura in Waikiki, Hawaii
Joan: I know most of our readers are from California, but we do have readers in Hawaii as well! And I have to say, this place deserves the number two spot in my heart. The ramen there was really something, it could be my number one if it were here in Cali!
Diner Dash: Ramen Edition
3. Kotoya Japanese Ramen in West Los Angeles
Joan: Kotoya won my heart right away. This place is really special and I really hope that it does well and opens more restaurants. Their broth was quite unique and I think I would drive out of my way just to eat there! I listed the two blogs so you can read about their two ramen types:
Surprise Birthday Ramen
I Heart LA
4. Ajisen in Rowland Heights
Joan: This is my go-to ramen place when I’m home. It’s the easiest one to get to. Plus, there are tons of fun stuff to do in the area. I also like the variety of ramen they have, which makes it easy for me to introduce friends that are new to ramen.
Tanya: I love the location just in general. They have many different types of ramen to choose from. Their croquettes are AWESOME. There is so much in just that block perimeter that you can’t get bored. Yougurtland next door, Korean market across the street, awesome boba shop that’s fairly new, awesome bakery. On the other corner is a plaza called Yes. Neat little cafe and even a crane machine arcade, hahaha. Just about a block away is another plaza that caters more towards Japanese and Chinese customers. Cue is there, so is Genki life(awesome dessert/snack place) There is an arcade and even cute Japanese shops around. I just love the area.
Ramen Newbie (for the vegetarians)
5. Daikokuya in Hacienda Heights
Joan: You can’t go wrong if you go to Daikokuya. It’s a very popular joint (long lines) and for the most part, I’ve never been disappointed with my ramen. Except that one time I ordered Kotteri, but I was and still am on a health kick. Still good though!
Tanya: I just enjoy being here. They service is a bit weird because they bring the food out sporadically. it is hard to make everyone wait for their food because the noodles can get soggy. They environment is great, they have nice people and neat vintage collectables all around like Ultraman toys to old Japanese movie posters and trinkets everywhere. I love this place as a local ramen house. I bring friends here as a first choice and their first time enjoying ramen.
It was tough picking out the 5, but I didn’t want to leave some out. Here is a list of places worthy of visits:
1. Shin-Sen-Gumi in Fountain Valley
Tanya: I am always happy with the consistency of the ramen here. I don’t even recall being disappointed with this place. The noodles always had the right texture and taste and the broth was always made right. I love how you can choose the saltiness, oil and flavor of the broth. To me? That’s always worth the drive.
Joan: This was the first place I had ramen. I went here all the time back in college, before the blog began. For the longest time, I thought they had the best broth here, out of all the Shin-Sen-Gumi’s I’ve been to. The only reason why I didn’t include this in my top 5 is because I haven’t been here in a long time.
300 Miles for Ramen
2. Daikokuya in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
Joan: I really liked it here every time I went. The only thing that stops me from going here is the long line and Shin-Sen-Gumi is just around the corner.
First Ramen Run
3. Orochon in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles
Joan: Orochon is fun, especially when you’re with a group. None of us have actually attempted the Orochon challenge, but my friends and I like to make our own competitions. There were a few times I didn’t like the ramen there, but there were enough times that I did. If you like spicy ramen, definitely check this place out!
Orochon Challenge 3
4. Santouka at the Marukai Marketplace in Culver City
Joan: From what I recall, the ramen here was quite good! I remember thinking that I would rather go here over some of the restaurants I’ve been to. I’ll have to try this place again at some point.
Food Court Ramen
5. Ton Ton Ramen in Waipahu, Hawaii
Tanya: The main memorable thing about it was that it was in Hawaii! I liked the Black sesame broth ramen. It was interesting because is was so different than what I have even heard of. I also liked the fact that they didn’t use MSG which is pretty much common in most ramen recipes. I want to go back to Hawaii so badly.
Epic Ramen Run and More…. in Hawaii!
Here is a list of places that no longer exist or stopped serving ramen. Just thought you all should know in case you were planning a visit. I’m not even going to bother with blog links:
1. Shogun Restaurant in La Verne – STOPPED SERVING RAMEN! 😦
Joan: This place was actually quite good with their ramen. They only served it twice a week so it was always a fun experience trying to plan a ramen run there. And this was the best place to get ramen in the Inland Empire.
2. Naga Naga Ramen in Pasadena – CLOSED
Joan: Naga Naga was alright. There were times it was good, but most times, mediocre. Although they are closed, some of their ramen can be found in Noodle World’s menu, across the street.
Tanya: This breaks my heart that they aren’t there anymore. I liked the location. I had a good first experience. I guess they are inconsistent because Joan went another time and it was a miss. They had a great aquarium in the middle of the shop and the Japanese milk tea was so tasty. I shall find it again.
We hope you will find this blog useful. There is still plenty of ramen to be had, and as we discover new places, we’ll update this list. If any of you have places you recommend, just give us a holler! Maybe you can join us on a ramen run!
Thanks for reading!
Joan and Tanya