Has anyone found good ramen?
So, I went to Cha Ya on 4th st. for the first time on a friend's recommendation. I had some very tasty udon soup, but...what I was really craving, and hoping they would have, was some good old fashioned ramen. Has anyone found anyplace in the area (preferable east bay, but willing to drive long distances too) that serves a good hearty broth and ramen noodles with some bite in them?
re: Melanie Wong
a review of Ryowa (link below)
incidentally, I work a block away from Ryowa. During lunchtimes (never been any other time...), the crowd is 90% Japanese. The books/newspapers are Japanese language only, as is the TV in the corner. There are only two small tables, the rest is counter service. The ramen is excellent. I even liked the kimchi.
My favorite is one that Wendy-san directed me to - Santa Ramen at 805 South B Street in San Mateo. If you go, be prepared to wait, as there is always a line, and the service can be painfully slow (much harder to bear while being tortured by the delicious scent of ramen and fried chicken). They do three types of broth - shoyu, miso and tonkotsu. Unfortunately, I haven't found anything that comes close in San Francisco. Katana-ya on Irving & 6th will do in a pinch, but the other Katana-ya locations around town that I've tried are horrid. Stay far far away from Sapporo-ya in SF Japantown.
Here's my current, personal ranking of Ramen places in bay area:
1. Santa Ramen in San Mateo
Most "authentic" Ramen in terms of its soup stock and noodles. More oily than usual and very salty, just like in Japan.
2. Do Henkotsu in SJ
An alternative style Ramen from southwestern part of Japan. The noodle is more similar to Chinese style than other Japanese style ramen. The pork is also different style - dark marinated strips of pork cut "bacon style", rather than the traditional "char-siew (BBQ Pork) style".
3. Ryowa in Mountain View (also open in Berkeley)
Also very good, although noodle tends to start to get a little soft toward the end if you eat very slow.