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DAIKOKUYA - amazing ramen, but avoid after 6pm at all costs

DAIKOKUYA has the best, best ramen. The best. It's so damn good. I want some right now.

Whenever I get the crave, I always go over there. And I'm always SUPER hungry. And I always end up waiting for a seat for well over 45 minutes.

The problem is that THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for the wait to be this long. Regardless of the fact that there is a full house and a dozen or more parties waiting to sit down, none of the staff hurries nor appears frazzled. One of the booths opens up? Well, you'll just have to wait for the single busboy to go clear it off. Oh but the busboy is also in charge of the register. And monitoring the wait line. Everyone's waiting forever to sit down, and the full staff just takes their sweet time. Then a single girl will walk in, ignore the long waitlist, speak a few words of Japanese to the host, and instantly get a counter seat. Invariably she'll block out two other seats on either side of her, and the servers won't have the foresight to ask her to scoot down.

I always walk out well-fed and frustrated. I fantasize about the management realizing how much more money they could be making if they hired two extra bodies, or if they got someone who understands volume and turnover to go pull some drill seargent stuff.

Definitely go, but go for one of those late 2pm lunches.

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  1. Have you tried one of the Santouka ramen places? In the food court of the Mitsuwa Market in Mar Vista and ...oh oh brain cramp....someone else will come up with the other location I'm sure.

    Here you go...

    http://www.chowhound.com/topics/80212

    1 Reply
    1. re: tony michaels

      there is a Santouka at the Mitsuwa in Torrance. On Western and 213th.

    2. the funniest thing about eating at daikokuya is while you're seated and trying to have pleasant conversation with your companion you look over at the 30 people huddled together at the cramped doorspace staring at you silently urging you to eat faster. it'd be hilarious if it weren't so uncomfortable.

      1. I luckily ate there right before the rush. daikokuya is pretty good ramen. I prefer places that offer more than one type of ramen. I prefer shisengumi ramen tho over daikokuya.

        1. Daikokuya has become one of THE most overrated places in all of LA...

          2 Replies
          1. re: ronnie_gaucho

            well, i wouldn't say that because i really love their ramen. the noodles are perfect in their al dente-ness. i love how much scallions are served in my noodles, the portions are huge. wonderful. i don't get broth like that in most places. but yeah, they could clean up their service a bit.

            1. re: ronnie_gaucho

              It certainly seems like the amount of talk surrounding Daikokuya is disproportionate to the level of quality relative to other ramen places in the greater LA area, but for those of us in the downtown area, there aren't many other options. I'd love to just pop over to Gardena or Torrance after work, but it just wouldn't make sense when I have a place that's good right down the street. For the record, I prefer Shin Sen Gumi over Daikokuya, and haven't tried Santouka or Gardena Ramen. I'm disappointed in me too.

              As far as the topic, I haven't had much trouble getting seated either. I go there for lunch at 11:30, and it's usually ok. The few times I've gone for dinner, I'm usually there by 6 and out by 7. Maybe it's because I have no problems going to the counter (a lot of times people wait for tables) or because they remember me buying a shirt...couldn't tell you.

            2. FWIW, I've had zero (Ø) service problems/issues at Daikokuya.
              The only "problem" I have with Daikokuya is the gianormous portions, but, apparently, I am the only one with that particular problem because every time I'm there, all around me are ordering up the combos and wolfing them down without any problem.

              1. I guess if anyone wants to get into the food biz, good ramen sells.

                It's so easy to make too.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Fat Billie

                  Relatively easy to make mediocre to bad ramen but it takes great skill acquired over many years to make great ramen!

                  1. re: Fat Billie

                    Please see movie: Tampopo.

                    It's about a girl training to make good ramen.

                  2. daikokuya went downhill bigtime the last couple times i went. the manager changed the recipe and now its all watered down tasting. but its fine with me, because daikokuyas downfall began about the same time that santouka opened in the westside. so theres really no competition, only santouka closes so damn early its only a weekend thing for me...

                    i go and buy oo toro sashimi and then order noodles and its f'ing awesome!
                    there is also hakata ramen in the SGV.

                    and by the way, one of my favorite servers in all of los angeles is at daikokuya, so ill miss her. always a big smile even under pressure.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: modernist

                      i too will miss chompers. she's so nice. i gave her a hug last time i went. not sure what came over me. it definitely wasnt the ramen *blah*

                    2. lol, ever since this place got the JG LA Weekly blessing, hipsters have been flocking to it like mad. it was pretty good in the beginning, but not GREAT great. more a case of there being no other tonkotsu ramen in the reasonable vicinity and nothing open til 3am save for kouraku (which almost doesn't count). now they close early and have gone a bit downhill, according to the general consensus. they really do need to bring back the original recipe broth, but i think either way, the customers will still patronize daikokuya in droves for the forseeable future, unless something REALLY awesome and porky opens up in little tokyo. (san sui tei is definitely not it. neither is tokyo cafe, for what it's worth.) the best things on daikokuya's menu? the gyoza and the arabiki sausage haha...

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: rameniac

                        I hadn't realized it was a hipster spot. Everytime I'm there all I see is city employees and Japanese people.

                        1. re: MeAndroo

                          you usually go during lunch, i take it? at night i notice a lot of artist types from the nearby loft districts. that's not a bad thing though. the whole area could use a revival... there just need to be some better restaurants overall!

                          1. re: rameniac

                            I definitely go mainly at lunch, only going for dinner relatively early (6 ish). The only time I went after midnight, it was packed, but I was in no condition to take note of what kind of people were there.

                      2. Was just wondering if they've changed their recipe back to the robust full-flavor that I loved. I haven't been there since Modernist's post above (3/12/2007), regarding a change in recipe. Is it good again? Or did they keep the new recipe?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: slacker

                          i still love it, and usually go after 1030 to avoid a long wait.