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Mar 29, 2007 12:26 PM

a "rameniac" in the bay area - recs?

Hi NorCal chowhounds! Well, the title pretty much says it all. I just go around and eat ramen; mostly these days I stick to Southern California (since it's where I live) and Japan when I travel there... but on a lark I just drove up here for a few days and to sample some of the ramen shops in the area. Poster Melanie Wong seems to be quite knowledgeable about ramen shops in the Bay Area (ping! ^^) does anyone have any suggestions? I was excited to finally try Do Henkotsu's Tokushima ramen but then woke up today and found out that it's been closed... ><. Other than that, I was thinking Ryowa, Santa, and Halu at the very least - maybe a few other places? I've been to Halu and I think Santa (they have a tonkotsu soup with a janky noodle if I remember correctly) but I definitely need to reassess. Any other places I need to check out? Thanks if you guys can point me in a few directions!

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  1. Hey there. Welcome to the neighborhood. The obvious place to start would be Melanie's comprehensive, definitive ramen listings from years past. Probably one of the most epic pieces of work ever on the SF board. I'm sure when she sees your post, she'll give you the right link(s).

    Sushi Monster

    1. Here's Melanie's review on Kahoo Ramen (Do Henkotsu's replacement) along with her updated ramen rankings of practically all Bay Area ramen-ya's.

      You may want to add Mountain View's Maru-ichi to your roster, at least try the Kyushu style kuro-ramen, and maybe return again for the aka miso (spicy) ramen. Do not go to the Milpitas location. Other than that, it is not hard to find the typical miso, tonkotsu, shio, shoyu ramen elsewhere (they are all somewhat similar but some places make it different or slightly better than others, but overall nothing mind blowing).

      Kahoo Ramen has Shio, Shoyu, and Miso broths though it seems they may need more time to work it out. The owner also runs two fusion style upscale izakaya theme restaurants successful in their own right, but not sure how the ramen venture will do in the long run.

      If you go back to Santa, the shoyu broth is pretty decent, and the curry ramen (shoyu broth only) is pretty good during any weather.

      I've never eaten ramen in LA but I can imagine you might only find a handful of decent places up here. For me the best ramen I've had so far is Yokohama ramen museum in Japan (the only place in Japan where I ate ramen in 99), and in Waikiki on the strip past the beach where there's at least one chain from Japan, and probably more ramen-ya's now.

      4 Replies
      1. re: K K

        thanks for the replies! just did halu for lunch. even ordered kotteri with extra abura; not sure what i was thinking but i figured i probably won't be back there for a while so had to go all out. think i'll hit maru ichi for their kuro tonkotsu ramen for dinner. does anyone happen to know the difference between the kuro ramen and the special kuro or if there is some other speciality worth getting there? will probably do santa and ryowa and possibly kahoo tomorrow lol... unles i crank it and have a 2nd dinner tonight hehe...

        1. re: rameniac

          Hopefully you've already been to Santa. I really like the tonkotsu broth at Santa and the noodles. The chashu is a big weakness though...especially if you compare it to the special pork at the Torrence Santouka. However, I like the fact that the noodles at Santa are a little thicker and chewier than Santouka. Personally, I like going to Santa for dinner. The karaage at dinner is so much juicier than the lunch version. The stewed pork is also good if you can get your hands on it.

          The tonkotsu ramen at Santa, the shio ramen with special pork at Santouka Torrence, and the hakata ramen and kurobuta ramen at Menchanko Tei in NYC are my favorites in each respective city. But that probably reflects my bias towards pork based broths.

          1. re: Porthos

            in 3 days, i managed to hit santa, maru ichi, halu, kahoo, himawari, and ryowa. also sumiya yakitori just for laughs. i'll post some reports, as soon as i get my stomach pumped! =)

            1. re: rameniac

              Glad you had a chance to try Himawari, I'm interested in hearing how it fares since the ownership change. My favorite bowl there was the clam ramen with shio stock. But probably the best bite there is the deep-fried pork belly appetizer.

      2. Has anyone tried GENKI Ramen on Geary (cross st. is between 3rd & 4th) in S.F.? It's fairly new (open less than 6 months perhaps) and is owned by the people who do the crepes on Clement St. just one block behind.

        Pehaps Melanie or Rameniac would be willing to give me their reviews of this place. I am excited that a new Ramen place opened up near my hood.

        2 Replies
        1. re: boomer13

          Here's a thread with several reports on Genki.

          Please give it a try and let us know what you think.

          1. re: boomer13

            ack i'm back down in L.A. already. it sounds like an interesting place though; is it a ramen shop primarily or an izakaya? i normally distrust places that "happen to have ramen" but it seems like that's the primary focus here despite their expanded dinner menu. it'd be good to know that there's good ramen to be had in the city... seems like most of the popular places are in the the south bay or san jose for some reason.