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Santa is Moving

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Ate at Santa Ramen this evening - there was a sign on the wall that they will be moving to
the shoppng center on El Camino/20th by Joann's Fabrics (Nijiya Market, Fresh Choice).
The waitress said it would be in June or July.

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  1. Thanks for the news. That will make that cramped and crowded parking lot even more cramped and crowded. :-) Wonder if they're taking over the spot where the Japanese restaurant Ishin is?

    1. LOL! My first thought was, "From the north pole?"

      1. This is excellent news to me, now I can just walk over whenever my ramen craving hits. I think the new place will be bigger than the existing place?

        1. The exact address is 1944 El Camino I think...

          1. Closer to home for me! However, Wendy-san is right. That parking lot is already too small and a pain to deal with. This will just make it worse.

            1. Let's hope the move will make their space bigger. I'll deal with the parking issues if it'll cut down on the wait!

              And if the wait is still long, at least I can walk right over to Fresh Choice instead :).

              1 Reply
              1. re: VirgoBlue

                The new location will be much closer to the freeway - just a couple short blocks to the ECR ramps from highway 92.

                That Nijiya Market is quite chilly inside. They air condition the whole place like it's all one big walk-in refrigerator.

                Customers of the Men's Wearhouse there will likely feel the parking lot impact from the new Santa.

              2. Just wanted to report that Santa has not yet moved. There is a sign at the new location in the window indicating that Santa is applying for some kind of permit. The old Santa location is still open on B Street.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Maple

                  Yeah, was just at Joann Fabrics last week and still, no sign of the move as of yet. But if you've ever been to Santa, you know they move at a slower pace than most :P.

                2. It's been almost two months since the last update. Any news on if the move is underway?

                  Santa Japanese Restaurant
                  1944 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA 94403

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Luthien

                    I was just there a week ago, the same sign about the move was still on the wall, but everything appeared just as it had been for the past few months. Didn't get to ask them about the move tho... anyone else have an update?

                    1. re: liujenny

                      I drove by the upcoming location on ECR. The former Ishin Japanese Restaurant space at 1944 South El Camino Real in San Mateo, next door to the Payless Shoe store and across from the Nijiya Japanese market and Men's Wearhouse, is being worked on right now. I saw interior construction work happening with construction guys working. In addition, there was a public notice sign in the window indicating the owners and the name, "Santa Ramen". The space seems fairly narrow from the front.

                      1. re: Benny Choi

                        I drove by the new space again last night. The signs on the door and along the top of the building are in place for Santa Ramen. So, there's progress, but I did not see any indication as to how soon they'll move in.

                    2. re: Luthien

                      Back in early September, the waitress said they were going to move sometime in October. But since they've already missed their target a few times, I wouldn't be surprised if they slipped again.

                      On another note, in the last two times I have been there over the past 3 months, I've been surprised at how quickly they have turned the orders. Since they are essentially going to double in size, I'm sure the chef/owner realized that he couldn't do it all himself like he has in the past.

                      As I walked through the cramped kitchen on the way to the restroom, I saw that the chef/owner was basically standing around supervising 2 other cooks and the rest of the kitchen staff. I hope this doesn't change the overall quality, especially in the new location. Most of the ingredients are essentially prepped or created before the service, including the all important broth. So as long as the owner is hands on during that process, things should be fine.

                      But the last two times I've been there, I had the soy sauce (shoyu) broth, which I consider the best shoyu broth for ramen in the Bay Area. And although it seemed very imperceptible, it felt like it was missing a touch of the magic from the past, during both visits. Overall, it was still very good, but it left me slightly worried. Maybe his focus is on the move?

                      1. re: John Doe

                        I made it early to Santa on friday and finally got the stewed pork (yum).

                        Our server told me that they are now planning on moving "next month."

                        1. re: dignyou

                          I was just by 20th & El Camino in San Mateo, and I notice the sign was there for Santa but assumed that they haven't moved yet... figured I would have heard about it first from Chowhounders! Thanks for the update.

                    3. Went to Santa Ramen today, there's now a sign that says it will be closed from Nov. 19 to Nov. 30 and then it will be open at the new location on December 1st! So, for those of you who want your ramen cravings fulfilled before they close for half a month have until Sunday to do so... =)

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: liujenny

                        It's 12/1 today, is it really open?

                        1. re: honu

                          Can anyone around that area verify? I'm hoping they opened and their ramen is as good as ever.

                          1. re: liujenny

                            There were about 15 people waiting outside today at 12:30pm. Some things don't change. I did not go inside today. Parking is a nightmare at this stripmall during certain times, but there is extra parking behind the stripmall via a driveway between the Sprint store and a shoe store.

                            1. re: liujenny

                              They were open on Saturday night (12/1) when I went to Nijaya.

                        2. We went to the new Santa location on Saturday. It is double the size of the old place and feels very spacious. The bathrooms are also separate from the kitchen, which is nice. We arrived at 8pm and took the last table. Within 15 minutes there were at least 10 people at the door.
                          They seem to have one or two more servers, and noodles arrived within half an hour of sitting down, which is fast. Unfortunately, they seem to be no better at managing inventory - they were out of both miso and shoyu broths when we ordered, and of course out of stewed pork. Why is it so hard to keep stewed pork in stock?
                          The noodles had a great bite and were wonderful. The broth was a tad stingy - maybe they were trying to stretch out the pork broth as long as they could!
                          All considered, this seems the same old Santa in a bigger room :-).