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Mar 6, 2008 03:55 AM

Wagamama what the deal?

This place seems to have a cult following. Despite seemingly having locations every other block I have never been. I only know a few people who have. And the reports back have been mediocre at best. I walk by one the other day and thought about going in for lunch but nothing on the menu really jumped out at me.

What do people who have been there think of the place?

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  1. I've been several times and I really enjoy it. The noodles have a good texture and the broths are wonderfully flavored. My favorite are the ramen dishes, especially the chili chicken ramen. I like having the fresh vegetables & the grilled chicken, along with the toothy noodles and spice. It's a really filling & warming dish. I'm Japanese-American so it's a bit of a comfort food thing for me too, I guess.

    Also, when I had friends visiting from the States last week, we went there with their 2 kids (8 & 13) for lunch. The kids loved it and insisted on going back for lunch the next day. Luckily there are enough around that we didn't have to go back to the area we were in previously.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Just One Bite

      I hate going simply because of the seating policy. In a half empty restaurant, why do I have to squeeze in between two people on a bench for 8? Very irritating.

      1. re: monkeytennis

        Totally agree. I know some people enjoy being elbow-to-elbow with strangers, but it's not for me.

        The first and only time I went to Wagamama's, I ended up sat next to a toddler who messed himself and his parents either failed to notice or care. This obviously soured the experience, but I remember thinking the food was distinctly average too.

    2. OK - it's not gourmet food but for the price and quality, it's not a bad choice for a meal. I think tourists get a kick out of eating at a Wagamama. They must be doing something right because their empire is ever-expanding. My husband lived many years in Japan so he's noodled-out, but I sometimes go alone if a location is convenient to where I am.

      2 Replies
      1. re: zuriga1

        I admit that I've only been once (the branch in the N1 centre in Islington) but I thought it was quite expensive for what it was (and I'm not one of these visitors who think everything in London is expensive..)

        If it actually _was_ noticeably cheap then I'd be more inclined to go back, but I wasn't really happy paying that amount of money for uncomfortably squished-in seating and food which didn't arrive until my companion had already finished eating.

        My general impression is that those of my friends who like Wagamama like it because it's predictable.

        1. re: Kake

          Our service in Guildford was very fast and good, but I did think the prices had gone up a bit since my last visit which was probably 2 years ago. I've gotten so used to the inflated prices here that I didn't think too much about the bill till you mentioned it here. I did think we paid a lot for my husband's bowl of soup with a few pieces of this or that in it. We weren't squished, as the place wasn't full, but I know what you mean. Wagamama serves a purpose - I guess that's the best we all can say for it!

      2. It's just awful overpriced fast-food-like ramen. Avoid.

        1. Its cheap and pretty good, comfort food, plenty of variety and good clear flavours. People get snobby about it because its a chain, but its actually decent. Its not gourmet nor does it purpot to be, but I know several cities and towns in the provinces whose dining options would be hugely improved by a Wagamama. Nothing wrong with a decent chain. I can imagine that if a child soils themslves communal sitting isn't great, but come on you were seriously unlucky with that. I quite like the buzz of communal dining, if you don't, don't go.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Iestyn Morgan

            I love communal dining and I usually dine alone so I'd much prefer to be put with a table of similar strangers as usually happens back home in Chinese places, but Wagamama's food is just mediocre at best.

          2. wagamama to me is just OK.

            What london needs now is a REAL ramen bar. a simple, unfussy place that does one kind of ramen but does it well.. its an obession in Japan, and the craze is sweeping parts of the US, particularly in LA, although a handful of places have cropped up in NY too...

            there is nothing in the world i like more than a good bowl of ramen.

            2 Replies
            1. re: foreignmuck

              Ramen Seto
              19 Kingly street (behind carnaby street)
              W1B 5PY

              Authentic ramen, lots of Japenese diners as well as Brits.

              1. re: Nii

                i used to think Ramen Seto was OK. i used to go there quite often, but the last few years it has gone seriously downhill... a long way off the real deal unfortunately....