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Robata, soba, ramen in So Cal?

Ever since I've been to Tokyo I've been seriously missing fresh robata grills, soba, and ramen. It's just not the same here in my experience. A lot of the noodle places I've tried seem to include pork in most of their dishes but I'm not a fan of the "other white meat"... does anybody have some good, authentic restaurant suggestions in the LA area?

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  1. I think you would be hard pressed to find a good bowl of ramen that does not have pork in it. Ramenya, maybe? (Although I don't think they're very good, mine is the minority opinion here.)

    For soba...I can't really say that it's a great soba place, but I always thought the noodle shop (I forget the name) on the first floor of Mitsuwa Plaza in Little Tokyo (3rd and Alameda) had good soba. It's been years since I've been there though.

    I don't think I've ever eaten Robata in LA. I suppose Shin-Sen-Gumi yakitori (Gardena, Fountain Valley, Monterey Park) isn't too bad...

    2 Replies
    1. re: mrhooks

      For soba, Otafuku in Gardena. See Perceptor's excellent report: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/50031...

      For robata, I like Nanbankan in West LA.

      For ramen, Chabuya on Sawtelle or Santouka in the Mitsuwa in Torrance and also on Centinela.

      1. re: mrhooks

        Perhaps you're thinking Sanuki Sandou for the Mitsuwa soba. They've got a similar outpost at the West LA Mitsuwa location.

      2. In case you haven't discovered it, a wealth of noodle info resides in the blog of our esteemed rameniac: http://www.rameniac.com/

        Another enthusiant goes by the handle of keizo: http://www.goramen.com/

        1. I'm no expert like rameniac and I definitely never ask for anything other than pork in my ramen, but my fave ramen place is Daikokuya in Little Tokyo.
          I know Chabuya on Sawtelle has chicken ramen though.

          My favorite Soba place is Yabu on Pico (http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2008/...


          and unfortunately, the only robata places I've been to is the fancy schmancy Katsuya in Brentwood (which, don't get me wrong, I think has great robata. Albeit expensive).

          1. The robata menu at Takami in downtown LA is small but pretty good. Wouldn't recommend much else there in terms of food. Hip and lively after-work crowd, if you're into that sort of thing.

            I think Gonpachi had an extensive robata selection. Their soba is also quite good and you can watch them make it out front. But I agree, definitely make the trip to Otafuku in Gardena if you can.

            1. Wow, thanks for all the excellent info! I'm definitely going to give Otafuku a try... I didn't know Katsuya in Brentwood had robata, thought it was just sushi like the one in the valley. I'll give that a try as well.

              1. Hey toridori,

                I would skip Gonpachi (beautiful setting, touristy, average food).

                For Robatayaki / Yakitori / Kushiyaki in L.A., my favorite hands down is:

                * Shin Sen Gumi Robata Yakitori (Fountain Valley)

                If that's too far for you, then the Monterey Park location (new) is a good compromise:

                * Shin Sen Gumi Yakitori - Shabushabu Restaurant
                111 N. Atlantic Blvd.
                Montorey Park CA 91754

                (BTW, the Fountain Valley location has one side devoted to Hakata Ramen; go next door to the Robatayaki side. Dinner Only. :)

                Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen
                18315 Brookhurst St, Fountain Valley, CA 92708

                1. Was in Santa Monica a couple of weeks ago for a meeting and went to Sushi Roku on Ocean and Santa Monica Blvd. and they had a room dedicated to the robata grill. I loved it.

                  1. The ramen at Oki Doki uses their amazing chicken broth. They season it with salt, to not cloud the gorgeous golden color with soy or miso. It's the same broth they use for the sizzling rice and wonton soups. If you want a clear soup for your ramen that'll make a Jewish grandmother proud, head here.

                    The noodles aren't all that great, though. I'm a fan of the thin noodles at Shin Sen Gumi. Truth be told, I'm a big fan of the rich, white porky tonkotsu broth served at SSG, Santouka, and Daikokuya. But since you're looking for something not pork based, do give Oki Doki a shot.

                    Oki Doki
                    3033 S Bristol St, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Professor Salt

                      I forgot about this thread until I had a recent craving for Ramen. I'm going to give Oki Doki a shot, Prof Salt! Thanks!

                      1. re: toridori

                        FYI, since this 2008 post, they've opened a second location in Tustin, on Newport Ave. A few doors down from Kean Coffee

                        1. re: Professor Salt

                          Oh good, that's actually closer to me! Thanks! :)

                    2. I guess someone had revived this topic!

                      I said in 2008 my fave soba was Yabu. Forget that one, now my fave is by far Ichimiann in Torrance.
                      Amazing handmade soba (and udon), excellent broth. An authentic and wonderful little place!

                      My full review: http://gourmetpigs.blogspot.com/2009/...

                      Ichimian (Bamboo Garden
                      )1618 Cravens Ave., Torrance, CA 90501