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Best ramen around Pasadena?

chrisheadrick Dec 9, 2008 06:15 PM

Living on the border of Pas/S. Pas, I love dipping down into Alhambra for my pho fix...but I also love Japanese noodles. What's the best place around?

I'm looking in the Pas/Glendale/Alhambra/San Gabriel/Sierra Madre/Eagle Rock area.

Bonus if the interior is as authentic Japanese noodle house as possible, as compared to fast food-type decor.

I like Koraku Ramen in Sherman Oaks, out by my chiropractor's office, but it's too far to drive for a quick noodle hit. I'd prefer not to have to go as far as Little Tokyo, because of traffic and parking.


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  1. Akitist RE: chrisheadrick Dec 10, 2008 06:22 AM

    Coming soon, a Gold Line stop in J-Town. Traffic and parking solved.

    What did you like at Koraku? We tried it soon after they opened and weren't impressed. Maybe they've improved or we missed something.

    1. o
      Ogawak RE: chrisheadrick Dec 10, 2008 07:05 AM

      Shinsengumi Hakata Ramen at Valley and Rosemead. Should be hands down the best in the area.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ogawak
        exilekiss RE: Ogawak Dec 10, 2008 07:24 AM

        Hi chrisheadrick,

        Agree with Ogawak. Unfortunately that large area you mentioned is woefully lacking in the area of great Japanese Ramen.

        While the Shin Sen Gumi Hakata Ramen on Valley isn't as good as its original 2 branches in Gardena and Fountain Valley, it's better than anything else in the area.

      2. c
        chrisheadrick RE: chrisheadrick Dec 10, 2008 10:41 AM

        Hmm. Thanks for the info....it is as I expected, that I'm in a bit of a ramen black hole.

        Akitist, really the only thing I truly like about Koraku is the decor...it "feels" authentic. Otherwise, I wasn't that impressed with the food either. But since most of my life hovers around the 134/101 from Pasadena out to Sherman Oaks, it's the best I could find.

        Okay gents--if I broaden my net, anything to offer in J-town?


        2 Replies
        1. re: chrisheadrick
          mrhooks RE: chrisheadrick Dec 10, 2008 06:34 PM

          There's Daikokuya and Orochon. Daikokuya is good, but I would probably rank it a little below SSG. And the wait can be really long. I've never been to Orochon, but others seem to like it.

          IMHO the best area for ramen in LA is the South Bay - Asa Ramen, Gardena Ramen, Santouka, and SSG. I know, doesn't help you any. Sorry.

          1. re: chrisheadrick
            exilekiss RE: chrisheadrick Dec 10, 2008 08:42 PM

            Hi chrisheadrick,

            Agree with mrhooks. Those two are your best bet in Little Tokyo, and even then, for the extra amount of time you drive, I don't think it's worth it. If you're willing to drive further then there are much better options.

            It's tragic, I know, but unfortunately in that area there just isn't that much.

          2. j
            jkao1817 RE: chrisheadrick Dec 10, 2008 12:51 PM

            How about driving to Hacienda Heights? Foo Foo Tein is what you are looking for. It is off the 60 freeway (Hacienda Blvd Exit) and gale.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Miss. Independent
              Keizo RE: Miss. Independent Dec 11, 2008 11:02 AM

              I heard Gyu-kaku's ramen aint that bad and that's right there on green st if i'm not mistaken, but i have yet to try it. I've tried pretty much everything else though and agree with everyone's replies. I would also recommend Foo-Foo Tei in Hacienda Heights (not Monterey Park).

            2. c
              chrisheadrick RE: chrisheadrick Dec 11, 2008 08:48 PM

              Thanks--SSG isn't too far from some of the Alhambra/Monterey Park haunts I get to, so I'll try there.

              And I was just walking by Gyu-kaku tonight (it's walking distance from my house) and wondering "do they have ramen?". I'll check it out.

              Thanks again

              1. arifa RE: chrisheadrick Dec 16, 2008 01:28 PM

                i don't know if it's the best because it's the only one in pasadena that has vegetarian broth so it's the only one i've had... but kansai's shiitake mushroom udon in the mushroom broth always makes me happy.

                1. c
                  chrisheadrick RE: chrisheadrick Dec 17, 2008 10:36 PM

                  Well, went back to Koraku recently, and it was--well--bloody awful.

                  Gyu-kaku's ramen was pretty darn good! Downside: they only have one ramen selection (and two bibimbaps), and it didn't come with all the normal goodies....where was my fish cake? Where was my egg? But the pork was quite excellent. Also, they serve Asahi Kuronamaaaaaaahhhhhhh (licks lips).

                  I haven't eaten at Kansai in years, but I'll try it again....it didn't seem to impress me when I was there.

                  Looks like it'll be road trips for ramen! (with a quick Gyu-kaku fix when necessary).

                  Thanks, all, for the input.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chrisheadrick
                    Michelle RE: chrisheadrick Dec 18, 2008 12:37 PM

                    I think this place is a chain, but we like it - Ajisen Ramen. The location we go to is on Main Street in Alhambra. Good for a quick fix when we don't want to travel far.

                  2. c
                    cornhobble RE: chrisheadrick Dec 18, 2008 02:40 PM

                    I like the ramen at Ducks.

                    Ducks [San Gabriel Valley]
                    1831 E. Las Tunas Drive, San Gabriel

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cornhobble
                      lapchern RE: cornhobble Dec 20, 2008 02:17 PM

                      best curry in california served here as well

                      1. re: lapchern
                        Keizo RE: lapchern Dec 21, 2008 04:46 PM

                        Hmm...best curry? Have you tried Foo-Foo Tei's curry (HH location)? That's some darn good curry and arguably the best in socal!

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