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Apr 13, 2010 02:24 PM

Current South Bay Ramen Ranking/Recommendation?

Hey Everyone,

A good Japanese friend of mind is coming to visit SF on friday and is a total ramen lover. I have not yet ventured to any of the good ramen spots down south but I know thats where the best of them are located.

What place would you recommend I take my friend for an overall best bowl of ramen?

I have heard the top are:

1.Santa Ramen
2.Maru Ichi
3.Ramen Halu

312 8th Ave, San Francisco, CA 94118

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  1. If your friend is coming directly from Japan, ramen in SF Bay Area won't measure up... if it were me I'd hit some good Vietnamese place or find a good solid bowl of pho.

    But if you not take him to Santa, as the long wait during peak time might not be worth it if they don't hit their mark.

    I would suggest

    Orenchi in Santa Clara. This is Sumika grill's executive chef's pet project and the guy is a seriously and ridiculously amazing creative chef, so I expect nothing less with his ramen.

    Santouka in Mitsuwa Market San Jose (although this is a Japanese branch)

    Himawari (closest to SF in San Mateo) but don't pick the pork bone broth

    Izakaya Sozai (SF) - they have tonkotsu ramen and is supposedly the best in SF (and maybe better than most other places), but they make a limited # of bowls. My Japanese friends like this place.

    Perhaps even Ramen Dojo (Santa's old location that specializes in Spicy Ramen, owned by the Santa folks).

    A few doors down the street from Himawari is Izakaya Mai, probably best for Nagasaki champon, it's a very unusual but homey bowl of ramen, and for a late night snack in a place that offers almost like a Denny's kind of variety, it hits the spot.

    236 Central Plz, Los Altos, CA 94022

    202 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

    Izakaya Mai Restaurant
    212 2nd Ave, San Mateo, CA 94401

    675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose, CA

    Izakaya Sozai
    1500 Irving St, San Francisco, CA 94122

    1 Reply
    1. re: K K

      i agree with all those :) been trying to get to sozai -- they run out of their tonkotsu ramen early
      try the orenchi ramen at Orenchi and toroniku at Santouka and sutamina shoyu ramen at Ramen Dojo...just opened

      1. re: Melanie Wong

        My friend and I actually took KK's advice and hit up a Vietnamese spot.

        We decided on going to Bun Bo Hue An Nam on Story Road for of course, their Bun Bo Hue. It was great, I enjoyed it as much as I did last time. We went there for lunch around 11:30(since we were having dinner at Manresa in Los Gatos) and it was very busy. Constant flow of people coming in and out of the place but luckily most people go there just for the Bun Bo Hue which they deliver pretty quick so the table turn around time is decent. My only complaint this time was that the noodles seemed a littler harder than last time but for me the broth made up for it. I still wish they would initially make it a tad more spicier.

        I plan to take a trip to the South once again pretty soon, and after my research I feel like the place to go to is Santouka Ramen.

        The dinner at Manresa was superb. We both got the Grand Tasting menu, a step above the regular chefs tasting menu since we wanted to try almost everything.

        I wont go into great detail about the dinner since this post was about something different but here is listing of my dinner:

        Amuse Bouches:
        -Petit fours "red pepper-black olive"
        -Garden beignets, vinegar powder
        -An elemental oyster
        -Avocado with pear, nasturtium and yeast crumble
        -Foie gras and cumin caramel
        -Arpege farm egg

        -Kin-medai, sashimi style, olive oil and chives
        -Warm salad of asparagus and crispy mussel, salt cod emulsion
        -Into the vegetable garden...
        -Spot prawns with smoked lentil, seaweed
        -Black cod with chervil cream, kohlrabi in marrow tears
        -Foie gras, roasted whole, spiced buddha's hand confit
        -Whole roasted sweetbreads, wilted leaves with seaweed
        -Spring lamb, nasturtium pesto and pine nut pudding

        -Fennel confit, rhubarb with toasted brioche ice cream
        -Bittersweet chocolate ganache with exotic citrus, yuzu sorbet with honey
        -Petit fours "strawberry-chocolate"
        -Chocolate truffle

        I would have to say I enjoyed it more than the special dinner i attended last week at Manresa, the Mauro Colagreco Dinner.

        If anyone is interested I would love to make a post about the two dinners I had there in a week.

        I am also very excited for my set prix fix dinner at Canteen on thursday and then dinner in Healsburg at Cyrus the day after. Any good snacking options or other rec's in Healdsburg to do during the day? I have heard good things about about Downtown Bakery and Creamery.

        Manresa Restaurant
        320 Village Lane, Los Gatos, CA 95030