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Waraya is no more: Ramen Hayatemaru takes its place in West LA

  • J.L. Feb 24, 2013 11:44 PM

Hi gang,

Even more ramen for us near Sawtelle!

Waraya, the Korean-influenced Japanese izakaya (originally operated by Raku), has given way to yet another ramen-ya. It's been open for about 2 weeks, looking at the signage.

From Grubstreet: It seems that there is already a Ramen Hayatemaru branch in Torrance, and the restaurant supposedly excels at Hokkaido-style ramen. There will be tsukemen as well. Link:

http://losangeles.grubstreet.com/2013...

I have yet to try it, and will report back.

Sad that there is one less izakaya in/near Little Osaka now (though the izakaya fare at the relatively new storefront Sojibo on Sawtelle is mighty tasty, in my opinion)...

Carry on.

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  1. What's your favorite ramen joint in/near Little Osaka?

    I'm partial to Tsujita LA, but haven't tried all the choices.

    20 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Yamadaya and Jinya are the only other ones worth looking at and both are good in their own right. Yamadaya for insane pork belly obsession and Jinya for amazing chicken ramen.

      Tatsu is mediocre at best.

      1. re: Johnny L

        Thanks.

        Beats having to suck down another plate of XLB at ROC.

        1. re: ipsedixit

          Four of us threw down a set of XLB and fish dumplings during our hour wait at Tsujita. I'm a DTF regular and I was pretty surprised at how good they were. We waited 20 min for them) and not every table was filled when I ordered them.

          If living on the Westside, it's not a bad way to scratch the itch if you don't want to trek to Arcadia. No?

          1. re: revets2

            Don't you know, if it's not in the SGV it can't possibly be any good... (g)

            1. re: revets2

              Yes, only if the mother of all mosquitoes bit my ass. Twice.

              1. re: ipsedixit

                Ha! ROC does not = Caladryl when it comes to XLB!

                1. re: revets2

                  Ha! ROC does not = Caladryl when it comes to XLB!
                  _________________________

                  Nor is it Preparation H.

          2. re: Johnny L

            Am I the only one who still eats at Miyata Menji? I still like it. Though soon, that location will become Tsujita's as well.

            Tatsu shouldn't even be in the conversation.

            1. re: J.L.

              How is that possible? Miyata Menji closed months ago so there's no way you can still eat there in the present tense.

              1. re: J.L.

                My last meal there was October. Haven't had the chance to rotate back. Dang, it's gone, too?

                1. re: J.L.

                  Yup and that statement would be impossible because I believe they closed in August.

                  1. re: Johnny L

                    And here I thought J.L. was talking about the Tokyo location ...

                  2. re: J.L.

                    My memory sucks. Got a toddling Chowpup these days taking up most of the RAM.

                    1. re: J.L.

                      What happened ? Menji Miyata had no takers ? I'm kind of surprised. Or was it more about the one note gimmick, such as broths inflected with parmesan cheese ?

                      Thanks for the update.

                      And yes, I am a fan of ROC dumplings. I realize that most of you guys hate it.

                      1. re: kevin

                        It was kind of gimmicky and strange, nothing wrong if you liked it but I guess not enough people liked it.

                        1. re: Johnny L

                          We went last year as a group of six. We all enjoyed our food. The major distraction was the odor of fertilizer from the adjacent gardener supply shop. With no built-in ventilation, the door and window(s?) were propped open. The smell of composted steer manure was everpresent.

                2. re: ipsedixit

                  In order of preference:
                  Kotoya (best chashu, convenient, rarely a wait)
                  Yamadaya (a very close second, could be first but for the crowd)
                  Tsujita
                  Santouka
                  Jinya

                  1. re: soniabegonia

                    I think Kotoya deserves more love around here, good call - but Tsujita is my preferred bowl.

                    1. re: Ciao Bob

                      Kotoya has some severe service issues there from what I have heard.

                      1. re: kevin

                        I've been to Kotoya at least a dozen times and I've never had service issues. But I tend to time my visits to avoid the lunch/dinner rush so that could be the reason.

                        There was one time when the broth wasn't quite up to snuff but that's it. People have complained about their egg being cold (true) but I just split it open as soon as i get it and let it sit in the hot broth to warm it up. It's never bothered me enough to dissuade me. Oh, and I think some people were complaining that there wasn't enough broth.. this was indeed true in the beginning but for the last several visits I got plenty of broth. And yeah.. their pork is fantastic and the porkiest of them all.

                        Incidentally, I tried Hayatemaru last week, and wasn't terribly impressed. I got the Hokkaido ramen and potstickers. Iiked the thicker noodles but the broth didn't have much flavor. The potstickers were good but overly salty. I'm wiling to give it another go but given that it's pretty much equidistant from my office as Kotoya, Kotoya will probably win my business most days.

                3. Any thoughts on Morinoya since your last visit?

                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/843908

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: revets2

                    Went to Morinoya a few weeks back and thought it was good, there were some misses but overall I thought the flavors of everything were very clean and precise. Would definitely go back.

                  2. Looking forward to trying this branch out. Was at the Torrance branch recently: the gyoza are really good - light thin wrappers.

                    1. Do try Tokyo Ramen on Sawtelle. They have only 3 styles of ramen, but they make their own noodles!
                      Ramen Hayatemaru would be my second choice.
                      When in the westside, I still go to Kanpai for tonkotsu shoyu ramen for lunch, but for some reason, they only serve it after 10 pm at night (???) It's not always consistant, but they are 3 minutes from my house.
                      We tried Yamadaya...it was not conversation-stopping great, but it was good. The advantage was that you could get something other than ramen (if you should have some strange, non-foodie member in your party).

                      What I have to always try to remember is to bring my own tupperware, as it seems to be tradition to be unable to doggybag your ramen leftovers.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: Michelly

                        Where on Sawtelle is Tokyo Ramen?

                        I've always had a philosophical problem with taking ramen "to go". That sh*t ain't meant to be doggybagged - Must devour ramen on the spot for maximum enjoyment,

                        1. re: J.L.

                          They probably meant Chabuya Tokyo Noodle Bar.

                          1. re: Servorg

                            Oy vey.

                            1. re: J.L.

                              Sorry...I meant Tatsu Ramen, 2123 Sawtelle.

                              1. re: Michelly

                                Tatsu is even worse than Chabuya.

                                1. re: J.L.

                                  :)

                                  But would you say Jinya is better than both ?

                                  1. re: kevin

                                    Easily.

                        2. re: Michelly

                          Kanpai is primarily a sushi bar in Westchester, correct ????

                          1. re: kevin

                            Yes, and more. I've expounded on their grilled mackeral lunch and their sukiyaki before, and they have more types of sushi than the usual offering. I live in the area, and Kanpai is where I discovered tonkotsu ramen.

                        3. Apparently I missed this thread. Just went there tonight and posted my mini-review here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/892901.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: PeterCC

                            Pardon the bump. This is The Poster Formerly Known as PeterCC (TPFKAP). I posted an updated review of Hayatemaru (http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9231...), but since it was a sub-thread under another post that doesn't have Hayatemaru in the title, I think it's been kind of hard to discover, so I'm linking to it in relevant posts in case people in this thread are interested. Their new Ebiton ramen is really good in my opinion, and, at the least, quite different than the more common ramen offerings around.

                          2. I can only comment on the Torrance branch (tried it out twice), but in general, Ramen Hayatemaru is pretty sub-par compared to many of the other ramen joints in the South Bay. The broth is extremely salty and the noodles are just blah. No chew. Just blah. I also tried out their new tsukemen and the noodles were just awful. It was pretty disappointing overall. The gyoza were good. Nothing special. I'm sad that it replaced Komatsu (great little tempura bar). :(