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san mateo ramen on a weeknight

What's the optimal place combining no wait + quality? Will Ramen Dojo be slammed at 730p on a weeknight? Is Himawari worth the trip? Don't want to just drive around at random---hoping someone can steer me in the right direction.

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  1. Dojo will likely be slammed. Santa will aso have a bit of a line but it goes fairly fast.

    1. i love himawari, probably only about a 15 minute wait. dojo will absolutely be slammed, probably about an hour wait, but there's plenty of stuff to do if you walk around downtown and kill time. though dojo has very good ramen, note that it's very different from your average ramen; himawari has more "traditional" ramen choices with a wider variety (and just really good all-around), i prefer it to dojo.

      ramen parlor is less popular than all of them, but also still good. again though, it's not going to be your traditional ramen, lots of focus on seafood ramen (which i found excellent).

      2 Replies
        1. re: hungree

          ramen parlor, santa ramen, and ramen dojo are all owned by the same person, FYI

      1. I personally like Himawari more than Ramen Dojo & Santa. There are usually lines at both Ramen Dojo & Himawari - the line at Himawari is smaller.

        1. A couple more advantages for Himawari are that the side dishes are worth ordering too. Izakaya Mai, a couple doors down, also offers a limited but very good quality ramen selection, so you can peek into both easily then decide which one suits you or where the wait is less.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Melanie Wong

            Himawari side dishes are evil: gorge on buta kakuni and karaage, unable to finish ramen.

          2. It depends on the night. Will you be solo?

            Izakaya Mai and Ramen Parlor are closed on Monday
            Santa Ramen and Ramen Dojo are closed on Tuesday
            Himawari is open everday.

            The weeknight waits at Ramen Dojo have scared me away on a few occasions. I had a long wait the one time I went to Santa Ramen and they'd run out of some of the specials. Still worth it for what was remaining.

            If Himawari is slammed, I'd wait it out, but Izakaya Mai is pretty close by and are open till midnight. I preferred IM's Nagasaki style champon ramen to their spicy pickle ramen.

            1. We went to Ramen Parlor - walked right in around 8pm. Really great ramen! Tried the lobster miso and the lobster pork flavor, with a flavored egg, fried garlic, and chives. Really enjoyed the broth flavor. Could taste the lobster in the pork broth, which wasn't ordered spicy, but couldn't really taste it in the miso broth, which was ordered extra spicy. Curious to try the other ones, but this was worth the trip and satisfied! Will be nice to compare it to ramen shop in Oakland, which we have yet to try.

              1. I'd probably choose Himawari among other ramen places in downtown San Mateo. Ramen Dojo is not worth the wait and I am not personally a huge fan of Izakaya Mai for either ramen or non-ramen items. I think Ramen Palor's non-ramen items outshine ramen offerings. In particular, mixed seafood curry was quite good, reminding me of the curry we can get from "fami-resu," Japanese family restaurants.

                1. I feel Ramen Parlor doesn't seem to be as crowded as Dojo or Santa. So it might be a safer bet of the three, plus I feel Parlor offers a lot more non-ramen dishes if you're feeling like some other things to go with ramen.