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The ramen roundup: 10 spots around San Diego to dig into a savory bowl of Japanese noodles

The Whet Noodle in Oceanside has zero-food-waste advocate Davin Waite as its owner/chef. He takes the fish leftovers from his adjacent sushi restaurant, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, and uses them to make a fish broth for ramen.
The Whet Noodle in Oceanside has zero-food-waste advocate Davin Waite as its owner/chef. He takes the fish leftovers from his adjacent sushi restaurant, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, and uses them to make a fish broth for ramen.
(Courtesy photo by Sam Wells )

If you favor the flavor of tonkotsu (pork), shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt) or miso (fermented bean paste) ramen, there’s a place for your taste around town

Noodle houses became popular in San Diego several years ago. Guess what? The trend hasn’t died down. New ramen restaurants abound. Mini chains are expanding. If you favor the flavor of tonkotsu (pork), shoyu (soy sauce), shio (salt) or miso (fermented bean paste) ramen, there’s a place for your taste around town.

Artisan Noodle Tatsuki

Downtown

Housed on the former downtown site of Ramen Yamadaya, the brand-new Artisan Noodle Tatsuki didn’t make significant décor changes. There’s an underground ambiance — with dark wood interiors and an in-your-face open kitchen. But the chef has some cred: Los Angeles ramen chef Daiki Tanaka spent five years at L.A.'s renowned ramen restaurant Tsujita. The menu features traditional tonkotsu ramen, made with a pork broth that stews for 60 hours, and red miso ramen, which varies in spiciness. 531 Broadway, open for lunch and dinner

Beshock Ramen. Courtesy photo
Beshock Ramen. Courtesy photo
(Beshock Ramen )

BESHOCK Ramen & Sake Bar

East Village

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There’s a wide-ranging menu, full bar and an extensive line of sakes (one owner is a certified Sake Master). The ramen offerings include pork, chicken and creamy vegan bowls. Be forewarned about the liquid lava that is the Tantan Ramen. It’s pork broth with sesame spicy chile base, spicy ground pork, bok choy, leek and chili strings. Have a full glass of water on hand. 1288 Market St., lunch and dinner, new location coming to Carlsbad

Hachi Ramen

Bankers Hill

Sit at a table and enjoy the sights and smells of Hachi Ramen — but take-out is common at this fast-casual spot. Nontraditional ramen options include duck (with foie gras oil); cheezu (featuring American cheese or brie); and a toss-it-all-in Hachi Black (pork belly, roasted duck, steamy bird dumplings, chicken breast and a soft-boiled egg). 2505 Fifth Ave., lunch and dinner

HiroNori Craft Ramen

Hillcrest

HiroNori is hitting it out of the park in a Hillcrest location that’s turned over several times in recent years. The tonkotsu and vegan bowls are transcendent. So, too, is the shoyu ramen, using soy sauce that’s barrel-aged for two years. 3803 Fifth Ave., lunch and dinner

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Menya Ultra Ramen

Mira Mesa

Ramen Master Takashi Endo has 13 restaurants around the globe. This spot, in the Mira Mesa Shopping Center, offers a best-seller from Japan — negi miso ramen highlighted by miso pork broth. 8141 Mira Mesa Blvd., lunch and dinner, other location in Kearny Mesa

Nishiki Ramen

Hillcrest

This Hillcrest location continues the tradition of serving colorful, artistically plated menu items. Meat lovers will enjoy the Ring of Chashu Ramen (featuring six to eight slices of pork belly); and the Carnivore’s Dream (heaped with beef rib chashu, pork belly and chicken). 1040 University Ave., lunch and dinner, other location in Convoy

Kearny Mesa’s Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen will open a second location in Little Italy later this winter.
Kearny Mesa’s Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen will open a second location in Little Italy later this winter.
(Sam Wells)

RakiRaki Ramen & Tsukemen

Little Italy

It’s fast-casual here. Go basic and add chicken. Or, opt for the BBQ chashu pork “black edition” with fermented organic garlic oil. 2254 India St., lunch and dinner, other locations in Convoy and Liberty Station

Following the recent opening of a fourth location in East Village, Tajima has taken its ramen empire across the border to Tijuana.
Following the recent opening of a fourth location in East Village, Tajima has taken its ramen empire across the border to Tijuana.
(Diana Sciacca)
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Tajima Ramen

East Village

Come early to avoid a lunchtime wait at this indoor/outdoor eatery. A half dozen craft beers are on tap. Ramen comes in creamy chicken and spicy sesame versions—but this is a good place to go vegan. Tajima’s vegetable soy-based soup comes with spinach noodles and mixed veggies (baby spinach, corn, baby bok choy, cherry tomatoes). 901 E Street, lunch and dinner, other locations in Convoy, Hillcrest and North Park

The Whet Noodle

Oceanside

Owner/chef, Davin Waite is a zero-food-waste advocate. He takes the fish leftovers from his adjacent sushi restaurant, Wrench & Rodent Seabasstropub, and uses them to make a fish broth for ramen. Unorthodox? Yes, delightfully so. A duck broth and a specialty vegan option are highlights. 1813 South Coast Highway, dinner only

Chicken Confit Ramen at Underbelly
Chicken Confit Ramen at Underbelly
(Courtesy photo by Arlene Ibarra)

Underbelly

Little Italy

Underbelly helped expand Little Italy’s dining geography from India Street to Kettner Boulevard. Dine at the bar or utilize the unique indoor/outdoor seating configuration. Go big with the Belly of the Beast ramen bowl — with soft-boiled egg, oxtail dumplings, smoked brisket and a hoisin-glazed short rib. 750 W. Fir St., lunch and dinner, other location in North Park

Donoho is a freelance writer.


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