Ramen Yamadaya - San Diego

>> Thursday, August 30, 2012

Date of Dining: 8/26/2012
Price: $8-11 per ramen, $4-5 per appetizer
Location: 4706 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA, 92117

The Quick Bit

+ great tonkotsu flavored broth
+ fresh takoyaki
+ high quality ramen
Δ seating space could be larger
Δ non-tonkotsu dishes could be improved

One month ago, Ramen Yamadaya opened in San Diego. You would think that I would have been on top of this one, but instead I was distracted by something called Boiling CrabFast forward a month, and Yao at {insert-food} informed me that he thought Ramen Yamadaya was on par with the Costa Mesa location. As I was generally happy with the Costa Mesa visit, I knew I had to try Yamadaya.
Ramen Yamadaya has two qualities going for it:
  1. the tonkotsu broth is boiled for 20 hours
  2. they save the good bits at the bottom of the stock pot to make the kottieri sauce
For some other San Diego blogger coverage, check out Kirbie's post as well as Dennis's


edamame - salt
This was your typical edamame appetizer with salt added for the extra flavor punch. The edamame came out piping hot, so we had to wait a little bit for it to cool down. 
takoyaki - ginger, katsuobushi
The takoyaki also came out piping hot, which was a good thing. Unlike other San Diego locations, I felt that these were not the pre-made frozen variety. The katsuobushi added some nice umami flavors to counterbalance the piping hot pancake ball with the chewy center surprise. Overall, a very fun and well-executed dish.


Yamadaya Ramen - tonkotsu kottieri, bamboo, wood ear mushrooms, nori, egg
As I reviewed in the previous post, the yamadaya ramen comes with the traditional chasu topping as well as braised pork belly. We elected for the kottieri sauce as the table took my advice to sample that flavor combination over others. The soup was very nice and creamy and full of flavor.
kakuni ramen - tonkotsu kottieri, bamboo, wood ear mushrooms, egg
The kakuni ramen is the most expensive ramen on the menu and comes with an extra large sized portion of the braised pork belly. Again the soup was extremely tasty and full of flavor.
While you can't see it in my photos (you can in Kirbie's), the noodles for the ramen are special thin noodles. The noodles at our table were generally cooked well and had a nice texture, but the consensus at the table was that we missed the more traditional larger noodles.
While I understand that the thinner noodles have a larger surface area to enjoy the flavor of the soup, one element of enjoying a proper bowl of ramen is enjoying the noodles themselves.
tsukemen - chasu, egg, bamboo, nori
I opted for the tsukemen and got an extra large bowl of noodles so the rest of the table could share.
tsukemen noodles - the thick kind
As you can see, the noodles of the tsukemen were the more "traditional" thicker ramen noodles. When these thicker noodles were placed in the tonkotsu broth, the consensus was that people were generally happier with the taste.
The noodles were prepared perfectly and were extremely chewy in texture. This really added to the enjoyment of the tsukemen because it allowed the flavors to linger on the palate for a longer period of time.
tsukemen broth - kakuni
The tsukemen dipping broth contained the same concentrated tonkotsu flavors, but were modified additionally with a strong element of nori and other kelp flavors. The broth contained small bits of braised pork belly as well.
Unfortunately, when I asked the waiter to take the bowl to add hot water to my tsukemen, he had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. This is an absolute sin to enjoying the tsukemen as the advantage of tsukemen is that you get the noodles in soup from the ramen portion and additionally get the fully flavored broth to finish off the meal.


Ultimately Ramen Yamadaya in San Diego still has a few growing pain kinks to work out. However, the flavor of the tonkotsu broth alone easily makes the ramen the best I've had so far in San Diego. I'm really happy that Yamadaya is now in San Diego as it really shortens my drive for quality ramen.
Yamadaya San Diego carries forward the franchise bit award for the San Diego location on the strength of the tonkotsu broth alone.


Dennis K. August 30, 2012 at 10:15 PM  

Hey James, nice write up! And thanks for the mention... I think they're pretty ok too though I've been a bit tonkotsu'd out lately to be honest. If you ask for the raw garlic to crush into, a clove makes a big (tasty) difference. Gotta say I was really disappointed with their tsukemen though. It's not a good representation of one, but I feel most recent shops' that suddenly started offering it on their menu generally are and they're not alone. Anyway nice blog. Take care..

Kirbie August 31, 2012 at 1:26 AM  

Thanks for the link! I have to confess, I missed the thicker noodles too. I've been wanting to try the Tsukemen dipping ramen.

Post a Comment

About This Blog

gastro bits is a blog that juxtaposes the geeky with the foodie; it is an attempt to be educational about food, yet entertaining at the same time.
None of the reviews are meant to dissuade you from trying anything by yourself, but simply to provide information for you to make a more informed choice.
If any special treatment is provided to the blogger, full disclosure is presented at the beginning of the post.

  © Blogger template Webnolia by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP