The Best San Diego Ramen Straight From Tokyo

San Diego ramen is definitely becoming a thing. Especially after having two highly anticipated Japan-based ramen shops opening within the same month: Nishiki Ramen and Jinya Ramen Bar. Here’s the low-down on both.

Located in the international eating hub of Convoy, this is Nishiki Ramen’s first location to open outside of Japan where it has been around for over 20 years. We’re glad that owner Mike Furuchi has chosen San Diego to make Nishiki Ramen’s first US debut.

The beautifully designed interior by Satoshi Ikedo, who also designed Jinya and Tajima, seats 49 people. The contrast of stainless steel chairs against the warm maple wood that envelopes the space, creates a casual ambiance in a sleek, minimalistic setting.

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Now, about the noodles. They’re made in-house. Heck, the place is even decked out with its own noodle-room. It houses a noodle making machine that turns out two shapes of noodles: wide and flat, and thing and wavy. There are no preservatives here, only organic whole wheat flour is used.

The broth is made from simmered chicken and pork bones, contains no MSG and again no preservatives. The original Tonkotsu ramen is topped with pork chashu, which is also made in-house from Berkshire pork. Expect to see a Chinese influenced tan tan noodle and a 100% chicken based broth soon on the menu. Gluten-free noodles are also offered.

Outside of noodles, they’ve also got small plates and appetizers including: chashu pork buns, chicken karaage and rice bowls.

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During it’s week long soft opening which happened during the last week of September, there were already huge scores of people waiting outside. Only a lucky few were able to dine, the restaurant even sold out of broth soon after seating some guests. Nishiki Ramen has already proven to be a major ramen powerhouse to be reckoned with in San Diego.

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The other Japan-based ramen powerhouse that opened this month is Jinya Ramen Bar in Pacific Beach. Based in Tokyo, it’s a chain that has already opened several locations in LA, Vegas, Texas, Washington DC, Chicago and Canada.

Located in an old pizzeria not the corner of Garnet Ave and Mission Blvd, the completely redesigned PB shop is on point. With its open kitchen complete with a ramen counter and an outdoor patio, the place seats 100 guests.

Here, the ramen broth is simmered for at least 12 hours and their specialty is the tonkotsu broth. They “pump up” their pork broth with large amounts of dashi and dried fish, creating an umami that is unforgettable. The thing to get here is their signature Pork Tonkotsu Black ramen, complete with pork chashu, a perfectly cooked egg, garlic chips, and topped with black garlic oil.

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The PB location also comes stocked with 20 taps of local craft beers as well as the Japanese classic brews, and a selection of wine and sake. Come for happy hour where you can grab a drink for as little as $3 and munch on small plates. Specialties include pork buns, crispy kale and pig ear chicharron.

Open until midnight every night, there’s no doubt that Jinya Ramen Bar will be a major destination for ramen lovers. If you don’t want to go through obstacles of drunk bros in neon-colored tank tops stumbling all over the streets of PB, rest-assured, for Jinya Ramen Bar will soon open its second San Diego location in Hillcrest. It will be housed right next door to its sister restaurant: the still-under-construction two-story Robata Jinya restaurant on University Ave. Word is that both will be completed by March 2016.

Featured Photo: Nishiki Ramen|Facebook

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