I previously visited Ramen Yamadaya shortly after it opened. My previous post goes more in depth into Ramen Yamadaya and you can read about it here. Recently I went again with a friend. I hadn’t actually been expecting to take pictures, but after ordering some different menu items, I had an urge to do an updated post even though I didn’t have my normal restaurant camera on me.
As you may recall, my first visit, we were seated outside in the dark, making it hard to take proper photos. This time I got to sit indoors but without the right camera. One of these days, I’ll be able to take proper pictures of this place.
When we arrived, the place was packed with a waitlist. Obviously word had gotten out.
After a few minutes, we were offered a seat at the bar. Normally I wouldn’t mind sitting at the bar, but the day we ate there it was in the mid 80s outside. Inside, it was even warmer since the place has no A/C. And right next to the bar, with all the steam coming from the giant pots, it was at least 10 degrees warmer.
We felt really bad for the kitchen staff, who were all sweating like crazy.
We started out with an order of the takoyaki, something I’d seen on gastro bits’ post.
The octopus balls are lightly battered, with a piece of octopus in the middle. The dish was topped with bonito flakes. This was one of the better versions I’ve had in San Diego, though I still love the versions in Little Tokyo in Los Angeles best.
With the heat, I considered getting the Tsukemen ramen since that is served dry with a dipping sauce, but ramen expert Dennis of A Radiused Corner mentioned that the version in San Diego isn’t very good, so I decided to skip it. Also, even with the heat, I was really craving the tonkotsu broth, so I went with that.
I had previously had the Kotteri and found it to be too rich and salty for my taste. (Dennis also informed me that Kotteri means “extra rich.”) This time I opted for the regular tonkotsu ramen but with all the toppings served in the yamadaya ramen style. This broth was just right. Still quite rich and creamy, but not too salty. As I mentioned in my last post, the Tonkotsu broth is made of pork bones and boiled for 20 hours.
My noodles this time were also slightly al dente which is what I prefer. They serve the thin white noodles here, which is specific to Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen (information provided by Dennis!). I still miss the thicker wavy noodles.
My friend opted to get a combination, where you get ramen, gyoza (4 pieces) or kara-age (4 pieces) plus a choice of mini bowl for the cost of ramen + $4.80.
She started with the gyoza.
Her croquette bowl was buried under a pile of bonito flakes
Overall, we had an enjoyable lunch despite the hot sticky heat. It made us feel like we were eating in Asia in the summer. The food seems to have gotten more consistent, though the servers still were a little inconsistent when it came to taking orders and water refills.
I’m already craving another bowl so I’ll be back soon again. Hopefully next time I’ll finally be able to get some proper pictures.
4706 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego,CA 92117
Yum, this looks great. Sometimes I think eating hot food when it’s already hot out cools down your body – maybe it’s mental? haha
How funny, my friend who I was eating with said the same thing. She said she read it somewhere, so maybe it’s true!
Oh I thought the kakuni was the other type of chashu you get with the Yamadaya Ramen, since it looked the same as the kakuni from Tajima?
It is the other type of chashu, though I guess they have a specific ramen with only kakuni which some people really like. I’m not sure how else it is different, if it affects the broth, etc.
I visited Yamadaya for the first time a couple of weeks ago (per recommendations from you & Dennis!), and I also didn’t like the kotteri as much as the tonkotsu spicy. Fortunately, I went on a not-so-hot day and sat outside so it wasn’t too hot. I’d love to try the takoyaki next time.
The kotteri was a little too rich and salty for me. One of my friend recommended the kakuni, though it’s also supposed to be really fatty.
Hi Kirbie. Last they mentioned that their AC isn’t working properly so hope it’s not permanent, especially for the summer months. Last few times I went they were still a bit inconsistent especially with the sides (which seems to be manned by a newbie).
I have a feeling the weak Tsukemen isn’t specific to Yamadaya SD, but yeah it was salty (which is normal) but without the umami depth and flavors which is key. I recommend Tsujita in L.A. for Tsukemen, and heard good things about Ikemen in Hollywood though I haven’t to tried them yet. Anyway nice round up here.
(Oh btw, the thin straight white noodles are only specific to Hakata-style Tonkotsu ramen. 😉
Thanks for all the ramen education Dennis! I have Tsujita on my list but haven’t had a chance to visit.
Augh. When sis and I went there, when it wasn’t even during this heat wave, we both felt it was wayyyy too hot in there. I wish they could just close their doors and crank up the a/c. I’ve been on a weird fix for ramen the last 4 weeks for some reason. Right now, my go-to place is Santouka. I’m obsessed w/ their Toroniku ramen in salt broth – and the pork is so amazing (I guess they use pork cheek meat?).
I recently visited Tajima and thought their ramen noodles were amazing. But their broth, yeah, not so much.
I’ll have to try Yamadaya again. Where’s your go-to place right now for the best ramen broth?
Lately I’ve only been to Yamadaya. I’ve been pretty happy with the broth. I used to love YY, but I haven’t been there in months so I don’t know how it is right now. Yeah it’s definitely hot in there. They had the fan on but no A/C.
You should try the Kakuni next time! 🙂
Hmm, I didn’t see that offered.