Located in downtown San Mateo on the corner of Eighth Avenue, Ramen Dojo offers the Peninsula the opportunity to enjoy a delicious bowl of traditional ramen with an endless amount of toppings.
Ramen Dojo is one of the most famous Japanese eateries in the Bay Area, and for good reason.
Each bowl of ramen is $11.75 and built to your liking with numerous different toppings and three broths to choose from. The toppings can range from $1.00 to $4.50 for each add on.
Known for their delicious ramen and long lines, I arrived at Ramen Dojo on a Friday close to 1 p.m.
On the front door there’s a sign in sheet for customers to write down their name and number of people in their party.
As customers enjoy their food and drink, people who are waiting for a table stand behind the restaurant’s front door smelling the delicious, warming aroma of fresh ramen.
While waiting, one of the restaurant staff comes out every now and again to take orders ensuring the bowl of ramen is ready as soon as people are seated.
With a party of three, my group was seated after the two couples in front of us, with about 15 minutes of delay.
The food was definitely worth the wait.
We were seated at the bar area and immediately given our drinks (we stuck with water). Ramen Dojo’s ambiance is warm and traditional. The eatery is quite small, but the flavors pack a big punch.
For $11.75, customers get their choice of broth (soy sauce, garlic pork, or soybean), two slices of roasted pork, fried whole garlic, Kikurage mushrooms, fresh green chives, and a quail egg, all topped with a traditional chicken gravy. I ordered the garlic pork broth with a mild level of spice, and I paid an extra $1.25 for an add on of fresh seaweed.
In the past, ramen has typically made me feel sick. I usually don’t like the flavors and textures of the pork and ramen noodles mixing together in the broth, but Ramen Dojo’s ramen was delicious.
The pork was cooked perfectly, not overdone and dry. The mushrooms were julienned and gave the soup a delicious earthy flavor that I thoroughly enjoyed. The noodles weren’t too thick and they were cooked well, giving them great texture and mouthfeel.
The broth was hot and flavorful with the garlic and pork flavors really coming through complimented by traditional Japanese spices.
The only thing I didn’t enjoy was the whole fried garlic, the flavor was too intense for my pallet and left me needing water to reset the balance of flavors in the delicious ramen.
Unfortunately, the one other downfall linked to the restaurant is the fact that once they run out of the set amount of broth they make in a day, Ramen Dojo closes their doors until the next day.
I loved my experience at Ramen Dojo wholeheartedly and was left with a full belly, a smile on my face, and wanting more from the cozy eatery.