Santouka – Los Angeles, CA

3760 Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 398-2113

After spending the last 8 days under citizen’s arrest (haha…whatever), I’ve finally posted bail and found my way to the rameniac’s hood on the westside. Yes, it’s hard to believe that I’ve never been to the “Santa Monica” Mitsuwa before, but since you-know-who has been touting this Santouka for quite awhile, I had to at least come and see if it was better than the others. Unfortunately, the signature shio ramen was sold out by the time I got there (booo…), but I wasn’t going to let that discourage the night.

Kara Miso Ramen: Ka-Ra-Mi-So-La-Ti-Do~~. Okay, so I liked it. Rameniac was right. For some reason this West LA branch tastes a lot better than the others. But why? Who knows… This Kara Miso tasted great and really satisfied my constant ramen craving. Although it’s not very spicy at all, I felt like it was just the right amount. The toppings (kikurage, chashu, menma, negi) were abnormally normal, but the noodles were magnificently magnificent!

It’s hard to imagine that these noodles were even remotely related to the starchy madness I recently experienced in Torrance. The chashu pictured below was also juicier and fresher than I could ever imagine. I was impressed! Perhaps the gateway of ramen in CA does begin in West LA…

Tokusen Toroniku Shoyu Ramen: Since I couldn’t have the Shio and ordering the Tokusen Toroniku was a must, Shoyu was the next best option. With disappointment looming in my mind (not from the Toroniku), I was prepared for a mediocre shoyu ramen at best. But first, let’s talk about the specialty. If Santouka’s Toroniku could talk, I have no doubt that it would sound as confident as Muhammed Ali in his prime. Guaranteed!

Now to the Shoyu. Although it really can’t compare to Santouka’s signature Shio Ramen, today’s Shoyu was incredibly better than those found further south. I can’t believe I’m really saying this. Rameniac must be pumping something in the air up here! And the noodles in the Shoyu were exactly as good as the noodles in the Kara Miso.

So maybe I’ve changed my tune about Santouka (keyword being maybe), but it will still take more to change the score. Hmm…how much more?

9 Replies to “Santouka – Los Angeles, CA”

  1. Hey ed! I don’t know what’s worse: A single inconsistent restaurant or an inconsistent chain. And why doesn’t the CM branch give out renge’s??

  2. Hmm…now you’ve got me curious. Yeah, I would’ve thought that chains would taste more or less the same. I’ve given the Costa Mesa Santouka so many chances but I still think everything besides the toroniku is below average.

  3. @Dennis: Haha…thanks! I’ve never tried the ikura-gohan but I really really need to get down to SD soon.@WoFo: Yummy it was!

  4. Hi Keizo, did you just have two bowls of ramen in one sitting?? That’s freak’n awesome! I’ve only had Costa Mesa’s other than the one down here in SD but I did feel CM’s Shio was slightly creamier and had slightly more depth. What’s up with that? But I still can’t complain cause the fact we finally got a Santouka was close to a miracle.. Wished they served up some nice gyoza though. The Ikura-gohan can be funky at times.

  5. @Exile Kiss: Isn’t it? I’m still in shock myself. I’ve always imagined that someone just drops off the soup and all they have to do is heat it up. But why would it be so different? Hmm…sugoi omoshiroi!@Pepsi Monster: Haha you are too funny! I agree with you on the Torrance branch, but based on this visit I would have to give more props to West LA over CM. But who knows, they could have just had a magical day.

  6. Hey Keizo,Glad you made it on the Westside for this. Here’s the thing, I honestly hated the Torrance’s branch of Santouka. I loved the Costa Mesa branch and held in a higher regard slightly above West LA, but wouldn’t deemed any of the Santouka as “the best ramen in LA” award.You know, I don’t want to call out “YOU KNOW WHO”, but what is up with Chabuya in West LA being in top 10? Ha!So, based on your visit, is Santouka in West LA better than Costa Mesa? I have seen your review on CM and you gave it a decent standing among other ramen-ya. For me, I still not sold on West LA’s Santouka.

  7. Hi Keizo,Omoshiroi… Thanks for the doing a recent visit to the WLA branch of Santouka. It’s good to hear that at least one of the branches (interestingly the newest branch) has improved over the other 2.I guess it’s time for another visit myself and see if the WLA is better. 🙂 I suppose it makes sense: Every branch of a restaurant will have different cooks / staff which all affect the overall experience and quality of food at each location. It’s just surprising to hear how different your experience was between Torrance and WLA.

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