Here is my list of LA Japanese Noodle Hotpicks. After years of thorough and demanding research, these are the ones I like the best. All places offer an aspect of "homemade-ness" or some other unique feature.
Perhaps the BEST ramen in LA.
You will dream about the kuro-buta (black pig) broth for days afterwards. The roasted pork melts in your mouth like ice cream on a hot day. Everything is carried out to a level of perfection that make others look like amateurs. The gyoza is fabulous too.
327 E. 1st Street,
Los Angeles, CA 90012
213 626 1680
Soba: Bamboo Garden
My most recent discovery. The former soba champion, Otafuku on Western Ave in Gardena, has now been displaced by an upstart. The menu is focused primarily on soba, which is made each morning on the premises. The noodles are tasty, firm and brimming with buckwheat flavor. Serving mainly a working crowd, they close at 7pm (6 days) and 5-ish on Sunday.
1618 Cravens Avenue
310 328 1323
16525 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247,
See LA Weekly Food God Jonathan Gold's review below:
Mah Nogughi and Tadaghi Mayeda, Kotohira's udon masters, are two of the few people in the United States who still make udon by hand: thick, white and long, diminishing to squiggles at the ends, clean in flavor, with the bouncy resiliency of elastic ropes. Whether dunked in fish soup or anointed with curry; hot in a bowl or cold on a mat; or dry in a bowl and garnished with ginger, green onion and wisps of freshly shaved bonito -- however you have them, the noodles, with their sweetness set off by the clean, smoky smack of the dried bonito, are among the most delicious things you have ever eaten. 1747 W. Redondo Beach Blvd., Gardena; (310) 323-3966. Open Wed.?Mon. 11:30 a.m.?9 p.m. Dinner for two, food only, $10?$16. Beer and sake. Lot parking. MC, V.
Japanese Spaghetti: Spoon House
Oh. Why am I writing about this before lunch....?
The dishes here are totally unique to Japan, or are Japanese interpretations of Italian pastas---things like Uni-Cream spaghetti with mushrooms, tuna and daikon pasta, vongole, beef ragu, etc. In any case, very good. The pasta boiling machine is kind of neat too.
1601 W. Redondo Beach Blvd.,
A Noodle Mad World:
Here is a link to a pretty frighteningly comprehensive article by Linda Burum from LA Weekly on the thousand variety of noodles available in LA. All manner of ethnicities are given treatment here, but please see above for the Japanese versions.