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Restaurants & Bars 8

Original Ramen @ Ryowa, Mountain View

Melanie Wong | Apr 25, 200505:02 AM

A couple weeks ago I stopped by Ryowa in Mountain View for a quick, early dinner. After discovering the variability in quality between the two branches of Maru Ichi, I returned here to see how the original Ryowa location matched to the Berkeley location. I had wanted to try the newish wonton men, but no luck, it was sold out. Another disappointment when I learned that the special wide noodles were gone too.

The regular noodles in my Original Ryowa Ramen went soft too fast. The broth had the familiar taste of Ryowa’s unique recipe with nutty nuance of roasted sesame and a hint of piquancy in a thick pork base. Yet, it seemed more dilute than it has been in the past lacking the zingy intensity served at the Berkeley branch. The roast pork was a little dry. The bean sprouts were slightly blanched and had better flavor than plain raw ones. Maybe I like this particular combination so well because it doesn’t have any bamboo shoots. Still it was assembled rather haphazardly without the precision of presentation it had in the past. I tried a delicious tea egg, marinated with 5-spice and soy sauce, with a hard-cooked yolk and soft custardy white. I also liked the complimentary kimchee here. With this performance, mostly for the inconsistency in the broth, Ryowa in Mountain View drops down a notch to #5.

My brother must have been on the same wavelength, as he ended up there a couple days later. After a 45-minute wait, he and his buddies were seated at the front counter facing the windows. While he enjoyed his wonton men, and especially the special handmade noodles (available for a supplement), he didn’t like having to watch the hungry masses outside wishing he’d give up his seat. He did agree with me that the ramen is better than Maru Ichi’s. However, Ryowa almost always has a line and is priced a little higher than Maru Ichi.


1. Ramen Halu, San Jose
2. Santa, San Mateo
3. Ryowa, Berkeley
4. Himawari, San Mateo
5. Ryowa, Mountain View
6. Maru Ichi, Mountain View
7. Tanto, Sunnyvale
8. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, San Jose
9. Gen Ramen, Fremont
10.BY Grill, San Francisco
11.Masa’s Sushi, Mountain View
12.Oyaji, San Francisco
13.Maru Ichi, Milpitas
14.Tomoe, San Rafael
15.Ringer Hut, San Jose
16.Ogi-San Ramen, Cupertino
17.Kaimuki Grill, San Mateo
18.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), San Francisco
19.Ramen Club, Burlingame
20.Sushi Bistro, San Francisco
21.Lakuni, San Mateo
22.Iroha, San Francisco
23.Manpuku, Berkeley
24.Tanpopo, San Francisco
25.Suzu Noodle House, San Francisco
26.Oidon, San Mateo
27.Katanaya, El Cerrito
28.Sapporo-ya, San Francisco
29.Tokyo Ramen, Milpitas
30.Hotei, San Francisco
31.Bear’s Ramen House, Berkeley

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