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Restaurants & Bars 15

Stewed Pork Shoyu Ramen @ Santa Japanese Restaurant in San Mateo

Melanie Wong | Mar 3, 201001:42 PM

In September I kicked off the advent of the cool weather soup and noodles season with a visit to Santa Ramen in San Mateo. It relocated a couple years ago to larger, newer digs in a shopping center. The original had ranked a solid #2 or #3 through the years I’ve been assessing ramen in the Bay Area. This was my first time to the new location and I managed to slide in the door before the “closed” sign flipped over at 2pm.

Since shoyu has been my favorite stock here, I ordered that to let Santa put its best foot forward. The stewed pork was still available (sometimes sells out fast) so I supplemented with that. Lastly, I asked for the noodles to be cooked “firm”, as texture has been the downfall in the past.

My bowl was notably less satisfying than earlier renditions, starting from the messy presentation to the too-soft noodles. The stewed pork was cold in the middle, dried out, and on one end, was too tough to chew. The part I’m saddest about is the taste of the shoyu stock. Once my favorite shoyu around, the flavor was not nearly as complex and it lacked the precision that I’d liked so much here.

Stewed pork shoyu ramen photo:

Santa drops down from #3 to #9 in the rankings. It’s still in the top 10, but based on this single revisit not as good as it has been in the past.

1. Ramen Halu, 375 Saratoga Ave Ste M, San Jose
2. Santouka @ Mitsuwa Hokkaido Festival, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
3. Himawari, 202 2nd Ave, San Mateo
4. Maru Ichi, 368 Castro St, Mountain View
5. Izakaya Mai, 212 2nd Avenue, San Mateo
6. Ajisen Noodle, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont
7. Ryowa, 859 Villa St, Mountain View
8. Tanto, 1063 E El Camino Real, Sunnyvale
9. Santa, 1944 South El Camino Real, San Mateo (post-move)
10. Do-Henkotsu House of Tokushima Ramen, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose (closed)
11. Sumiya, 2634 Homestead Rd, Santa Clara
12.Gen Ramen, 47890 Warm Springs Blvd, Fremont (closed)
13.Hana Japanese Restaurant, 101 Golf Course Dr, Rohnert Park
14.Izakaya Restaurant, 1335 N 1st St, San Jose
15.BY Grill, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
16.Norikonoko, 2556 Telegraph Ave, Berkeley
17.Hana, 4320 Moorpark, San Jose
18.Dohatsuten, 799 San Antonio Rd, Palo Alto
19.Katanaya, 430 Geary Blvd., San Francisco
20.Masa's Sushi, 400 San Antonio Road, Mountain View
21.Gochi, 19980 Homestead Rd, Cupertino
22.Oyaji, 3123 Clement St, San Francisco
23.Halu Restaurant, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco
24.Sanmi, 3226 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
25.Maru Ichi, 530 Barber Lane, Milpitas
26.Hatcho, 1271 Franklin Mall, Santa Clara
27.Kahoo, 4330 Moorpark Ave, San Jose
28.Tomoe, 810 3rd St, San Rafael (closed)
29.Ringer Hut, 1072 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
30.Noodle Theory, 3242 Scott St, San Francisco
31.Watami Shabu Shabu and Ramen, 5344 Geary Blvd, San Francisco (closed)
32.Where’s Buta by Elgin Espiritu and June Lee, Eat Real Festival, Oakland
33.Kumako, 211 E. Jackson Street, San Jose
34.Japanese Restaurant Hoshi, 246 Saratoga Avenue, Santa Clara
35.Ramen Club, 723 California Dr, Burlingame
36.Ryowa, 2068 University Ave, Berkeley (after ownership change)
37.King Won Ton, 1936 Irving St, San Francisco
38.Tazaki Sushi, 3420 Judah St, San Francisco
39.Ramen Rama, 19774 Stevens Creek Blvd, Cupertino (closed)
40.Ogi-San Ramen, 10789 Blaney Ave, Cupertino (closed)
41.Kaimuki Grill, 104 S El Camino Real, San Mateo
42.Tanto, 1306 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
43.Okazu Ya SF (Noriega), 2445 Noriega St, San Francisco
44.King's Garden Ramen, 39055 Cedar Blvd, Newark (closed)
45.Sushi Bistro, 445 Balboa St, San Francisco
46.Genki Ramen, 3944 Geary Blvd, San Francisco
47.Mitsuwa Hokkaido festival booth, 675 Saratoga Ave, San Jose
48.Lakuni, 325 E 4th Ave, San Mateo
49.100% Healthy Desserts, 1155 Taraval St., San Francisco
50.Mifune, 1737 Post St, San Francisco
51.H2A Noodle, 42318 Fremont Blvd., Fremont (closed)
52.Iroha, 1728 Buchanan St, San Francisco
53.Miraku Noodles, 2131 N Broadway, Walnut Creek
54.Manpuku, 2977 College Ave, Berkeley
55.Tanpopo, 1740 Buchanan Street, San Francisco
56.Sushi Yoshi, 39261 Cedar Blvd, Newark
57.La Shang Niang Ramen (OEC), 42 Dixon Rd, Milpitas
58.Oidon, 71 E. 4th Avenue, San Mateo
59.Taraval Okazu Ya, 1735 Taraval St., San Francisco
60.Suzu Noodle House, 1581 Webster Street, San Francisco
61.Fresh Taste, 2107 El Camino Real, Palo Alto
62.Asuka Ramen, 883 Bush St, San Francisco
63.Sapporo-ya, 1581 Webster St, San Francisco
64.Tokyo Ramen, 678 Barber Lane, Milpitas (closed)
65.Kamakura, 2549 Santa Clara Ave, Alameda
66.Mama-san!, 312 8th Ave, San Francisco (closed)
67.Katana-ya Ramen, 10546 San Pablo Ave, El Cerrito
68.Hotei, 1290 9th Ave, San Francisco
69.Bear's Ramen House, 2521 Durant, Berkeley

Santa Ramen Japanese Restaurant
1944 South El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA

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