Food court food hardly ever sounds appealing, but Santouka’s ramen is a delicious exception to that misconception. Choose between individual bowls of ramen or a meal with a rice bowl and sliced hard-boiled egg. Among their most popular orders is the Shio Ramen, a single bowl of ramen topped with seaweed, juicy slices of pork and green onions, served in a heavy salt broth. Santouka is a no-nonsense option for fast service and good portions.
Santouka 675 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA +1 408 446 1101
Hailed among foodies as a staple of ramen in the South Bay Area, Orenchi Ramen is a must for first time customers. Their specialty is the Orenchi ramen, a flavorful pork-based broth topped with tender bamboo shoots, an entire boiled egg and fresh seaweed. The texture of their noodles is cooked to perfection. Make sure to sign the waiting list early to beat the long lines, especially at weekends.
Orenchi, 3540 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA +1 408 246 2955
Conveniently located next to Mitsuwa Marketplace is Kahoo Ramen. One of their most popular orders is the spicy miso ramen, which comes with a boiled egg, chopped green onion and lots of tender meat and vegetables. Although Santouka is in the same plaza, Kahoo Ramen has more food options with the characteristic crowded seating, boisterous atmosphere and dim lighting of a traditional ramen bar.
Kahoo Ramen 4330 Moorpark Ave., San Jose, CA +1 408 255 8244
Misoya is a more authentic dining experience that isn’t quite as busy as other ramen restaurants in the South Bay Area. The menu pairs three styles of full-bodied broths with different kinds of ramen. Compared to other restaurants, Misoya serves more toppings and even includes fried potato slices in their ramen. Make sure to order a side of gyoza (Japanese dumplings) or karaage (fried chicken).
Misoya 3541 Homestead Rd., Santa Clara, CA +1 408 615 7888
Though Kotetsu is pricey, their serving sizes are very generous and come with more toppings than other restaurants. Their wait time is also more tolerable than Orenchi’s infamously long lines. Order the Chashu ramen for delicious ramen noodles topped with slices of thick pork, and make sure to ask for the ball of spicy paste. It costs $1, but is well worth the price to add that kick of heat. To top it off, Kotetsu’s service is fast, accommodating and very friendly.
Kotetsu 2089 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA +1 408 557 0822