Los Angeles, CA 90012
Neighborhoods: Downtown, Little Tokyo
Mon-Sun 11:30 am – 2:30 pm
Mon-Sun 5 pm – 10 pm
I first read about Marugame Monzo from Discover LA’s Best Japanese Noodles list back in July. I was sold when I heard that they have a uni udon pasta with glowing Yelp reviews. Even Jonathan Gold went to try it!
Marugame Monzo is right next to the well known Daikokuya Ramen in Little Tokyo. Its small facade is certainly easy to miss. And since it’s next to Daikokuya, you might mistaken Daikokuya’s notoriously long line with Marugame’s (although I’m sure Marugame has, by now, gathered quite a large following). The star of the show at Marugame Monzo is the udon, fresh handmade udon. Come early or prepare to wait. The restaurant is small with hardly any ventilation — we arrived 15 minutes after the restaurant opened for lunch on a Saturday and was lucky enough to sit at the last empty seats, at the counter, with a front-row view of the udon-making. Street parking, as many of you know, is tough in Little Tokyo. So, go for one of the parking lots!
The store front. It’s quite small, so look for the sign. There was a long line by the time we left.
Size of the restaurant. Yes, it’s just a few tables and a few seats at the counter.
Watch udon being made! It is really quite impressive.
Mentai bowl – spicy cod roe over rice. The mentai was really fresh and went great with the warm rice. $4 with any udon order.
Uni cream udon – it was an off-menu special, but I think it’s on the menu now. There was so much uni in the udon, and lots of uni flavor in the cream sauce! Loved it! The udon was kind of al dente and went really well with the sauce. I do have to say though, portion is generous, and by the end of my last noodle, it was a bit too rich and creamy for me. $16
Will definitely be back to try the traditional Japanese udon!