Tajima Ramen and Izakaya Bar is a popular Japanese ramen restaurant with several locations spread across San Diego, namely Convoy, Mercury, Hillcrest, North Park, East Village, and College Heights. The location I visited was in the heart of Convoy, San Diego, the home of many delicious Asian restaurants, boba shops, and Asian dessert places. Tajima Ramen first opened in 2001 and has grown steadily to become one of San Diego's top Japanese restaurants today. Their dishes aim to honor the purity of traditional Japanese taste and style. They also pride themselves on having a wide selection of dishes to choose from as well as some that are more innovative and unique. Their dishes are quite affordable as well and their daily tapas-style (small plates) menu changes every season to give you something fresh to try every time you visit.
When it comes to the ramen noodles' thickness and texture, ramen-making is like a science that is to be perfected. Tajima prides themselves for their firm, fresh, and springy ramen noodles which are made with several different types of flour and water that is the perfect pH level. Tajima is also precise with their noodle type selection in order to perfectly complement the different broths that they have. With this level of care, it is no surprise that they are so popular!
Now let's talk about the food. Of course we had to get their signature Tajima Ramen which is made with their original tonkotsu broth chicken and pork broth, egg noodles, pork or chicken chashu of your choosing, half of a ramen egg, fried garlic, bean sprouts, baby bok choy, green onions, and sesame seeds. This is the perfect rich and creamy broth that I am always looking for when it comes to ramen. The broth is quite opaque and has a milky and creamy texture to it that is to die for and really shows that the broth has been cooking for hours in order to achieve that consistency and flavor. What really stood out to me was their ramen noodles. They were seriously cooked to perfection, extremely stringy and quite firm, but not to the point that it would be considered hard or tough. These noodles were done just right and were extremely slurpable, I was very surprised at the ease with which I could slurp up all those noodles! The flavors were just perfect, I was addicted upon my first bite. I chose the pork chashu (which I highly recommend) and it was very thick, as you can see, but not to mention, very tender and easy to bite into. This is definitely a rich bowl of ramen and pretty much everything you can ask for. The egg of course was perfect, more lightly seasoned than some of the eggs I've had at other ramen places, but the yolk was cooked perfectly and had a unique and satisfying texture to it.
Next, we tried their carnitas ramen which is definitely one of the more unique items that they offer. The carnitas ramen is made with their spicy tonkotsu chicken and pork broth, egg noodles, housemade carnitas, half of a ramen egg, radish, cilantro, diced onion, lime, and dried oregano. This was a very unique bowl of ramen and the flavor definitely did not disappoint. When you order a carnitas ramen, you would expect punchy Mexican flavors which is savory with a kick of lime and spice and this really has it all! The flavors are very strong and rich and actually went very well with the ramen noodles. The carnitas meat was quite tender and combined with the radish, cilantro, diced onion, lime and dried oregano, this bowl of ramen is quite spectacular and absolutely worth a try. This is definitely not a dish you can find at most restaurants so it is worth the experience if you are eating at Tajima.
Again, they have loads of side dishes and appetizers that are all classic Japanese dishes which all look and sound really great. They also have a wide selection of drinks including, but not limited to, an extensive list of beers and sakes. We tried their matcha refreshers and let me just say, if you're thinking about ordering a soft drink or some other drink, you need to order one of their matcha refreshers instead. These were seriously so refreshing and each of the flavors are on point and definitely not lacking. I will say though, the matcha flavor is pretty much non-existent so if you're really looking for a strong matcha flavor, you will be disappointed by this drink. However, if you're just looking for a refreshing and delicious drink, this is definitely the way to go, plus, matcha has a lot of great health benefits so, in a way, you're making a healthy decision. We tried the lychee matcha refresher and the passion fruit matcha refreshing, both were great and the flavors were on point, I personally liked the passion fruit one more, but that is completely personal taste. They also come in peach, mango, strawberry, and melon flavor if those are more up your alley. I am convinced that all of their flavors are probably equally as delicious and refreshing.
All of the Tajima restaurants are absolutely beautiful and the Convoy location currently offers a wide outdoor dining space as well as indoor dining.
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