Marugame Udon is a popular udon restaurant with locations in Los Angeles, Orange County, and Berkeley. They are known for their hand-made udon noodles, which are freshly made right in front of you as you wait in line to order. Their udon bowls are also assembled in front of you to ensure that everything is as fresh as possible.
For those who are unfamiliar with udon, udon is a thick noodle that is made from wheat flour and most known for its use in Japanese cuisine, although, many other cultures and cuisines incorporate a similar noodle in their dishes. The most traditional way it is served is with a mild broth and green onions. Udon is extremely versatile and can be used in many different dishes. The texture is unbelievably satisfying to slurp and is definitely a popular noodle option.
Marugame Udon is hands down my favorite udon restaurant, the quality is always so consistent and it always hits the spot! You can definitely tell that their udon noodles are extremely fresh by the texture of it and how perfectly it is cooked every time (seeing the noodles being made pretty much from scratch also helps).
They have a very simple menu which tells me what they are confident in what they do and the restaurants with fewer options generally perfect the options they do offer. I ordered their Nikutama which is their classic udon noodles served with sweet and savory beef, hot spring egg, and a sweet and savory BK sauce. The sauce is quite thick so it is definitely not considered a broth. The flavor of the sauce is absolutely amazing, seriously so addictive and I find myself wanting more after finishing an entire bowl every time. The hot spring egg with the raw egg yolk (poached) is the perfect touch to the simple noodle bowl and adds another level of creaminess with the broken yolk in the sauce. I can't say enough good things about this bowl, I highly recommend it for anyone who visits. It is super simple but it is done so right that they make it work!
I also tried their tonkatsu bowl which is their udon noodles served with chasu pork, miso ground pork, garlic, seasoned egg, and chili oil served in their tonkatsu broth. The udon noodles were perfect as usual, however, the broth was a bit spicy which I did not expect and the broth was something that can be tasted at any Japanese restaurant, so it was not unique. It was still good, but I wouldn't recommend it solely because there was not much special about it.
They have other options including a curry broth, which I have never tried, but I think it is definitely worth trying if you love curry. But hands down I have to recommend the nikutama just because the sauce was so unique and addictive.
Other than udon, they also released their katsu sandos not too long ago and these are a great option if you're not feeling udon that day. These are classic Japanese sandwiches and come in crispy chicken, wagyu cheeseburger, spam, cheese, and pickle, and egg salad.
They are also quite known for their tempura, which they have a wide variety of. These are available at the end of the line after you get your bowl of udon. These are the perfect side dishes and are so good dipped in the udon broth.
Marugame Udon is the udon place to try throughout Southern California (hoping they come to San Diego soon!) with some of the highest-quality udon that is made freshly right in front of you from start to finish! Their mix of flavors, textures, and accompanying ingredients along with their freshly made udon is unbeatable and definitely worth the wait. Some locations don't even have a wait during peak times. When I went to the Los Angeles location there was no wait at around 1 pm. But sometimes they do take a little bit of time to get their udon prepared during off hours since they try to make sure it is the freshest possible when the customer consumes it, so during off hours they don't really make udon consistently to prevent it from getting old.
There is almost always a line at Marugame Udon, so I would definitely recommend going at an off-peak time or during the weekdays. During peak times, the line can last up to over an hour long (I have personally waited just over 45 minutes to get in). However, despite the line, it is definitely worth it and the last time I went, I only waited about 15-20 minutes.
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