1944 S El Camino Real, San Mateo, California 94403
Good for: Group of 1-6 people
Price Range: Reasonable
Features: Consistent food
Santa Ramen has been around for a while but we only recently discovered it in the past year or so. It is possible to order other appetizers here but mainly it’s all ramen, a Japanese dish consisting of noodles, broth, and various toppings. This place gets crazy-busy and during peak hours you will generally see a line extending out the door. Therefore, no reservations are taken and you can only be seated when your full party is present. Space is fairly ‘cozy’ inside and sometimes tables are shared by more than one party, separated by a tiny bamboo divider on the table.
For a restaurant that serves only one main dish, they are very consistent with the food. Each visit we enjoy our meal. One bowl is typically more than enough to fill you for a heavy lunch or lasting dinner.
You can choose from soy sauce, pork-flavor, or miso broth. The soy sauce is a bit salty for my tastes and seems like regular broth with soy sauce, nothing special. The pork is very rich and tasty but since it’s high in fat, this might not be the best choice on a diet. I like the miso flavor which has a bit of a kick and will definitely clear your sinuses. I don’t usually like spicy things but this choice is very refreshing to me. Some toppings come with your order and others can be added. Toppings include egg, mushroom, corn, pork, onions, bamboo shoots, etc.
From what I have tasted so far, the appetizers are bland and generic. The price is about $8-9 for a bowl of ramen with some toppings included. We order extra noodles and my husband can share with my daughter. The service depends upon how busy it is. Do not expect a waitress to sit and chat with you as they need to hustle to get people in and out. Don’t go when it’s near closing time as it is very common for them to run out of noodles or broth.
As the winter quickly approaches and cooler days are on their way, make a trip over to San Mateo for a nice bowl of ramen to warm you up.