Friday, June 10, 2016


Marugame Monzo
329 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Marugame Monzo
Tel: 213.346.9762
$$ ($15-$30)
Tues, 05/31/2016, 1:00pm Walk-In
     (4.5 Piglets)

I absolutely love noodles and pasta, especially slightly thicker ones. When I heard there was a place in Little Tokyo in Downtown Los Angeles that makes homemade udon noodles, I knew I had to pay a visit.

The queue to have these scrumptious noodles is usually pretty ridiculous. People tend to swap between Daikokuya next door and Marugame Monzo, whichever noodle shop would take them first. I've been for both lunch and dinner and the lunch rush isn't as bad as the dinner rush. The menu is pretty much the same, but the lunch menu lacks one of my favorite appetizers: the beef tataki.

The interior
The restaurant isn't anything fancy. It's actually simple in fact. When you arrive, you put your name down on a clipboard and wait patiently to be called to be seated. If you look directly to the end of the restaurant, a clear window is seen where you can witness the chefs making the udon by hand.

The udon

NEGITORO BOWL (UDON COMBO + $4.00): Fatty Tuna Chopped with Green Onions Over Rice. Sweet Sauce with Mayo. At first glance, I was kinda turned off with all the mayo that was on the dish, but once you mixed everything together, the dish came together nicely. It was like a spicy tuna roll deconstructed, but tasted way better.
KAMAAGE UDON ($7.95): Hot Udon from "Kama" boll pot, hot broth dipping style. I thoroughly enjoyed my udon. I loved the dipping broth that came with it. It's very similar to a dipping sauce for soba. It wasn't overly salty and was seasoned nicely. The dish comes with ginger, tempura flakes, green onion and radish for you to season your broth to your liking. I finished it like a pro and probably could've ate another!

A closer look at the udon with the dipping sauce

MY FAVORITE DISH. SEA URCHIN CREAM UDON ($15.95): Hand Crushed Sea Urchin Cream Sauce Udon, Topped with Ikura (salmon egg). This dish is rich and delicious. The uni isn't overwhelming, just having notes of uni coating your palate with each bite. The cream sauce is not too thick and coats the fresh udon well. The ikura adds a nice salty flavor to the dish. It's definitely not a diet dish by any means. Who cares though? It's yummy, creamy and oh so tasty!

Overall, Marugame Monzo is a great alternative to the very popular ramen. There are many options where you can order something light with a clear broth or something more satisfying with a cream sauce. The wait times can be annoying but I seriously believe it's worth the wait. Lunch and dinner menus vary slightly, but you can still get the same udon noodles at both hours. On a side note: they only open for lunch from 11:30am-2:30pm.

Notable Dishes: Sea Urchin Cream Udon

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