With the holiday season in full swing, winter is coming. The cold calls for something warm to end your chills: ramen! Downtown LA’s Little Tokyo houses the most reputable ramen restaurants in Los Angeles, among them Men Oh, Daikokuya and Shin Sen Gumi.
Men Oh probably is the least well-known out of the three, but its ramen can compete with the best in town with its ramen at $10 tops.
Men Oh—or Men Oh Tokushima Ramen, as it is professionally named—is located a block away from Little Tokyo and its main plaza on 1st Street. Little Tokyo sits on the eastern edge of Downtown, a convenient 15 minutes away from Loyola.
Men Oh serves Tokushima ramen, a style from the namesake region that possesses a distinct flavor in comparison to other regions’ broth. This ramen comes from the island of Shikoku, southwest of the main island that harbors Tokyo. The pork-based broth creates a strong undertone of flavor, easily distinguished from the salt-based broths of Kyushu, used by rival restaurants Shin Sen Gumi and Daikokuya. Men Oh serves ramen in a league of its own.
The restaurant attracts guests from blocks away with the constant waft of ramen that flows from its doors. Upon arrival, don’t count on being immediately seated in this small dining space; in fact, waiting in line is just as integral to this restaurant’s culture as its ramen. However, this line moves quickly, and customers can usually count on being seated within 30 minutes.
With two areas of close-quartered tables and countertop seating, the dining area is extremely compact. The energy at Men Oh is vibrant, loud and fun; I find it enhancing to the overall experience. Not only will you be enjoying your steaming bowl of ramen with friends, but you’ll be sharing your experience with a room of foodies.
I came to Men Oh two friends, and we ordered the Tokushima Ramen, with its signature flavor, and the Shoyu Ramen, a light chicken-based ramen from Tokyo.
Men Oh has some of the best bowls in LA, perfect for a cheap, fulfilling dinner meal.