$9 karamiso ramen + $4 Kirin in a frosty mug = happy belly.
Good, cozy ramen and super friendly service make this a great spot to grab a bite if you're hungry in Japantown. I like the spicy miso ramen with everything... their sliced pork is particularly delicious! They also have Japanese beers on tap & a wide selection of sake, so you can make it a party...
Famous for huge, delicious bowls of ramen, low prices, and quick service, this Japantown joint is a cult favorite.. If you are feeling: a) hungry, b) impatient and/or c) broke, this ramen house in the heart of Japantown is what you're looking for. Despite the bad lighting, vinyl furniture and foreboding health code scores, Tanpopo is packed most nights with middle-aged Japanese men and the young hakujin who've discovered it. Walk in and the one waitress--a sort of Japanese version of "Flo"--will tell you from across the room where to sit (she's also the Maitre'd), but if you can, grab a seat at the bar, if you don't mind watching insane Japanese game shows. You'll find a broad range of Japanese foods (sushi, terrayaki, etc) but do like the locals and ignore those; everyone's here for the ramen, which comes in bowls big enough to dunk your whole head into, or share with a friend, whichever you prefer. The collegiate ration is an art form here, coming in variations from miso to kyushu, with chunks of chashu pork, red ginger, bamboo shoots and even sauteed vegetables, but don't worry: this stuff is as completely devoid of nutritional value as ever.
Neat little ramen place. I've been here a few times and love their ramen. Situated a block north of the Japantown Restaurant Mall, Tanpopo is somewhat tucked away on the cobblestone street. The staff was friendly and helped me to discover their different offerings. I've settled on soba (buckwheat noodles) with fishcake and pork. Very good stuff.
I think this place has really good ramen, in my opinion. My wife is Japanese and is pretty picky about ramen and she likes this place pretty well. She says, "it's good, not the best, not the worse." But she's very picky and I guess she's had some really good ramen in the past. I think the ramen is very tasty, but I've liked all but only about 2 ramen places that I've been to in the Bay Area. I guess I like ramen anyways.
Although I never go there to drink, they seem to have a better selection of spirits than your typical "sake only" Japanese place. They have cognac, whiskey, scotch, etc..., but I don't think they make cocktails. Probably straight up or on the rocks.
Poor Service / Discriminate Against Children. My wife, son and I put our name in for a party of 3. After 40 minutes we're next and a 4 seater becomes available. The waitress skips us and seats a party of 4 that came in after us. Then a booth opens up and she asks if we would mind sitting with another party of 3. We say fine but the other party wants to wait for a table. So we both ended up waiting while the booth sits empty. Then another 4 seater opens up and it goes to the other party of 3 that came in after us. So I ask her why we were skipped over twice and she says since we only have 2 adults we can only be seated in a 3 or 4 seat table if there are no parties of 3 or 4 waiting. I will never return to Tanpopo!
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