ramen yamadaya / clairemont – san diego, ca

Ramen! Who knew it was more than just that packaged crap that they sell for dirt cheap at the store? There’s actually like an art to it, and a good bowl of ramen (or anything) can make the world a finer place.

I went here with my co-workers first, and then I made Jake and our out-of-towner friend Chris go again just so I could have more ramen in my belly. Ramen Yamadaya is actually a Southern California chain from LA and this is the first location in San Diego (though I saw on their site they hope to open a second shop in Downtown soon).


 That’s a lot of hours, man.


[kakuni ramen – $10.95]

I don’t have the prices listed for any of these, since I don’t remember them

I got the same thing on both visits, which is basically the pork bone broth ramen with a GIGANTIC piece of braised pork belly. The pork belly is super tender and I ended up breaking it up with my fork (yes, I use a fork) so it could be evenly dispersed in the ramen. I shared this bowl with Jake on my second visit since I already knew one bowl was a lot for me. I ordered extra noodles though so Jake and I would have enough.

I love the taste of the broth – it’s rich and a little fatty tasting and has a lovely flavor. It’s sort of salty, but not too much and I think it’s delicious.

Jake didn’t seem to like it as much, commenting that the broth tasted fishy to him, but I suspect that was only because of the added seaweed. I’d prefer it without the seaweed as well, but I didn’t remember to ask them to not put it in.


I got some corn on the side ($1) which they brought to us after we had already been eating for a bit so I just dumped it in. I also really like the noodles they use, though I think the noodles could have been a little firmer.  In any case, I thought it was totally delicious.


[tonkotsu spicy – $8.45]

David and Jose both got this spicy ramen thing. You  can see the red spicy up there in the corner (if you can call that a corner, since you know, these bowls are round). Once swished around the whole bowl turns red. Keep the red stuff away from my bowl, please.


[tonkotsu kotteri – $8.45]

Matt got the kotteri which I don’t exactly remember what that is… but it has an added oil in it. I didn’t try it, but I love how it looks.


[karaage chicken – $6.95]

I wasn’t sure if Jake and Chris would like the ramen, so as a back-up I also ordered the karaage chicken. This is like Japanese fried chicken, but it was all in pieces and was boneless. It had a nice flavor and the coating wasn’t too thick on the chicken pieces.

I really liked this on both of my visits. The service was horribly slow the first time I went with my co-workers, like painfully slow since I was so hungry I wanted to hit something. And then again painfully slow just trying to get the check… but I wasn’t deterred from not coming back since I still really enjoyed the ramen. Thankfully the service was not painfully slow on my second visit and maybe they were just having a bad service day the first time (at lease they were always friendly). I still don’t really know all of the differences or the ins and outs of it all, but I think it’s simply delicious and am looking forward to more bowls of ramen in the future, either here or trying new ramen places. If you have some ramen suggestions for me, please let me know!

Ramen Yamadaya
4706 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92117

Ramen Yamadaya on Urbanspoon

8 thoughts on “ramen yamadaya / clairemont – san diego, ca

  1. Travis doesn’t like seaweed in his ramen, either. I used to just eat his, but he said it still left a fishy taste in the bowl so he orders ramen without it.

    You should try RakiRaki, just for comparison. I prefer the noodles at RakiRaki but the broth at Yamadaya. I’ve had terribly slow service at both, though.

    I’ve also heard good things about Santouka (in Mitsuwa) but we haven’t gone there yet.

    1. Jake isn’t the only one! I didn’t like it tasted fishy either, maybe just slightly, but if you don’t like seafood then it makes sense. I think I haven’t gone to RakiRaki because I am afraid of parking on Convoy, but I need to just do it already. I have heard of Santouka, too, but yeah, never gone. Maybe I’ll try it on my next visit to Mitsuwa! I want to go there anyway to get crazy Pocky for Christmas presents/add-ons. Thanks for the suggestions, Leanne!

  2. Aww I like the seaweed 😛 The kotteri ramen has an added black garlic oil, which is a bit pungent but also really flavorful. I used to only get the spicy, but now the kotteri is my favorite. I love that giant piece of kakuni pork belly! 😀 Santouka has pretty good broth (but I don’t like their noodles at all), but I’d say that Yamadaya has the richest broth out of all the ramen places I’ve tried in San Diego. By the way, if you like garlic, you can ask for fresh garlic at Yamadaya and they will give you a couple of fresh cloves and a garlic press. Adding some fresh minced garlic to the ramen broth = deliciousness!

    1. Oh! They did actually give us some garlic and a press, and I photographed it, but I didn’t mention it because none of us did it haha. But I will have to try that next time! I couldn’t remember what the oil used in the kotteri was, I thought it was garlic-something so thank you! Learning about ramen, woo woo!

  3. i like the ramen at Gunco Ramen (which shares space with Kanpai), on the corner of Palomar and 3rd in south Chula Vista. It’s right across from D’s Nutz (aka KD’s Donuts, the place with that funny sigh)… Their tonkotsu is good and also this other noodle dish that is NOT ramen, but called chanpon! now that has everything in it! i’ve also tried the tsukemen at RakiRaki. it seems a bit of a pain in the @$$ to eat the noodles and dip them in broth. i’d rather have everything in the broth. still tastes good tho!

  4. I like this place! It’s a good to go when you’re tired of Santouka or other SD Ramen place in my opinion.

    And I love their pork belly (well, I had it once when I swear it tasted 3 days old and was 90% fat, so yeah, I guess I don’t like the belly all the time).

    What did you think of the temperature of the ramen broth?

    And I must say that I think they make a really really good version of the karaage here – I’m curious to hear if you think another Ramen place makes better karaage?

    Hope your weekend went well 🙂

    1. I haven’t been to many ramen places (I believe this one makes THREE!) so I’m definitely not an expert in this area hehe. I think the temperature of the broth served to us was okay, if you ask me it could have been hotter. I prefer to get served my food HOT – it tastes better that way to me. I’ve only had karaage at like one other place (I can’t even remember where) and since I don’t even remember the other one I’d say this one is better. For now 🙂

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