clock menu more-arrow no yes
Nikutama udon at Marugame Udon
Matthew Kang

Where to Find the Perfect Bowl of Udon or Soba in Los Angeles

Two Japanese noodle specialties to discover in LA

View as Map
Nikutama udon at Marugame Udon
| Matthew Kang

It’s not cold often in Los Angeles, but few cities have as rich and varied selection of warm soups from different cultures to quell those unbearable, harsh 60-degree winters. But as the sweaters come out, so do the steaming bowls of hot noodle soup — and few have the simplicity and appeal of a proper bowl of Japanese udon or soba.

According to Naomichi Ishige’s The History & Culture of Japanese Food, Japanese udon and soba shops date back to the Edo period, and the two noodles are inextricably linked in Japanese cuisine. Udon is made from rolled wheat flour cut in long strands, whereas soba is made from buckwheat. The prevalence of each is tied, of course, to climate and soil — buckwheat was favored in mountainous areas where it could grow on cold and nonproductive soil. Osaka and western Japan, on the other hand, allowed for wheat flour to be grown after rice paddies were harvested and drained.

As far as warm soups, udon and soba are generally served with a soy sauce-based broth, though variations on broth and toppings will vary. Here are the best places to find a hot bowl of udon or soba noodle soups in Los Angeles.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Marugame Monzo

Copy Link
329 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 346-9762
Visit Website

In the early 2010s, when Daikokuya was still gaining traction, Marugame Monzo opened up a few steps down to little fanfare. Over the years, those crippling lines for Daikokuya’s ramen started to filter over to this curious boutique udon shop a couple doors down, and the rest is history. At Monzo, thick udon noodles are made in-house before diners’ eyes. Diners can slurp up on everything from wonderfully minimalistic kama age udon, or sauce it up (and doin’ too much, ain’t enough) with the uni cream.

2. MARUGAME UDON

Copy Link
2029 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(424) 317-2222
Visit Website

When Hawaii’s Marukame Udon propped up on the mainland and dropped the k for a g, the uninitiated might have mistook it for the Honolulu favorite throwing down the gauntlet to Marugame Monzo on the other side of town. In reality, Marugame is a town in Kagawa Prefecture, and the prevailing style in the region is the chewy noodles diners in the Los Angeles area have come to love. Marugame Udon ushers customers through an assembly line-like experience, but still delivers on the basics as well as anyone in the city — including an amazing curry udon.

3. Sanuki No Sato

Copy Link
18206 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90248
(310) 324-9184
Visit Website

The unassuming Gardena restaurant goes wild on polish woods and is dead serious about its udon. Sanuki Province is an old Japanese province with the same borders as modern day Kagawa Province, and it is during this era that the square-cut udon noodles first earned their popularity. Sanuki No Sato claims to be the best udon in the United States, and one look at their menu showcases some varieties not commonly found in the States. Kuzukake udon takes corn-starch thickened broth with egg (resembling Chinese egg drop soup) and tops the proceedings with spiced cod roe, one of the restaurant’s specialties.

4. Ichimiann

Copy Link
1618 Cravens Ave
Torrance, CA 90501
(310) 328-1323
Visit Website

Ichimiann’s soba is one of the South Bay’s worst kept secrets, and lines routinely snake through the restaurant. It doesn’t matter. The springy, pale buckwheat soba is some of the most crave-worthy in the city. For applications of the house-famous noodles, check out the mentai oroshi soba, a mound of noodles in broth topped with grated daikon radish and spiced cod roe.

5. Aburiya Raku

Copy Link
521 N La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048
(213) 308-9393
Visit Website

Raku’s known more for their skewers, foie gras bowls, and Instagram-worthy sizzling stone steaks with Hennessy flambé. Don’t let the flash distract from the restaurant’s clinical execution in the fundamentals, including a fantastic green-tea soba that’s seasoned just right and topped with a runny egg and a healthy smattering of Raku’s incomparably smoky katsuobushi. Uni udon fans need look no further than Raku’s iteration, which serves the chewy noodles inside a hollowed-out sea urchin topped with some of the best sea urchin roe available.

6. Honda Ya Izakaya

Copy Link
333 S Alameda St #314
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 625-1184
Visit Website

Honda Ya’s menu runs roughly the size of the Old Testament, but there’s a hidden gem in there — the kitsune udon uses a dashi stock that’s a little heavy on the anchovy. Supplant udon noodles with soba to better appreciate the broth. With thinner buckwheat soba in the mix, the stock gets to take more of a central role gets very refreshing, reminiscent of Korean janchi guksu (festival noodles).

7. Otafuku

Copy Link
16525 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 532-9348
Visit Website

If Japanese-style cooking means taking an exacting level of preparation polished with a kind of blasé sprezzatura, Otafuku is the poster child restaurant. The quiet, wood-adorned storefront looks spartan but sports some of the best soba in Los Angeles. Diners can pick between white (wheat flour) or 100% buckwheat; both varieties are fantastic eating in cold/dipping applications. Make sure not to skip the tempura, which ranges from freshwater eel, to a more typical shrimp and potato.

8. Tsurumaru Udon Honpo

Copy Link
333 S Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 625-0441
Visit Website

Tsurumaru Udon Honpo takes the cafeteria-style approach in a similar way to Marugame Udon on Sawtelle, but it lays claim to being the OG in Los Angeles. A simple kakiage udon is workmanlike, a primer on the chewy noodles and refreshing hot broth. All things considered, it makes a case for udon to be taken seriously in a city that’s been overrun with ramen options.

9. Kotohira Restaurant

Copy Link
1747 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247
(310) 323-3966
Visit Website

Kotohira holds the distinction of serving one of the rarer dishes in LA: Okinawan soba. Termed Nikuyasai Soba on the menu, Okinawan soba is more like an udon. The toppings include kakuni (slow-braised pork belly) and kamaboko (fish cake) and the noodles are more akin to udon than soba in the mainland Japanese sense, insofar as they are thicker, wheat-flour based noodles.

10. Oumi Sasaya Restaurant

Copy Link
2383 Lomita Blvd #101
Lomita, CA 90717
(310) 530-4661
Visit Website

Oumi Sasaya’s udon noodles run a little thinner than their competitors’, but it’s not running thin on esoteric applications. Check out the curry udon, which can come with mochi, shrimp and vegetables, or the tororo udon that takes sesame seeds and grated yam for an interesting combination of flavors.

11. Musashiya Udon Noodle Restaurant & Bar

Copy Link
1049 Gayley Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 208-5999
Visit Website

Westwood’s Musashiya is a college-town udon shop catering to college-sized appetites. Colossal bowls of noodle and soup are topped with generous amounts of katsuobushi (bonito flake) or served alongside large helpings of katsu and tempura.

12. KOCHI

Copy Link
408 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(424) 335-0698
Visit Website

Are the displays of stair-steps of tempura, udon, and sushi a little extra? Sure, but it’s West Hollywood and Kochi plays to the crowd. This WeHo Udon outpost specializes in all the standards while also venturing out to Carbonara udon and mentai cream. With a solid selection of tempura and some intriguing specials (Salad udon with avocado, anyone?), Kochi seems right at home playing to the crowd.

Loading comments...

1. Marugame Monzo

329 E 1st St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

In the early 2010s, when Daikokuya was still gaining traction, Marugame Monzo opened up a few steps down to little fanfare. Over the years, those crippling lines for Daikokuya’s ramen started to filter over to this curious boutique udon shop a couple doors down, and the rest is history. At Monzo, thick udon noodles are made in-house before diners’ eyes. Diners can slurp up on everything from wonderfully minimalistic kama age udon, or sauce it up (and doin’ too much, ain’t enough) with the uni cream.

329 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012

2. MARUGAME UDON

2029 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90025

When Hawaii’s Marukame Udon propped up on the mainland and dropped the k for a g, the uninitiated might have mistook it for the Honolulu favorite throwing down the gauntlet to Marugame Monzo on the other side of town. In reality, Marugame is a town in Kagawa Prefecture, and the prevailing style in the region is the chewy noodles diners in the Los Angeles area have come to love. Marugame Udon ushers customers through an assembly line-like experience, but still delivers on the basics as well as anyone in the city — including an amazing curry udon.

2029 Sawtelle Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90025

3. Sanuki No Sato

18206 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90248

The unassuming Gardena restaurant goes wild on polish woods and is dead serious about its udon. Sanuki Province is an old Japanese province with the same borders as modern day Kagawa Province, and it is during this era that the square-cut udon noodles first earned their popularity. Sanuki No Sato claims to be the best udon in the United States, and one look at their menu showcases some varieties not commonly found in the States. Kuzukake udon takes corn-starch thickened broth with egg (resembling Chinese egg drop soup) and tops the proceedings with spiced cod roe, one of the restaurant’s specialties.

18206 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90248

4. Ichimiann

1618 Cravens Ave, Torrance, CA 90501

Ichimiann’s soba is one of the South Bay’s worst kept secrets, and lines routinely snake through the restaurant. It doesn’t matter. The springy, pale buckwheat soba is some of the most crave-worthy in the city. For applications of the house-famous noodles, check out the mentai oroshi soba, a mound of noodles in broth topped with grated daikon radish and spiced cod roe.

1618 Cravens Ave
Torrance, CA 90501

5. Aburiya Raku

521 N La Cienega Blvd, West Hollywood, CA 90048

Raku’s known more for their skewers, foie gras bowls, and Instagram-worthy sizzling stone steaks with Hennessy flambé. Don’t let the flash distract from the restaurant’s clinical execution in the fundamentals, including a fantastic green-tea soba that’s seasoned just right and topped with a runny egg and a healthy smattering of Raku’s incomparably smoky katsuobushi. Uni udon fans need look no further than Raku’s iteration, which serves the chewy noodles inside a hollowed-out sea urchin topped with some of the best sea urchin roe available.

521 N La Cienega Blvd
West Hollywood, CA 90048

6. Honda Ya Izakaya

333 S Alameda St #314, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Honda Ya’s menu runs roughly the size of the Old Testament, but there’s a hidden gem in there — the kitsune udon uses a dashi stock that’s a little heavy on the anchovy. Supplant udon noodles with soba to better appreciate the broth. With thinner buckwheat soba in the mix, the stock gets to take more of a central role gets very refreshing, reminiscent of Korean janchi guksu (festival noodles).

333 S Alameda St #314
Los Angeles, CA 90013

7. Otafuku

16525 S Western Ave, Gardena, CA 90247

If Japanese-style cooking means taking an exacting level of preparation polished with a kind of blasé sprezzatura, Otafuku is the poster child restaurant. The quiet, wood-adorned storefront looks spartan but sports some of the best soba in Los Angeles. Diners can pick between white (wheat flour) or 100% buckwheat; both varieties are fantastic eating in cold/dipping applications. Make sure not to skip the tempura, which ranges from freshwater eel, to a more typical shrimp and potato.

16525 S Western Ave
Gardena, CA 90247

8. Tsurumaru Udon Honpo

333 S Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90013

Tsurumaru Udon Honpo takes the cafeteria-style approach in a similar way to Marugame Udon on Sawtelle, but it lays claim to being the OG in Los Angeles. A simple kakiage udon is workmanlike, a primer on the chewy noodles and refreshing hot broth. All things considered, it makes a case for udon to be taken seriously in a city that’s been overrun with ramen options.

333 S Alameda St
Los Angeles, CA 90013

9. Kotohira Restaurant

1747 W Redondo Beach Blvd, Gardena, CA 90247

Kotohira holds the distinction of serving one of the rarer dishes in LA: Okinawan soba. Termed Nikuyasai Soba on the menu, Okinawan soba is more like an udon. The toppings include kakuni (slow-braised pork belly) and kamaboko (fish cake) and the noodles are more akin to udon than soba in the mainland Japanese sense, insofar as they are thicker, wheat-flour based noodles.

1747 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247

10. Oumi Sasaya Restaurant

2383 Lomita Blvd #101, Lomita, CA 90717

Oumi Sasaya’s udon noodles run a little thinner than their competitors’, but it’s not running thin on esoteric applications. Check out the curry udon, which can come with mochi, shrimp and vegetables, or the tororo udon that takes sesame seeds and grated yam for an interesting combination of flavors.

2383 Lomita Blvd #101
Lomita, CA 90717

11. Musashiya Udon Noodle Restaurant & Bar

1049 Gayley Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90024

Westwood’s Musashiya is a college-town udon shop catering to college-sized appetites. Colossal bowls of noodle and soup are topped with generous amounts of katsuobushi (bonito flake) or served alongside large helpings of katsu and tempura.

1049 Gayley Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024

12. KOCHI

408 N La Cienega Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90048

Are the displays of stair-steps of tempura, udon, and sushi a little extra? Sure, but it’s West Hollywood and Kochi plays to the crowd. This WeHo Udon outpost specializes in all the standards while also venturing out to Carbonara udon and mentai cream. With a solid selection of tempura and some intriguing specials (Salad udon with avocado, anyone?), Kochi seems right at home playing to the crowd.

408 N La Cienega Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Related Maps