If you like ramen, you’ve got to check this place out…
Ramen Nagiis a lunch and dinner ramen restaurant in down town Palo Alto, California. My cousin Christina took my sister and I there just yesterday for our first real dining experience since shelter-in-place started. It was spot on.
As there is only one Ramen Nagi in all of America, it can get pretty crowded. It opens at 10:30, and even though that sounds really early for lunch, people actually get there well before the first seating to avoid the notoriously long wait line. With only around six small tables, it’s likely you’ll have to wait a good 20-30 minutes before getting seated if you don’t make the “first wave”. That being said, once you do sit down and order, the efficiency will blow your mind. Moments after your order is taken, your food literally arrives in the next couple of minutes. Even better, they give you the menu while you’re in the wait line, so you can get right down to ordering when a table opens up. Speaking of the menu, it’s super straight forward. All you have to do is circle the things you want. You can customize your broth, garlic level, spiciness, meat, vegetable, oil richness, strength of flavor, and noodle size. That’s not to mention the various “extras” and “appetizers” that come in decent value. We definitely recommend getting there before it opens to secure yourself a decent spot (no wait).
For the ramen broth, I’d say you should go with original, especially if it’s your first time. The blend of garlic, oil, salt, and other flavors really gives you this top tier flavor. With a “Oh yeah, I can eat this!” vibe, the broth really is the centerpiece of their business. The noodles are also pretty neat. They aren’t too chewy or thick, so you’ll have a fairly easy time slurping them down. In addition, the char siu was a big hit as well. Tender and soft, it just melted in with the mouth watering broth. As I mentioned before, everything is very customizable, so you will definitely find a combination that fits. A little trick that we learned is that you can order extra noodles and add them into the remaining broth to essentially turn one ramen order into two. Lastly, I want to end by saying that Ramen Nagi does a really good job with making the dining experience work during this pandemic. The dining is all outdoors, and they are willing to move tables around to fit you or your party’s needs. They clean everything beforehand, wear masks, and maintain good spacing and distancing throughout the entire day. Like I mentioned earlier, the whole experience is very efficient, which will help you get in and out of there as quickly as possible.
In the end, while Ramen Nagi might seem like your average ramen location, it’s pretty darn delicious. To be honest, I haven’t had ramen enough to actually taste much of a difference between difference places, but I can say that at Ramen Nagi, it’s hard not to like it there. Since the meals are so big there, it could be neat to just go in for brunch! If you arrive that early, like we did, you likely won’t have to wait too long. So if are looking for an opportunity to get out of your house and slurp down some quality ramen, you know where to go!
Fun fact: Supposedly, Ramen Nagi is also very popular Japan. As a well known food chain present in big cities like Tokyo, this restaurant can be compared to say, a McDonalds or a Chipotle. When my meal was finished, I could kind of tell why people like it so much.