*NOTICE: Content posted during lockdown are from archives before the current COVID-19 quarantine went into effect. Please enjoy!
Original visit date: February 23rd, 2020
San Diego is a literal hub of ramen restaurants. Top of my head I can already think of a handful that I frequent. But nothing is gained in the familiar and venturing out of my restaurant comfort zone is hella goals this year!
The touristy part of La Jolla is extremely dense and is littered with restaurants all along the coast. Being that it was a beautiful Sunday, I decided to try Harumama for the first time. It’s a little hidden from the main street, but it is conveniently located right next to an underground parking garage (paid).
Harumama sits in an outdoor, downstairs plaza. It shares its space with another restaurant so when you walk in they will ask you if you’re dining for Harumama, but their is a menu stand outdoors so you know you’re walking into the right area.
The space isn’t necessarily traditional like how most restaurants are…but I never said that was a bad thing! There are maybe 5-8 tables lining this outdoor wall that faces the bar. Whoever was the designer of their space really took advantage and hung beautiful decor to complement the small dining area. I was lucky and got seated immediately, no wait, but I did arrive around noon on a Sunday, so my best guess is not a lot of people think ramen when it comes to Sunday brunch plans lol.
Of course coming to a ramen restaurant, I’M ORDERING RAMEN, but I definitely wasn’t going to miss out on their animal steam buns! That’s right, they create these suuuper cute steam buns dressed up as animals. I ordered the beef ones and of course the buns were decorated like a little cow! If this alone didn’t already make you want to visit, I don’t know what else would. They didn’t just look good but they were delicious, just enough filling without feeling like they skimped on me. I’m filipino so I’m 100% always going to feel like the portion size of a steam bun could be bigger given that I grew up on siopaos (basically a steam bun on steriods), but I felt it was a perfect size as an appetizer before my main course. Albeit the price is pretty steep for 2 buns (about $8).
Speaking of main dish, let’s get to the ramen, right? We ordered 2 different ramens:
- Flying Pig
- High Noon
Pricing was typical of ramen houses, about $11-$13 for a bowl.
I personally ordered the Flying Pig. I also ordered extra noodles with it because your girl loves her noodles! I thought it would’ve been a tough call because I instinctively started to compare it to my usual ramen spots, but I have to say…it delivered! The meat was so tender and call it unorthodox, but I thought the brussel sprouts were a fresh addition to the entire dish. It really brought the flavors together. I actually couldn’t finish my ramen though…CURSE MY CONFIDENCE IN ORDERING EXTRA NOODLES! Rest assured though, my partner stepped in and he finished it for me!
The High Noon was another awesome dish! It was a bit too spicy for me, I could only sample it a few times before I needed water. Funny enough the waiter was noticing we were going through our water fast and asked if the soup was too spicy, haha! From what little I did try, it’s a great dish if you like spicy ramen. My partner finished it all so that also says a lot on flavor since he can be extremely picky.
If anything, you’ve got to give it to Harumama on using their interior and style to their advantage. Everything from the “Slurp Away” bowl to the little chicken on their napkins, Harumama definitely earns its spot in La Jolla in my books. The only caveat is probably the location and size of the restaurant itself. On a busy night, I don’t know how lucky I’d be to get seated quickly again and since I live about 5 minutes away from 2 ramen spots already, would I drive all of the way up to La Jolla for their food? Perhaps if it were a date night or I wanted to go somewhere a little more special, but as an everyday regular spot? It’s just not a viable option considering its location. I will say though, I 100% will be coming back here at some point and will be spreading the word of this hidden gem because it does deserve the recognition!