Good, very good, damn good Ramen…in Century City.
The official position of Is It Any Good, is that we likey the Ramen. But we were a mite perturbed when one of our favorite Ramen places, Orochon Ramen didn’t the cut of the Zagat’s Top 7 Ramen places in Los Angeles. (Top ten, maybe?)
Ajisen Ramen did, and it’s a good place…or as I believe I said, a damn good place. It puts together a good bowl of Ramen, with a creamy, almost buttery stock (apparently hailing from the Kyushu Region of Japan).
The options at Ajisen are a little different than you’d find at a place like Orochon Ramen (and you’re also lacking the distinct Ainu influence). At Ajisen, you get to choose from around forty different bowls, all ready made: Pork, Premium Pork, Spicy Pork, Beef, Chicken. Still, there’s lots to love.
The San Gabriel location is conveniently located across the street from my favorite 99 Ranch Chinese Grocery Superstore (yeah, we have those here in L.A.). It’s in one of those high-rise three story Strip Mall/Residential complexes that exist out here in La-La Land, so Parking is a lot easier.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, I always run with the Premium Pork Ramen (three good words right there). But really, you’re not going to go too wrong whichever way you go. They’re clearly advertising other more-Japanese items than the average Food Court Vet is used to having on their menus: like Eel, but that’s nothing but a good thing.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Nothing really to warn you about. It’s on the first level, far corner of the complex, highly visible from the street. The hardest thing you’ll have to do in getting there is going past all the other wonderful Chinese Food options on the way in.
PARKING: Coming here for Parking is pretty much akin to hell, but it’s not the Restaurant’s fault. It’s the Mall’s.
When you go to the mall at Century City, you’ll find that it has a massive, two level Parking Structure directly underneath the mall, so parking is theoretically a breeze. Basically, find a spot. Find an escalator, and magically lift up to one of the many Garage Entrance scattered throughout the mall.
Century City’s Parking Garage has two drawbacks, both equally massive.
One, the Garage is always massively crowded. Always. Be prepared to cruise around for 10-20 minutes or to find a spot. The Garage has a system to assist you in the finding of spaces. There are automated signs guiding you in the direction of open spaces. Every spot has a light above it marking it: red for occupied, green for open and blue for handicapped. This would be a great system if it actually…you know…worked. Too many times are very occupied parking spaces lit up with the green light, making the automated signs that point you in the direction of open spaces somewhat suspect.
Two, the Garage is massively expensive. As in hitting you two bucks every fifteen minutes expensive.
0 to 3 hours: Free
3 hours to 3 hours 30 minutes: $7.00
Each additional 15 minutes: $2.00
5 hours or less with AMC Validation: $3.00
Daily maximum: $21.00
Customers who spend $250 or more the same day of their visit may visit the Westfield Concierge during their business hours and receive all-day parking validation. Customers must present same-day receipts. One validation per customer.
So whatever you do, get that validation.
Truthfully, this is a good mall with good food and good (but expensive shops). Despite what I wrote, I was prepared to give it four stars. The parking alone cost it a star.
Ajisen Ramen (Century City)
10250 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90067
Tel: (310) 556-1188
Monday-Saturday: 10:00 am-9:00 pm
Sunday: 12:00-7:00 pm