The new Ramen joint in Little Tokyo.
There’s only so much room left in Little Tokyo, if you think about it. First street is filled with old school places, some dating back to before the War, before Internment.
So when a new place opens up, it’s a bit like catching lightning in a bottle. You have to go. you have to check it out.
Fortunately, Manichi Ramen (no website as of yet) is worth your efforts.
On the one hand you might think, do we really need another Ramen place in Los Angeles, serving up their variation on smooth Pork-bone broth?
Why, yes. Yes, we do.
Look so long as the Ramen Gods see fit to keep putting this delicious stuff in front of me, I’m going to keep trying it. If by some miracle, the Ramen craze fizzles out, I’m still going to be knocking back bowls whenever I can. Ramen is one of my comfort foods now, especially in a town like this where you can find lots of the good stuff.
Hell, you can find lots of the good stuff two or three doors down. Along First Street, we have Mr. Ramen, and Daikokuya. Both famous names. Both been here for ages. Can the new kid on the block keep up?
Why. yes. Yes he can.
I believe I wrote in my original essay that Mr. Ramen was just fine, but it was probably benefiting from spillover from folks who couldn’t get into Daikokuya. And Daikokuya was a nice place, albeit I found their broth…at least my bowl of it, a bit gritty.
No such thing happening here at Manichi Ramen. We’re talking a smooth, silky Pork-bone broth, with some Black Garlic Oil. (More on that later.)
It’s very sleek inside Manichi Ramen. Modern, and yet still traditional, a color scheme built on shiny red and black. Right now, it’s not particularly well known yet, but I have a feeling that might change.
Good crew. Good staff. You feel well looked after.
Wow. I guess it is possible to open a new place and have it running like a well-oiled machine from jump. Good to know.
For a while, Manichi Ramen will benefit, like Mr. Ramen from spillover from Daikokuya. But that won’t always be the case. Sooner rather than later, the people who spilled over form Daikokuya, might wind up staying.
Yeah, that good.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: But of course, I had Ramen, but when you’re visiting Manichi Ramen the first time, maybe you should have the Manichi No. 1 Combo Ramen. This Ramen (and I’m relying on memory and pictures since they don’t have a website up yet) is Tonkotsu based, with Black Garlic Oil, Green Onions, Char-siu Pork and two seasoned eggs.
What is it about me and Black Ramen? I do declare. I do declare.
It hasn’t leapt up and taken the first position from Ajisen Ramen, but it’s tied for second along with Tatsu Ramen in Sawtelle Japantown,maybe rising. We’ll see. There will be many more visits to Manichi Ramen in my future.
I also got a plate of perfectly prepared, perfectly delicious Pork Gyoza, a must have with every bowl of Ramen.
Like I said, comfort food.
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Just because (for a short time) Manichi Ramen will benefit from Daikokuya spillover doesn’t mean it doesn’t operate like Daikokuya. You still have to sign in when you walk in. Depending on the time, maybe you’ll have wait a few for a seat, and then after that…Ramen goodness.
PARKING: This being is Little Tokyo, be prepared to shell out $7 for parking, and consult the Little Tokyo Parking Guide. There is no valet along 1st Street, and Street Parking is difficult to come by at best.
321 1/2 E. 1st St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Tel: (213) 613-9888
Daily: 10:30 am – 10:30 pm