There are a variety of restaurants near Santa Monica, and it may be difficult to decide on a place to dine there. If one is looking for a simple savory meal, Marugame Udon is the best choice because of its refreshing taste and warm atmosphere.
Marugame Udon, located about a few miles from Santa Monica in Sawtelle, is a cafeteria-style restaurant that serves numerous udon soups and tempura, which is seafood or vegetables that are battered and deep fried.
When customers first enter the restaurant, they choose their udon base, and the noodles are boiled and served in front of them. After the udon is made, they can select tempura, inari or onigiri to eat on the side. Inari is rice wrapped with fried tofu, and onigiri is Japanese rice balls. Then, customers can add toppings such as green onions and tempura crumbs to complete their meal.
Marugame has an assortment of udon bases that range from $5 to $15. The Kama-Age udon is served in a pot with hot water. Included in the Nikutama udon, the #1 best seller, is sweet-flavored beef topped with a soft boiled egg. Other bases consist of fried tofu, chashu pork and curry broth. The Bukkake, Nikutama and Curry Nikutama udon have the option of hot or cold broth.
Number 11 on the menu is the beef udon, which is similar to the Nikutama udon except for the addition of the egg. The texture of the noodles was thick and soft, and the sweet, tender beef definitely added to the flavorful taste. The soup, however, ended up being a bit salty, but overall, the udon was appetizing. With freshly served tempura on the side, the dish was given an extra crunch.
During lunch and dinner time, there is usually a line leading out of the restaurant; however, the wait is only about 10-20 minutes. As customers walk into Marugame, the environment is welcoming as there are often many people seated at tables. In addition, the layout is set up like a cafeteria, which fits the casual theme of the restaurant.
All in all, Marugame Udon is a great place for first-timers and udon-lovers. Out of 5 paws, Marugame Udon earns 4.5!