JINYA Ramen Review
Hello, Good Noodles!
Today we’ll be talking about one of LA’s ramen hot spots! JINYA Ramen is one of Los Angeles’ most popular ramen restaurants and with good reason. JINYA began by the son of a restauranteur, Tomonori. His father owned an Izakaya-style restaurant also by the name Jinya. Tomonori then decided to open up JINYA and later expanded to the United States. They currently have locations all over the U.S. and Canada. I decided to visit the site in Santa Monica. This location has both indoor and outdoor seating.
I opted for the outdoor seating and had a great view! A big beautiful mural hangs on the wall facing the restaurant. JINYA’s Instagram has a photo of the painting being painted with the caption mentioning it was a geisha in the image. Due to the ornaments in her hair, someone commented, the picture was of an “oiran” and not a “geisha.” Oiran were Japanese courtesans, and the geisha or geiko, contrary to an unfortunate popular belief, is not.
Getting the Menu
After sitting down, I was handed a menu and immediately got to check out all my ramen options! JINYA had a great variety of ramen options, including Tonkotsu Red, Chicken, Slurp Up Cilantro, Spicy Umami Miso, and even Spicy Creamy Vegan ramen! The fact that more and more ramen restaurants are adding vegan options is pretty great, and it would be neat to see them add a gluten-free option as well.
I opted for the Tonkotsu Black option. I hadn’t had a “black” ramen yet, so this seemed like the right choice. If you see “black” ramen, it will most likely, but not always, be ramen with black garlic oil added. If that sounds a little odd and off-putting due to the black color, don’t be. One of the tastiest things I’ve ever had was a black food. One of the times I was in Beverly Hills, I stopped for a bite at Via Alloro, a cute little Italian restaurant a couple of streets down from Rodeo Dr. I ordered a Black Risotto that was colored by squid ink! It was spectacular, so don’t hold yourself back from eating odd-colored foods!
Back to Ramen!
While I waited for my ramen, I took a look around the patio. There was a large table with a giant fire pit in the middle covered by some patio umbrellas. This design looked like the perfect place for a large party to come and grab some ramen. Once my ramen was brought to me, I was excited. The bowl looked picture perfect. A perfect beautiful slice of chashu lay on top of the bed of noodles that peeked through the somewhat opaque broth, while the seasoned egg bobbed over to the side.
A pinch of green onions and fried crunchy onions lay in the middle of the bowl. First, we try the broth! The broth wasn’t as opaque as saying the type of food I usually see in Hakata ramen, but it wasn’t as clear as shoyu ramen either. Upon tasting the broth, I noticed right away a strong pork flavor, which made the soup feel rich without being too heavy.
Now for the noodles!
Looking up close at the noodles, they were a little speckled from the flour mixture that they use. It gives the noodles a great look and texture to them. They were the perfect chewy consistency, which is what you always want your noodles to be! The chashu was flavorful and even had a hint of sweetness, which I hadn’t tasted in other chashu until now. The flavored egg was one of my favorite parts! I have a clip of me opening it up on my Insta Stories if you want to take a look at that. The egg was perfectly soft-boiled, so the egg white was gentle and firm, but the yolk had a nice runny consistency. One thing I like about soft-boiled eggs is when the yolk almost looks like a gel? It sounds weird, but it’s honestly just such a good consistency!
After visiting this JINYA location, it’s no wonder that they’ve grown so much and have earned their spot as one of LA’s best ramen joints. Ramen isn’t just food to me. There’s something about a perfect bowl of ramen that will make you think about it over and over again. There are heart and passion in ramen, and it resonated here at JINYA, and I will return to try out the rest of their offerings! I recommend going on JINYA’s website and looking for a location near you so you can see for yourself just how amazing this ramen is!