I’ve loved Daikokuya from the time they first opened their doors. They had replaced an okonomiyaki restaurant (which at the time I sadly mourned) but was happy to discover what was to replace it. This is ramen as it should be.
Daikokuya’s tonkotsu ramen is made from kurobuta and is the best ramen I’ve eaten outside Japan. Their ramen is topped generously with green onions, slices of kurobuta chashu, menma (pickled bamboo shoots), bean sprouts, and a soft-boild egg. The egg is marinated overnight and the result is flavor-packed perfection—one of the things I look forward to most when the steaming bowl lands in front of me. Before digging in I cover it in a blizzard of white pepper and a small spoonful of the mashed garlic set out on the table.
Recently, they’ve added a new menu item: kichimen. The flyer on the wall described it as their new version of tsukemen, spicy and sour. I was intrigued. I’m not a huge fan of tsukemen, but this sounded different. The first sip was good, but I wasn’t blown away by the combination of flavors. Going in, my expectations may have been too high, so I made a note self not to stray from their original ramen. But then, something weird happened. As the meal continued, that broth (oh, that broth!) turned me into some kind of addict. I couldn’t stop myself from slurping spoonful after spoonful. How’d they do that?
Everything on the menu is generally good but aside from the ramen, the fried rice and gyoza are exceptional. The only things I’d avoid are the donburi and sushi items. I’ve tried both and by the end of the meal, wished I had stuck with their ramen instead. If you have an aversion for green onion, make sure you tell your waiter—here, green onions are served in mountainous forms, both in the ramen and on top of the gyoza.
You also can’t talk about Daikokiya without mentioning their décor. The interiors are vintage Japan circa 1960s and there’s nothing like it in all of Little Tokyo.
Oh, and if it’s your first time at Daikokuya, expect a line.
327 East First Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 626-1680 (no reservations)