After trying the “Pig Meets Ramen” at Tajima last time, Tiffany and I got into a ramen phase. We’d been hearing really good things about Menya Ultra since it opened earlier this year so we thought we’d give it a try.
8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd Suite M
San Diego, CA 92111
Worried about having to wait hours for our ramen, I decided to take a half day on a weekday and go for lunch after we ran some errands. We got there a few minutes before it opened, yet a line had already formed outside.
We still waited about 30 minutes, but that’s not as bad as waiting hours during the dinner rush. For the relatively small space, there’s a good amount of seating inside, but it took the staff a while to get people seated. After we got seated, we quickly sent in our order. Ordering is a little different than most restaurants; we each had to fill out an order form. I was pretty hungry by then, so Tiffany had to stop me from ordering too much. I kind of regret not getting a half order of chicken karage, but oh well. We got a half order of gyoza, tonkatsu ramen for Tiffany, and pork paiko tantan-men for myself.
The tonkatsu broth was super creamy and flavorful. Tiffany and I still prefer Ramen Yamadaya’s tonkatsu broth because of its unbeatable black garlic oil, but Menya Ultra’s broth is just as good, and it really comes down to personal preference in this comparison.
However, Menya Ultra’s noodles are definitely way better than Ramen Yamadaya and Tajima. Made fresh daily with special wheat, their noodles have good texture but are still nice and tender. These amazing noodles set Menya Ultra apart from all the other options in San Diego.
There aren’t as many toppings to the plain tonkatsu ramen, so it’s a good idea to add some on your own. The chashu is beautifully tender, the egg soft and flavorful..Everything tasted wonderful, and I can’t think of anything that could have been improved.
Compared to the standard tonkatsu ramen, the tantan-men is quite unique. Even though I think it also has the tonkatsu broth, the chili oil and seasoned minced pork transforms the ramen into something totally different. The Chinese style fried pork and seasoned minced pork brings a lot of interesting Chinese flavors I didn’t expect. Overall it was delicious and a good way to mix things up if you get tired of the plain tonkatsu broth.
Conclusion: Given how well-executed everything is, I can see why some people call this the best ramen place in San Diego right now. Tiffany and I highly recommend Menya Ultra and we hope to go back someday to try the miso ramen and chicken karage.
- Check their social media pages (links located at the bottom of their website) for their hours. Their hours are kind of weird and they are closed for certain holidays. I guess being so popular and busy has its payoffs!
- Delicious ramen leads to long lines! Go early for dinner or try to go during lunch or on a weekday. The wait time can get to over an hour long, and they do sell out sometimes.