Last weekend we wound up getting to Tatsu too late (a huge line had already formed down the wall) so we wound up at Ramen Hayatemaru in West L.A.. Eater had listed it as one of the top local ramen shops so I had been meaning to try it. Located a few blocks away from Sawtelle, Ramen Hayatemaru is tucked in a mini mall on the corner of Olympic and Barrington, along with the usual mini mall tenants (a 7-11 and a dry cleaners). We were lucky to get one of the last parking spots in the very small lot.
There were a couple of tables occupied, one by a family (check for family-friendly), a stunning contrast from the madness that seemed to surround the ramen restaurants on Sawtelle. Our very friendly waitress handed us a menu which I give extra points for being surprisingly informative. Not only did it list ingredients for the dishes, but it also highlighted potential allergens (wheat, pork, peanut, MSG, etc.).
Ramen Hayatemaru offers about 6 different types of ramen (shio, shoyu, white miso, spicy miso, dipping, vegetable) in three different sizes. The small bowl was the perfect portion for kids (or so I was told when I ordered it – I had eaten too much coffee cake at breakfast and wasn’t too hungry).
The chopstick wrapper said, “Never had good gyoza?” so my daughter was thusly encouraged to order some.
I ordered the white miso ramen, my husband the spicy miso ramen and my daughter the shoyu ramen.
The White Miso Ramen had ground pork in it and bean sprouts. The ramen noodles were the curly, springy yellow type.
The Shoyu Ramen had a slice of chashu, a soft-boiled egg (you can also get a hard-boiled egg if you prefer) and bamboo shoots. There was also a layer of oil/grease/fat on the top which you can see pretty clearly in the photo.
My husband opted for the Spicy Miso Ramen which also came with a slice of chashu. My husband started coughing and turned red after he started eating it – a sure sign that it must be spicy.
Unlike other ramen shops that we’ve been to, Ramen Hayatemaru is a little light when it comes to meat toppings. You can order extra chashu or add an egg to your ramen as well (the miso ramens did not come with egg).
Is it our new favorite ramen shop? No. For Spicy Ramen, my husband prefers Daikokoyu. My daughter complained that hers didn’t have much flavor (Tatsu’s ruined her, for sure, with its MSG infused broth- the only item on the menu that has MSG at Ramen Hayatemaru is the fried chicken). I’d go to either Daikokuya or Tatsu first as long as there isn’t a crazy long wait. If we come here again, I’ll try the Amazu fried chicken (hello, fried chicken!). At least there’s another option for when we want ramen but don’t want the wait.
Location:11678 W. Olympic Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064. Additional location in Torrance.
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No. They do offer small bowls of ramen and rice bowls.
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Kind of. No soup ramen but they have a cold vegetable noodle.
Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly – Kind of. They have a cold vegetable noodle, tofu, seaweed salad.
Gluten-Free Options – Yes. They have rice bowls.
As of October 2015, this location is closed. Ramen Hayatemaru is still open for business in Torance.