In our never-ending quest for ramen, we visited Beni Tora on Sawtelle last weekend. Housed in what was formerly occupied by Chabuya (which was my daughter’s favorite place for ramen), Beni Tora bills itself as having “Sino Japanese” fare, featuring gyoza and ramen.
Their claim to fame (or at least the few reviews that I’ve seen) is that they have giant gyoza. Needless to say, we had to get an order just to try.
Each dumpling is easily the size of two dumplings lengthwise. We tried to get a visual comparison by taking a pic of them with my daughter’s hand…
Unless you know how big her hand is, this photo doesn’t really quite illustrate how long they are. They were so big that it was difficult to pick one up without it breaking. The giant gyoza have a pork and vegetable filling and no cilantro or parsley, which is good thing.
My husband was eager to try the vegetarian miso ramen, which he always ordered back in the Chabuya era. This version was a little different with a heaping of greens on top of the bowl.
I ordered dan dan noodles without soup. It’s a spicy chili pork mixture that was a little on the spicier side than I am accustomed. It could have used some cucumbers to help cool it down, but it was tasty nonetheless.
My daughter had her heart set on ordering tonkotsu ramen and was very disappointed to see that it wasn’t on the menu. She settled for another ramen with a chicken broth base and chashu…
Once you’ve become spoiled by eating fatty pork broth, it’s hard to go back to having chicken broth. She was underwhelmed by her bowl of ramen and only ate about half of it.
They did still have free mugicha (iced barley tea), which was nice and refreshing on the hot and humid weekend. The menu also offers a smattering of various Chinese entrees like beef and broccoli, sweet and sour pork, mapo tofu and others.
Business was much better than when the restaurant was Chabuya, which was encouraging. It’s always painful when a decent restaurant seems to be struggling (like the newly opened taco place next door).
There’s also a small patio outside where one can dine al fresco. In back of the restaurant, there’s a free parking lot which is a huge bonus, especially on Sawtelle where parking can get challenging. Beni Tora is a good alternative to the other more popular restaurants down the road. While others are experiencing the frustration of finding parking and enduring long waits while standing, you can enjoy your seat on the patio, sip your iced barley tea and watch the world go by.
As of January 2018, Beni-Tora has closed for business.
Location- 2002 Sawtelle Blvd., Los Angeles, 90025
Website – none
Kid-Friendly – Yes
Kid’s Menu – No
Pesco-Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Vegan/Vegetarian Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes