Originally scheduled for a Summer 2020 opening, Ramen Nagi finally opened a little over a year later in the Westfield Century City. It was worth the wait. Chef Satoshi Ikuta won the award for Ramen of the Year in 2013 and expanded his ramen empire to 35 shops across Asia, before expanding to the US. The Century City location marks the third US outpost (in addition to Palo Alto and Santa Clara).
There are five different flavors on the menu, from Original King (a traditional tonkotsu broth) to more unusual fare like Black King (blackened garlic and squid ink) and Green King (basil and olive oil). For vegetarians, there’s the Veggie King with a cauliflower puree in the broth and hash brown chashu. Bowls can be customized by broth (oil, garlic), toppings, noodle thickness and firmness and spice level. To make things easier, you can also select chef’s recommendation.
The thin noodles are recommended by the chef and are perfect for slurping.
The Black King, with its squid ink infused tonkotsu broth, not only has thinly sliced chashu, but a ball of minced pork, black sesame and spices. The broth was complex and utterly amazing. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to add tamago – a soft-cooked egg – enhancing the entire dish. It was the best bowl of ramen I’ve had in years.
The bowls emerged from the kitchen with impressive speed. I thought they had forgotten about my edamame appetizer, but it came soon after (that’s how fast those noodles were delivered). Having attended a sneak preview, my server changed a handful of times, but each one was friendly and attentive. The Bay Area locations are famous for always have a line. I can see why. With ramen this amazing, Ramen Nagi lives up to the saying that good things come to those who wait.
Location – 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067
Website – https://ramennagiusa.com
Kid’s Menu – No
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – Yes, they have a rice bowl but no gluten-free noodles.