In 2019, HiroNori Craft Ramen was one of only two ramen shops in Los Angeles that made Michelin’s Bib Gourmand, an impressive feat. Sicnce then, they have expanded to ten locations throughout California. I recently visited their original location in Irvine, near the UCI campus. with my husband and ramen-obsessed daughter. It was a Friday night and by the time we placed our name on the waitlist, there were easily 20 parties ahead of us.
After roughly an hour, we were finally seated. As with many restaurants, you pull up their menu on your phone, using the smart code. While they have appetizers and rice bowls, we were here for the noodles. I ordered the Shoyu Ramen, which had a lighter chicken broth base. The bowl included a couple of slices of pork chashu, green onions, spinach, bamboo, kaiware sprouts and egg. I really appreciated that the spinach and egg were included, instead of having to be an add-on charge. The chashu was melt-in-your-mouth tender and the egg cooked perfectly.
The Tonkotsu Ramen likewise came with chashu, green onions, spinach and egg, along with bean sprouts and seaweed. The pork broth wasn’t too salty nor too heavy.
Vegan ramens often suffer from being bland but not so at HiroNori. The sesame miso broth for their Vegan Ramen was rich and and came topped with tofu, corn, bean sprouts, baby kale, soy meat, broccolini and chili oil, which provided a nice blast of heat. Of the three, this broth was my favorite. I’d even be tempted to order it, although I would want to add egg and chashu (sorry, vegans).
HiroNori proves that in the sea of chain restaurants in Irvine, you can still eat well.
Location – 2222 Michelson Dr. Suite 234, Irvine, CA 92612
Website – https://hironori.com
Kid’s Menu – n/a
Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly – Yes
Gluten-Free Options – No gluten-free noodles but they have rice bowls.