If there is anything in this world I have authority on, it's ramen. I know ramen- it's in my bones. I've been eating the instant stuff once a week since I was five (should I be bragging about that?), and my fondest life memories somehow include ramen. Ramen while camping, ramen after a night of drinking. My ex dumped me over a bowl of ramen, true story.
All that to say that I am a ramen wizard. So when I give you a recommendation for where to go for the best ramen, just trust me, please. I showed you where to go for the best ramen in NYC, now here's the best ramen in the Bay Area- (dare I say it) maybe even all of California???
Santa started out in a little itty bitty space near downtown San Mateo about ten years ago. My family and I used to drive nearly an hour from the South Bay just to get ramen here, and then wait another painful hour in line for a table. They've always had massive street cred.
They recently moved to a bigger space, still in San Mateo. But there's still a line- we went last week at around 7pm and we waited about 20 minutes.
Service is interesting here- you order while you are still in line, so table turnover is faster. It's part genius, but part rude- it all feels so rushed. But it is only ramen afterall- slurp and run!
Santa is not only well-known for their ramen, but also for their appetizers. Oddly, they don't have gyoza here, but their tastuta age (fried chicken) is worth the wait in line.
Yakitori is also plump, and perfectly cooked.
My brother's extra spicy tonkotsu ramen with corn. Basic ramen comes with green onions, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts and 2 slices of roast pork for $8. You can add on things like corn or an egg for extra $$.
My miso ramen. Look at the pork slices!!! The soup was a bit too sweet. Yoskay got the shoyu (soy sauce) ramen which I think was the best soup out of the three- it was just crisp and savory.
My pops says that the noodles are directly imported from Japan, which is why they are so good. Crinckly egg noodles are my favorite! No Hakata style straight noodles for me, thanks.
The place was packed when we left at around 8pm. My folks say that it has gone down in quality, but it is far superior to anything else you would find in the Bay Area, IMHO.
1944 S El Camino Real
San Mateo, CA 94403