I will be the first to tell you that I have never been much of a ramen person. Even as a poor college student I would opt to survive off snacks instead of those packaged noodles.
When legit ramen bowls emerged as a trending soup in the US about 5 years ago, I had zero interest in ever really trying it. Then one day, my friends dragged me. I actually tasted proper ramen, and I was changed. I became a pretty big fan, which is why I was so excited to try Tajima Ramen down here in San Diego! I opted to visit the Hillcrest location as it is closest to home, and was pleasantly surprised by its small size but high energy. Even on a Tuesday night there was quite a crowd, though we were still seated quickly and experienced great service all night, and a highlight for me was the tunes they had playing that kept the vibe super cool.
3739 6th Ave, Ste B, San Diego, CA 92103
We started with the Tempura Brussel Sprouts, which became a favorite of mine. These had a perfectly crispy coating and were served with ponzu sauce that was seriously delicious. Another favorite appetizer is Garlic Edamame, something that I pretty much eat any time it’s on the menu, and this iteration was perfect, I loved how the garlic coating was almost like a sauce and they came out piping hot!
For the main event, I opted to go with their Vegan Ramen, as I’ve been transitioning to a mostly plant based diet and wanted to give this a try, and added fried garlic, because duh. This ramen starts with a soy vegetable based soup with mixed vegetables, baby spinach, corn, kaiware, cherry tomatoes, deep fried tofu, and sesame seeds, is topped with black garlic oil, and served with spinach noodles. I loved the flavor of the broth, and although tofu isn’t my favorite thing, I did enjoy the addition of the crunch of the fried tofu, just eat it quickly so the breading stays crispy! I really loved the spinach noodles with this ramen, they were light and had a great taste and texture! My friend that joined me ordered the Tajima Ramen with original tonkotsu soup, 1/2 ramen egg, green onions, pork chasu, sesame seeds, and japanese seaweed, and decided on thin noodles. While I didn’t taste this one, because pork, he seemed to seriously enjoy it!
After our meal we were asked if we wanted to try anything else, and while we were both so stuffed, we asked if there was anything they would recommend and were brought Takoyaki, octopus fritters topped with brown sauce, bonito flakes and seaweed. While these were definitely something new and different, I don’t think I was a big enough octopus fan for them and I’m a little bit weird about texture, but I definitely loved trying them and would for sure recommend if octopus is your jam!
Tajima is a perfect trendy little ramen spot tucked right into the edge of Hillcrest and is definitely perfect for this chillier weather we’ve been experiencing in San Diego! While you’ll enjoy everything you eat here, definitely don’t miss the tempura Brussels sprouts!
Thank you to Alternative Strategies for setting up this tasting at Tajima Ramen