The best ramen in LA is served in food courts in Mar Vista and Torrance. Seriously. Of course, they are probably the nicest food courts in all of LA. Santouka Ramen is a Japan-based chain with its two LA branches each located in a Mitsuwa Marketplace, a large indoor space with Japanese supermarket, multiple food court restaurants, gourmet coffee and dessert counter, Japanese bookstore, video store and a store called “Trendy” selling Japanese tsotchkes.
The ramen at Santouka is stellar. You have your choice of four kinds of broth (salt, soy sauce, miso or spicy miso) and your choice of chasu (regular pork) or toroniku (special pork). Toroniku is braised pork from the cheek of a pig; the equivalent of toro to regular tuna in a sushi bar. My favorite ramen is the spicy miso with toroniku. The savory broth is perfectly seasoned, the noodles are firm and delicious and the toroniku, which is served on the side with vegetables for you to add to your soup, is so tender and yummy. I could eat a bowl of this ramen every day! Where to find it: Mitsuwa Marketplace, 3760 South Centinela Avenue in Los Angeles (Mar Vista; just south of Santa Monica) and 21515 South Western Avenue in Torrance.