marugame udon

Restaurant of the Week: Marugame Udon

Marugame Udon, the wildly popular Japanese restaurant known for its udon noodles and tempura, is now open at San Ramon’s City Center Bishop Ranch. The buzz of excitement is heard as you walk through the entire shopping center as guests wait in a line wrapped around the corner for a taste of this new place.

The excitement and anticipation for Marugame Udon to come to the East Bay has grown extensively after the udon concept’s first Bay Area locations at Stonestown Galleria in San Francisco in 2018, and then Berkeley in 2019.

Upon opening weekend in San Ramon, hundreds of hungry customers wait in line for a rotating seat inside of the colorful restaurant with thick wheat flour noodles being freshly made in front of guests as they make their way to the front.

The general manager of the new San Ramon location says the restaurant’s bowls act as comfort food for many, and he’s excited that Marugame Udon is bringing Japanese influence to the area.

The menu consists of classic bowl meals made up of Sanuki-style udon noodles served hot with different variations of meats, tofu and toppings.

Take the Nikutama bowl, for example. Its made-to-order udon noodles are served with sweet and savory beef, hot spring egg and BK sauce. And the Tonkotsu bowl features made-to-order udon noodles served in a pork broth with chashu pork, miso ground pork, garlic, seasoned egg and chili oil. Both offer a salted and savory bite in every swirl of the chopsticks but are unique with its various add-ins. It’s a bit of a fun game when ordering: how are you feeling that day? Are you wanting something more hearty or something lighter? How spicy do you want to go? Pick your bowl and your flavor depending on how you’re feeling. There are plenty of options for any of those responses.

Now, the Curry Nikutama is Marugame Udon’s best-selling Nikutama udon. It’s served with seasoned sweet beef and soft egg in a curry sauce. The thick texture of the udon noodle absorbs the sweet beef and spicy curry sauce for a rich and tangy taste. It is one of the top sellers for a reason. 

On the more simple side, or for those wanting a differently cooked chicken, Marugame Udon has a classic chicken teriyaki bowl with your choice of udon noodles or steamed rice, house-made sweet soy glaze over chicken katsu, topped with chopped scallions and toasted sesame seeds.

It’s highly recommended to not leave the ordering counter with merely a bowl alone–at least one side of tempura is a must. No matter the flavor or choice of the udon bowl you get, do not skip the shrimp tempura, the tamagoyaki (fried egg done omelet style with a slightly sweet flavor and custardy texture) or the sweet potato tempura. Pro tip: the sweet potato tempura acts as a great dessert to end your meal.

Sign up for Marugame Udon’s e-newsletter to get a free bowl of udon. You can sign up here. The new San Ramon restaurant is open Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. To learn more, visit www.marugameudon.com.

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