Marugame Udon Opens at South Coast Plaza

Wen it comes to traveling, Japan is one of the top destinations on my bucket list. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of traveling there and my aversion to flying (I’ll do it but I don’t like it) I don’t see myself getting there anytime soon.  Luckily, there are plenty of dining, shopping and cultural spots in SoCal where I can get my Japanese fix. Like Marugame Udon. The popular Japanese chain has been making inroads in the area with new stores in Glendale, downtown LA and South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa. Recently, I was invited to the latter to try out their fresh fare.

Marugame Udon is a fast casual spot specializing in two of Japan’s most popular dishes – udon and tempura. Located on the lower lever across from UNIQLO it’s a cafeteria style spot where the fresh ingredients are prepared right in front of you.

Their signature udon noodles are prepared continuously resulting in a dish that’s about as fresh as can be. On my visit the restaurant was quite busy and I enjoyed watching the noodle making process while I waited in line and decided what to try. The menu features a dozen udon variations from the seasonal Green Thai Chicken to the traditional Kama-Age.

I’d been wanting to try Kama-Age Udon since viewing a long ago episode of No Reservations and decided to finally give it a go. At Marugame Udon it’s served traditionally with the hot noodles in a wooden bowl and the Kake Sauce served on the side. After a quick introduction by my server I decided to dig in.

It’s a deceptively simple dish that bursts with flavor. The noodles are so fresh they melt in your mouth releasing the delicious flavor of the accompanying sauce. I absolutely loved it.

I also decided to try Marugame Udon’s #1 best-seller Nikutama Udon. This dish pairs the noodles and Kake Sauce with beef and a soft boiled egg resulting in a robustly flavored hearty dish. The udon comes in two sizes – regular and large – and is a filling meal with a low price point (most bowls are under $10).

In addition to udon there are a large variety of side dishes available including an array of fresh tempura. There’s a wide variety of battered items available from crab to broccoli to eggs to shrimp and more. I tried the shrimp tempura and the coating was as light as air and paired with the dipping sauce it was fresh and flavorful.

There’s also a nice selection of freshly made musubi and I couldn’t resist sampling the salmon.  So delicious!

Marugame Udon is popping up all over SoCal and I couldn’t be happier. Offering a variety of fresh, delicious dishes at a low price point it’s destined to become one of my go to lunch spots. If one ends up opening close to where I live heaven help me.


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