Udon noodles are the epitome of comfort food. Thick flour noodles, usually in a mild broth, which can include toppings like tempura, egg, even something exotic like sea urchin. A bowl is a perfect, inexpensive meal all on its own, and these places do udon noodles the best in LA.
329 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Marugame Monzo is one of the few places in the Southland where you can watch chefs craft your noodles from hand. Though they have traditional selections – served with a simple tempura or just bonito flakes – Monzo is perhaps best known for their quirky signature dishes. Go for the sea urchin noodles. It’s drenched in a generous dollop of cream.
333 S Alameda St., 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Tsurumaru Udon is modeled after the fast-food udon shops in Japan. Pick what you want from the list and order from the counter. Unlike its noodle counterparts around the city, Tsurumaru is truly designed for simplicity. The menu options range from $4 to $5. We recommend the bukkake noodles.
11677 San Vicente Blvd., Ste 302
Los Angeles, CA 90049
Located in Brentwood, Taiko is a hit with the college students because of its well-rounded menu and fantastic happy hour specials. The udon is great and skews more towards the traditional side. There are nine different selections and while the kake (noodles at their basic) is always great, we recommend the nabeyaki because chicken, egg, shiitake mushrooms and shrimp tempura are always good together.
1747 W Redondo Beach Blvd
Gardena, CA 90247
It’s in Gardena but no surprise there — all the good Japanese food these days is in the South Bay. Kotohira is the perfect lunch spot. They sport a $10 combo where you can get the udon of your choice and then some. They specialize in Sannuki-style udon. For hot L.A. days, we recommend the iced hiyashi udon served with dipping sauce on the side.
2537 Pacific Coast Hwy., Ste A
Torrance, CA 90505
While Ichimi-An may be a soba specialist, their udon selection is just as great. Lunch specials are aplenty, and you can take your pick between udon noodles or soba. There are more than a dozen selections but we’re a huge fan of the unagi udon. Unagi is Japanese for freshwater eel. There are also chirashi and rice bowls on tap for those who want to diversify.