All photos (19)Ramen Parlor
Ramen Parlor
Ramen Parlor

Ramen Parlor

8.224 reviews
$$$$
Japanese, Ramen
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901 S B St, San Mateo, CA 94401
(650) 344-9728
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ramen-Parlor/235562439826155
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Busy at lunch and dinner time with long lines. The daikon salad was delicious and so were their ramen.

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Local from Sunnyvale, California, USA

Sluuuurrp! I usually go to Ramen Dojo for my ramen fix but a colleague told me to try out Ramen Parlor. Boy am I happy I did. The line was much shorter than Ramen dojo and super delicious. Both restaurants are owned by the same owner but this place has more variety. If you like soft shelled crab then you must try this place!

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Local from Menlo Park, California, USA

I was excited to come here. I'm sold on the ramen craze, and have been hearing buzz about this place and its sister restaurant, Ramen Dojo, for years. Like everyone says - wait is reliably long - we came at 1 pm on a Saturday and it was a solid 45 mins. The ramen was really tasty, but I like Himawari better.

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Local from Menlo Park

Busy at lunch and dinner time with long lines.
The daikon salad was delicious and so were their ramen.

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San Francisco, California, USA

Ello Ello!

Come early, beat the crowd, and enjoy the delicious ramen.

You must try the GARLIC LOBSTER PORK RAMEN. Kthanksbye!

They have actual parking space. Whoot woot!

Food and service at Ramen Parlor is always on point. Thank you!

I do hope you give this tasty ramen place a try. Cheers!

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Local from San Jose, California, USA

Much better than Ramen Dojo next door (even though same owner). The softshell crab really adds a lot to the ramen dish.

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Local from Madison, AL

Sunday morning, 11a, there's already a line. The waiter even comes out right at opening to take number of people and orders. They will only take your order if your WHOLE party is there.

Ordered the lobster black garlic ramen. came with the soft shell crab, pork, quail eggs, seaweed. Flavor of the soup was decent. everything tasted fine. Came out to about $15 with tip and tax.

Not a lot of elbow room. Takes card. Parking lot is small. Decent ramen.

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New Delhi, India

an ok ramen place. it's overhyped like most ramen places in the bay area. if you don't want to wait for ramen dojo, ramen parlor is a good alternative as they're run by the same management.

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Santa Cruz, California, USA

Love their Ramen! They are really close to another local favorite the Ramen Dojo, but I got to say I liked this place better, the location is great they have a parking lot so its very easy to get around. The restaurant is cozy and the food is delicious. Highly recommended.

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San Francisco, California, USA

Literally a hop, skip, and a jump away from Ramen Dojo if you're looking for another ramen alternative. Went all out and had the garlic pork ramen with lobster oil. My order came topped with soft shell crab. It was ah-mazing! Love that the noodles have the same consistency as RD. I'll definitely back here again for round 2.

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The San Francisco Bay Area, California, USA

Nice place for ramen on the peninsula. The ramen with the soft shell crab is really good. Even though there's a line it usually moves pretty fast, and there's a big parking lot in front.

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San Francisco, California, USA

Delicious broth and bouncy noodles are the two most important ingredients to get right for a bowl of ramen. At Ramen Parlor, this was achieved. No need for fancy oils or fatty meats, although doesnt hurt. Sometimes simplicity is best when too many options are offered.

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Local from Belmont

1 star for not being able to seat when your party hasn't all arrived, even if the restaurant is empty.

2 stars for the floating layer of lobster oil that seems so unhealthy.

3 stars for using the same noodles as Santa and Dojo.

4 stars for uniqueness of flavor, although, not something you can have often.

5 stars for having their own parking lot. Super convenient!

All in all, fun and different for the first time, not so special the 2nd, and repeatable in a pinch and all other ramen shops are busy.

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Local from San Carlos, California, USA

Based on some of the earlier reviews it seems like it may have taken a little bit for this place to find its groove, but it has definitely found it now! We arrived in the middle of a rush, around 1pm on a Sunday. We put our name down and then waited no more than 5 min for the host to ask us if we knew what we wanted to order (we were next in line for a table). We hadn't realized we would have to order before sitting down but they gave us a minute and then we ordered. 1 min later we were seated at our table and no more than 10 min after that we had our food. They definitely get extra points for efficiency!

The ramen is great -- they have the black garlic pork ramen from Ramen Dojo and they also have their own house "Parlor" ramen -- same broth with lobster infused for extra flavor. We ordered 1 classic pork black garlic ramen an 1 lobster enhanced version. Both were great, as expected from the Ramen Dojo family! The lobster added a briney flavor to the broth which was very nice. The pork is obviously really tender and great as well.

For the same great food (plus more options) and a shorter wait, this place gets my vote for being just as good as its sister Dojo across the street!

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Local from Belmont, California, USA

When there's a long wait at Ramen Dojo, this is a great alternative. Located right across the street and from the same family as Dojo, you won't have to wait for delicious ramen. I really enjoyed their spicy garlic lobster pork flavor. Broth was really yummy and I liked the deep fried soft shell crab in it. Definitely coming here when I don't have the patience to wait for a bowl at Dojo.

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San Francisco, California

Always a line, but worth the wait. I really like the Lobster flavored ramen.

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SF Bay Area, Western US

Well they say good things come in Threes. (Or is it bad things? Well in this case, it is definitely GOOD things!)

Threes were the symbol of the evening recently when I had the pleasure of eating Ramen at the Ramen Parlor, the third in a Japanese Noodle Trifecta from the horses who own Santa Ramen and Ramen Dojo.

And like the symbol of the Republic of Vietnam's (South Vietnam's) flag between 1955 and 1975, and first used by Emperor Thanh Thai in 1890, with it's distinct yellow background decorated by 3 red horizontal stripes, symbolizing the 3 regions of Vietnam (North, Central and South), I had the distinct pleasure of slurping Japanese noodles with 3 beautiful ladies of Vietnamese heritage.

The traditional Vietnamese Man's advice about the 3 Ladies from the 3 different regions of Vietnam as symbolized on the yellow and red striped flag, is that you want:

1. The Girl from the North in your Living Room,
2. The Girl from the South in your Kitchen, and
3. The Girl from the Central, in your Bedroom.

Now I am not going to tell you which of the 3 regions each of the 3 beautiful Viet Ladies I ate ramen were from, because I am a gentleman, so I don't slurp and tell!

And continuing on the theme of threes, Ramen Parlor offers their Ramen in 3 soup bases: Soy, Miso and Pork flavored. All are flavored with Lobster Oil.

But first, we shared in 3 dishes, starting with 2 appetizers, Izakaya style. We commenced with the Venison carpaccio covered with white onion slices (see pic) which I ate most of, as the ladies were not that adventurous to eat it (does this factoid give you any clues to North, Central or South origins of any to them?)

We followed with a chicken yakitori (skewered) which was sublime. Then the Ramen.

Nobody tried the Miso, as we had mostly Pork flavored and 1 Shoyu flavored broths. Everyone loved their ramen, covered with lots of good ingredients including pork slices, shrimp, romaine lettuce leaf, mushrooms and a Quail egg.

Service was great, provided by 2 Japanese natives who spoke the language. (The string of threes broken here. But there were 3 men in the kitchen preparing the Ramen!)

Here, I could speak what little Japanese I know to the servers and the 3 Vietnamese ladies can only wonder. It would be like going to a Pho place with them. (Note: Even though the Japanese girl server was recently from Osaka, she used the term "hella". I told her I was impressed, because not even SoCal people use that term! )

I am looking forward to completing the Ramen Trifecta with a meal at Santa and Dojo, as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I will ponder which of the 3 beautiful ladies are from which of the 3 beautiful regions of Vietnam.

But I won't slurp and tell

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Local from Santa Clara

A shiny new addition to the Ramen Dojo and Santa Ramen family. As a loyal customer to Dojo, you can imagine how eager I was to try out this ramen house. Lobster oil infused ramen broth? You bet I was interested.

Came here for early Sunday dinner and there is already a short wait. I guess words travel fast and Ramen is indeed the new craze.

Now let's talk about food.

As you would have guessed, Parlor's format is similar to Dojo. Only three broth flavors are offered - Pork, Miso and Soya, all infused with lobster oil. A standard bowl comes with a variety of toppings and 3 pieces of chashu. There are deluxe toppings options and black board specials you can add to your bowl. Out of those there are some interesting choices like spares ribs and soft shell crab. One thing that is different from Dojo, is that Parlor offers yakitori and some other izakaya items. Their yakitori aren't cheap though. It is as expensive if not even more so than some yakitori places like Sumiya or Yakitori KOKKO. Tried their gizzard skewers. They have nice crunchy texture and were lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. Unfortunately still lacks some good wood charcoal flavors.

The ramen. Yes. That is what we should be talking about. I think they have changed their formula a few times since they opened. The bacon bites that people dislike has been taken out. Standard toppings are roasted pork, garlic shrimp, chopped white onion, broccolini, quail egg, green chives, kikurage mushroom, romaine lettuce and ground chicken. The quail egg was cold in the center. Shrimp was a bit tough. Roasted pork is the same variety as Dojo but for some reasons they just lacked texture and was slightly too soft. I opted for the soft shell crab deluxe topping. For $4.50 you get a really tiny miniature size deep fried soft shell crab. It was impressive to look at but too small to be enjoyable.

Pork flavor broth was nice. It was not the richest broth but the lobster oil added a nice fragrant and enhanced the overall complexity. Miso broth was strange. It actually tasted too sweet to me. I think they might have overcompensated the saltiness of miso.

This new sibling still has quite a few things to learn. Hopefully in time they will get everything together and create a good bowl of ramen. As of now, it is still no comparison to Dojo.

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There's something super ridiculous about the status of ramen in the USA and how it is being elevated to insane heights (re: over hype).
You don't see this with pho (nowhere near as much), beef noodle soup, or won ton noodle soup....Can't put my pork foot on it exactly, but I have many thoughts on the matter....

Ramen is supposed to be pedestrian and humble in nature, much like other Asian noodle soups. Complicated to make well, but simple, delicious, comforting, Affordability is the key word (cheap is a misnomer these days, unless you're in 3rd world Asia paying 3rd world prices for other Asian noodles) fast, hit the spot, effective, and great.

Yet ramen is being scrutinized and pseudo analyzed to levels never before especially in the last ten years by people who suddenly became experts (and those who made lots of money from them). Everybody is trying to ride the next new wave - take something that was once fairly common, unscrutinzed, always there and basically elevate/repackage/media covered/blogged etc - thus making it less palatable and more complicated in the process.

Same kinda folks who love ramen are slagging $10 bowls of Chef Hung beef noodles in Irvine...

Is this the "new wave of ramen"? Not to this pork noodle daddy.

I don't know about you, but "new wave" in the 1980s meant Modern Talking "boat music", Kylie Minogue, Rick Astley (before it became Rick Roll), Bananarama & songs written by Stock Aitken Watermann (German pop) that many former refugees and Hong Kongers loved in the clubs. Or in "new wave" heavy metal terms, the UK/Euro metal bands that influenced Metallica during their early days.

The question is whether they will stand the test of time. I know people are still heavy into Metallica, but you might be hard pressed trying to find people admitting they love Rick Astley and want to rickroll like him at the clubs.

Saint Nizzle in San Mateo has done it again, surfing the killer seas of success (especially thanks to the people who continue to support them and their projects). The same 3 broths repackaged become spicy "Sutamina" ramen at Dojo, and now with the addition of shitake mushrooms, bacon, raw diced onions, and a strong layer of lobster infused oil, a swanky modern interior, add some skewers and izakaya style dishes, and WAM BAM "new wave" Ramen Parlor. No, thank you.

The food is edible and not bad if you think of it purely from a "I eat to fill up stomach space because I'm hungry" perspective.

However this repackaging concept of the same three stooges of broths ineeds to stop.

For starters

- Saw pictures online of the ramen, and man, they all look the same!That's because of the overwhelming layer of "lobster infused oil". Yes it has lobster flavor, and a little bit might be fine, but too much overpowers the flavor of the base broth. It was just ok in the miso, might be not as good with tonkotsu...

- suggest these guys think about overhauling their baseline... why not do a pure shellfish themed broth even if it costs them more to make. Plus when it becomes hot again, the grease will do funny things to you.

No happy endings here. Just greasy ones.

- Ramen Halu sometimes has a seasonal $20++ lobster ramen. Now it doesn't have to go that far, but something using scallops, clams, mussels, baby oysters, dungeoness crab, shrimp/shrimp shells, it is do-able (even if they use frozen).

- the smoked American diced bacon strips approach.... I don't know what to think of this...am I eating breakfast, pizza, or a salad? Shitake mushroom slivers are good....don't care too much about the diced onions, and woodear is not so interesting here.

- the izakaya style side dish, translated as something like special pork cheek meat simmered/stewed in our house special sauce, is pretty much Santa's fatty stewed "pork belly chashu" or buta kakuni, paired with broccolini (notice they spell it bloccolini) and a ni-tamago, karashi on the side,....the simmered egg was a joke...it was still cold :-/. The meat was good, but was it really cheek? Don't know. Not worth the $7+ they charged.

For a more satisfying down to earth ramen that is not your typical run of the mill, try Izakaya Mai's Nagasaki champon. Broth is stellar. Truly slurpworthy.

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Local from Palo Alto, California
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Ramen Parlor

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