Marugame Monzo with the Best | Little Tokyo LA

by Ellie Betzen | from scratch, mostly in


Earlier this week, I had the privilege to finally try dinner at Marugame Monzo with one of my best friends, Susan.  You've seen Susan here a good number of times, as she was even my maid of honor (sorry for embarrassing you) just a few years ago. ;) 

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So like I said, I have been dying to know what all this hype is about.  After seeing that Marugame is so highly acclaimed by some of the greatest foodistas, I knew I had to give it a try.

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Their dishes average out to about $12-15 a bowl (a big bowl, mind you), so you can bet your bottom dollar that I've been preeettyy wise with my money. But despite all that, I conclude that Marugame is a huge winner when it comes to Japanese Udon!  Although Udon isn't my first choice when it comes to Japanese cuisine, this place has got me thinking about it in a whole different light. 

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I ordered the Vongole Udon bowl since I can never say no to seafood.  The verdict?  It was exploding with flavor, even though the looks of it says otherwise!  Since their noodles are handmade, they were perfectly chewy and soft.  The broth was light but still satisfying, while the clams weren't "veiny", but rather, fresh and tender.  Next time I visit Marugame I have to try their Sea Urchin bowl, so hold me to it.

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The true winner, however, was the Mentai Squid Butter Udon that Susan ordered!  Not being the greatest fan of creamy pasta, even I thought it was heavenly.  The creamy sauce brought this dish to life.  Let me explain it this way...The flavors had several dimensions to them--something like creamy first, nutty second, and a rich lobster taste at the end. 

The only thing I would recommend to save you some trouble, is to park in the lot right across the street.  Also, keep in mind that Marugame is extremely small, and the signs blend in with the surrounding businesses.  But if you love Japanese food and don't mind taking a sweet stroll through little Tokyo, then Marugame Monzo is your place! :)

Marugame Monzo // Little Tokyo, LA

329 E 1st St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

213.346.9762 // Yelp


Have you been to Little Tokyo?  If so, which places do you recommend?

What strange combinations turned out to be amazing for you?