1740 Buchanan St. (Between Post St and Sutter St)
Growing up in Honolulu spoiled me when it comes to amazing Japanese cuisine. Probably about forty to fifty percent of the people living on Oahu are Japanese, or part Japanese. This meant I could find a huge range of different styles of Japanese cooking. When I moved to the Bay area I had to find my favorite sushi, ramen, and just plain ol’ homestyle Japanese cooking. It definitely didn’t take me long to find my go-to place, Tanpopo! Besides the funny slash cute name, the location is great and the staff is always friendly no matter how many bowls of ramen they’re rushing around. Located in the heart of Japantown, Tanpopo serves up bomb ramen at the prices we all love.
Of all the times I’ve visited this ramen joint, I can say I have never been disappointed. This would definitely be because of their variety of yummy choices. When I eat, I usually enjoy having a little bit of everything. I can’t only have a bowl of ramen. Gotta have a few pieces of sushi and a few bites of seaweed salad. The hidden gem I discovered at Tanpopo would have to be their soft shell crab appetizer. It’s written on their “Specials” menu above the bar in tiny handwriting. So glad I spotted it! This has become my favorite dish so far. It’s creamy, crunchy, and oh-so-heavenly. And it’s only eight bucks! Such a steal. It comes with a whole deep fried soft shell crab, lemon slices, seaweed salad and ponzu dipping sauce. Other starters that I always go for include the agedashi tofu or deep fried tofu and their deep friend baby octopus. Notice a trend with the deep fried goods, they just know how to do them! I was also very pleased with my order of maguro sashimi. You know there’s a good sushi chef in the house when your sashimi is cut right. You’d be surprised how many times sushi places don’t cut their sushi against the grain, making it difficult to eat…
As for their ramen I was pleasantly surprised! I didn’t think I would be lucky enough to find somewhere really good. I’m a huge fan of miso ramen, so I get the karamiso ramen. It’s a spicy miso broth with bean sprouts and chasu (char siu). I also go ahead and ask for extra chasu because it’s just that amazing. Regardless of the four to five appetizers me and my boyfriend share, I find a way to wipe my ramen bowl clean. Of all the times we’ve eaten at Tanpop our bill has never gone over $40(including tip!). This restaurant is the place to go for that homestyle Japanese cooking. I would suggesting getting there early for dinner or during their off hours. There is usually a line out the door since they don’t take reservations. It’s also great for a late night bite since they’re open until 10:30. This bustling abode is always happening and energized, never leaving you unsatisfied. Really.