99 Essential Restaurants 2014

Daikokuya

photo by Danny Liao

Since Daikokuya opened in a happily grungy, permanently crowded shop in Little Tokyo, there has been a ramen renaissance in L.A. Which means that there are now, circa 2014, plenty of ramen shops in this city, many of which make technically superior bowls of ramen. But that hasn’t made the original any less fun — or any less insanely crowded. It’s still decorated like a kitschy version of early–20th century Tokyo ramen shops. The servers still yell at you in Japanese, the bowls of tonkotsu still arrive steaming hot and loaded with excellent chashu, the donburi bowls are still just as good as the ramen, and the plates of gyoza are still some of the best in town. Purists might debate the relative superiority of other noodles on Sawtelle Boulevard or the broth at some place in Torrance, but there’s still no place more enjoyable to slurp a bowl anywhere in town.

-- Amy Scattergood