Los Angeles ramen lovers rejoice! Legendary Japanese ramen brand Ramen Nagi will make its long-awaited SoCal debut on November 9th. The renowned Tokyo-born string of ramen shops lands at Westfield Century City Mall, where it brings its cult-favorite customizable bowls and vibrant broths to the already bustling LA ramen scene. 

The brand new LA outpost marks the third U.S. location for the ramen shop, which first debuted its two other stateside locations in 2018 in Palo Alto and Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose. Founder and Chef Satoshi Ikuta has created one of the most recognized names in the Tokyo ramen scene, known best for its internationally-celebrated fusion takes on noodles and broth that honor traditional Japanese cuisine.

“Los Angeles has long been home to thriving Japanese culinary scenes, especially when it comes to ramen. ‘Nagi’ means, ‘a calmness before the waves,’ and our Ramen Master Chef Satoshi Ikuta has dedicated himself to introducing a new take on ramen to the world through every delicious and memorable bowl. We’re thrilled to be opening our doors in a quintessential and beloved LA destination like Westfield Century City, and we can’t wait to share our premium ramen with LA noodle lovers and fans.” says Stanley Ko of Ko Hospitality Group, which is opening Nagi with Chef Ikuta. 

The Food

Nagi is known for its perfect noodles and both traditional and fusion broth flavors ranging from tonkotsu, a pork marrow bone broth cooked for at least 24 hours, to niboshi, a sardine and soy sauce-based broth. The noodle concept embraces both tradition and innovation using the highest quality ingredients to elevate what was once a dish for the working class of Japan, now enjoyed by people from all walks of life. As with their shops in Asia and in the Bay Area, LA diners will be able to customize their bowls of ramen from the level of salt, to broth density, the level of noodle doneness, what type of meat, and extra toppings; as well as choose from a rotating array of weekly specials.

Guests start by choosing their broth — original, black king (squid ink), red king (spicy broth), and green king (basil), or a special “limited king” broth. Next, customers choose the “chef’s recommendation” and can further customize their bowls, picking “strength of flavor” (light, normal, heavy), desired “richness in oil,” level of garlic, cut of pork — chashu (sliced loin), kakuni (belly), or none — and choice of vegetables. Last, customers select their bowl’s spiciness level, their noodle thickness (thin or thick), and their noodle firmness. What’s created is a steaming bowl of ramen that awakens and engages the senses and manages to surprise and delight all at the same time. Additional menu items not to be missed include sides such as the light and delicate gyoza filled with juicy pork and cabbage, and the chashu rice topped with smokey minced pork barbecue. 

The  History

Nagi was founded in 2004 by a 27-year-old chef, Mr. Satoshi Ikuta. Chef Ikuta trained in several famed Hakata ramen shops, starting with a practice known as aida kari. His ramen journey had humble beginnings, borrowing bar space once a week to run a guerilla ramen shop which quickly gained popularity. Ikuta worked day in and day out to continually raise the profile of his ramen, first winning a contest for a spot in Tokyo’s famous Tachikawa Ramen Square noodle park. Prior to opening his shop in Shinjuku Golden Gai in 2008, he also ran a highly successful restaurant in Shibuya. Ramen Nagi was awarded Tokyo’s Best Ramen in Try Magazine’s definitive rankings. At Nagi in the US, each shop has the same soup concept and similar overall feel rooted in artisanal quality. Today, the brand has expanded to nearly 40 restaurants with branches throughout the world. 

The Space

Nagi’s U.S. locations are designed by Kenichi Yano, CEO and Creative Producer of Tokyo-based Ten-nen-sha, Inc. who has designed beautiful restaurants for acclaimed chefs all over the world.

In Los Angeles, the 1,600 square-foot space was tastefully designed using quality raw materials such as beautiful Japanese solid black cedar wood. Natural elements are combined with sleek surfaces, contrasting materials, playful artwork, and energetic Nagi red to add to the dynamic experience. The main dining area surrounds the open kitchen flanked by traditional Japanese noren textile dividers — a symbolic centerpiece as a sign of welcome — offering seating for 55 people with two and four-top tables and communal dining for guests gathering in larger groups. With the Japanese modernist design and open-air feel unique to the restaurant’s LA location, the Nagi team and Yano hope to create a stylish, comfortable and colorful environment that helps diners enjoy high-quality ramen in a lively setting. 

Ramen Nagi is located on the second level of Westfield Century City Mall at 10250 Santa Monica Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90067 and officially opens to the public on Tuesday, November 9th. Lunch will be served daily from 11:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., and dinner from 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 

In celebration of opening day, Ramen Nagi will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 11:00 a.m., with an official opening to the public at 12:00 p.m. 20% of all sales from opening day will benefit Little Tokyo Service Center to help support their social service and community development organization in Los Angeles.

Casual Dining, Industry News