I just returned from a quick trip to San Francisco.
I decided to stay a couple extra days to get a sense of the area since I've never lived on the West Coast.
I was staying at a hotel near Union Square (to be posted later).
My friend recommended that I check out Katana-Ya for ramen. Oddly enough, it was already on my eat list, I realized. It's also Michelin recommended, if that matters to you at all.
I arrived around 1PM. There was a line, but the line was nowhere close to the line I am used to at Totto Ramen in NYC. I put my name on the list and there were 4 groups in front of me in line. Right after I arrived two more groups and one more single person arrived. They open at 11:30AM and are open until 2AM.
TIP: If you are really line adverse, you should go there solo. There are likely seats available at the sushi bar. That's where I sat.
Inside, there are about 4 tables for two and 3 tables for 4, I think. The music was really strange for the type of establishment. They were playing electronic house music, which is cool, I guess, but just a bit strange for a ramen place. The lighting was pretty dark, too. The décor is...well, dated, but don't let that fool you. You're here for noodles and sushi, not for beautiful décor. Not sure if it would make a great date spot like Watanabe Ramen in Tokyo. It's about the same size as Totto Ramen in NYC.
I ordered the Regular Ramen with miso broth ($8.90). It comes with a slice of char siu pork, seaweed, marinated bamboo shoots, and green onions. I ordered the regular density of broth and regular noodles. The bowl is quite large and was served very hot.
I may have burned my mouth a little because I was too excited to eat ramen. The noodles were not overcooked and were still a little firm, just how I like my noodles. The miso broth was good, but a little too salty for my taste and, luckily for me, the broth was not very greasy.
With any of the ramen orders, you can choose the broth type (soy, miso, or salt), the density of broth (heavy, regular, and light), and the spice level (for an additional fee). For an additional fee, you can also change the noodle type. For example, you can change to udon noodles. The broth is animal-based, but they said they can make vegetarian broth upon request.
The person next to me ordered the Fried Chicken Ramen and some sushi. The sushi was made to order and the Fried Chicken Ramen smelled delicious, but who knows.
Overall, I think the ramen is good and it's definitely a good value (I'm comparing to NYC now), but not sure if I'd say it is anywhere near the best ramen I've had.
It is a great option for a cheap, quick lunch or a comforting bowl of ramen on a cool day (since there are many of those in SF). It's location is very convenient. If you're walking up Powell Street towards Union Square, turn left on Geary. It's right across from the theatre.
Check out other ramen posts:Tokyo – Watanabe Ramen: http://eatstretchexplore.blogspot.com/2014/03/tokyo-watanabe.html
San Francisco – Katana Ya: http://eatstretchexplore.blogspot.com/2014/06/san-francisco-ca-katana-ya.html
NYC – Totto Ramen: http://eatstretchexplore.blogspot.com/2014/07/nyc-totto-ramen.html
NYC – Yasha Ramen: http://eatstretchexplore.blogspot.com/2014/10/nyc-morningside-yasha-ramen.html