Marugame Udon Review

Jerry Hu, Staff Writer

South Coast Plaza is known for its massive shopping area and its variety of shops. While luxury fashion stores dominate the space, South Coast Plaza’s dining options are just as exciting. The Japanese cuisine restaurant,  Marugame Udon, has been consistently busy since its opening in 2019. Even while competing against its neighbor, Din Tai Fung, Marugame has maintained a steady flow of customers daily during lunch. Despite its long line, its food quality and price is worthwhile considering its popularity.

Although Marugame’s competitor is notorious for its long queues, which often signal hour-long wait times, Marugame welcomes a similar turnout.  However, Marugame’s quick serving process allows each customer to order and purchase their food in less than 15 minutes. 

At the front of the line, customers will be able to order menu items they want, and the workers will prepare them right in front of them. Marugame’s order process follows a cafeteria queue, where customers add items to their order as they move further along the line. In addition to its selection of hot meals, it also offers a variety of self-serve tempura items that are available. Once customers have received their orders, there is even a sauce dispenser made for tempura, which compliments the individual flavor of the tempura. The whole experience at Marugame is highly customizable, with a wide range of meal orders and sides.

My meal for a standard bowl of udon came out to $16. The flavor of the soup was much more rich and strong compared to other restaurants with way higher prices. The restaurant does not cut down on its portions, and its servers pay great attention to what goes in each bowl. Being able to see my food being made right in front of me adds to the overall experience, and also gives me satisfaction knowing they aren’t using any pre-made or processed ingredients. It was pretty economical compared to places like Ding Tai Fung, which is significantly more expensive and requires you to order a lot of items to be satisfied. 

I would strongly recommend this place to anyone who is looking for an udon place. The noodles are nice and chewy, which is expected of those that are handmade. In addition, the broth is very rich in flavor, but still very light. The shrimp tempura was warm and crunchy; I could tell it was freshly made. The line, despite looking long, is an extremely fast process and much more time efficient than in a normal sit-down restaurant. Compared to other restaurants at South Coast Plaza, Marugame sits at the top, both in affordability and taste.