Sawtelle Japantown in Los Angeles Just Might Have to Be Renamed “Little Tsujita Town”

First came Tsujita Artisan Noodle, then three more restaurants all on a one block stretch of Sawtelle Japantown

Takehiro Tsujita owns and operates at the time of this post four restaurants on Sawtelle.

Photo Description: Sawtelle Blvd with people standing out front of the Black Market retail store with a giant sign above them of an artistic surreal billboard with a blue female looking figure with chopsticks feeding its baby
I actually took a pic of the billboard, but you can kind of see the back of the line for Annex.

Takehiro Tsujita is da man/owner/chef who dominates Sawtelle with his killer noodles from ramen, tantanmen, tsukemen, to even sushi. That should be no surprise because the man is straight outta Tokyo where he lives, owns, and operates a number of successful ramen restaurants in and around Asia.

Photo description: a chef from Tsujita Ramen standing behind the counter looking down at something as he works with the counter in the foreground separating guests from the open kitchen
The staff is always hustling and on point at Tsujita Artisan Noodle.

One time I was here with either a girlfriend at the time, friends, or possibly visitors from out of town that left a memorable experience. Not a memory created by the girlfriend or the friends, but by Tsujita (looks like my friends need to step it up).

Shortly after ordering, we had been asked by the staff if we could move on over to another table because they needed to make room for a larger group.

While transitioning on over to the other table, our order had come out, but the food had sat out on the table. It had sat for barely a minute and before we could start eating, the chef took back our entire order to the kitchen to have it redone.

I thought that was an over the top move since tsukemen is not served piping hot, but I had appreciated the attention they placed on their product. Now, if only the ex and my friends would step it up to leave memorable lunch experiences (I joke, well slightly joke).

On Sawtelle in Japantown, Tsujita owns and operates:

All within a couple of blocks.

Tsujita LA Artisan Noodles

The OG location specializing in tonkotsu gyokai tsukemen (pork and fish based dipping ramen).
2057 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles
(310) 231-0222
11AM-2AM (last order 1:30am)
Order online for pickup

Tsujita Annex

I’m sure this was the second spot they opened, but they serve up a “Jiro style” tonkotsu shoyu (pork and soy sauce base) ramen w/cabbage (kyabetsu), and bean sprouts (moyashi). I personally like to go hard with the garlic (ninniku).
2050 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles
(310) 231-0222
11AM-12AM (last order 11:30pm)
Order online for pickup

Tsujita Sushi

I would have to say Tsujita’s abilities and capabilities are not limited to ramen because their edomae sushi holds their own (if not one of the best in LA).
2006 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles
(310) 231-1177
11:30AM-2:30PM, 6-9PM

Killer Noodles

Tantanmen a spicy ramen based on dan dan mian (what isn’t rooted in Chinese food) and the only spot I unfortunately have not tried yet.
2030 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles
11AM-11PM (last order 10:30pm)
Order online for pickup

To Glendale and Beyond

Good to see that they have extended their reach beyond Sawtelle, but I can’t believe their Honolulu location failed and closed.

Tsujita Glendale

The Americana at Brand
889 Americana Way, Glendale, CA 91210

Daily 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.
Order for delivery or online
Order through: postmates.com

Tsujita & Co. Noodle Production

109 N Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Daily 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Order online for pickup or delivery (caviar)

Tsujita Annex

The Tsujita Annex menu with a number of items ranging from $9.95 to $16.45 of the tsukemen with char siu pork
There are only about four notorious ramen ya’s in LA, and I’d consider Tsujita one of them.

In 2017, the late LA Times food critic Jonathan Gold ranked Tsujita 91 out of 101 on his Best Restaurants list.

Photo description: two bowls of ramen, one with the soup, tons of pork back fat, red chili powder dolloped on top, bean sprouts, and an egg. You can saslo see the chili powder condiment jar.
Delicious bits of pork back fat because fat is flavor. Image by Ganesh K.

Tsujita Artisan Noodle

Photo description: the menu of Tsujita Artisan Noodle
The menu over at Tsujita Artisan noodle.

I’d say I would do the tsukemen 4 out of 5 times when I’m on Sawtelle.

Photo Description: two bowls that make up tsukemen, one with the soup broth to dip the noodles in and the other of the noodles. The noodle bowl has the noodles, char siu, a lime, and sheet of black nori laid against the edge of the bowl
Definitely my fav spot in LA for tsukemen

I love the tsukemen that much, I pursued learning how to make it for almost a year and a half till I felt confident enough to do my own tsukemen pop-ups (www.taniguchiramen.com)

Photo description: an up in your face close up shot of the pork belly (char siu). You can see the dark edges of the pork with 4 think (1/4 slabs) looking mouth watering.
Oh you luscious slab of pork (chashu), my type of white meat.

How to eat tsukemen

This is the “how to” that was provided by Tsujita.

  1. Enjoy the flavor of the noodles.
  2. Stir the broth as desired.
  3. Eat the noodles and toppings separately.
  4. Squeeze a lime to change the flavor as desired.
  5. Use condiments and spices as desired.
Photo Description: an ooey gooey egg split open with the golden yolk oozing out atop a bed of noodles in a bowl.
Ajitama (“flavored egg”).

Tsujita Sushi

Photo Description: a really fancy crystal looking chandelier outside of the tsujita sushi restaurant with the lit interior of 4-5 sushi chefs dressed in white.
This reminds me of the wedding I went to in Japan where it was literally centered around a chandelier.

This has got to be one of the most distinctive sushi bar interiors in all of LA.

Photo Description: the tsujita interior with their triangular wall motif that looks very 3-D.
The interior looks like it folds up after they close. Image courtesy of Tsujita Sushi

Killer Noodle

Photo Description: Killer Noodles bowl of tantanmen. It is a white bowl with the contrasting soup base that looks orangish red, cilantro, a dollop of a brown looking thing in the middle with a side of more cilantro.
If it were not for the Chinese and dan dan mian, none of this would have been possible.
Image by T.Tseng

If you have some time to spare in Japantown, be sure to walk on down to the Giant Robot stores. They have a gallery and a retail store, and I have been following them ever since they were a magazine publication back when I was living in the SF Bay Area, back in the day…. “back in the days when I was young. I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again. Back in the days when I was young. I’m not a kid anymore, but some days I sit and wish I was a kid again. Back in the days – Ahmad.

Photo Description: the Giant Robot store signage on Sawtelle.
Image by MisoCrazy

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