Ramen this, ramen that. It’s all anyone ever seems to talk about these days in regards to Asian noodles. Sure, there’s the pho fanatics and lovers of the blood-based Thai boat noodle soup, but what about soba?! In the instances where soba does appear on the menu, it’s usually lifeless and gummy, an afterthought served as part of a combination lunch to give the appearance of some greater value. Fortunately, there’s Ichimi Ann Bamboo Garden in Torrance, a dedicated soba specialist that does the dish justice and then some.
Upon entering the modest looking restaurant you will immediately gravitate towards the register, above which the entire menu is posted in picture form. Once you decide upon the best looking bowl, you’ll have to decide on the type of noodle (soba or udon) and temperature of soup (hot or cold). I personally prefer going the cold route as I feel that the sometimes subtle flavors are more pronounced, but plenty of people wouldn’t hear of having it anything other than steaming hot. If you’re like me, then a bowl of noodles alone won’t be entirely filling, so it’s usually a good idea to add on one of the several rice bowls also available.
The city of Torrance still doesn’t get the credit it deserves as a food destination despite surpassing both of Los Angeles’ more discussed Japanese dining hubs (Little Tokyo and Little Osaka) in terms of variety, quality and affordability. Ichimi Ann embodies everything that is awesome about Japanese food in the greater South Bay area, and is well worth a visit.