Yakitori arrives in Little Italy

More Ramen for Little Italy; Kearny Mesa's RakiRaki to Expand & Add Yakitori

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The successful ramen shop will share a building with Bottlecraft and Bird Rock Coffee Roasters.

by Candice Woo  Sep 30, 2014, 10:06am PDT


After announcing expansion plans and searching all year for another location, RakiRaki Ramen & Tsukemen has selected a new spot for their second San Diego restaurant.

The popular ramen house, whose first eatery opened in Kearny Mesa in October 2012, will be one of the anchor tenants in the new mixed-use Olea Apartments building at the north end of Little Italy, just steps from Juniper & Ivy and Ballast Point Tasting Room & Kitchen.

Chef/owner Junya Watanabe told Eater that he seriously considered another site in downtown San Diego before selecting the 2,000-square-foot space that's due to open in June at the corner of India and Juniper, where Cassidy Turley's Pasquale Ioele has also signed up new outposts from Bird Rock Coffee Roasters and Bottlecraft Bottle Shop.

Diana Strauss Casey, who represents Olea's developer, said "We are excited to welcome to RakiRaki to our building. Having a restaurant that serves authentic Japanese food will nicely round out our tenant base. We believe in Jun’s vision, love his food, and know his restaurant will do very well here."

The Tokyo-born Watanabe, who trained with some of Japan's most revered ramen chefs, developed RakiRaki's menu, which centers around many varieties of the noodle soup, from chicken to oxtail and spicy miso, and also includes appetizers, sushi rolls, rice bowls and tsukemen, noodles served with a side of concentrated dipping broth; the eatery is also on board with the ramen burger trendNew for Little Italy is yakitori, grilled up in an open kitchen in what Watanabe promises will be the "coolest restaurant in San Diego", with an interior that'll combine Japanese elements with rustic warehouse style, created by Satoshi Ikedo of Ikedo Design.

Watanabe also owns Angels & Hearts, the Harajuku-themed dessert shop adjacent to his original Convoy Street location; he plans to house an annex of the creperie inside the new Little Italy eatery too.

The restaurant, which has been working with Location Matters' Paul Ahern on a steady expansion plan, will likely soon head to Carlsbad.

RakiRaki Ramen & Tsukemen 
2254 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101