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Tajima Ramen Expands Empire With Eatery in the East Village

The Kearny Mesa-based concept is on growth mode.

Since first opening on Convoy Street in 2001, Tajima has been slowly building a Japanese food mini-empire, first adding an izakaya-style eatery on nearby Mercury Street before branching out to Hillcrest with Tajima Ramen Bar in 2014.

Now, chef/partner Sam Morikizono has launched a fourth Tajima location at the corner of E Street and 9th Avenue, in the site of the sadly short-lived Acme Southern Kitchen. Local design guru Paul Basile of BASILE Studio (KINDRED, Ironside Fish & Oyster) has modernized the 64-seat, 1,200-square-foot space, which includes new black and gold wall coverings, and is also a partner in the restaurant.

Open from 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, the menu here is near-identitcal to its Hillcrest location, with ramen bowls that that span from Tajima's original pork-based tonkotsu to vegan and curry varieties, ranging in price from $8.30 to $10.50. There are also appetizers, including pork belly buns and chicken karaage, and rice dishes that run from a spicy tuna bowl to kimchi fried rice. Beverage-wise, there are 10 taps — a mix of local San Diego brews and Japanese lagers — plus sake, wine, an assortment of Batch Craft sodas.

Tajima is also a part of the new influx of food and drink in the works on Adams Avenue. Another ramen house, also designed by Basile, is slated to open at 3015 Adams Avenue in May, and the company is exploring opportunities to expand into North County.