Asian, BiteClub, Japanese, Santa Rosa, vegan, Vegetarian, Where to Eat Now

Poke, Ramen and Vegan Rice Bowls at Raku Ramen in Santa Rosa

Knock-out vegan and vegetarian dishes plus great ramen and sushi at Raku Ramen and Rolls

The owner of Sea Thai Bistro and Sea Noodle Bar has paired up with popular sushi burrito food truck chef Takeshi Uchida to create Raku Ramen and Rolls in Santa Rosa’s Montgomery Village. More than just a ramen shop, Shoubu Japanese’s Uchida has created a menu inspired by his sustainable vision for Japanese cuisine — and it’s something to write home about.

Poke Don, with wild-caught tuna, chili sesame soy, organic avocado, greens and veganaise at Raku Ramen and Rolls in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Poke Don, with wild-caught tuna, chili sesame soy, organic avocado, greens and veganaise at Raku Ramen and Rolls in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

We first met Uchida 12 years ago when he was creating “secret sushi” at the Odd Fellows Hall several days a week. The former Hana Japanese sushi wunderkind has a deep passion for the food of his homeland, but in recent years significantly changed his diet and the menu he created for his food truck to use only sustainable fish, organic and GMO-free ingredients and generally re-envision some of the less-than-sustainable practices of some sushi spots.

With Sea Thai’s Chef Tony Ounpamornchai, the two have created a clean, minimalist fast-casual izakaya featuring tonkotsu (pork), shoyu and vegan ramen bowls ($15-$16) with high-quality ingredients, along with rice bowls and a small selection of rolls and salads. We loved the cloudy tonkotsu with braised pork belly and organic veggies, along with the Poke Don (wild-caught tuna with chili sesame soy, greens and spicy veganaise, $16). The raku roll includes crab, tuna, avocado and kaiware sprouts. Don’t miss the Zangi, Hokkaido style free-range chicken ($8), or the Veggie Miso Mabo Don, made with organic tofu, tempeh, eggplant and spicy bean sauce. ($12).

Veggie miso mabo don with organic tofu, tempeh, eggplant and spicy bean sauce with garlic, ginger and greens at Raku Ramen and Rolls in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD
Veggie miso mabo don with organic tofu, tempeh, eggplant and spicy bean sauce with garlic, ginger and greens at Raku Ramen and Rolls in Santa Rosa. Heather Irwin/PD

Lots of great vegan and vegetarian choices here, especially if you’re a stickler for high-quality ingredients.

We’d love to see even more exploration of Japanese favorites, including the return of Uchida’s sushi burritos, miso soup and homestyle classics we enjoyed on the Shoubu truck — which is now in retirement. Early Yelpers dinged the restaurant for high prices, but owners say they’ve dropped some prices and are now offering mini rice bowls for $5. We’re not stoked about the upcharge on ramen for things like nori, bamboo shoots and mushrooms, but it is not exactly out of line with the cost of organic ingredients.

Raku Ramen & Rolls: 2424 Midway Drive, Santa Rosa, 707-623-9668.

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Comments

3 thoughts on “Poke, Ramen and Vegan Rice Bowls at Raku Ramen in Santa Rosa

  1. Ive been here 3 times already, and hubby and I both love the place. Yes, the ramen is pricey — but organic!! and delicious!! Three noodle choices — one gluten-free, one thin and another thick — make this a place many can enjoy. Miso broth was rich w/both chicken and pork stock, lightly dotted w/fat on top. Yummy charred thick pieces of pork belly, bamboo shoots and 1/2 soft egg — sooo good. Really a great addition to our neighborhood, esp since it’s not some faux-italian, high-priced wine-country tourist spot.

  2. I ate there last week. The noodle bowl with with pork was really good. The rice dish did not have much flavor or spice. The prices were high enough that I likely would not go back for the same menu. I’m interested in whatever changes they make and will go to try it again.

    The decor and overall atmosphere was very pleasant, so it’s worth a try if you haven’t been there.

    Gus’ seems to have premium prices considering the middle-of-the-road offerings; as does the tequila-bar themed place that is now next door to Albertsons. It seems that Monkey Village restaurants will be going after the same demographic and some will soon fold out. I’d rather go for a steak at Cattleman’s or the nightly special at Monty’s for the same money, or get the special at Monty’s.

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