Shimokitazawa branch
Shimokitazawa branch | Photo by Greg Lane

While Marugame Seimen is not quite as cheap as Hanamaru, it still offers consistently tasty noodles and outstanding value for money.  When you can get lunch for 280yen in a high cost location like Aoyama (the Oval Building branch that I visited was on Aoyama Dori) it’s sure to be extremely popular.  You shouldn’t be put off by any long queues though – the efficiency of the staff and the process is a marvel to behold.

Photo by Gregory Lane

The menu offers a range of udon dishes starting at 280yen for the kamaage udon, kake udon, bukkake udon and the zaru udon.  Dishes like kamatama (a raw egg on top) daikon oroshi udon and curry udon go for between 330yen and 380yen. If you want a large size it costs an extra 100yen.  Additionally, you can choose from a range of tempura to put on a side plate ranging from about 80yen up to 200yen.  The ordering process moves so quickly that it can be a little tricky if you’re not prepared or you don’t speak Japanese.  This isn’t unique to non-Japanese speakers though – there is even an explanation of the ordering process on their web site.  Basically you should be aware that they will ask you if you want normal size (nami) or large (dai) and if you want hot or cold.

Photo by Gregory Lane

I ordered the oroshi shoyu udon for 330yen. You are also free to pile on the free negi (spring onion) and tenkasu (tempura leftovers. Unless you’re really low on cash it’s probably not an everyday meal, but with the cold and hot options it’s a great way to cool down in summer or warm up in winter.

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Aoyama, Harumi, Hibiya, Ichinoe, Iidabashi, Iriya, Kameari, Kanda, Kasai, Kasumigaseki, Kyojima, Ochanomizu, Omotesando, Ōsaki, Roppongi, Shikahama, Shimokitazawa, Shinagawa, Shinsuna, Shiodome

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