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Japan’s Michelin-Recognized Baikohken Ramen Opens in Hillcrest

The restaurant's new location is its second in the US (after Hawaii) and a first on the mainland
Michelin-recognized Baikohken Ramen restaurant opening in Hillcrest, San Diego
Courtesy of Stix Asia

In regards to ramen, “authentic” generally means “as the Japanese serve it.” There are plenty of fusion interpretations, but those who stick to traditional ramen favorites such as shoyu (soy sauce-based broth), miso (miso-based broth), and shio (dashi and chicken broth) tend to be favored for authenticity over the unexpected. 

But when a restaurant encapsulates tradition and innovation, that’s something special. Michelin knew it when they recognized Baikohken Ramen in its Hokkaido guide in 2012 and 2017. Now, San Diegans can experience it for themselves at the new Baikohken Ramen at 690 University Avenue in Hillcrest, in the former Menya Ultra space.

Baikohken Ramen opened in 1969 and now operates seven locations in Japan and six abroad. Its first U.S. location opened in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 2017, making the Hillcrest location its second U.S. location and first on the mainland. 

Michelin-Recognized Baikohken Ramen restaurant featuring a beef dish with egg in a bowl
Courtesy of Stix Asia

Their signature “double soup” broth uses pork and chicken bones on top of dried fish and seaweed essence for a complex, full-flavored base, giving them a recognizable edge in a generally crowded culinary corner. (I mean, we’ve got Menya Ultra, Nishiki, Santouka, HiroNori… I’m not complaining. Quite the opposite—I’m ready to go on another ramen crawl if anyone’s up for it.)

Baikohken Hillcrest is now open from 5 p.m.—9:30 p.m. on weekdays (closed Tuesday), noon—3 p.m., and 5 p.m.—9:30 pm on Saturdays, and 12:30 p.m.—3 p.m. and 5 p.m.—9:30 p.m. on Sundays. However, their posted hours might differ slightly from their Google listing. 

Michelin-starred Camphor restaurant coming to San Diego for a chef collaboration dinner at Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa featuring a lobster dish with eggs and bread
Courtesy of CAMPHOR

San Diego Restaurant News & Food Events

Camphor is coming to Rancho Valencia Resort & Spa on March 26

Apparently, it’s Michelin Day at the magazine, with the details about the one Michelin-starred restaurant Camphor coming from downtown L.A. to Rancho Valencia for a chef collaboration dinner next week. Chefs Max Boonthanakit and Lijo George (Camphor) and chefs Chris Gentile and Emiliano Safa (Rancho Valencia) have planned a six-course meal with signature cocktails and wine pairings in the Culinary Garden, where guests will wine and dine beneath a canopy of olive trees, serenaded by the sound of the Gilbert Castellanos Jazz Trio. Tickets are $375, and hey, it includes valet!

Beth’s Bites

A whole bunch of local breweries took home medals from the 2024 Brewers Cup of California, including Pizza Port, TapRoom Beer Company, Black Plague, Burgeon, Kilowatt, Smoking Cannon, Julian Beer Company, Kairoa, Mike Hess, Embolden/New Motion, Pure Project, Coronado, and Northern Pine. Congrats to all!

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and AmEx just announced the fourth installment of the “Backing Historic Small Restaurants” grant program, “which helps small restaurant owners make exterior public-facing improvements that will ensure that their establishments’ legacies can continue.” Readers can nominate their favorite restaurants here

Goodbye, Tacos El Trompo and Chula Tacos—here comes Mission Baja Tacos to 3819 Mission Blvd. Third time’s the charm?

Have breaking news, exciting scoops, or great stories about new San Diego restaurants or the city’s food scene? Send your pitches to [email protected].

By Beth Demmon

Beth Demmon is an award-winning writer and podcaster whose work regularly appears in national outlets and San Diego Magazine. Her first book, The Beer Lover's Guide to Cider, is now available. Find out more on

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