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6:30 p.m. Tue.-Sun.: Best Ramen for Dinner 

Katana-Ya Ramen

Yes, ramen for dinner. No, not that stuff that costs 99 cents and comes out of a bag, hard as a brick, with tiny packets of MSG. That, of course, is depressing fare best suited to people who work for -- or used to work for -- underfunded Internet start-ups. Katana-Ya Ramen does ramen the right way -- with plentiful, chewy noodles and a light but flavorful broth in a large, heavy bowl. A bowl of ramen at Katana-Ya Ramen is very filling. Dinner time around here is a pretty busy affair. The tables are usually full, and the high school students who wait on them are attentive and good-natured. But don't be fooled by this eatery's name. Katana-Ya Ramen is more than a ramen shop in a nondescript El Cerrito strip mall. It's an all-around Japanese restaurant, tastefully decorated with paper lanterns and a full menu, including a large sushi menu. The sashimi here is very fresh and above average. And so is just about everything else.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)


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