When I discover a truly awesome restaurant, I want to share it with all of you so that you, too can discover the delicious joy and happiness that is dining there. My home of San Diego is , thankfully, home to a plethora of amazing restaurants for all tastes and budgets. Today, however, I would like to focus on a little gem in the Little Italy neighborhood called Underbelly.
(And yes…I just used the word plethora. What.)
Don’t let the fact that Underbelly is located in Little Italy fool you, this isn’t an Italian restaurant. It’s actually a ramen place. That’s right…Japanese ramen in Little Italy. It’s not exactly a Japanese restaurant either, though. Think of it as a sort of fusion between Japanese food and a hipster gastropub. No matter. Whatever category you want to put it in, the thing you should know is that the food is awesome and you should check it out next time you’re in town.
As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, I have celiac and as a result of my unfortunate diagnosis, I can’t eat gluten. That hasn’t stopped me from seeking out delicious food all over the place, however, but I do have to be a little more choosy about what I consume. I’m happy to say that Underbelly has me covered! Asian food is often a good choice for us celiacs, but we do have to watch out for hidden sources of gluten such as soy sauce, which is often made with wheat for some reason.
Underbelly actually has two gluten free options on their menu. Both the Vegetable Ramen and the Seedy Side Ramen can be made gluten free (or vegan) upon request. The Vegetable Ramen is truffle oil, shitake, hon shimeji, oyster mushroom, enoki, and white asparagus. The Seedy Side Ramen is blackened cauliflower, miso broccoli, and fried brussel sprouts. What I like to do is add the hoisin glazed short rib to whichever bowl I choose, since that is their only GF meat option. All bowls also come with bean sprouts, scallions, seaweed, and sesame seeds.
They have two locations: the Little Italy location and also one in North Park. Gluten free diners have an additional option in North Park that is the You Tell Me rice bowl, which is steamed brown rice, sprouts, scallions, rainbow carrots, mushrooms, and hoisin glazed short rib. Yum!
For those of you who don’t have dietary restrictions, my husband would like to recommend the Belly of the Beast Ramen. It’s a soft boiled egg, oxtail dumplings, beef brisket, and hoisin glazed short rib. I haven’t been able to try this one unfortunately, but the fact that he’s willing to get us in the car and drive the 30 minutes from where we live to Little Italy even at the mere muttering of Underbelly or Ramen should tell you something about this particular dish.
The way service works at Underbelly is that you walk in, order at the counter, and then take your number to wherever you would like to sit and they will bring your food to you when it’s ready.
The decor inside is delightfully trendy and full of interesting things to look at as well, so you won’t be bored while you’re waiting for your food.
This place gets my highest seal of approval when it comes to delicious San Diego dining, so you would be missing out if you skipped it when you are in town. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Happy travels!