People from Marikina or those who flock to Marikina certainly know this place. It needs no introduction, no blaring horns, grand trumpet entrance, it’s just there. Small, simple, quiet, unassuming, but a wonderful introduction to the food world Marikina has to offer. Meet Tamagoya, the famous, cheap but very satisfying Japanese restaurant in Marikina.
Entering Tamagoya, I was immediately transported to Japan, the interiors looked like you were in a Japanese noodle house: Japanese cloth banners hanging by the door, sliding doors, dark wood interior, a few cubicles and a really long bar area, it felt more authentic than Ichiba in Resort’s World. Since my friend, Rizza, and I arrived before lunch hour, there were still a lot of seats. But from what I’ve heard, Tamagoya fills up really quickly during lunch and dinner hours, so it’s best to be there early…but I am sure you already knew that!
Looking at their menu, I was immediately floored by their prices. Usually when I dine in a Japanese restaurant I am prepared to shell out Php. 500 and more. Tamagoya’s was different, their prices were miles away from what I have been accustomed to. That afternoon, I ordered their chicken karaage and gomoku ramen. The ramen was there because we felt it was something worth tasting and trying out.
To be honest, their chicken karaage was good! Not great but it hits the spot just right. Glazed in beautiful sauce, drizzled with sesame seeds, and beautiful Japanese white rice, the meal was filling. After a couple of bites and spoonfuls of rice, I was full and I worried I wouldn’t have enough space for the ramen.
I have been spoiled by ramen places such as: Yushoken, Mendokoro, Daisho, Nagi, and Ippudo that when I think about ramen, I think about those beautiful ceramic bowls with its ingredients arrayed beautifully. Tamagoya isn’t like that, zero frills and finesse, to the uneducated it might look like the typical mami or pancit you’d get in some random street stall or Filipino restaurant. And that is exactly what we got, there was heart but no flavor. The noodles were too thick, the flavors were drowned by the broth and the vegetables looked bland.
Apart from the ramen experience, I would have to say the best part about this whole meal was seeing the bill. For Php. 559, I had two meals that left me full and satisfied, I have been so used to paying more that I’ve forgotten how good simple meals are. Tamagoya is certainly a restaurant worth going back. The gyoza I saw sizzling in the background is too inconspicuous to pass up. Maybe next time, I’ll have another go at their ramen and this time order their bestseller.
Tamagoya Noodle House
2 Hon. B. Soliven Avenue, Antipolo
Telephone number: +63 2 861 8631
Open Daily: 11am-2:30pm and 4:30pm-9:30pm