The chefs at UnderBelly have concocted a menu of Japanese pub cuisine that, combined with the impressive list of beers (both bottled and on tap), makes this the go-to establishment for anyone looking to try something a little unconventional.
Underbelly’s recently remodeled Little Italy location is a dead giveaway for an enterprise by CH Projects, the San Diego group known for its dazzling, design-driven spaces. The neon-charged aesthetic is indeed mind-blowing—a futuristic-yet-retro cyberpunk vision of Tokyo in the year 2089—but it’s the mouthwatering ramen and drinks that will keep you coming back. (By the way, Underbelly’s other outpost in North Park has an equally stylish, steampunk-inspired vibe.) Bowls are a mix of traditional styles and slightly more out-of-the-box flavors; the Underbelly Ramen has a Filipino twist with adobo pulled pork, and Belly of the Beast is loaded with hoisin-glazed short rib and oxtail dumplings. Meanwhile, the cocktail menu is a laundry list of inventive concoctions incorporating Japanese ingredients—from the gin- and sake-based Sakura Falls with coconut cream to a tequila drink called Fuji-San with ginger, Fuji apple, and wasabi salt.
How to order: Walk in or pickup via Toast.