I love Wagamama. Actually, I travel to London for work and this is the one spot my boss and I always visit. We just can't wait to get our fix. The funny thing is, on my last visit we discussed how picky American eaters are and how they would probably hate the bench style seating... then I came on here to review and see below! Personally, I love the benches for the very reason that this style of seating does not exist outside of a cafeteria in the US. You can easily meet new people and scope out what they're eating. You know you do it too.
For what it is, it's great. Five stars in it's category of casual dining. I love ramen and especially love all the different choices Wagamama offers. The noodles in a coconut based soup are to die for. There is not a single restaurant back home that offers this variety of ramen and I desperately wish we would get a Wagamama.
Decent food, HUGE portions, Westernized Japanese food and they're open late.
We have one of these in Boston near Harvard! So, I thought I knew what I was getting into. The service is a bit slow but for a chain, I went in not expecting much. The kimchi was excellent, the soba was cooked just right, but the broth was so salty it was hard to eat without feeling weighed down.
Any place in Oxford that has vegan options is a plus in my book, a shame they just don't have many.
Follows the same pattern as most asian food bench seating restaurants in Oxford.
Pretty decent food, good portions, ok service, over priced. Not much else to say.
Nice interior, would come here if someone wanted to.
My only real gripe about this place is that it's a bit expensive for a ramen house.
We came to Wagamama for dinner one of my evenings in Oxford and I tried to look at it from a different perspective. I was in the UK. I was not going to be my typical picky self when it comes to anything remotely like Japanese food. I was going to be adventurous and open to new experiences instead of my usual "sushi snob" self I am in California.
Inside is rather minimalistic. The tables are bench style seating, but you still have personal space and sometimes it can be quite nice if you're have to mingle with the party next to you. It allows for spontaneous group meet-ups during dinner and getting to know individuals next to you. Yes, it seems more like cafeteria style that way, but I feel when you're splitting a bottle of wine it feels a bit different.
However, I can say that the thing that irked me was that the food does not all come out at the same time. They tell you when you order that it comes out when it's prepared. Therefore, you cannot really politely wait for everyone in your party to be served. You're expected to start eating when other people haven't received their food yet, so that was a bit bothersome. Luckily everyone in our party received their food at relatively the same time, so that wasn't a real issue.
We started with an order of gyoza with great ponzu sauce. I ordered the yaki soba for my main course, which had quite a nice flavor profile. However, I think the pickles and ginger caught my attention the most (odd how a garnish can catch one's attention the most). They had the perfect crunch, and just the right amount of sweetness and tang. Not exactly like my grandmother's, but not bad.
All in all it was a nice dinner. I felt it was a bit pricey for a ramen house (about 7 quid for an entree when the entire meal doesn't even come out at the same time) but it was an enjoyable evening. And after a few days of what felt like the same flavors in all my food, this was a welcomed change.
#495 Since most people have already explained the interior of Wagamama, I'm going to avoid repetition and go straight into my issues with the place. First of all, the employees have absolutely no idea what they're doing. Sure, they pop up with that handy little gadget where they play with a touch screen and put in orders. But, once they walk away from your table, all hell breaks loose.
The boyfriend and I were treated with a seat close to the registers, so we got to witness how everything broke down. First of all, orders don't seem to disappear from the screen as they're being taken out onto the floor. So, employees were serving up double orders constantly. Within the short hour that we spent in the restaurant, I saw about 5-6 plates being brought back to the kitchen because the order had already been served up. Chaos, seriously. We were served two orders of pickled vegetables ourselves, which they later rectified by charging us for only one.
The person who was in charge of drinks was also a complete spaz. When the manager put in an order for Sprite and tea, she was given water and Sprite. Later, it was an order of bear and tea and she was given two beers. What on earth was going on with her? I wouldn't be surprised if that girl gets sacked in the next week or so.
Then, throw in our particular server and you've got yourselves a head-scratcher of an experience. She repeated everything we said with surprise in her tone, as if she thought we were crazy for ordering what we wanted. She also never made any eye contact. Awkward. Plus, when she was helping the women next to us, she just sideways glanced at them and would walk off without confirmation that she heard anything that she was told. The girls were left looking at each other wondering, "Did she hear what we said?" I definitely do not plan on coming back. What a nightmare.
Oh, but the food was delish. Soba noodles for the win!
Love the ramen soup here. Always fresh and fast.
What I love about Wagamama:
- Its name
- They give you chopsticks - always good for a laugh.
- You can buy recipe books (not that you'll ever use them, but cool idea!)
- They write your order on your placemat - just a bit different.
- The portion sizes - more than you can eat.
What I don't like so much:
- They always ask if you've been before and if you know how it works - it's a restaurant, not rocket science.
- The food comes in a seemingly random order - some people are finished before others get their meal
- The benches - it's very friendly, but not when you get a stranger's elbow in your ribs.
My favourite: yaki soba - egg, chicken, shrimps, ginger, pepper, beansprouts.
Pudding: Try the cheesecake with chilli sauce or the chocolate fudge cake with wasabi (think mustard!) sauce. Don't worry - you can't taste the weird ingredients, but it's fun to tell others what you've eaten.
Advice: All the dishes contain millions of ingredients so it's hard to compare. I would just pick the level of spiciness you want (some of the soups are very hot!) and just go for it.
It's a great place for students and big families and you can get a meal and drink for around £10.
This time I tried the chicken teriyaki and it was good but not the best. In addition, service is lacking.
Agh, I f*cking HATE this place! Okay, maybe hate is too strong a word... but I strongly dislike it! I don't understand why it's so popular?! The food is tasteless and overpriced, and the seats are... well, they're benches. So it's not like you're paying for the really nice ambiance or anything. I had the salmon ramen here and it came lukewarm. LUKEWARM. That is disgusting. What the hell did they do, pop it in the microwave for 2 minutes?? The broth was completely character-less and insubstantial... kinda like if I'd made myself a bowl of instant ramen... only it cost me about 9 pounds and took a lot longer to get to the table. Also, instant ramen at least has got that MSG zing to it, so it's not COMPLETELY boring. Wagamama's ramen reminds me a little of "Bachelor chow" from Futurama... their next ad should go along the lines of: "Wagamama, now with flavour!"
Each time I go to Wagamama, I suddenly remember that I swore I'd never go again. When my wife and I went to the new Oxford location, they were horribly disorganised and the food was mediocre.
Noodles shouldn't really be interesting. However, visit Wagamama and I can assure you they will be!
Sited on Market Street, just far enough from Cornmarket to avoid the crowds of Japanese tourists and frantic Christmas shoppers, the cube-shaped exterior and large glass frontage hint at what's to come.
Inside, the blocky theme continues with chunky tables and bench seats, arranged not in the usual clusters of two and four but instead in long refectory-style formations. Of course, being British, we found a spot at a discreet distance from our co-diners.
As for the food - well, this is fast-food Japanese style. The food was very quick in coming, hot, tasty and well-presented, and with portions large enough to satisfy even my stomach.
The Darling G went for the Steak Soba (fried noodles) and I chose the Wagamama Ramen, a noodle soup with chicken, fish, mixed vegetables and the obligatory (pointless and tasteless) Tofu, my feelings on which are well documented. You can see the Ramen in the above photo, and I liked the quirky wooden soup spoon (though it actually made it impossible to eat the soup with any dignity!)
The cost of the meal was reasonable, at £31 including drinks and service. Green Tea was free, which was a thoughtful touch.
Overall, Wagamama Oxford is fun, funky and fast. A good destination for a quick and filling lunch when you're out and about, though personally I still prefer Yo! Sushi overall.
Food is ok, not sky-rocketing great but very decent. Waiters are friendly and service is quick. The downside is the Restaurant gets crowded in the evenings, even on weekdays. Prices are more on the pricey side but ok and affordable for Oxford.
Man, I love Wagamama. Ok, there are annoying things about it meals come when they're ready, which means that once or twice I've finished before my wife has even got her food, and they cram diners in elbow to elbow to make more money so you overhear what everyone else is saying but the food is just fantastic. The yaki udon is so tasty and packed with fresh ingredients that I have it most times. Service is always really quick and friendly and prices are pretty reasonable. Sharing the small restaurant with several hundred other people is annoying, but with food this good, I can't say I care that much.
Wagamama is a nice place to eat for a change, as it is quite a unique restaurant. The menu is massive and there is alot to choose from. I really love their juices, they are freshly squuezed and are really yummy!! They write your order on the menu placemat, which is a different way of doing it. A problem is that the food comes whenever it is ready, so you might have finished before some people you are with have even got their food. The potions are really large though, normally too much to manage. The seats are along different benches, which means you have to seat rather close to other people and you don't get much privacy. The staff are friendly, but the service is unpredictable. Worth going there once just to check it out!
Another chain (there are so many in the UK). So, you get 'chain ramen' -- not real ramen soup. Kind of bland, but it's certainly perfectly edible, with some hot sauce added. Fresh enough. Noisy, cramped space, but popular. And, yes, should be less expensive for a chain.
I've eaten at Wagamama 4 times now and the food is good, but variable. My friend always has the beef teriyaki soba: beef is usually well cooked, but the seasoning of the noodles can vary. I have had the chicken and butternut squash curry, which was absolutely delicious, and the spicy chicken ramen twice - first time was perfect, lovely spicy flavour to the soup and well cooked noodles, but the second time it was disappointing. The soup was lacking in flavour and the noodles were doughy; also it was heavy on the beansprouts and there wan't really much chicken.
Free green tea is a lovely bonus. I agree with one of the above reviews that being asked if we've been before is not really essential as the ordering process is not exactly difficult. Our food does usually arrive at different times, especially when the restaurant is busy, but it's stated on the menu and doesn't bother me too much.
The staff are usually friendly and attentive, even when the restaurant is busy. It's not cheap enough for us to eat there regularly but is a tastier and more upmarket alternative to other noodle places in the town centre.
I am surprised they never offered us free green tea. Next time they are not getting my tip.
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