Tanpopo Ramen: An Affordable and Delicious Downtown Spot
One of my favorite restaurants off campus is Tanpopo Ramen, located at 893 Broadway, Albany, NY 12207. I’m from the city, and one of the things I value the most is the wide variety of quality food I have access to. Ramen is one of my favorite foods, and I like trying it from all different kinds of restaurants. Honestly, the first time I went to Tanpopo Ramen I didn’t have high hopes. It wasn’t that it looked dirty or gross, it’s just that I didn’t expect it to be that great because it wasn’t in the city. I can’t deny, I was ignorant. I ordered the Tonkatsu Ramen, which is $11.00 and consists of pork broth, sliced pork, scallion, fishcake, and mushrooms. I decided to add a seasoned boiled egg, which is a topping that I enjoy on my ramen. The pork was very flavorful, and reminded me of the ramen back home in the city. There are also options for any vegetarians or vegans, as well as gluten-free noodles.
The layout and décor of the restaurant is also very interesting. The building the restaurant is housed in is actually registered as a historic place. The structure that stands today was originally built in 1941 and was called Lil’s Diner, which is the name is it registered as a historic place under. Parts of the movie Ironweed, starring Jack Nicholson and Meryl Streep, were filmed in it. There are a couple of booths that can seat 4-5 people, and a long table lined with stools. There is also the bar counter which is used for seating as well. The only downside is that there isn’t a lot of space inside, so its common to have to wait to get a seat. Luckily, ramen is usually a quicker meal to ingest so tables will become available fast. Additionally, if you happen to be tall, be careful entering the restaurant – I’ve bumped my head one too many times entering and exiting Tanpopo Ramen.
If you show your waiter/waitress your student ID, you get a 10% discount off your check! The staff of the restaurant are super friendly! I was wearing a shirt of a band I like, and one of the waitresses complimented it and started talking to me about the band, which was very comforting and made me appreciate Tanpopo even more. I’m happy that I’ve found a ramen place that nearly matches the quality of ramen back in the city, and is more affordable.