Dining With Kids in Des Moines: Hana Ramen
I refuse to be stuck at Chick-fil-A.
Over and over, I have heard that children don’t belong in nice restaurants, and I wholeheartedly disagree.
My family strives to break out of that chicken nugget and french fry world. Not because we don’t enjoy them (truthfully, we eat at Chick-fil-A more than I care to admit), but because there is so much more to enjoy from the world of food.
I don’t want to only eat chicken nuggets. I want to experience what the world of food has to offer – to be continually delighted and intrigued, to experience and discover, to never feel bored by what’s on my plate. But my passion for food can’t be delegated to date nights only. Because not only do I want to explore all that food has to offer, but I want to share these experiences with my children. To see their eyes light up as they find a new food they love, to hear their laughter as they try something new, to help shape and mold them into adults who crave to learn and explore and understand the world around them.
So yes, sometimes my toddler will throw rice on the floor, and sometimes my child will accidentally spill her milk. And that’s ok. Because that’s part of life – of growing and learning.
So my mission is this: to explore the culinary scene in Des Moines with my children and to share my experiences with you, hoping to inspire you to do the same. And if we all do this, going out as a family with small children, and experiencing real food might become the new normal!
- Restaurant Name: Hana Ramen Sushi
- Cuisine Type: Modern Japanese cuisine, specializing in sushi and ramen
- Neighborhood: located in West Des Moines at 7450 Bridgewood Blvd, just west of Jordan Creek Town Center
- Hours: Open Monday through Friday, 11:00am-3:00pm and 4:30 pm-10:00pm Saturday 11:00am-10:30 pm and Sunday 12:00pm – 9:00pm.
- Price: Mid Range – meals range from $12-$17, kids meals $6-10
- Other things you need to know: Occasionally they have live music, but I couldn’t find any sort of schedule and my waitress didn’t know, either. It seems to be random, so maybe call ahead if you are worried about it.
We arrived at Hana Ramen for lunch on a weekend and we were seated right away. There were other families and diners there, and while it was full it wasn’t crowded. Our table wasn’t packed with unnecessary items – simply utensils, salt and pepper, and soy sauce, which was all easily moved out of little hands reach.
We really enjoyed the atmosphere of Hana Ramen. It was clean, brightly lit with both natural light via big windows and from chandeliers, and nicely decorated with bright colors and modern decor without being overwhelming. Everything was clean and well cared for. The noise level was great for a family dinner, too. When we first arrived there was no music playing and it was quiet but not silent. Halfway through our meal, they did start playing music, but the volume was low and not obtrusive. We neither had to worry about whether we were being too loud, and we also didn’t have yell at our children for them to hear us.
Note that Hana Ramen doesn’t offer any coloring sheets or pre-food entertainment, so make sure you bring along a notebook or something to do beforehand. We spent our time waiting for our meal by looking at their various fish tanks, which my children really enjoyed, and eating appetizers.
The service we received was good. Our waitress was knowledgeable about the menu and made great suggestions for us. She was also attentive without being hovering.
We also noticed how clean the high chairs and booster seats were, which was a pleasant and welcome surprise.
No dinner out is complete without at least one trip to the bathroom, right? Both the women’s and men’s restrooms were clean. The stalls are nicely sized, which is great if you need to go into the stall to help a young child. The sink, soap, and paper towel dispensers were also nice and low and within reach for children. My only complaint about the bathroom situation is that the diaper changing station is impossibly high. I can see that due to the layout of the room that it was the only space to place it, so I will forgive the inconvenience of having to change a diaper on my tip-toes.
For our full meal, which included appetizers, entrees, and dessert, we were there a total of 1 hour 45 minutes, but we never felt like things were taking too long or that we were being rushed.
The menu at Hana Ramen is big but not overwhelming. There is a good selection of appetizers, included dumplings and edamame (which my children enjoyed picking apart and eating).
With several pages of sushi and sashimi, there is something for everyone to pick. Sushi ranges from small simple hand rolls at $4-$6 to specialty rolls ranging from $12-17 dollars. The rolls are fun, unique, and beautifully presented, and all that we tried were excellent.
The Ramen is served in a giant bowl, so you have plenty of noodles, broth, and toppings to enjoy. You can customize your ramen based on what kind of protein you would like and your broth preference. Ramen is $13-15 depending on your protein choice, and you can add in additional toppings. Hana Ramen also offers several main entrees, if ramen and sushi aren’t your thing.
For dessert, they offer several fun and unique desserts, included tempura fried ice cream, mochi ice cream, tempura cheesecake (a dense vanilla cheesecake fried in tempura batter), and tempura fried bananas drizzled in honey. We did our due diligence and tried them all. They were fun for their unique factor and were good, but not spectacular.
The kid’s menu offers a great variety that differs from your norm – ramen, sushi, and teriyaki! We tried both the kids chicken katsu ramen and the kids chicken teriyaki. The ramen came out in a serving bowl that must have been very similar to an adults size, and my older girls enjoyed it very much. My youngest tried the chicken teriyaki and ate her entire meal. It was perfectly cooked, very flavorful, and came out with steamed white rice, and broccoli. All three of my girls were perfectly pleased with their meals!
A fun note about eating ramen: it is totally acceptable to slurp and sip your ramen noodles and broth loudly. And once all the toppings and noodles are gone, you can also bring the bowl to your mouth and slurp down all that good broth. Most importantly, there are no rules to eating ramen – ramen is meant to be enjoyed, so don’t worry about being on “best manners” (as long as everyone is on their bottoms and no one is trying to stab someone with their chopsticks). Overall we were very pleased with the kid’s menu, which ranged in price from $6 to $10.
Hana Ramen offers such a wide variety of food that you can easily feed children of any ages – from rice and steamed veggies for older babies and toddlers to plenty for older children to enjoy. Just make sure you tip your waitress extra for all the rice and noodles you leave on the floor!
Overall, we really enjoyed our trip to Hana Ramen! It was a great family meal where everyone felt relaxed, everyone enjoyed their food, and we definitely recommend that you try it as well. Make sure to ask your waitress for “kids chopsticks” to help make the experience more fun and entertaining!
Menu: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ (Excellent)
Service: ⭐⭐ ⭐(Good)
Parental Stress: ⭐⭐⭐ (Good)
Overall: ⭐⭐⭐ ½ (Great – a good meal, good service, and a wonderful trip)
About the Author
Jenni Ward is a mom of three and owner of The Gingered Whisk. The Gingered Whisk is a recipe site designed to make the most out of your weeknight dinners. She creates quick meals that are infused with global flavor to help break you out of that boring chicken nugget rut.
She loves to help families create weeknight meals they love so they can spend less time focusing on how much food kids aren’t eating and more time connecting at the dinner table. She is all about fun adventurous ways to get kids interested in food, and firmly believe that kids can learn to love bold flavors, new ingredients, and trying new things! More than just fun and delicious recipes, she offers tons of tips, tricks, and support to help you every step of the journey.
Learn more about Jenni Ward on the Des Moines Parent Spotlight.