DC has plenty of ramen spots these days, but Daikaya is something of a classic. They weren't the first to the scene - Toki Underground came along a few years before. But Daikaya is more traditional than the other places around town. The menu is short and to the point - five different types of ramen and gyoza - and the soups are more muted and true to Japanese from than what you you'll find at other spots where kimchi or fried chicken end up on top of your noodles. The food here is about quality ingredients, and restraint.
And that's why we like places like Toki a bit more than Daikaya. We've never done well with restraint. We're more of the “extra spicy, extra pork belly, extra noodles, maybe put some dumplings in it" type of ramen eater. And we're comfortable enough with ourselves to admit it.
Then again, Daikaya is an excellent option for dinner before a game or a show at Verizon Center, or just a quick lunch in Chinatown. It's small, and there's usually a wait, but things move quickly and the staff is friendly. Hit it up when you're feeling the need for a hot bowl of something traditional.
Not in the mood for restraint? There's also Daikaya Izakaya upstairs, where you can eat crab croquettes, or a salmon head.
What a world.