Watami is located in the underground space formerly occupied by Pedro O’Hara’s off Brunswick’s Maine Street. Photos by Leslie Bridgers

Not only can you find an abundance of international cuisines represented on Brunswick’s Maine Street, for many of them, you have more than one option.

In a stretch of less than a mile, there are two Indian restaurants, two Vietnamese restaurants, two Greek restaurants (if you count the one around the corner on Mill Road) and three Japanese restaurants – four when Mr. Tuna’s sushi truck parks in the Brunswick Mall in the summer.

The three brick-and-mortar Japanese restaurants are in an even more concentrated area, within about 500 feet of each other. The newest, Watami, moved into the spot underneath German restaurant Richard’s that had been occupied by Pedro O’Hara’s, which closed in 2020 (not to worry, other options remain for Mexican and Irish food in town).

It’s a crowded market, no doubt, but each seems to have its own lane. While Aki offers hibachi and Little Tokyo puts sushi front and center, Watami highlights its ramen, as well as its non-Japanese offerings – poke bowls, which come from Hawaii, and bubble tea, which is Taiwanese. (I thought the latter might be the unfilled niche its owners found in Brunswick, but no, there’s another bubble tea spot a block up the street in the Tontine Mall.)

Despite all the competition, there was a lively lunch crowd at Watami on a recent Saturday afternoon. The dining room had a casual feel that seemed kid- and college student-friendly, with booths and plain decor, aside from some holiday tchotchkes on the sushi bar.

The service was similarly to the point, and within minutes of ordering my ramen lunch, a small salad was in front of me. Though the few pieces of iceberg lettuce were lackluster in appearance, the ginger dressing was tasty, and I was pleased to get a fresh little freebie with my main course. My lunch date also received a starter, of miso soup, with his poke bowl order.



Tonkotsu ramen from Watami.

The tonkotsu ramen ($16) was a nicely sized lunch portion filled with a colorful assortment of toppings, as well as half an egg and crispy rounds of pork. I misread the menu and didn’t realize I had to request spicy chili oil, which would have added a welcome flavor boost. As it was, the broth had a pleasant taste but wasn’t as rich as I’m used to – something I appreciated more afterward.

The ahi tuna poke bowl ($19), however, was on the decadent side for that dish, courtesy of the creamy house sauce, and the combination of ingredients, including edamame and pineapple, worked surprisingly well together.

The ahi tuna poke bowl at Watami in Brunswick.

The menu includes several other ramen and poke options, though sushi occupies the most space in the form of pieces, rolls, platters and lunch combos – two rolls for $15 or three for $18, served with miso soup. That’s a couple dollars more than the lunch combo at Little Tokyo and less than at Aki, if you’re the type who is inclined to shop around.

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