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3
  • Food3
  • Service3
  • Value3
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews53

Benkei Ramen

1741 Robson St
Vancouver, BC V6G1C9
Tel: (604) 688-6980
Fax: (604) 681-6633
Neighbourhood: West End
  • Cuisine: Japanese, Ramen
  • Price: $ ($15 or less)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Benkei serves Japanese ramen in a variety of flavours with many add ons to create a custom bowl of soup to your liking.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 53 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Not recommended.
By hungryfordinner of Vancouver (125 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, May 27, 2010 - 7:12pm [Dine in]

Food: I ordered the spicy ramen. I eat spicy foods all the time, but this one was just, really really spicy. I tried the heavy tonkatsu as well - didn't taste heavy at all. It doesn't even come close to comparing with the heavy tonkatsu served at G-men. Furthermore, the noodles were slightly undercooked. I also ordered the chasu onigiri - completely tasteless! No flavour whatsoever.

Service: Good service; water was refilled several times. Very quick.

Value: Very poor value. I know that $7.80 for a bowl of ramen isn't considered expensive, but there was only a few strands of ramen in the bowl. Seriously, a package of instant noodles had more than what was in the bowl. My spicy ramen came with nothing more than the ramen, a few pieces of bamboo shoots, and very little minced meat. I'm not expecting a lot for a $8 dinner in downtown, but the value here was shockingly poor.

Ambiance: Appears to be quite clean.

I would not return due to the lack of quality and value.

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One of the better bowls of ramen
By thecritic of Vancouver (376 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, May 17, 2010 - 11:37am [Dine in]

I came here on a busy Saturday night after craving a comforting bowl of soup in the Ramen triangle. We thought about going across the street to the newer place but the lineup over there was ridiculous (and knew that it would be a similar situation at Kintaro on Denman). There were a few groups ahead of us but our party of three was seated within 10 minutes or so which was quite reasonable.

I ordered the shio soup base and some shrimp gyoza. Normally I am pretty conservative with my soup base selection and will just get miso but I am glad I strayed from the usual. The soup base was fantastic and overall it was a very tasty bowl. The gyoza were decent but not super great and next time will just get the pork gyoza instead.

Overall the food was really good and I will definitely come back when I am craving some ramen. The hard part will be to decide which of the three ramen houses to go to because all of them serve a top notch bowl and have their own style but choosing one over the other is difficult.

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Just OK ramen
By cocoeater of vancouver (323 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 29, 2009 - 2:54pm [Dine in]

Went here during the holidays and it wasn't that busy. Was seated quickly and ordered the miso ramen. The soup looked and tasted really good but the ramen was a bit of a let down. It tasted like the pre-packaged ones you can buy at a asian store. No real taste and the noodles had not texture you would expect. The pork was a bit on the lean side and no flavour other than salt. Service was good and fast. Decor was minimal. Overall, wouldn't go back for this price.

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Oh those ramen noodles!
By Bonka of Vancouver (464 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 4:01am [Dine in]

A small group of us headed towards Downtown looking for an early dinner. Kintaro was too busy so we headed around the corner here, where we were seated promptly.

Lovely decor; couldn't assertain as to its authenticity but they definitely spent the time to make it look regional to what one would expect. The ambience is rounded off with the ubiquitous Japanese staff yelling back and forth.

Most of us ordered the miso with one spicy miso and I believe a brown broth based bowl called shoyo thrown in. The ramen noodles were fantastic with excellent bite coupled with a flavourful soup base for the miso. The ingredients feel skimpy to me with is unfortunate, with only a few thin slices of pork and a boiled egg. While the pork is tender, fattier pieces would be preferred as they were a bit lean. There are many choices for toppings for an additional price if you so desired. However, as it is, it's excellent ramen.

Service is spry and efficient. Constant water top ups and bowl clearing make for efficient dining.

The buzz around is that this is one of the best places for ramen, and I can surely agree.

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Good noodles, simple menu
By EatsFats of Vancouver (322 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, March 2, 2008 - 9:49pm [Dine in]

I think this place is done up more nicely than Kintaro, more of a "you're in Japan" feel (though still much more roomy and bigger than the real thing).

The menu is very simple really. The fatty pork broth, the lighter (they said chicken) version or a mix. You can add extra sides, but I'm not one to mess around. I'm here for the noodles and the broth. The rest is just kind of fluff. (Well, okay, we did get some gyoza as well, but nothing special).
The cha su they have, I like it much better than Kintaro, but by default, you get 2 small pieces. Still, you will not be left hungry, especially with the thicker pork broth (which, if I recall, is in between Kintaro's choices of lean and super fatty). The lighter broth version was good too, it just depends on what you feel like at the time.
The noodles were sufficiently "boinky", thumbs up on that.

I've not been to Kintaro recently, but even at it's peak, I think this one is comparable. Either one would be a good choice, unless you've a craving for Kintaro's forest fire ramen or the cold noodles.

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If you have no choice
By hungryjo of Vancouver (175 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 21, 2008 - 8:01pm [Dine in]

I'd come here if the other 2 ramen places are too packed.

So..Benkei Ramen's ramen noodle is good but their soup base is not as good as Kintaro's. It seems like they're lacking something. I realized that it only tastes decent if I put a bunch of garlic in it. Their gyoza is small, tasteless and gross. Their onigiri is yummy.

Again, I'd come here if I have no choice.

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small portion enough for ladies not men
By lovingfood of Kerrisdale (90 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, December 27, 2010 - 12:00am [Dine in]

Service is friendly. They don't rush you. Seating is comfy enough, much more comfortable than Kintaro. Even though the house is full, I can manage to get waitresses' attention. Ambiance is pleasant enough for a place to grab a quick bite. However the portion of your noodles is really small.

Noodles taste good enough. It's not bad. It's not out of the world either. The portion is just like a bag of instant noodles you have at home. Toppings are in small portion as well. Even soup just barely covers the noodles. LOL! What's up with that? Soup is just water, why so cheap? Kintaro gives you more noodles and toppings for sure.

I ordered extra toppings for my ramen but the portion of each extra toppings is like one bite.

A bowl of noodles here is more like a snack than a meal, very skimpy. It can probably make a skinny girl feel full. If you are a dude, you need to order side dishes to be full. Don't order extra toppings, it's lame, each topping is only one small bite. Just order side dish if you are afraid that the noodles won't keep you full.

If you are in the area, then it's ok to come in and grab a bite. It's not worth your effort driving all the way to this place for noodles. I had better ramen than this. I would say their ramen is generic.

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The place with the decent spicy soup they never have!
By diningdandy of downtown vancouver (56 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, October 3, 2009 - 1:23am [Dine in]

Ive been to this place four times. The first time I got the miso ramen and Mr. Dining Dandy had the spicy miso. His was really great, and very spicy mine was meh. There are 5 items on the menu with variosu toppings. They have tonkatsu soup, a shio soup, a spicy soup, a miso soup and a cream soup. the soup is okay and after you add all the toppings it adds up to about 10-11$ which is more expensive then motomatchi or kintaro which are just around the corner. Its misleading though because you think 'Hey 7$ for ramen.. oh wait the toppings are an extra 3.50' Anyhow the first visit was fine. Service was decent and the ambience was solid and the food was decent. The second time we went i wanted to try there creamy soup.. it was pretty bland and kind of flavorless... it had a very out of a can type taste. and Mr. Dining dandy stuck with the spicy miso which was decent. The third and fourth time i set my mind on spicy miso.. we were seated and when i ordered i was shocked when the waiter told me 'We are sold out of spicy soup'.... out of spicy soup... when you only have 5 soups on the menu... Well we walked out of there because i had been set for spicy soup and we went to motomatchi and got there organic spicy chicken miso. (yummy) anyhow the second time we got there earlier at around 1 in the afternoon and i again attempted to get the spicy miso and they were sold out.. again i walked out. I dont have patience for a business that cant get there act together when they've only got 5 things on the menu. Its such an ordeal sitting down having the waiter bring you water then when you place an order and they tell you they're sold out you have to get out... its awfully inconvenient especially if your going to work in an hour and had your taste buds set on it, NEVER AGAIN! ITS EMBRASSING! and if a business cant get there act together and order the proper amounts of ingredience to last at least untill after lunch then they dont deserve my business! oh and unlike kintaro and motamatchi they are not licensed so dont expect to get a beer or anything refreshing like that.

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Good affordable Ramen
By lifeoffood07 of Surrey (32 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 30, 2008 - 2:23am [Dine in]

Have been to this restaurant twice and left satisfied both times. The prices are decent for the volume and flavour. The Shio Tonkotsu is probably the best of the ramens. My wife had the Miso and is was nothing to write home about. The gyo za is small but again decent. I thought the service was really good with attentive staff. I had a wait quite a bit for my ramen the first time I went and they gave me a free ramen coupon at the end of my meal.

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Best Ramen in Vancouver
By epicurian of Kerrisdale (42 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, February 1, 2008 - 4:10pm [Dine in]

Wow! I can't wait to go back & try the other two ramens. Miso ramen was full bodied rich flavourful and just absolutely scrumptious. Got to pick 2 other toppings aside from the standard green onion & bamboo shoots. The ramen has a beautiful chewy texture and is a little thicker than the ramen shop around the corner. The place is clean, newly renovated, and has a steady flow of customers coming in. The service still needs a little bit of work. Servers are very polite but I suppose the flow of service can be greatly improved upon. Perhaps a bit speedier on the water/tea refills (just as the previous reviewer mentioned) and also quicker delivery of the bill. I cant believe that a bowl of ramen including tax is $7!!! A lovely lunch in downtown with change to spare! They also give you a stamp card! 1 free bowl for every 10 bowls purchased. Anyhow, this will be my new favorite ramen joint in Vancouver. Definetely a must try! (And no, I don't work there or have any ties to the ramen restaurant. Just very excited to see an inexpensive but delicious restaurant in downtown)

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Salty miso ramen
By hhvan of Vancouver (downtown) (13 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, October 13, 2012 - 7:35pm [Dine in]

The miso ramen was too salty, i had to finish 2 glasses of water to finish the noodle. Gyoza was not crispy and tastes bland. My friend tried the spicy ramen and it was pretty good. But too much salt in general. And you have to pay extra for stuff that it should come free as onion.

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Just OK
By pookiebear of UBC (46 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 15, 2009 - 10:18am [Dine in]

I came here with a party of 4 at around 2pm on a Saturday afternoon. The place wasn't busy so we were able to get a table right away. The restaurant reminded me of some ramen restaurants I went to in Tokyo. We ordered 2 Spicy Miso ramens and 2 Chicken ramens with the creamy soup (forgot the name). The Spicy Miso ramen came with ground pork and it reminded me of Ma Po Tofu sauce so it's kinda like eating Ma Po Tofu (without the tofu) with noodles. I tried the Chicken ramens with the milky/creamy soupbase and at first taste, it was good but after a few more slurps, it just tasted like a watered down Campbell's cream soup. Service was decent and friendly. And the plus side is that they have stamp cards.

If I do come back, I will be sticking to the basic Ramens (Miso or Shoyu) but I would rather go to Kintaro or Motomachi Shokudo.

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I miss the old Benkei Ramen
By djeat of Burnaby (7 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, August 29, 2010 - 10:05pm [Dine in]

I completely agree with Ror. The wheels have come off at benkei in a major way. I've eaten here since the day after opening day and I had been coming back regularly. I loved everything about their food although I noticed the quality of the chashu went a little downhill first earlier on. Nevertheless, I still liked their ramen overall. That all changed dramatically about the time they started opening other locations it seemed. Despite my bad experiences, I told myself, I was just unlucky or it was the particular location (I've eaten at 2 other locations) but sadly, after a string of poor meals I have to say goodbye to Benkei. I still like Kintaro's noodles and the small hoel in the wall diner ambiance, but Santouka Hokkaido is my new personal fave. I like Miki on kingsway also. Even ezogiku is better than Benkei these days.

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Loud as all HELL
By muhfuhgah of Southwestern BC (7 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - 4:44pm [Dine in]

The food was fine at a reasonable price but in order to talk to the person you're sitting with you need to yell like crazy. The staff are constantly yelling orders at each other and the walls are all concrete so the sound just bounces around until it goes into your ear.

The only way I'll go back is if I happen to really want their spicy miso (which is good) and the place is practically empty. Forget about going anywhere near lunch time.

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Yummy, fresh, fast
By mickilee of kits van (2 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 6:52pm [Dine in]

A great alternative to Kintaro, since their line-up is always such a pain. Slightly smaller portions, which is good for me because if I go here I can actually eat all that I order, rather than stuffing myself silly trying to eat everything at Kintaro. I reccommend the miso and shoyu ramen. Also try the rice ball for a pleasant addition to the meal. Lovely, friendly service, and an ambiance to match. Love this place!

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Good ramen, without the wait
By katcalls of North Vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, January 1, 2010 - 10:18pm [Dine in]

I've eaten at Benkei probably about half a dozen times in the last 8 months or so. I used to go to Kintaro, but the waits are just a joke, and Benkei has improved so much in the last few months that Kintaro is no longer worth the wait.

I always have the same thing - their miso ramen. Unlike other ramen places I've been to, here you have to order some toppings which elsewhere would be included. The miso ramen comes with onions, noodles of course, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots and a slice or two of pork. Corn? Egg? Anything else? It's all extra which honestly I think a bit cheap of the owner. It's because of this that I only gave the value as solid.

The soup itself though is improving. A few months ago I would add lots of the extra chili and garlic which is offered (for free - the only topping that is). On my latest trip, I found that the broth had improved so much that just a little garlic was needed. Overall, quality of food tends to be good.

The service here, though, has always been excellent. Everytime that I've been the staff has been welcoming, attentive and very polite. They push you out the door pretty quickly, but it's been like that in all ramen joints I've eaten at. The only complaint on service is that this last time the shouting of hello and thank you and goodbye has gotten to a fevered pitch. Screaming is not needed guys! But thanks for being so polite anyways.

Overall, this place is improving and worth the visit. I'll be back.

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the Best Ramen in Vancouver
By KittyKat8888 of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, January 30, 2009 - 11:25pm [Dine in]

I've tried 3 of the ramen houses in Vancouver: Kintaro, Benkei & Motomachi. Out of the three, I particularly like the Benkei the best.

My partner and I went last Friday. We got there around 7:30 pm and there was a huge line up almost out the door. Waited for about 20 minutes and got a table.

Looked at the menu and easy to read and order.

I had the shoyu ramen & my partner the miso ramen w/extra chashu. Ordered onigir & gyozas as appetizers. Onigiri is very very good... My partner never had an onigiri before and he just loved it.

Ambiance is pretty good. Clean, new & bright. Choice in seating; counter or tables.

Ramen noodle is excellent here... Japanese people like their noodles "puchi puchi" and it definitely is! Soup base is not as rich as Kintaro's so easy to slurp up the soup. The soup in the miso ramen was so good, my partner ate it all....

One excellent idea at this ramen shop, they give you a tray with fresh ground garlic & chilis if you ask for it and add it to your taste.

I'll defintely go back again and again. I think to me, this is the best I've had here in Vancouver.

Hightly recommend!!

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Satisfying
By Viola of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, January 6, 2009 - 8:15pm [Dine in]

Had a late lunch here (around 3pm) with my boyfriend, and we were seated very quickly; there wasn't a line-up, though most of the seats were occupied. The service was very quick and friendly. We ordered a miso ramen and a shoyu ramen, which arrived hot and looked appetizing. Since our parking meter was ticking away, we slurped them down, and probably would have enjoyed it even more without the time contraint.

The broth was nice and didn't leave us thirsting for a drink later. The fatty pork was tasty, and I'm not much of a pork eater! The noodles were the right texture, and the egg I added was perfectly cooked. We left with full, satisfied stomachs, as well as stamp cards for a free bowl of ramen. Looking foward to coming back!

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Top ramen spot downtown...
By chikachikawow of Yaletown, Vancouver (9 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, October 24, 2008 - 2:46pm [Dine in]

Benkei serves the best ramen I've tried downtown.
The ambiance at Benkei is what'd give it the step ahead of other good ramen spots.
The service was quick, friendly and efficient. I ordered within a few minutes of sitting and had my soup shortly after.
The broth is delicious (I had the Shiso). I like that it's only an extra 50 cents to add extra ingredients. Added the egg. Is it just me or do they know how to boil an egg to perfection? There was just a hint of moist, slightly soft yolk and no grey around the yolk like my hard boiled eggs seem to get!
The fatty pork was soooooooooo declicious!
I like how they've got the container of fresh garlic at every table to add onto your meal.
The card that offers you a free ramen after buying so many is all the reason to frequent this place..especally as Vancouver's entering the chilly, rainy season(s) - Great comfort food!

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Food is ok but I like that place!!!
By Marshmallow of Kerrisdale,Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, October 7, 2008 - 12:38am [Dine in]

I actually been there twice.First time I really enjoy with my Shio noodles. It was really good. I almost finish everything in the bowl. But the sencond time was ok .But I really like the services there, all the staff were so friendly. They were really fast and helpful. The best thing I like about this place is they will YELL OUT LOUD "thank you, plz come again" when you are leaving. That's feel really nice!!!!

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