Kintaro is a ramen noodle house in the West End.
I'm not sure what the big deal about this place. I lived in Japan for 9 years and ate ramen often enough. I doubt if this place would be popular in Japan... I had the miso ramen. The Chashu (meat) looked like it was cut by a blind person. The amount of noodles was acceptable and the soup is oily enough. Not that much vegetables... there's really nothing special about this place that would make me want to go back again... and what the hell is that "Louisiana" type hot sauce doing the counter? Just another average tasting ramen shop.
Tried many ramen places in town, and this is still the #1!
the rich soup is awesome, although it is not too healthy. the ramen is nicely done and chewy!
service is friendly and promptly. although there's always a long line up, but it does worth the wait!
my favorite ramen place!
Visited Kintaro with some friends, and like the previous reviewers noted, there was a small line-up as the number of tables were limited in this tiny place. However, the turn-over was pretty fast, so we were seated in about 15 - 20 min. Like many cafes in Japan, we had to share a table with some other parties.
The FOOD: was ok. We tried the gyozas which were pretty standard. I wouldn't order them again. The BBQ pork (found in the ramen and as an appetizer that we ordered) is different from the red ones you find at Chinese restaurants. This version is almost blanched, but still tasty. I ordered the miso ramen (medium soup with lean pork) and it was a good, generous portion. If anything, I found the soup to be too salty, but the noodles were the best ramen noodles I've ever had. There are also bits of lard in the soup, so if you're watching your cholesterol, this might not be the place for you.
Service was quick, polite and friendly. Prices were fairly reasonable.
Went there few yrs ago and started going again this yr. Nothing has really changed. I like ordering their miso or sea salt base soup but now I'm into CHEESE RAMEN! I always thought it was a weird thing to eat cuz cheese in noodle soup? Wha...? But I remember that first bite very well, it was heavenly! They were right, like the menu says, "the ladies loooove it!" Haha, so true!
Like the previous reviewer said, does the soup contain MSG? I'm always very thirsty after eating this delicious bowl of ramen. And it's kinda annoying b/c after that big bowl of ramen, I don't have any stomach space for drinks. And I don't like the fact that I'm eating something w/ MSG unless it's instant noodles!
If you love ramen (japanese noodles), you'll enjoy dining at Kintaro. It's a really small place and line-ups are pretty normal, so be prepared to wait to be seated (outdoors). Serving sizes are great, but the service is a little lacking. I felt a little squished together with all the other tables. The food is enough to get me back there.
Love the miso ramen. The shio, shoyu, and forest fire ramen are okay. Rich soup with lean meat (typically 2-3 slices and varies depending on the order, with or without a hardboiled egg, etc.) or medium soup with lean meat is the way to go for stronger flavours. The old guy seems to be absent of late, probably in the new Richmond location in a little narrow plaza on Westminister. The standard shio/shoyu/miso ramen are priced at $6.95 per bowl, as is the Saturdays-only Special Forest Fire Ramen. The BBQ Pork shio/shoyu soup ramen is about a dollar more (with about twice the amount of meat given). A bottle of beer is just under $5. There are also a few side dishes one may order, such as gyoza.
Usually a line-up during typical meal hours. Each sitting seems to range from 15-20 minutes max. Usually, what takes up 5-10 of those minutes is the wait for the noodles to be cooked then served to you. It's a place to slurp up your noodles quickly then get up to do some shopping, etc., to walk off all that pork fat while you let the next hungry guys have their turn.
Tables and the bar isn't the cleanest since it's usually a quick towel through before the seat gets a chance to cool down, it's occupied once again. Bowls and tables are oily due to the constant contact with fatty oily soup and equally oily fingers.
The ambiance is perfect for a quicky noodle house. It may be deserving of 4-5 stars for setting the mood precisely for the type of cuisine and service you're going for--grease and all (of course, it's not as bad as it might sound!). A must try and see for yourself! :)
Kintaro's is a small Japanese style diner on the east side of Denmen near Robson. There isn't a lot of seating but even if the place is full, its worth the wait as the turnover is fairly fast and the soup is awesome. I had some gyoza, miso ramen, and a side of pork. As it turns out, this was way too much and I could have done without the side of pork and possibly even the gyoza.
We sat at the bar and found the preparation and cooking process interesting. The chef actually tastes the broth in each bowl. The noodles looked homemade, although I didn't ask whether they were or not. The end result was very tasty; the best ramen I have had in recent memory.
If you are looking for takeout or a vegetarian ramen, look elsewhere as Kintaro's doesn't do that. They specialize in pork soup bases and they do it well. I will be going back soon on a Saturday to try their Forest Fire ramen which is supposed to be outstanding.
Mrs. C and I went with a couple of friends to have the famous ramen of Kintaro. It was not what I expected. The restaurant was super-crowded, and full of steam from the giant vats of broth. After a few minutes, we were seated at the counter, and I kept trying not to sneeze, since there was nothing between my face and the vats except 2 feet of thin air...The place could have been cleaner, but I expect the condensation was rinsing everything (sort of).
We had a variety of ramen bowls, including pork with rich broth, pork with medium broth, vegetarian and cheese. We also tried the the appetizer bowl of pork chunks, the kimchee, and the gyoza. I thought the gyoza was terrific, and the pork chunks (leftovers from the stock pot) were a tasty meat treat. The kimchee was reported to be good, but I have no taste for it. As for the ramen, the noodles had a nice texture, but the broth was way too salty. The pork bits and bean sprouts in the broth were fine. The rest of the contents could not be readily identified.
Service was good throughout the meal, and I credit the servers with working hard to keep up with the orders and to survive in the congested, sauna-like environment. As for value, it wasn't expensive especially since our generous friend picked up the tab.
I am not sure if I will ever return, but for some perverse reason I want to try the cheese flavor, if my cholesterol level can withstand it.
Be sure to drink lots of water.
Food: While they do not have as many different types of soups as other Ramen places, the ones they have are favourful. I had the miso ramen and it was one of the best ones I've had. I especially like the noodle's texture and taste.
Service: Service was prompt and friendly. My water was filled out without having to ask, which was nice.
Value: The portion you get for the price is pretty filling for me. The cheese ramen often leaves me stuffed.
Ambiance: It's not the nicest looking place, but I think the decor fits with ramen experience.
Overall: While this is my favourite ramen place, I don't think it is head and shoulders above the others around the area that I would wait in the long line up it sometimes have if the alternatives don't require waiting. Luckily, the turnover is pretty quick and a lineup of a few people usually doesn't take very long.
Luckily, there were only a few folks lined up outside tonight when we went to kintaro. We went very hungry and ordered the gyozas and vegetable ramen (the regular version and the spicy garlic version).
The gyozas were served promptly and had thin skins that didn't fall apart. An order of gyozas only has 5 per order, which is just right for two hungry people.
The vegetable ramen is definitely filling and not thirst inducing salty like their regular BBQ pork ramen. They try to ram as much sprouts, asian cabbage, dried seaweed, etc. into the bowl. The ramen comes with a boiled egg, which isn't undercooked or salted. Normally, our ramen order would include extra noodle, but the large amount of veggies were more than adequate.
I had the spicy garlic version of the vegetable ramen and the potency of the garlic is just right. It tasted better with veggies than it does with the pork.
I would say it's pretty good.
- they actually use bone soup!
- fairly large portions (I've been to places where the give you a very fine slice of pork)
- you can choose lean or fatty pork
- you can choose light, medium or rich broth
- food comes quickly
- waitresses are efficient they start taking your orders in line and repeat back to you what you've ordered just to make sure
- if sitting at the bar you can watch them cook and there are at least 3 huge keg like pots of broth which are stirred quite often (I find it interesting to see them prepare the food)
- prices are low
- broth seems quite oily (particularly during the evening - so I prefer lunch hour)
- lean pork comes a bit tough for my liking
- there's a line to get in often
- you have to share tables with others and there is very little room to move about (although one could argue this is part of the atmosphere of a fast-paced ramen house)
- it's very noisy, as the waitresses and cooks will welcome you and bid you farewell
- small restaurant
- cramped bathroom
This is the go-to place for ramen in the Lower Mainland. Large bowls of wholesome goodness. Great noodles, great broth, great fatty chasu. Previous reviewers described the food and ambiance quite well so I don't have much to add. Last Saturday, we beat the pre-dinner rush and snagged three seats at the counter. A line ten deep quickly formed and I was impressed to see how quickly the queue moved. The waitresses scribbled down peoples' orders while they waited and once seated, their bowls of ramen were ready. It was cool seeing pure japanese efficiency at work. Polite and courteous service to boot. We were in and out in less than 30 minutes. Left very satisfied and can't wait to go back.
I just got back from japan about 6 months ago and I feel that this is just like it, GREAT!!!! There is nothing con about it. People were waiting outside the restaurant before it opened and it's exactly how it is in japan.
All the waiters and waitresses are either japanese or can speak japanese. The portions were HUGE!
The price is well worth it for the quality you get.
Little bar where you huddle and slurp your noodle is just like japan. I don't think it could get more authentic than this in Vancouver.
So i tried this place for the first time and i have to say wow, There gyozas are excellent and there miso ramen is damned good, now i noticed a previous review that said it was too oily? pfft... thats your own fault.. seeing as how you can pick the thickness of the broth rich, medium, light and if you want fat on the bbq pork (fat makes the ramen oily) Everything was pretty tasty. The only problem was we ate in and afterwards since the ramen bowl was huge! I asked for a take out container and they said they didnt have any.... a tad odd? I noticed the place was mostly asian which is usually a good sign.. but it was the first time (Me being caucasian) That i actually felt a little out of place and uncomfortable.. it seems if i wanted something extra they were out or couldnt accomodate me. Anyways food... good ramen bowls range from 7 - 7.95$ which is good value for what you get.. i honestly just felt a little pushed aside (seated right by the door on the furthest part of the counter when there were better tables) So anyways still great food... worth a try. Ambience was blah, value was solid.
Heard many good reviews about this place and since I had a ramen craving, I decided to visit it. There seems to be a perpetual line-up outside, but try to shoot for off-peak hours and you're pretty much guaranteed a seat within a few minutes.
Anyways, as the previous reviewer mentioned, this place is very reminiscent of a typical Ramen establishment in Japan - small, open kitchen, no air conditioning, and rubbing elbows with your neighbors. The menu is not exhausting - it only contains about 10 or so ramen bowls and some side dishes. I usually order Chasu Ramen, but my colleague highly recommended the CHEESE ramen (yes CHEESE Ramen), so I decided to give it a shot (you only live once!). I tried this bowl of Ramen with a lot of reservations as I couldn't imagine how cheese + noodles + soup really mix! Anyways, putting the question of whether the cheese ramen is authentic aside (I don't think it is), the bowl was extremely satisfying! I've had it 2 more times since my first try, so it actually does taste awesome and not just because my expectations were really low.
The verdict? Give the Good Ol' Cheese Ramen a try!
Food: It tastes pretty good. It is authentic and doesn't taste like Chinese ramen if you know what I mean. The texture of the noodles is very good. It's al dente like Italians say about their pasta. There's 3 big thick pieces of pork in the bowl. Meat is very tender. Unlike other cheapskate restaurants in this city, Kintaro is very generous when it comes to portion and toppings. The only thing I notice is that the broth can be greasier than ramen from other Japanese restaurants in major US cities. I always thought Japanese food is not greasy, at least that's what Japanese food is like in major US cities. Nevertheless, it's still yummy.
Service: They are polite. Service is fast enough.
Value: I only rated 3 because the seating situation is so bad. You will know why when you read the following.
Ambiance: Ugh! The store is very cramped. You either sit at the bar or share table with bunch of strangers. Talking about awkward. You better pray you don't sit next to some nosy jerks eavesdropping your conversation or rude weirdos staring at you like they never know what etiquette means.
Because the store is so small. They can only accommodate a few customers. As soon as you put down chopsticks, they give you a check hinting you to pay and leave ASAP. You certainly have to leave right away because there are bunch of customers standing there waiting. Sitting there for more than 2 minutes after putting down chopsticks will make you the public enemy. LOL!
I am never that kind of person who likes to hang out in the restaurant. I finish my meal and I leave. But being rushed and hurried to leave is kind of abusive. I don't think sitting there for extra 5 minutes after you finish you meal is asking too much. Frankly, I don't think anybody wants to sit in a dirty restaurant for too long. But you need to digest your food and drink some water or tea by sitting there for just a few minutes more, don't you?
The store is kind of dirty. It's cramped. And you have to share tables. That really makes dining experience unpleasant. It doesn't have the best location anyway. Kintaro Ramen is already famous. I don't see why they can't move to somewhere bigger and more comfortable. They can get a bigger room at the same price or cheaper since this location is not exactly a hot spot.
Will I come back?
If I am in the area and I don't have to wait in line.
Is it worthy waiting in line?
Not really. It tastes good but it's not so freaking good to makes you think it's crack. It's not "addictive" good. And the seating situation is very abusive. I would not line up and bend over backward for that.
Unlike major US cities with a lot of Japanese living there, Vancouver doesn't have big Japanese population and many Japanese restaurants operated by Japanese. In other words, there's not a lot of competition for Kintaro. It can easily rank as top 3 ramen in Vancouver.
i can heartfully agree that there are better ramen places. and the ramen prob isnt made in house. there isnt much to choose from on the menu. the noodles are big bowls loaded with lotsa noodles. like the option to pay for more veg and protein. dont like to fill up with carbo's. the key to good ramen besides the noodle is the broth. and great broth takes time. the broth here is good but not as good as in japan. the wait is silly sometimes and the place is somewhat unorganized. but i found the servers to always being polite and never rude. will go back again. but wish i knew of better noodle houses.
Okay, okay ... so this place definitely isn't the cleanest of places (definitely needs a good cleaning and a fresh coat of paint). But if you can get past the exterior and get right down to the nitty-gritty (the food !!) then you'll discover this place is probably the best place for ramen noodles.
We went here last night at about 9:30 and had to wait about 15 minutes before being seated as it was packed. On the suggestion of a friend and our server, we had the Miso Ramen with medium broth and chose fatty pork (next time we'll do lean as it was REALLY fatty) and added corn to the soup. We also ordered some kim chee and gyoza. The kim chee was nice and fresh (and not too killer hot like some of those Korean BBQ places). The gyoza took forever to come (we were almost done our soup when they arrived), but they were good as well.
Overall, the food was definitely worth the drive from North Burnaby. It totally hit the spot. The only thing is waiting in line to get in. Not too sure I'd want to do that on a cold evening as there is nowhere to stand but outside of the restaurant.
Been here a number of times and the ramen has yet to disappoint! As previous reviews mention, the broth *is* very fattening...I haven't managed to bring myself to try the "rich" soup because I probably would get too full 20% into my meal. My dining partner and I agree that the miso ramen is the tastiest on the menu, but the cold ramen is very refreshing in the hot summer months. The noodles are fresh tasting and never soggy. ;)
Service is okay. However, I think you get slightly faster service when you sit on the bar stools around the cooking area.
A lot of people would say that ambiance is poor because it does get really stuffy and hot [and if you sit in front of the stove you might smell a little noodly], and it's noisy. But considering the type of food that you're eating [think uber-casual, hearty stuff], and that the majority of people are there for fast, delicious eats at a terrific price, you really shouldn't be comparing the scene to really upscale places. So hence the 'decent' rating.
Nice place to eat after wandering all over Stanley Park all day long...and definitely student-budget friendly too!
Well folks, this joint has gone downhill in a hurry. A few years ago it was good, but after today's disaster we won't be back, and we'll be advising everyone we know to stay away. Here's the skinny:
My wife, 13-month old baby,and I arrived a few minutes before opening today (Aug.7/07). We dutifully took our place in line (there were about 5 or 6 people ahead of us) on a rainy Tuesday. A waitress came out and handed everyone menus, returning a few minutes later to take advance orders. The couple ahead of us were the last to order; the waitress inexplicably stopped there and returned inside (so why give us a menu in the first pleace?). It wasn't a good omen.
When the doors opened everyone took a seat and I immediately wondered how the staff would remember who was first in line.Sure enough, soon everyone had ordered, including a lot of people behind us in line before she came to our table (so what's the point in lining up?). My wife (she's Japanese) called the waitress over and told her that we hadn't ordered yet (meanwhile, some people were already getting served). She took our order and we waited, and waited, and waited. Everyone we were sharing the large table with in front now had food in front of them except us. 12:15 rolls by, then 12:30. WTF? Some people were now finished and leaving. Fed up,I asked my wife to again have a word with the idiot "managing" the floor (the same 20-something Japanese ESL student). My wife tore a strip off her (our baby was now getting fussy as well) and we got up to leave. It was now 12:40PM...we'd been waiting 40 mins.+ for a couple of bowls of soup and had only been given glasses of water, that's it. Remember, we about fifth in line. We stormed out and my wife again gave the waitress hell outside the restaurant. We got empty apologies. What a waste of time. Hungry and pissed off, we returned home.