Kintaro is a ramen noodle house in the West End.
Every time i feel like eating noodles i go to Kintaro. Although there is usually a line it's worth the wait. The noodles are fresh and tasty, -miso vegetable is my favorite, the portions are huge, and the prices are fair. The service is usually prompt and my water glass has never gone empty.
As the title says, I think Kintaro has the best ramen ever! While Ezogiku(?) is decent, their soup and noodles don't begin to compare to Kintaro's. The noodles here are nice and springy, but not overly chewy nor soggy. The soup is to die for, though you really can't have it more than once a month or you'd really probably die of cholestrol. I would suggest the medium and the fatty pork, as it seems like a relatively good (though it is still a lot) amount of fat. The cheese ramen is pretty cool, but something that I think only need to be tried once. The regular noodles are just as good and cheaper. Though the portions are good, if you really hungry, you might not be totally full afterwards.
In short, every bowl I've had here has been a good one. The tonkotsu soup base is greasy and salty but very flavourful (not for dieters!). There is also a choice of shio (salty) or shoyu (soy sauce) base if you get certain other types of ramen. And if you're lucky to sit at the counter, you can watch the chefs put together what you ordered. The service is quick and no frills, but that's normal if you're in an authentic Japanese ramen place like this. Line-ups are always long, but worth the wait -- even in the winter.
I really enjoy going this place for Ramen. Their portion size is reasonable and have a good price. lots of line-ups are exoected, but worth waiting! I heard it's one of those authentic ramen places you can find in Vancouver.
We've been going to Kintaro every 2-3 weeks for few months now. As other people pointed out noodles were outstanding and personalities of their cooks/chefs outweighted nagging feeling of place being somewhat .. err .. dirty.
Went there today and it was the first time in my life when I was served "ramen al dente", which is a fancy way of saying UNDERCOOKED NOODLES.
Apparently they opened a new location in Richmond and slightly updated this one (ie repainted the walls, but decided to keep hairy lumps of dust on the ceiling). I would guess that guys that cooked there before are in Richmond now, which is too bad, because this was a good eatery. Oh, well.
I had been dying to go to this place for awhile but the long lines had always turned me off. We finally went the other day and man, I wished someone had told me that with my healthy eating habits, I should get the "light" soup. Got the "medium" and even that was too heavy for me. At least they give you an option, so I know next time... if there is a next time.
My girlfriend and I are regulars at this place, we go there at least once almost every other week. Definetely the very best Ramen of Vancouver! We just came back from a trip to Japan and tried their ramen there. When we got back, all we did was crave for the Ramen at Kintaro. The Miso Ramen was what got me hooked the very first time, I recommend this one for first-timers. Shoyo, Shio and the Cheese Ramens are also our favorites.
My husband and I came in just around 6 pm on Sat. The place was packed - one of the waitress came over and gave us a menu so that she could place our order in line already. Luckily we got seated in 5 min. and after another 5 min., our order started to come in.
Gyoza: average Japanese gyoza - tastes just like back home. Garlicky and crisp bottom.
Ramen: my choice - Miso (middle richness and lean pork)
my hubby's - Cheese! (middle richness and lean pork)
Ohhhhhh it was authentic. Great broth. You can't duplicate this at home. The broth was Tonkotsu-based, I believe, and very rich to me who grew up in Kansai (West mainland Japan). Lots of noodles, pork, and veg. Much more satisfying than ramen I had elsewhere (incl. in Japan). For Cheese Ramen, he liked it, but perhaps for novelty only. We both enjoyed broth a lot but didn't finish because it was just too rich.
By the time we finish, the line-up outside was long. The bill came to $23. Will definitely return.
The decor isn't anything special, but its highly entertaining watching the pork boil away in huge stockpots and the cooks pulling noodles out of the highly efficient pasta bath.
The entire set-up is highly efficient as a matter of fact. Boiled pork serves as the base for the stock, and then mixed with miso/shoyu/whatever plus some pork and vegetables. Basic, tasty ramen.
Service is friendly and cute.
I personally think the ramen here is delicious. The broth is simple (and salty), but combined with the fatty-melt-in-your-mouth pork and spot-on noodles it ends up being mouth-watering delicious every time.
A great place for a quick bite to eat, and an even better place to take out of town visitors for a unique taste of Vancouver.
This is my favourite restaurant in Vancouver. The broth is always extremely flavourful, and the noodles are always perfect. Other restaurants seem to use more filler items (bean sprouts, cabbage) but Kintaro doesn't overdo it. Just the good stuff. It is easily the best Ramen I've had, and I am comparing it to Ramen in HK and to a lesser extent, in Vancouver.
Service has always been fast. Generally we are in and out in a half hour and we have never been ignored by their servers. Two can eat easily for under $20 incl. tax + tip and you should get filled up quite nicely.
The only downside is going in on a hot day. That place gets to be a sauna. The decor is pretty plain, and it can be noisy when it's busy (which is always), but who cares about that when the food and your companion are so wonderful.
After the renovation, the big hiatus of Kintaro, I finally have time to go and enjoy a bowl of my favorite Japanese Noodle Soup. I was there on a Wednesday night, 7 o'clock 'ish. I was seated at the bar seats where the chefs are. I ordered a BBQ Pork Ramen with Rich Miso Base Broth. After a 10 minutes wait I got my share of the noodles. The first glance into my bowl gave me a "where's my meal?" impression. I mean I am use to the old potions they gave us. Anyhow, I dig in and try the soup, "oh my!" I thought, the soup is warmish, close to cold. Due to the temperature of the soup, the pork fat is now solidifying on top of my soup and it's not a pretty sight. I also gave a bite and try out the pork and "yes", it is cold also. The only thing hot is my noodle. Anyhow I quickly finished it and ask for my bill, it was $10.44 and with a little bit of tips it'a around $13. Well, I don't think I would go back there for awhile until somebody is telling me that they are back to their normal Kintaro-self.
P.S. I had a bad tummy that night.
The ramen and the soup base is very unique and tasty. Probably best in the city. BUT the line up is usually brutal, sitting is very limited and sometimes you have to share a table with strangers. i usually equate ramen with affordable cheap food, but this is not the case, b/c Each bowl of ramen is around 10 bux. In addition, can the bathroom be any smaller?
I have been to Kintaro many times and consistently get huge portions of delicious ramen. I don't really understand why other reviewers find it fatty because you can pick how rich (or not) you want your broth. I always order the miso ramen and am never disappointed! If I had to choose one flaw, though, it would be nice to get a bit more pork. Generally you get 3-4 pieces in your huge bowl.
Service is quick and to the point. I don't mind getting the bill brought to my table while I'm still finishing - there are always huge lineups and I don't feel rushed, but I'm happy to give someone else my table as soon as I'm done. It's a small, cramped space that gets pretty warm/steamy inside, so it's not the type of place I like to linger...I go for the ramen, and the ramen only!
This place is packed, even late at night. Line-ups go out the door, so there's usually a 10-15 minute wait period until you get a table. There are 2 other ramen places nearby so based on the popularity, this must be the best. I've tried the shio and shoyu ramen, and shio definitely wins as my favourite. The boiled egg is so tasty...I really wonder what they marinate it in. I've had medium and fatty broth. I wouldn't get fatty broth every again because I was surprised at the amount of floating fat balls I had. In one spoonful of soup, there'd be about 15 fat blobs floating. There isn't much ramen in each bowl, but something about it makes it so filling. I don't know if it's because it's made of egg. I can usually only eat 1/2-3/4 of my bowl. The pork is excellent..probably the best pork I've eaten. The fatty pork is rich and tastes the best. Definitely recommend the place, but don't go there so often unless you want clogged arteries.
I have yet to find a better ramen place in Vancouver than Kintaro. It's usually packed, and anything more than three people in a party is usually a lost cause (I managed to sneak four in once), but this place is cheap and it's great. I usually have the cheese ramen, which is incredibly rich and not health food by any stretch of the imagination.
The ambiance is pretty good for a little hole-in-the-wall place, what with all the cooking going on right out in front. Sitting at the bar and watching them dish up your ramen is especially entertaining and I recommend it for first-timers. Service is quick and friendly, and I'm always kind of amazed that a couple of waitresses can keep up with the pace as efficiently as they do.
Mmmmm ... I still have that yummy-in-my-tummy feeling from the soup that I had last night from this place. The broth is wonderful - you can tell that they've been making it all day/night. It has such a rich flavor. I ordered the cheese ramen as everybody had been raving about it on this site and I must say that it did not disappoint! A bit too much cheese for my liking (so I gave half the cheese tower to my dinner companion), but it was ooey-gooey good! I see that they've repainted in there, so it looks a bit brighter than it did the last time I visited. On a cold day, this is the best soup to warm you up and leave feeling warm, fuzzy and full!
Came here on a Thursday night w/ my boyfriend and we were sat at the bar in front of the chefs, which was fine with me. It was interesting watching the 2 chefs work (well) and interact with each other. Waitresses were welcoming and I loved that they yelled out greetings and thanks/bye to all the customers who came and went.
We both had the medium miso with lean pork, and shared a plate of gyoza. Though the flavors, portions and ingredients were really good, I have to wonder if they use lots of MSG or something. I felt SO thirsty the entire night after leaving the restaurant! Still, the flavors will have me coming back again, at least once more.
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.
I had the medium miso soup with fat pork yesterday. The soup base was rich, but not greasy or oily tasting. The fatty pork was delicious, very tender and flavorful, but I wish they gave more than 1 piece. The noodles were also very good; got a little bit of chew to them.
The place itself isn't anything great to look at (but i'm not expecting a fancy restaurant; its basically a noodle shop). I was with 3 other friends and other than the 1 big table at the front of the restaurant, there weren't any big tables, only tables for 2 and the bar stools. I've read complaints about the smell of the restaurant, but I thought the smell made my mouth water; gives the place a very homey feel.
Perfect place to grab a very satisfying meal on a cold, rainy day.
For Vancouver, Kintaro is far and beyond any ramen shop in Vancouver. (All the other ones are terrible and taste like instant noodles). The miso ramen is excellent and you must get the fatty pork. (The lean stuff is just no good.) I have never had a problem with the service, as some other reviewers have mentioned.
Unfortunately, after my trip from Japan, I was made to realize that Kintaro's ramen is below average in Japanese standards. (If you get a chance to go to Japan, eat their ramen... utterly amazing in every aspect.)