Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is a ramen house on Robson Street offering many different types of the popular Japanese soup ranging from $9 - $11 per bowl.
Ambiance: Feels like a neighbourhood Ramen joint in Japan. Busy, small crowded, noisy. Heck.. It is a Ramen place. What do you expect?? I just expect authenticity and cleanliness. They have both.
Service: They take your order, bring your drinks and food, and cheque when you are all done. Don't ask for substitution, vegetarian broth, or any special option such as wheat-free and allergen-free items. Don't expect them to accommodate any large party than 4 people. Do expect to eat right next to a complete stranger. It is just a Ramen place. It is meant to be that way. Just leave 8~10% tip.
Food: The richest and creamiest, yet the cleanest, broth in Vancouver. Unlike some of other restaurants (for example Kintaro), they are able to control undesirable porky odour in broth and bring out sweetness and richness. All garnishes are done right, except the eggs which are always over-cooked. Portion size is just right, too.
I really like this place because this is one of very few Asian cuisine restaurant with a open kitchen who puts some emphasis on sanitation and cleanliness.
There are few ramen restaurants in downtown area, but the one that stood out the most over this past year is Santouka Ramen at Robson Street. Last Friday, after a long snowboarding trip, my friends and I were tired. We decided to go to Santouka Ramen to have a nice bowl of hot soup and noodles. From the first spoon of soup, until the last drop of soup, we were amazed by how delicious the food was. The service was average, they could improve the way they handle customers during busy times. It was pretty loud inside the restaurant but I think that it fits the culture of casual Japanese restaurant. Overall, it should be on everyone’s “must try” restaurant list
by the portions. My friends and I were debating whether or not to try this place because the bowls in the window looked small. Needless to say we were surprised that we were full regardless.
- Lots of toppings, they put it in a separate dish
- you can get a combo with bonito flakes on rice
- lots of choices, a lot of ramen places have a one page menu (granted double sided)
- you can get different kinds of meat
- very tasty (I had shoyru ramen)
- it's expensive
- there's a line to get in a lot of the time
- shared tables and limited room to yourself
- my friend's MISO ramen tasted like Chinese chicken chow mein.....? and her noodles were visibly overcooked
I have to say that the ramen was really good. The broth was excellent ( I never drink the broth from any noodle dish ) but I found myself sipping spoonful after spoonful even though I had slurped down all the noodles. My only diss is their really silly line up system. It wouldn't kill them to put up a sign or something. I was "guilty" of asking one of the servers to put my name down assuming there was a list. Instead I rudely told to just "line up we don't take down names". I would go again but only if there wasn't a line up. People complain that portions were small but for the quality I felt I got good decent value. Gyoza's my friend order was burnt but I didn't want to eat that stuff anyways.
After being disappointed for the last time at Benkei, I vowed to look for a new ramen place. My search took me to Santouka. My boyfriend and I were happy that we tried it. The broth was rich and tasty, the noodles were good, the sides were great, the variety of things on the menu made me want to come back for more. I'm lucky I didn't have to wait long, we chose to go after peak hours and were seated promptly. We will definitely come back.
I already have a favourite ramen place, but there are too many positive reviews about Santouka that I had to try. First, the wait was 25 mins, then they forgot our side orders. We reminded them and so received them half way through our meal. The pork jowl was good, but after 3 bites, the soup was too salty for me to finish. My ramen alone was $14 - not worth the price!
Yesterday was my first visit to this brand new Ramen Noodle Place, still few days ahead of Grand New Opening. The interior was nice contemporary looking with Open Kitchen. Waitresses were well mannered.
I ordered "Shio(Salt)" as it was recommended by the waitress. I was skeptical about her recommendation because this restaurant uses Pork Born Broth and "Shio" can be very stinky if they dont make good soup.
My husband ordered "Miso (Japanese Bean Paste)" and our friend ordered "Kara Miso(Spicy Miso)".
It didn't take long to be served. I tried a scoop of soup first. OMG! It didn't stink at all. It's actually mild and flavorful. The noodle was perfectly Al dente. I tasted the Miso too but My "Shio" was the Best.
I was also impressed the waitress opened the door for greeting when we were leaving.
Tokyo is famous for Good Ramen but I no longer need to go back to Tokyo for Having Good Quality Ramen. I really hope they will maintain this high quality.
I love Vancouver! Thank you "Santouka".
This restaurant has the highest minimum order charge I have seen, and I have not seen min charge at Japanese restaurants! not even Izakaya or Ebisu, Yoshi higher-end restaurants. Each person has to order $7.95 of items!
The small bowl of rice was 4 dollars with only came with plain steamed rice with a few pieces of salmon which I can simply make by myself! The ramen was rather oily and salty and there was NO chewyness in the noodles. My homemade instant noodles tasted way better!
The portion and value was horrible too: Each regular ramen came with only TWO pieces of pork and 2 pieces of bamboo shoots? The side was only half of an egg and 2 pieces of pickles?! And the combo was $12?? The service was bad too as they had all kinds of restrictions for splitting bills like 2 out of 5 can pay on a separate bill and the others have to pay debit?
Don't even get me started on their English skills! I just don't understand why there are so many people line up for things like this. I will NEVER be back or that reminds me why I never eat ramen.
there were several places that offered chinese noodles and broth on the way here but this one had the lineup so we figured they are the best because my friends had tried about the new chinese soup broth noodle invasion. So the customers and all staff were chinese (and the lineup too) so that smelled authenticity. It was fairly cheap at average of $12 per bowl and the bowls were big but if you really think about it some soup and bamboo and 2 thin slices of pork at $12 is a big deal. Service was scattered so was our tip haha
I was walking by meeting my honey and walked in because of the lineup and busyness. They told me food is Roman and is noodles. I am not Italian but OK so I had a Roman. Roman I guess is Roman because noodles is Italian. Anyway it was in broth with some veggies and meat and cost me $12. Expensive for noodles in broth and not much meat if you ask me
i've been to many ramen places in Van, but this is the worst i've ever had! i was so looking forward to the ramen since they have so many good reviews, but i'm so disappointed! the soup base and the pork are ok, but the ramen is so bad! even instant noodles can do better than this! the ramen has no texture at all!
the service is bad too. it was not busy and no long line up the night when i went there. when i was ready to order and waved to get the waitress to come over to take my order, they totally ignored me. they are totally not paying attention to the customers. i really wonder how come they can have so many good reviews with this kind of food and service and PRICEY, totally not worth it!
I WILL NOT COME BACK AGAIN!
Finally got to trying out this new Hokkaido Ramen chain store in Vancouver. There were quite a few people ahead of us, but the wait wasn't too long. Maybe about 10 - 15 minutes on a busy friday night. I wish they would be more aware of who's coming in, because they don't come by and take down your name and party size. You stand in line, but due to the tight space constraints, some people sit on the seats by the glass while the others stand by the counter, and it mixes up the order in which people came in. People are generally honest about when they came in, but I can see conflicts arising if people aren't more aware of who's with who. They do take down your party size once you're first and second in line for open seats, but they don't take down names.
We sat at the bar and I got the special spicy pork jowl ramen. They serve the meat slices on a side place with some pickled pieces. There were 5 or 6 slices and you can eat them on the side or put them in your broth. The broth was pretty good. A nice comfortable level of spicyness with a full bodied miso base. The Hokkaido style noodles are good too. They are different from other ramen noodles though, and if you're picky, you may not like them as much. They have a slightly spongy characteristic to them, but I found the softer texture held onto the soup flavours a little more. The pork meat was very flavourful and tender. Probably one of the best pork cuts I've had at a ramen place. The jowl doesn't have the gelatinous fat stripes like the traditional chashu, but it is just as tasty, if not more.
The restaurant has a modern dark wood interior and goes on quite deep. You can't tell how big it is from the outside. They have one large communal table at the front left. Because all the seats are stools, you can't hang your jacket anywhere. They do have these large square cubbies where you can put them, but I keep my phone and wallet in my jacket so I just kept it on. Plus the cubbies were behind a table and it would of been tight to go in and out of that area. Also they had no hooks for women's bags or purses at the counter.
If you like ramen, I would definitely recommend that you try this place at least once. Also, be aware that it is a cash or debit only place.
So I heard about this highly raved Ramen joint last month and I've been wanting to check it out but apparently they closed down for a few weeks due to some technical issues so I was left craving it for a while until I heard they re-opened recently and I had the chance to try it out a few days ago!
The ramen was awesome, I ordered the combo with the Ikura Don + Kara (Spicy) Miso which was just the right flavour as I know I can't take too spicy but this was just right! I also ordered a side dish of the pork jowl which was extremely tender and soft, delicious dipped in the soup! The noodles were just slightly overcooked but I think I'm nitpicking at this point. The Ikura don was what I expected, complemented the ramen really well. I also stole a piece of gyoze from my buddy and it was crispy yet juicy, which means it's good!
The service was very typical ramen shop-ish, they take your order and they leave you alone with a glass of water and a jug for self refill. They forgot about my pork jowl so I had to remind them about it, then I had to let my ramen sit for a bit while I waited for my meat (which could possibly explain the slightly soggy noodles)
The price, well it is a little bit more than pretty much every other ramen store in all of Vancouver but I guess they were trying to push out top quality noodle bowls, which still doesn't justify $14 for a noodle and small bowl of rice & fish eggs. My bill came out to just over $20 with tip which I felt was pretty expensive for this sort of meal, but I still gotta admit it's by far the best noodle I've had in this city. You also pay for the atmosphere because the place cosmetically looks way nicer than all the other ramen shops although you lose the traditional rustic feeling you get in grimier shops.