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Feb 26, 2010 02:48 PM

Hokkaido-style Santuoka Ramen is open (Vancouver)

Hokkaido style ramen from a well respected Japanese chain They have a few shops in the US, but this is Vancouver's first shop. It is located near Guu with Garlic on Robson.

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  1. Looking forward to this ramen-ya. Even with all the olympic crowds in downtown, sounds like it's near empty at this end of Robson.

    1. I checked this place yesterday! Great stuff! We got there shortly before 2pm on Saturday. Their official grand opening was on March 5 and they had this promotion where the first 100 customers got free ramen. Anyways, their free ramen tickets were already given away by the time we got there. The place was really busy and we had to wait about 20 minutes for a table. I got the combo where you get a small serving of ramen (your choice of either shio, shoyu or miso), a small side dish of cabbage and 1/2 egg and a small bowl of rice with a topping of your choice (one of them was ikura, which I got). My wife got the spicy miso ramen which was intensely rich and spicy. Impressive stuff. We both ordered our noodles "firm", but the staff there probably didn't understand the word "firm" so tried to explain "hard" instead of "soft". I think that did the trick. I'll have to find out the proper japanese word for ordering your noodles firm. If you really like your noodles on the firm side, don't be afraid to ask for them to be done firm! I've also ordered ramen this way with much success at the new Benkei on Thurlow.

      Pics attached. Hope you get a chance to try out this place! A little pricier then most ramen places (especially if you get one of the combos) but completely worth it!

      3 Replies
      1. re: flowbee

        Ahh, answer to my question on ordering noodles firm:

        And also more pics.

        1. re: flowbee

          Thanks for the early report flowbee.

        2. On a related note, Benkei is continuing their aggressive expansion. I saw signs on the window of their new Thurlow location that they're opening up locations on West Broadway (about 2000 or 3000 block, memory is sketchy) and East 5th near Cambie... I should've taken a picture of the signs but we were in a hurry to get to Santouka!

          8 Replies
          1. re: flowbee

            Here is a pic from their Thurlow location...

            1. re: fmed

              I also popped into Santouka this weekend. Saturday's beautiful weather + noodles + fatty pork products... oh, Vancouver, everytime i think i'm through with you, you suck me back in!

              J and i both ordered the same thing, the Toroniku Spicy Miso Ramen (that would be the bbq pork cheek). Pork jowls became an obsession of mine last year - what with guanciale popping up at Oyama and on several menus in town, and of course cachete tacos - if there's one problem i have with bacon, it's that it just isn't fatty enough! Also, the menu states that their toroniku is "special. first come, first serve", and i'm a huge sucker for scarcity marketing ploys... They did not disappoint. The broth was served just on the edge of tongue-scaldingly hot, the noodles were perfectly cooked for me, and the pork was melting and plentiful. I will definitely be back - apparently Robson did need another ramen place.

              A few notes. They have a $7.95/person minimum, which they enforce even when the restaurant is nearly empty (i was indeed turned away earlier when i just wanted a $4 snack and there were only three people in the restaurant at 3pm on a weekday). They will be offering the tsukemen (cold noodles served with hot soup for dipping) - probably when the weather warms up. Also, they have both super- and mini- size ramen available for +/- $1 - which i have wished for as an option at ramen places, though it's unlikely i will ever have the restraint to actually order a small ramen...

              1. re: NoMoreSnuggles

                I also got the Toroniku Spicy Miso Ramen. Totally with NoMoreSnuggles on this. Glad to get one of the last orders of the pork jowl this evening, and for a Monday eve. it was busy. The pork was velvety, and not as fatty as the chau siu side order at Motomachi (whether that's good or bad is up to you).

                Had to wait a bit for the menu while at the communal table, but afterwards the servers were very attentive. Chatted with a couple from Bellingham who just came up for the day to eat ramen; I think they just hit Kintaro before Santuoka. Kudos to them! The resto will soon get much needed beers.

                1. re: el_lobo_solo

                  The Toroniku Shio Ramen is a fantastic ramen. Delicious, milky broth. Unctuous without feeling fatty at all. The pork cheeks were tender. Just amazing.

            2. re: flowbee

              I went by the new Benkei on West Broadway yesterday. The awning is up but there is lots to do inside still so I'm guessing we're still weeks away from tasty ramen within walking distance. It will be located btwn Silk and Spice and Andale's on the north side of Broadway's 3200 block. Can't wait!

              1. re: grayelf

                I went to the E 5th Benkei which was open and when I queried someone who appeared to be a manager or owner, he indicated 2-3 weeks until the West Broadway location is open.

                1. re: farman

                  Thanks, farman, I have now diarized this which is probably an indication that I need to get a life :-).

              2. re: flowbee

                E. 5th Benkei looks ready to open in less than 2 weeks. I passed by and took a peek inside and the interiors look pretty done. They have furniture in but it looks like they're just doing some tweaking with the kitchen.

                I've been trying to visit Santuoka Ramen for like 2 weeks and every time i go its an impossible line up! (mind you its ussually either friday or sat night)

              3. FYI Santouka is closed for a week for some reason. Something not up-to-code, possibly?