My vote for the best ramen restaurant in Vancouver would without a doubt go to Jinya Ramen Bar. The first time I tried Jinya, I was actually in Santa Monica, California, so when I found out that we had locations in Vancouver I was over the moon! As a disclaimer, I must note that I do not eat pork, so I’m unable to try a lot of the various ramen restaurants in the city. With that being said, I feel like I don’t need an alternative because the flavours, quality, and price of Jinya’s ramen all deserve praise.
Their newest location opened on Robson Street underneath the Telus Garden tower. It has such nice interior design, along with a full bar with seating. I highly recommend going for late-night ramen here (after 9pm) because that’s when the lights also go down inside and definitely sets the mood. I was here with a friend and we both thought it was like a restaurant straight out of New York City. Although we have cool bars, I have yet to go to a restaurant in this style that isn’t in the $$$$ price range. It also doesn’t hurt that this location is open until midnight – which is rare for anything in Vancouver.
The dishes I have tried so far:
Spicy Creamy Vegan Ramen ($13.80)
I tried this dish once because they had ran out of wontons for the Wonton Chicken Ramen. Since I am not vegan, it really just felt like I was sipping on vegetable soup with noodles, so it wasn’t anything special. However, my vegan friends love this dish and the various spices in it, so it’s their go-to.
Wonton Chicken Ramen ($14.80)
This is my favorite dish to order here. I haven’t seen this before at other ramen restaurants. The chicken is mixed with some green herbs and then folded into the wontons. Super delicious. I also think it leaves you feeling fuller than if you were to order the JINYA Chicken Ramen.
JINYA Chicken Ramen ($13.80) with spinach noodles (extra $2.00)
This dish is great to order with spinach noodles if your diet is gluten-free, or if you want a unique ramen experience. I don’t have a gluten-free diet, but I really enjoyed the spinach noodles and would definitely get it again. As for the chicken portion, there’s only 3 pieces and they’re quite small, so you’re mainly just eating noodles.
Takoyaki ($7.80 for 6 pieces)
Takoyaki is a Japanese street food that is sold in circular shapes. The interior has octopus, cheese, (and maybe other ingredients depending on the cook) and the exterior is a creamy flour mixture that is poured over and then cooked on a special pan in order to form the shape. I’ve had tons of takoyaki on my latest trip to Japan, and I am constantly missing it being on every corner. Although the flavour at Jinya is not identical, it is still very very good, and I will for sure get it again.
Verdict: I highly recommend trying out Jinya Ramen Bar. Although they have a location in Kerrisdale, I would advise to go to the new one on Robson Street to experience the super cool atmosphere after 9pm. If you have friends that are vegetarian or eat pork-free, this is a great place to fulfill everyone’s dietary needs – and have everyone enjoy the meal 🙂