I consider most of the ramen spots (Motomachi, Kintaro, Menya, and Benkei) in the city to be good but none of them blow me away. Ippudo is still my barometer for ramen, and nothing has come close to that.
A friend told me about a new spot on Robson called Santouka so I decided to check it out. Doing a bit of Internet research, Santouka is actually a ramen chain which has locations in Japan, California, HK and other cities in Asia.
We walked in on a Wednesday night and I was very surprised to find the place busy. Not bad for such a new restaurant. The atmosphere was nice, with a window spanning across the kitchen so I wouldn't get splattered by broth or more likely put in place so I can watch the cook making my bowl of soup. I really like being able to see the kitchen, it comforts me knowing that I can see the dude if he sneezes in my soup.
The menu was simple, showcasing a few different types of ramen (shiro, shoyu and tonkotsu). What really intrigued me was they have limited servings of pork jowl. They were already sold out but this is something I really want to go back and try. I ordered the shoyu ramen combo for $11.90 which came with a small ramen topped with fish cake, seaweed, kelp, 2 pieces of pork and green onions, a small bowl containing half a boiled egg and pickled cabbage and a side of bbq pork on rice.
So how did it taste? I really enjoyed the flavour of the shoyu (soya sauce) broth. I found it to be a touch rich with a slight earthy taste. It has been a while since I have been to Kintaro, or Motomachi but I think this broth is be better. The noodles which came out of a package were just okay to me.
Overall, this ramen spot stands up well with the competition. It sells for a similar price comparable to Menya, Benkei, Kintaro and has a great broth. I plan on returning to try the pork jowl.
Beware - Cash only
1690 Robson Street
Just up the street from Guu Garlic.
Oh if you want to watch something funny/stupid here is the trailer for Ramen Girl.