Benkei Ramen has a few locations around Vancouver. This particular location in Kitsilano (W. Broadway & Trutch), is a a bright, warm and inviting restaurant. The wood-toned decor creates a comforting dining experience, especially on cold and dreary days. Nothing beats a hot bowl of soup and warm atmosphere on rainy Vancouver evenings.
I ordered the Miso Ramen ($7.30) – Hokkaido-style ramen made with a rich chicken and pork broth, cooked with their special miso sauce. Served with bamboo shoots, green onions, and bean sprouts. The dish had a delicious aroma, with slightly tangy, robust, full-bodied flavors, and the miso gave it a nice saltiness which complemented well with the hearty soup. Two pieces of pork are served with each bowl of ramen. I was pleasantly surprised that the pork wasn’t all fat plus a teeny slice of meat, like other ramen offerings around town. I know some people enjoy munching on chunks of lard, I however do not 😉
Luckily for us, that particular Thursday evening just happened to be their anniversary. So of course they were offering customers an “anniversary special”: choose two free toppings to add to your ramen bowl. I chose the spinach and boiled egg toppings. The spinach was cooked perfectly, allowing its bright green colour to shine through. My boiled egg was cooked hard on the outside while remaining soft in the middle – this made for an interesting texture that I quite enjoyed.
Shio Ramen ($6.95) – Shio or “salt” ramen has a pale yellowish broth and they claim this Fukuoka-style ramen contains collagen and calcium derived from its pork bone soup. Served with bamboo shoots, green onions, and bean sprouts. Gary opted for corn and a half of a boiled egg as his complimentary extra toppings. Lovely, slightly chewy and substantial ramen noodles were served in both dishes.
Side of five pieces of Pork Gyoza ($3.50) with dipping sauce. We felt that this side dish was well sized for its price. The gyozas were fried nicely, giving them a crispy texture on the outside and ample pork inside.
Service was excellent at this Kits Benkei Ramen location. Better than the service we’ve had at similar ramen joints. You know the kind that rushes you to order, then rushes you out so they can keep the turnover high? We didn’t experience any of that at this restaurant. The general atmosphere was also a lot more laid back. Our server was welcoming, friendly and efficient – what more could you ask for?
Tip: follow them on Twitter (@BenkeiTweet) to receive special deals. Previous tweets were: “bring an action figure and receive extra noodles!” and “Wear a watch on both wrists and receive two extra stamps on your Benkei Ramen card!”
Overall, Benkei is a super cleanly restaurant serving up deliciously tasty ramen and offering great service in Kits! We’ll definitely be back for more 🙂