Noodle Crazy? Ramen Pop-Up Restaurant in Gastown Draws a Crowd

Photo credit: Robert Banh

Photo credit: Robert Banh

Vancouver eaters (and restaurant staff) are aflutter about the ramen pop-up, No. 1 Noodle House, in the old Boneta space at 1 West Cordova in Gastown. The pop-up, which opened April 19, is targeting the late-night crowd, particularly restaurant staff looking for good food when they get off the line. So far, it’s attracting everyone and there seems to be enough room to handle the demand: unlike the tiny ramen shops in the West End, Vancouver’s go-to neighbourhood for ramen, the pop-up is large and can seat 75-90 people

No. 1 Noodle House has a mixed Asian fusion menu with ramen ($9.50) in varieties including spicy chicken and tonkotsu (pork broth), as well as banh mi, chicken wings, bao with fried chicken, pork spring rolls and more. Keeping in line with the budget-friendly nature of most ramen joints, everything is under $10.

No. 1 is another venture by Vancouver restaurateur Mark Brand (Sea Monstr, Boneta, Save On Meats, Portside Pub). Word around the food blogs (Scout Magazine; Vancity Buzz) has it that Brand is working with partners Matt MacDougall, Lindsay Lapierre, Tyrell Shaw and Alex Usow (Brand’s Sea Monstr Sushi partner).

It’s not easy to be Vancouver’s number one noodle house. In fact, it really depends whom you ask. Most Vancouver ramen joints are in the West End. Among the dozens of options, you’ll find fierce allegiance for Santouka on Robson (it also has locations in Japan and the U.S.), which always has a line. The favourite ramen there? Probably the miso with pork jowl. Other good ramen joints in the West End? Crowd-sourced opinion points to Motomachi Shokudo and Kintaro.

But head to Strathcona/Chinatown and you’ll find diners raving about Harvest market’s ramen menu, which has veggie options such as ramen with miso broth and squash, alongside ramen with pork shoulder, candied bacon, egg, and radish.

How does Vancouver’s ramen culture stack up when compared to other international cities? Will No. 1 Noodle House be our very own Momofuku? We have seven months of pop-up time to find out. If you’re interested in trying their stuff, No. 1 Noodle House is currently open daily from 6:30pm. Closing hours vary by day. Check the schedule on their Facebook page. Lunch service will begin next week.

In the meantime, who makes the best ramen in Vancouver? Help out by commenting below.

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8 Responses to Noodle Crazy? Ramen Pop-Up Restaurant in Gastown Draws a Crowd

  1. Revilo

    I’ll bet the ramen will be “momofuk’n” good!

  2. Owen

    Went there last night. All the food was great.

    Heads up, until they get their card systems up it is cash only.

  3. Thanks for the intel, Owen. Good to know.

  4. Haven’t tried it yet, but I find the whole concept of pop-up restaurants really ingenious. It’s a good way to promote yourself, and give your guests a different experience. The idea of pop-up restaurants isn’t entirely new, but I like the fact that is being transformed and designed in a way that works well with today’s lifestyle and the technology.

  5. Moogs

    I’m not sure why Benkei Ramen on Robson near Denman is not better patronized. The interior decor’s right out of an eatery in Japan – a lot better atmosphere than the nuts-and-bolts interior of it’s much more popular neighbour, Kintaro. And the ramen is pretty good. Just wish the soup was served at Japanese temperatures (i.e. next-to-scalding hot).

  6. John J

    “No. 1 Noodle House” – what a lame name

  7. Ramen Snob

    Service was great. Friendly and fast. Cash only was a surprise but not a big deal. I tried to order the tonkotsu ramen but they were out. So I ordered the spicy chicken ramen. The noodles were perfectly cooked but the broth had no flavour other than spicy. The waitress said that some people find the tonkotsu ramen broth too heavy and so the spicy chicken broth was the alternative. If she meant the bland no-taste alternative then why even order ramen at all? Price for Gastown was reasonable and the atmosphere was fun and really smartly done. I’d go back to try the pork broth but they even used chicken breast when chicken thighs have way more flavour.

  8. The noodles were perfectly cooked but the broth had no flavour other than spicy. The waitress said that some people find the tonkotsu ramen broth too heavy and so the spicy chicken broth was the alternative.

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