“I’m Top chef, you’re top ramen, I’m top shelf”

This post will be a combination of two different locations! This will feature Santouka, a ramen restaurant that is world wide. The first one I went to was in Vancouver, Canada. This past spring, one opened in Bellevue!

Atmosphere: Vancouver – It’s on a pretty busy street downtown. There’s a large table near the front that’s for community seating. There’s some seats wrapping the bar/kitchen and more tables in the back.
Bellevue – Also in downtown Bellevue. The decor here is much more modern and I feel like there is probably as much or maybe less seating at this restaurant. For the first few weeks of opening, there’s a line that forms outside of the restaurant and what’s interesting is that there is a sign saying there’s a max capacity of 48. That seems so little!

Pricing: Same average price of ~$11-12 for a normal size and you can get a smaller bowl for $1 less and a large bowl for $1 more. I added a soft boiled egg for an extra $2, which is a lot more than I would have wanted to pay.

Service: Pretty average in Vancouver. In Bellevue, they mixed up my friend’s order (but this was a couple weeks after opening so that’s understandable).

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Vancouver – Tonkotsu shio ramen! This was probably the best tasting ramen I’ve ever had (or that I was really hungry). The char siu was SOOOO tender and literally melted in my mouth. I added the soft boiled egg for extra. SO good.

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Vancouver – The second time I went to Vancouver, I had to stop by again. This time, I got gyoza along with my order. This was the tonkotsu miso ramen!

IMG_3654Bellevue – Tonkotsu miso ramen along with my $2 soft boiled egg. This serving platter is a staple of Bellevue’s compared to Vancouver’s. I just wish the egg was cut in half for me.

Overall: Vancouver is still by far much better than Bellevue, despite being the same chain. I’m not sure if it’s because Bellevue is still new and working out the kinks, but I prefer Vancouver. I have yet to visit Bellevue again after everything has settled down, but I definitely will give it another try. They also now have happy hour from 3-5p. There are a couple of other ramen places in Bellevue so I will be sure to try those before finding my favorite in the area.

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