While downtown for some Christmas shopping, I decided to stop in at Gyoza Bar, prompted by the extensive social media hype. I arrived on a weekend afternoon and found the place rather quiet. Being alone, I was seated at the bar.
I ordered the small version of the “umami lunch duo”, consisting of small bowl of their tonkatsu ramen and a cast iron skillet of gyoza.
The ramen arrived first.
This was a modest sized bowl of fresh house made ramen noodles in a tamari-shoyu broth, garnished with nori sheets and thin slices of pork “char siu”. This is a pretty good bowl of noodles. I liked the al dente noodles, they are decidedly thinner than the noodles in most ramen places. The broth is rich and very savory. The pork is wonderfully tender with some decent pork flavor.
The gyoza arrived quickly afterwards.
This is seven small dumplings filled with minced seasoned pork, seared on one side in a cast iron skillet, and served with a pair of dipping sauces (one soy based, the other a spicy garlic soy). These are good gyoza. The dumpling wrappers are thin but strong enough to stand up to the skillet fry. The pork is fresh and savory, with enough texture to give a good chew. The dipping sauces are pretty good; I like the spicy garlic soy sauce more.
The room is open and airy and feels surprisingly warm, probably because of the use of brick, stone and wood.
The service was very good. It was friendly and warm, and more attentive than I expect from a ramen house.
The price is a fair bit more than most ramen joints, but this is the Aburi Restaurant group (which includes Miku in Coal Harbour and Minami in Yaletown), which are higher end places. I expected a more refined restaurant, and that’s what Gyoza Bar is.