Where to Find the Best Ramen in the West End

Six neighbourhood gems with the slurp-worthiest soup .

Sure, it’s not currently snowing—and if we’re being technical, winter doesn’t actually begin until December 21—but when it gets dark at 4 p.m., I’m not looking for something bright and crunchy to soothe my chilly bones. No, it’s cold, it’s foggy and I just spent the last hour and a half fiddling with the world’s most finicky holiday lights. It can only mean one thing: it’s ramen season, baby.

I’m not talking about the stuff in Styrofoam—though, no hate, it has a permanent place in my heart—today we’re diving into the West End’s best bowls of deeply flavourful umami broth, perfectly springy noodles, and the toppings of your choice.

Ramen Danbo

Two bowls of tonkotsu ramen topped with chashu and soft boiled eggs.
Credit: @Ramendanbo_Ca

I might be biased because Danbo is my mid-week go-to ramen joint, but their rich pork broth and always-bouncy noodles are worth braving the ever-present queue (and probable rain) on Robson. My current hyper-fixation order is the negi-goma, which comes with Danbo’s signature tonkotsu broth, sesame oil, roasted sesame seeds, braised pork, and an overflowing portion of fresh scallions.


Address: 1333 Robson St.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily


Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Bowl of spicy miso ramen topped with chashu, bamboo shoots, scallions and wood ear mushrooms.
Credit: @Ramen_santouka_robson

A chain that originally started in Hokkaido, Japan, the aptly named Hokkaido Ramen Santouka is known for its shio ramen—a white tonkotsu broth that manages to walk the line between richness and subtlety with skill. Though my favorite option is their spicy miso ramen, which boasts three kinds of chilies and a secret recipe. Their toppings include pork belly, green onion, bamboo shoots, umebushi, black mushrooms and sesame seeds.


Address: 1690 Robson St.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily

Maruhachi Ra-men

Ramen topped with chashu and two soft boiled eggs
Credit: @Maruhachi_canada

Maruhachi Ra-men, formerly known as Marutuma, serves up steaming bowls tori-paitan—a chicken broth-based ramen that has distinctly creamy quality. You can’t go wrong with any of its poultry-forward options, but I’m partial to the aka ramen whose broth is bolstered by ground nuts and chili. Topped with pork shoulder chashu, seaweed, green onion, cilantro, bean sprout namuru and lemon, this bowl brings layers of flavor that are truly addicting. Pro-tip for those who like to yolk it up: Maruhachi has some of the best ramen eggs in the game.


Address: 780 Bidwell St.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday



Bowl of Shoyu ramen
Credit: @Kintaro_vancouver

Tucked away on Denmen in a best-kept secret kind of way, Kintaro is known for its choose-your-own-adventure-style ramen. Sure, it’s not the only shop that offers this, but here, not only do you get to select the richness of the broth and meat, but the additional topping selection is robust (think garlic balls, kimchi, cheese and more). The spicy garlic ramen stands out as a personal favorite, but for those looking for all the tasty treats, the zenbu ramen includes every topping (minus butter).


Address: 788 Denman St. 

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday; 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday



Bowl of tomato and garlic ramen topped with fresh tomato, corn, soft boiled egg and chashu
Credit: @Tsukiya_tonkotsu_ramen

Rich tonkotsu broth and delightfully chewy noodles are the name of the game at Tsukiya, but their unique chef’s specials are what make them stand out from the crowd. Think garlic and tomato broth topped with corn and fresh tomato, which adds a fun Italian twist to the Japanese classic.


Address: 740 Denman St

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday to Tuesday; closed Wednesday and Thursday


Menya Itto

Bowl of rich broth with a side of thick noodles, half a lobster tail, rice and daikon.
Credit: @Menyaittoca

Menya Itto is all about the tsukemen; a dipping style ramen where you dunk your springy noodles into a separate bowl of broth. Though they have an abundance of classic ramen available, they call themselves the king of tsukemen for a reason: thick house-made noodles dipped into highly concentrated broth transform the ramen-eating experience into something unforgettable.


Address: 1479 Robson St.

Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Sunday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Monday