Sunday, April 21, 2013

Best Restaurant in Kyoto ... Gogyo Ramen?!?

To start off, what I'm referring to by "Best Restaurant in Kyoto" is Gogyo Ramen's #1 ranking over at TripAdvisor. It's a little hard to understand how a humble noodle soup joint commands top honours in the city where kaiseki-ryori originates, so naturally we just had to pay them a visit to see if the food lives up to its' reputation!

We find the place quite effortlessly thanks to Google Maps, and step inside. Immediately we notice that this is a sit down restaurant (unlike practically every other ramen place in Japan), and is actually pretty well decorated too! Nice ambience and nice service, definitely a great first impression.

Gogyo Ramen Best Restaurant in Kyoto

After taking our orders, our waitress asks if we need bibs - rather amusing. We politely decline and wait a few minutes for the Gyoza to arrive. As far as Gyoza's go this one is above average - it's got a nice tasting pork filling with a nicely seared and crusty skin.

Gogyo Ramen Best Restaurant in Kyoto

We quickly move on to the star of the show, however, and realize why our waitress had recommended bibs. Gogyo's specialty is their burnt / roasted (depending on translation) ramens - which come in black, thick and greasy broths. We really enjoyed the Roasted Miso Ramen - imagine a concentrated miso-based ramen and adding a 'roasted' flavor (not unlike the charred crust you get on a good steak or BBQ'ed meat). It's flavorful, thick, oily, and delicious. Do be warned though that this is a very strong flavoured broth, and you might not enjoy it if you've got a preference for the lighter flavoured shoyu or shio varieties.

Gogyo Ramen Best Restaurant in Kyoto

Our Roasted Shoyu Ramen however wasn't as enjoyable. Without the strength of the miso base, the 'roasted' / burnt taste simply overpowered every other flavor in the bowl, so all you ended up tasting was a very one-dimensional mouthful of oily burnt charcoal flavor. We ended up dumping the uneaten noodles into the miso broth just so we wouldn't waste the food.

Gogyo Ramen Best Restaurant in Kyoto

The bill came up to slightly over ¥1,000 per person, so it's pretty standard value for money compared to other ramen places. We recommend coming here to eat if you're also planning to browse the next door Nishiki Market; otherwise it's perhaps not really worth the travel especially considering Kyoto's relatively rubbish public transport system.

Gogyo Ramen Best Restaurant in Kyoto

Overall, a mixed bag then where we thoroughly enjoyed the Miso base but had to wave the white flag for the Shoyu base. It's certainly a very interesting Ramen, although we're not quite sure that it's worthy of the #1 ranking. Non-halal.


  1. I had been there last week and it was REALLY good!