Vancouver is, of course, not lacking for ramen houses—the arrival of yet another is likely to arouse ennui as much as excitement. But Ramen Koika is the first to set down in Davie Village, a neighbourhood only beginning to enjoy options beyond fast food, pubs, and middling ethnic eateries.
Ramen Koika knows better than to deviate from the script: prices are low (most of the dozen-plus bowls are under $11), service is enthusiastic but blunt, and a consummate lack of atmosphere (not even music when we visited) encourages you to eat fast and get lost. (You might feel inclined to seat yourself at one of the stools ringing the glassed-in kitchen. Don’t—your bottom will thank you.) We especially enjoyed Black Garlic Ramen: heady and complex but without overpowering garlic notes that outstay their welcome. Takoyaki (breaded, fried octopus balls) are an ideal bar snack—if only there were more than beer and one sake on offer.
Far from the best of its breed in the city (we’re on record as loving Marutama Ra-men, just off the Denman end of Robson), but far better than this culinarily underachieving postal code has come to expect, Ramen Koika is welcome to stay as long as it likes.