770 Bute Street, Vancouver
Personally if I were to open a restaurant, I would look for a place with lots of people, but also minimal competition. So it's somewhat surprising to find yet another ramen shop opening in downtown Vancouver. I guess choices are always good for us consumers.
Sanpachi is located on Bute by Robson, where a Thai restaurant use to reside. The restaurant looked nice and non-traditional, meaning there wasn't those huge communal dining tables and they also had a small bar counter. Since we had 5 people, they give us the big booth right by the entrance with no other table around it. Hanging above the table was this cast iron tea pot, and right below it was this wooden box filled with real charcoal, but of course it was all just for decorations.
The chicken wings ($4.50) were actually a much bigger portion than expected in comparison with the squid. The comment for the wings were that it was generally good (honey garlic like), but some parts was dry.
Sanpachi also served combo meal just like Santouka. Here you can get either full portion ramen or half along with your choice of gyoza, sushi roll or rice bowl. I went with a half portion of Spicy Ramen with gyoza ($9.50). The soup was of a spicy/miso base, but in reality it wasn't that spicy. Also the picture of the ramen showed at least 4 pieces of cha-su, but my half portion only had 1 thin slice. At least that one slice was soft and flavourful. The gyoza was disappointing, it was not very hot, and it didn't have a crunchy enough bottom as I liked.
A and J shared a full portion combo along with the tuna rice roll ($10.95?). Their miso based ramen was the least salty one we had. In fact, it had a sweet after taste due to the miso. Although the picture doesn't do justice, this was indeed almost 2 times the amount of my half portion. However, this also did not have the 4 pieces (only 2) of cha-su as pictured.
Service here was good though, they were courteous and friendly. They constantly check on us and fill our tea, despite the fact that we were the only table on this side of the restaurant. The food here was not bad, but it wasn't really impressive either. Their soup base was just too salty for us. So the question is would I recommend? My answer would by try it if you haven't, cause taste is totally subjective. As for myself, I think I prefer Benkei or Santouka more.