Gyudon Ya is a Japanese style diner that specializes in donburi rice bowls. It joins a number of recent Robson Street restaurants like Viet Sub, Japadog and Beard Papa’s sitting on a corner that once housed Si’l Vous Plait, a former diner/cafe..
Gyudon — meaning beef bowl — is a Japanese rice dish topped with beef and onions and simmered together in a sweet sauce. They also offer other varieties such as: chicken, short rib, curry and vegetable bowls.
The place still reminds me of Si’l Vous Plait, but more spacious and a little bit newer. Gone are the tall booths, now replaced with long counters and stools. The location of the cash register remains same.
(Above: Gyudon — Thinly sliced beef and onions stewed in sauce over a bowl of rice.)
We were told to sit wherever since it was not busy, and ordered two donburi bowls: Gyudon Ya’s signature dish — teriyaki beef and onions simmered in a light, sweet, soy sauce with rice; and a curry bowl — traditional style Japanese curry simmered in a smoked fish stock topped with green onions and rice.
Tre’s teriyaki beef arrived first: shavings of beef laid on top of sweet, white rice. The beef was tender and tasty, but looked strangely pale and visually unappealing. The bowl was mostly rice and not a lot of beef. My rice was soaking in a sweet, smoky curry fish broth topped with freshly cut green onions with a flavour that was light and not overpowering.
(Above: Curry donburi swimming in a curry fish stock, topped with fresh green onions.)
Our meal including taxes and tips came to $13, which is cheap for two people. The service was quick and friendly, but Gyudon wasn’t all that special and felt more like Asian fast food (which it basically is). If you’re on the go and looking for something quick and hearty, however, Gyudon Ya might be worth checking out.
Perfect for: A quick, hearty meal.
500 Robson Street, Vancouver