Gyoza King is practically a Robson Street institution – I’ve been frequenting this tiny Vancouver restaurant since I was in my twenties. And now, well let’s just say I’m not in my twenties anymore. Walking in, you’re greeted with a friendly chorus of Irasshaimase! and given your choice of available seats. It can be quite crowded and lively later in the evening as Japanese students and ex-pats gather around over beer and the comfort food of home, so we usually go early to avoid the rush – which is par for the course when dining with a three year old anyway.
The Vancouver restaurant inhabits quite a small space, divided into a handful of well-worn tables, a few seats at a counter bar, and a raised area with low tables and floor mats to sit on. Its cozy indestructibility makes Gyoza King a great place to take my son, who loves to sit on the floor mats where he can look out the window and watch people go by as we wait for our food. And here’s an insight into the mind of a three year old: something about having to take his shoes off before he sits down is a thrill beyond measure. He’s always disappointed when we’re seated at one of the regular tables and he has to keep his shoes on.
The staff all wear t-shirts that say, It won’t get better on the front and coz we got the best gyoza on the back. Full disclosure: I haven’t traveled the world sampling gyoza for the purpose of making an informed judgment, but I have to agree. The gyoza – a Japanese dumpling or potsticker – is clearly their signature dish. They have a fairly standard selection of fillings including pork, chicken, and prawn, as well as a vegetarian option. One word: delicious. A bunch more words: crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, served piping hot with a dipping sauce. My son can’t get enough of them; we routinely have to order two plates of ten gyoza each, and my husband and I are lucky if we manage get three apiece. Other kid-friendly options at this Vancouver restaurant include yakitori chicken – find me a kid who doesn’t like food that comes on a stick – and edamame. Served izakaya-style, the dishes are small, so order several dishes and share; there’s selection enough to please everyone, from basic to adventurous eaters.
While there’s no diaper-changing area in the small bathrooms, they are welcoming to children of all ages – rarely are we the only family eating there despite the restaurant’s tiny size – and they do have high chairs. When the food comes, they always bring a toddler-appropriate plastic cup, bowl, and plate for my son. The staff are uniformly friendly and engaging, despite a bit of a language barrier since many of them don’t speak a lot of English, but my son has learned how to say both goodbye and thank you in Japanese, so I’m going to count that as a plus!
Good Value for the Money
Dishes at this Vancouver restaurant range in price from $3.50 to $8.50. For the three of us to eat to bursting, we usually spend about $40, including tax and tip. This is good value indeed considering our son usually eats more than the two of us combined.
Visit this Vancouver Restaurant
Gyoza King is open from 5:30 pm until late on weekdays, 6:30pm on Saturdays, and 6:00pm on Sundays. It’s closed the second Wednesday of every month.
1508 Robson Street, Vancouver, 604-669-8278