Saka-Ba! Montreal Ramen Bar à la Kyoto
February 19, 2014 (Updated March 6, 2014) | by Evelyn Reid - "Sakaba" is the Japanese word for bar or pub. It's also the name of a Montreal ramen bar and izakaya owned by Kyoto native Junichi Ikematsu, a chap who never was one to regale in ostentation and media circus fanfare. No surprise then that the chef behind Laurier West sushi star Juni opened Saka-Ba's doors softly on February 28, 2014, with no media night to declare.
NOVEMBER 2016 UPDATE: SAKA-BA HAS UNFORTUNATELY GONE OUT OF BUSINESS.
Ikematsu's reputation speaks for itself. He doesn't need local "vedettes" tweeting poetic on his behalf. Having dined at Juni myself as an everyday patron --by the way, that's a question I ALWAYS ask myself at media events: am I being treated the way my readers will be if they take my word and book a table-- I can attest to his standout dedication and passion for the craft. His sashimi and sushi are the indisputable best in Montreal.
Saka-Ba! Montreal Ramen Bar, Kyoto Style
So to find out that Ikematsu opened a ramen bar is a fairly big deal, especially since it's the first restaurant in Montreal genuinely dedicated to the humble noodle, humble if only for North America's obsession with its cheap, plastic-wrapped instant-cooked cousin. In Japan, ramen is a respected foodie item concocted with care. Ramen is in fact so popular that roughly 80,000 ramen-ya restaurants are spread throughout the country.
Following in the footsteps of casual ramen bars in his hometown, Ikemastu keeps things simple with a small menu of made-from-scratch noodles and typical izakaya dishes like chicken yakitori and Japanese style dumplings, gyoza. Design nods to his hometown with a '70s focus are spread out throughout the dining room --a typewriter here, pop culture knick knacks and images there.
Sakes, bourbons, bitters, beers and wines* served with ramen and izakaya dishes inspired by Ikematsu's native Kyoto, including his interpretation of shoyu ramen, kimchi nappa, yakitori and gyoza.
Saka-Ba: Dress Code
Casual, dressed-up, anything goes really.
Hard to say this point. I'm assuming the usual Plateau neighborhood suspects, a hodge podge of professionals both young and middle aged as well as a mass of hipster students and marketing/advertising/gaming/design employees.
Saka-Ba: Special Events?
To be confirmed.
Saka-Ba: Private Room for Parties?
Saka-Ba: To Make Reservations
To be confirmed if it's on a first-come, first-served basis or if reservations are possible.
Saka-Ba: Business Hours
From 5 p.m. to midnight every day. Closed Wednesdays.
1279 Mont-Royal Est, corner of Chambord, Montreal, QC H2J 1Y4
Getting there: Mont-Royal Metro
Phone: (514) 507-9885 MAP
Any Reviews of Saka-Ba?
Reviews to come.
*Saka-Ba is still awaiting their alcohol permit. More info to come.
Note that prices and operating hours may change without notice.