As one of Kyoto's ramen landmarks, don't fret if you get to Gogyo and see a line of people waiting for a table. Any ramen place worth going to in Japan has a line and the good thing is that turnovers are fast. The lines always move along quickly as people go in, slurp up their noodles, and are on their way. If you are really hungry, Nishiki Market is just steps away to get a snack while waiting. Gogyo not like a typical old school ramen shop but instead has a contemporary Japanese decor which is indeed interesting since everything about Kyoto is heritage and traditional. Don't let the contemporary design detract you from it's really, really good ramen though.
What makes Gogyo special is their well known signature kogashi (burnt ramen) that is prepared with lard flambeed in 300 degrees Celcius. The result from this genius method is a very dark colored and deeply flavored ramen broth, complete with hints of charred flavors. Naturally, the broth is very hot in temperature when served so be careful as you take your first spoonful of broth. The broth base comes with the option of either shoyu (Japanese soy sauce) or miso. At Gogyo, thin strand noodles are used and the chashu (pork slices) are very tender.
Aside from their signature kogashi (burnt ramen), Gogyo also shines in their yuzu-flavored gyozas which turn out to be the best gyozas we have had. The dumplings are pan-fried to a perfect crisp on the skin that is already so delicate and thin. Dumplings are often judged by the thickness of their skin (high quality dumplings have a thin wrapper skin so that the focus is on the filling) and Gogyo has gotten their yuzu-flavored gyoza completely right. We dab some wasabi onto the gyoza, dip the dumpling into some soy sauce, and then easily bite into it through it's delicate skin.
Karaage (Japanese fried chicken) can be ordered on the side with a bowl of rice. These crisp-at-every-bite and very flavorful pieces of fried chicken complete the meal experience at Gogyo.
Note: Very little English is spoken at Gogyo but an English menu is available.