Monday, June 15, 2015


Last Tuesday, the love of my life turned another year older! Happy birthday CJ! To celebrate, his parents treated him to a birthday dinner and he even let me choose where we would eat (yay!). CJ agreed to check out Nomiya, a Japanese restaurant that has been on my list of places to dine at for awhile now.

Nomiya has two locations: one on Calgary Trail (Unit 646, 3803 Calgary Trail) and one on Ellerslie Road (11160 Ellerslie Road). We decided to go to their Ellerslie Road location since it was closer to us.

The interior.
Sorry, this photo turned out blurry :(

Nomiya has a fairly small space, with about 8 tables to seat guests and some seating at their bar. When we arrived around 6:30 PM without a reservation, we were immediately seated at their last open table for 4 right beside the window. Excellent... we scored the window seat! 

Dinner Menu: Appetizers & Salads | Nomiya's Original Rolls.
Dinner Menu: Sashimi | Sushi Combo | Donburi | Teppanyaki | Tempura.
Dinner Menu: Ishi-Yaki | Nabemono | Shabu Shabu | Robata.
Dinner Menu: Teishoku Set Dinners.
Udon (left) and Ramen (right).

In addition to being bright and colourful, the menus at Nomiya feature pictures of all the food items they offer. CJ has told me a few times in the past that it's easier for him to decide what to eat if he sees a picture of it. Descriptions aren't always enough, he says. In that case, Nomiya's menus are right up his alley!

Fire Cracker Maki.

To start off our dinner, CJ ordered their Fire Cracker Maki ($14.50) to share between us and his parents. Tempura unagi and a seaweed salad are found inside each roll with salmon, green onion, spicy sauce, and tempura crumbs placed on top. This maki was delicious. The salmon on top tasted fresh and the seaweed salad was surprisingly tasty and provided interesting texture. The best part of this roll was the sauce... perfect amount of spiciness that made each bite well rounded and more flavourful. I would come back just for this.

Katsu Don.

CJ's birthday dinner pick for himself: Katsu Don ($12.95), a bowl of rice topped with deep fried pork cutlet, egg, condiments, and onion. This dish comes with a choice of soup or salad as well. I'll admit that CJ chose to get this because of an anime that we watch together called Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma. In Episode 7 titled "A Quiet Don, an Eloquent Don", Soma (the main character) has to create a donburi dish with meat as the main ingredient in a Shokugeki (or 'challenge') against Ikumi Mito, nicknamed Meat Master because of her expertise with meat dishes. In the anime, the characters talked about how every component of the dish needs to complement one another. And that's exactly what it felt like when CJ let me try a bit of his katsu don. The pork, egg, and rice together made for a hearty dish with delicious flavours that were new to me. So good! 

Shio Ramen.

I've heard many good things about Nomiya's ramen... a lot of people have mentioned on social media that it is one of the best in the city. So I obviously needed to try one for myself! I ordered their Shio Ramen ($11.50), with this bowl officially being my third bowl of ramen in my life (1st bowl from Ninja Club - yes I promise I'll create a blog post about that, and 2nd bowl from the Prairie Noodle Shop Pop-Up #3). I'm no expert on ramen, but some quick research tells me that the primary components of ramen are its broth, seasoning, noodles, and toppings. My bowl of ramen consists of tonkotsu or pork bone broth seasoned with homemade Shio (sea salt) flavour. The noodles were thin and straight, perfect for slurping. The toppings included thinly sliced pork, corn, onion, nori (dried seaweed sheet), a soft boiled egg, narutomaki (the spiral shaped topping in my photo), and some other toppings. The light and creamy soup was seasoned well and perfectly balanced, while the sliced pork was also tender and succulent. I was disappointed that I didn't enjoy the egg too much... it had a sharp, salty flavour that threw me off (is that how it's supposed to taste?). Apart from that, I can finally see why many people enjoy Nomiya's ramen: the soup had its own complexity, the noodles were chewy and seemed to have no end, and overall the bowl was bursting with warm and hearty flavours. 

CJ's parents also ordered ramen, specifically the Spicy Miso Ramen ($12) and Seafood Ramen ($14.50). CJ's dad seemed to enjoy his bowl of spicy miso ramen, considering he finished the entire thing! CJ's mom also liked her seafood ramen, but found that the seafood itself was not as fresh as it should've been. 

Mochi Ice Cream.

I was so excited when CJ said we'd order dessert! CJ and I shared the Mochi Ice Cream ($7.95) which comes with whipped cream, chocolate syrup, two Pocky sticks, and red beans. Sadly, the mochi ice cream didn't taste good. The mochi itself had a weird, crumbly texture and both the green tea and black sesame ice cream tasted like it had been in the freezer for too long. Bleh. At least the Pocky was okay. But this wasn't worth the money because the ice cream (which is supposed to be the star of this dessert dish) wasn't up to par with mine and CJ's expectations. 

Tempura Ice Cream.

CJ's parents shared the Tempura Ice Cream ($7.95) which is served with chocolate syrup and mango slices on the side. I'm pretty sure this was more enjoyable since I didn't hear any complaints from CJ's parents. The mango slices were also a nice touch! 

Thank you to CJ's parents for treating us to this special birthday dinner! Overall, the food I had was amazing although it did fall short on the dessert. Our server was friendly, quick, and attentive despite the groups of people coming in for dinner. I'm glad I finally got to try ramen from Nomiya... with every ramen bowl I try I learn more about why this Japanese dish is so popular. I recommend checking out Nomiya for good Japanese eats and tasty ramen bowls... with a lot of selection on their menu, there is something for everyone. Check out Nomiya on Facebook and follow them on Instagram (@nomiya_yeg)! 

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