Overall, a very poor experience. This is a popular place that has let notoriety gone to their heads. Whatever the reasons of their success, today, it is a claustrophobic dive serving instant noodles.
The only positive thing to say about this place is that they didn't mess up the udon soup. But that again, considering this is the Japanese equivalent of instant noodles, it is not a great distinction. The soup tasted exactly as you might get from a packet at a grocery store. So, the kitchen knows how to boil water and open packets at least.
This is slightly hard to judge, since Banff prices distorts perception. Either because the remote location, or the sock-the-tourists mentality, the prices are high everywhere in town. So, the value is terrible on an absolute scale: the same dish - if they dare to serve it - in Toronto cannot be more than $6. It's double here. But on a scale relative to the shoppes next door, it suddenly seems passable. So, the value is terrible, unless you are from around here.
But, I have to add this is a popular place. There was a long waiting list when we got in. So whatever the excuse for the pricing, people are coming still. But speaking as a tourist, I will not be coming back even if I return to Banff.
The store may have been trying do shabby chic meets utilitarian. But all it got is cramped chaos. Tiny tables with little separation from your neighbors. An unfortunate splash (bound to happen when eating noodle soup) can easily get you from two tables away.
Also a special mention that this place is not young children friendly. There is a sign about folding strollers, but honestly, even folded, there is no room. So, think twice if you want eat sitting down with kids in strollers.
One does not expect great service from a 300 sqft (guessestimate) hole in the wall, but the staff performance was noteworthy in the wrong way.
We wanted to do take outs, and we had to communicate this three times, to the two waitresses (yes, that's right, twice to the same person) before order was taken, and we had to communicate this one more time, to one of the same aforementioned waitress again after the order was taken.
Keep in mind this is an establishment with at most 20 seats, the confusion in the front line staff is astounding.
My advice to diners: find the Asian grocery store in town and do it yourself, your wallet will thank you. But if you really have to have it, drop by early to secure tables.