Japanese Ramen in Toronto became an emerging trend with the arrival of Kenzo and has continued to thrive with a slew of new restaurants opening the past few years. Today, the downtown core has to offer a plentiful variety of choices when one is craving a hot bowl of noodles.

My love of ramen started with a package of Mr. Noodles when I was in elementary school. I always drank all of the broth (yes, salt, I know!) and of course ate the noodles raw, crushed, and shaken with the seasoning. As my family moved around Canada and eventually settled in Toronto, suddenly I had access to so many more brands and types of instant noodles. Nong Shim, Nissin, kimchi flavour, udon noodles; needless to say I was a happy girl. The cup noodle has a special place in my heart for it’s convenience and ability to brighten my lunch in a compact package but I’ll always love cooking instant noodles and adding my poached egg. During my two trips to Japan, my diet consisted of sashimi and ramen and for once I didn’t get odd looks for drinking all my broth!

xiaoEats at the Cup Noodle Museum in Japan

xiaoEats at the Cup Noodle Museum in Japan

What I look for in a bowl of ramen are three things:

  1. The noodles – are they chewy? has a good texture? not doughy and not over done?
  2. The broth – is it rich? how much fat is there? is it bland? and even for me, is it too salty?
  3. The toppings – what’s included? is there an egg? how’s the meat cooked? garlic paste? bamboo? seaweed? is there a good portion and balance?

Based on these criteria, here’s my ranking of Toronto Ramen shops (as of Jan. 30th 2014)

  1. Sansotei – 5.0 $ @ 179 Dundas St W
  2. Santouka – 4.5 $ @ 91 Dundas St E
  3. Niwatei Ramen – 4.5 $ @ 3160 Steeles Ave E
  4. Kinton Ramen – 3.5 $ @ 51 Baldwin St
  5. Ramen Raijin – 3.5 $ @ 3 Gerrard St E
  6. Touhenboku Ramen – 3.5 $ @ 261 Queen St W
  7. Ryoji Ramen – 3.5 $$ @ 690 College St
  8. Kenzo – 3.5 $ @ 4860 Yonge St
Toronto Ramen, Who’s the Best?

Still to come:

  1. Momofuku Noodle Bar
  2. Ryus Noodle Bar
  3. Ramen Isshin




I thought niwatei was pretty mediocre — thin broth, and noodles while al dente at first, were too soft within 3 minutes. Ryu’s was different, in that they give you a sauce to add, but didn’t blow me away. I’m hearing great things about Kingyo, even though they’re not known for their ramen.


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