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!
What I look for in a bowl of ramen are three things:
- The noodles – are they chewy? has a good texture? not doughy and not over done?
- The broth – is it rich? how much fat is there? is it bland? and even for me, is it too salty?
- 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)
- Sansotei – 5.0 $ @ 179 Dundas St W
- Santouka – 4.5 $ @ 91 Dundas St E
- Niwatei Ramen – 4.5 $ @ 3160 Steeles Ave E
- Kinton Ramen – 3.5 $ @ 51 Baldwin St
- Ramen Raijin – 3.5 $ @ 3 Gerrard St E
- Touhenboku Ramen – 3.5 $ @ 261 Queen St W
- Ryoji Ramen – 3.5 $$ @ 690 College St
- Kenzo – 3.5 $ @ 4860 Yonge St
Still to come:
- Momofuku Noodle Bar
- Ryus Noodle Bar
- Ramen Isshin