Slowly, I’m making my way through all of the new ramen and izakaya places in Toronto. This stop was at Ryoji, which specializes in Okinawa style cuisine. Okinawa cuisine differs from other Japanese styles by using more meat than seafood and is known for using salt as the main flavour additive.

Atmosphere: The interior decor of the Ryoji is really pretty. It almost felt like and outside ramen cart in Japan with the colourful string lights, faux roof tiling and, wood centerpieces. Mirrors covered most of the walls and ceiling to enlarge the space.

Service: Our server spoke perfect English, which was great for us ordering, however it seemed like a bit of a struggle as she tried to get the order for a large group of Japanese diners. It is a balance between  practicality and authenticity. Food arrived quickly, and we were well taken care of the entire night with tea refills by our server and a person who appeared to be the owner (aka dressed in a suit).

Food: We tried to order only the menu items that were marked “Okinawa Style” and ended with their  homemade peanut tofu, mimiga (sliced, steamed pork ears with creamy miso sauce), goya champru (stiry fried bitter melon with tofu, pork and egg) and the spicy tonkotsu ramen.

I wasn’t a fan of the peanut tofu, the texture was odd and threw me off. It was stickier than tofu and not at all silky, almost like fresh mozzarella but even stickier. The peanut flavour was also light. I really liked the thinly sliced steamed pork ears, crispy with a nice layer of chewy skin. The sauce was creamy, covered with sesame seeds and sweet. Usually, I steer away from bitter melon but since it was a specialty, we had to try it and I was surprised by how much I liked the dish. It was a normal stir fry I can make at home but well executed and with just enough crispy burnt pieces to my liking.

To the ramen. It was spicy, really spicy by the end of the bowl. There were bits of fat floating at the top of the broth that were very rich and the noodles were thin and cooked well. For the toppings, the chashu pork was ok, but not that crispy, there was no egg but I did like the preserved mushrooms. Overall, better than Kinton, not as good as Sansotei for ramen. Ryoji has a decent menu and and it’s spacious but the drinks selection isn’t as wide as Don Don’s. I would re-visit if I was in the area but I wouldn’t go out of my way.

Ryoji-Ramen-&-Izakaya Ryoji-Ramen-&-Izakaya Ryoji-Ramen-&-Izakaya Ryoji-Ramen-&-Izakaya Ryoji-Ramen-&-Izakaya Ryoji-Ramen-&-Izakaya Ryoji-Ramen-&-Izakaya Ryoji Ramen & Izakaya on Urbanspoon

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