Summer’s over, the cool is setting in, scarves are coming out of closets, and you’re looking for warmer comfort food to get you through your days. Lucky for you, Toronto has hot and hearty bowls of ramen ready for you all around the city, so bone up on your broth and find the bowl that’s just right for you.
HOKKAIDO RAMEN SANTOUKA | 91 Dundas St. E
Founded on its namesake island in Japan in 1988, Hitoshi Hatanaka’s Hokkaido Ramen Sanouka chain now boasts more than 50 locations across the world. Their house specialty, tokusen toroniku ramen, is built on precious pork jowl morsels and additional jelly ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, and scallion toppings, all served separately from their creamy broth and noodles to be combined and enjoyed as the diner sees fit.
SANSOTEI RAMEN | 179 Dundas St. W, 650 Yonge St.
Now with two locations downtown, Yamato Ramen School graduate Michael Zhang’s Sansotei Ramen has been warming hearts with its signature tonkotsu ramen for three years. It’s a comforting bowl that combines pork belly, wood-ear mushrooms, scallions, and a runny soft-boiled egg in a milky pork-bone broth. Ward off the vampires in your life and try it “black” with some garlic oil.
MOMOFUKU NOODLE BAR | 190 University Ave.
The first floor of celebrated New York chef David Chang’s Toronto hub isn’t the same to-do as the other Momofuku ventures that ascend further with the Shangri-La Hotel. With its cafeteria-style accommodations and comparatively pedestrian prices, Noodle Bar will get you in the door and leave you dreaming about what’s upstairs. Their house ramen fills your bowl with pork belly and pork shoulder, fish cake, a soft-poached egg, kimchi, nori, scallions, and a kombu-chicken neck broth.
KINTON | 51 Baldwin St., 668 Bloor St. W, 402 Queen St. W, 5165 Yonge St.
When Yoshinori Kithara’s ramen resto Kinton first landed in Toronto in 2012, it joined other franchises from the Vancouver izakaya importer like Guu Izakaya and Guu Sakabar. Since then, Kinton has built a small empire of its own offering unorthodox toppings like grated swiss cheese and raw garlic. With four locations catering to customers throughout the city and a loyalty program that keeps them coming back, they dish out various rewards to dedicated customers who’ve completed 10, 30, 50, 100, 500, or 1000 whole bowls of Kinton Ramen (100 bowls gets you a free topping for life, 1000 gets you a $1000 gift certificate).
RAMEN RAIJIN | 3 Gerrard St. E
Although most of Raijin’s menu is divided between its main tonkotsu (pork) and tori (chicken) broths, the Toronto venture from the owner of Vancouver’s Kintaro and Motomachi Shokudo shops also features a non-soup vegetarian ramen served with a soy based sauce and garlic oil, if you’re so inclined.
RAMEN ISSHIN | 421 College St.
Hatched by Koji Zenimaru, the same mind behind Cabbagetown’s Kingyo Izakaya, Ramen Isshin invaded Little Italy with its Japanese noodles almost two years ago, and it’s stayed put ever since. Try one of Isshin’s original sesame ramens, which arrives at your table with a pestle and mortar, and add in freshly ground sesame as you go along.
HOMEMADE RAMEN | 263 Spadina Ave.
Specializing in Lanzhou-style noodles, Homemade Ramen offers a Chinese version of ramen that breaks tradition to offer add-ins like beef offal, tomato with egg, pickled cabbage, and braised beef.
(Main photo by [cipher] via Flickr)