ATTENTION RAMEN LOVERS!
So I recently started a ramen club with 3 japanese friends. We sample a different restaurant each week and I ask the experts to rate the ramen from 1 to 10.
The results so far have been eye-opening to say the least.
Konnichiwa: This venerable restaurant averaged a mere 6 out of 10 with my pals. The noodles were the right texture and taste, and the quality of the meat was just right, but the broth lacked flavour and depth.
Izakaya: The broth is a variation of the japanese standard apparently. They loved the appearance of the restaurant and the quality of the vegetables and meat. 8 out of 10
Double Happiness: 599 Bloor Street West. This hidden gem of a restaurant was long known to me for their tonketsu ramen. But could it withstand the expert palate of my japanese friends? I can safely say yes, as they absolutely loved it. The broth was the closest to the japanese ideal, not the watered down version done to appease western tastes. The only downpoint is that the noodles are not quite the same as authentic japanese ramen! At $5 this was also the cheapest ramen. It scored a 9 out of 10!
They have 3 other kinds of ramen available, but I am such a fan of the tonketsu that I haven't even tried them.
It's a small, not very busy place so I am hoping that some of the other ramen lovers on this board will try it out and post their opinion as well!
We still need to try Tokyo Grill and Kenpo as well. But Double Happiness will be a tough act to follow.
Reminds me of that old Japanese movie, Tampopo. What a great little food project!
I used to frequent a great, little ramen shop in Vancouver called Shogun and I haven't tried anything like that here. I'll make may way through your very useful list. Thanks.
thanks! i tried the Izakaya Ramen at Izakaya and it was delicious! the pro's - yes, they do use good quality ingredients. the soup base, even if there is mention from other posts that it is not traditional kind, it still is very tasty. cons - it is a little pricy at $11.50 a bowl. but given the location and also the beautiful decor and service the restaurant provides, i can see why it is $11.50.
i have yet to try Kenzo on Yonge just south of Steeles... let us know if you try it... but Double Happiness sounds like a good place for me to try next!
re: Frances in Toronto
Kenzo is a good neighbourhood place for ramen. It does not have too many options, but doesn't bother me much as I am the traditional shoyu ramen type person. It's not the Shogun (Vancouver) calibre, but I try to support whenever possible small restaurant owners who works hard on their food.
Based on OP's recommendation, wife and I went to Double Happiness to try the tonkatsu ramen. I have to say I don't totally agree with OP's opinion on the ramen being authentic. E.g. tonkatsu ramen, as it is supposed to be pork-based, should be served with pork chashu, but here it is topped with sliced beef (same thinly sliced flank that goes in bi bim bap or other typical korean dishes). Soup did not taste especially strong; usually the base should be made with pork bones boiled very hard and long (hence the white colour), along with konbu, fish, chicken bones, etc. I've mentioned this in other posts, but in my opinion the best ramen downtown is Ematei, and overall in Toronto it is Kenzo. Another poster was mentioning ramen places in Vancouver; for tonkatsu ramen there is a place called Kintaro on Denman that serves ONLY tonkatsu ramen and that is just as good as the ones I've had in Tokyo IMO. However, the price at Double Happiness was $5 including a pop, so you can't complain about the value you get.
Yes, I've been to Kintaro's on Denman (since I'm from Vancouver). It was pretty good, I remember they had other ramens as well, like "Forest Fire" ramen (which is a pork-based soup), then your miso/shoyu/regular pork-soup types. It was good.
I tried Kenzo the other day -- it was pretty good, but I ordered the super-size King of Ramen and it was too much. The bbq'ed pork tastes kind of Korean Grill style, which really is quite tasty, and I opted for a mildly spicy soup base. The noodles were ok, but not the best ramen noodles I had. The gyoza is really good though, way better than the gyoza at Kintaro's in Vancouver (Kenzo's tastes fresh, I know Kintaro's uses frozen ones, and last time I went they served me slightly burnt ones).
I have never tried Shogun in Vancouver, but that is on my list of to-do's for my next visit home.