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Santouka is coming

aser Feb 28, 2012 11:59 PM

Dare I say it, the first real ramen in Toronto.

Rumours were swirling, but it's finally been leaked to the press. The ramen gods have finally heard our prayers, bringing us Santouka! Looking forward to burning my tongue w/ the thick layer of oil on top.


I finally have the ramen component of my weekly soup noodle rotation. This will be my most anticipated opening of 2012.

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  1. c
    ctl98 RE: aser Feb 29, 2012 04:22 AM

    So exciting! Had Santouka when I went Vancouver a couple of months ago. Can't wait!

    1. Bobby Wham RE: aser Feb 29, 2012 07:21 AM

      AMAZING! I assume it will be north of the city though, I'm hoping for a downtown location

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bobby Wham
        baabaablacksheep RE: Bobby Wham Feb 29, 2012 07:31 AM

        According to the Toronto Life article, they are looking for spaces downtown. Which is amazing!


      2. w
        Wino In Training RE: aser Feb 29, 2012 07:23 AM

        Where is this going to be located? Any idea when? I don't see any of that on the link.

        1. t
          themiguel RE: aser Feb 29, 2012 07:31 AM

          YEEESSSSSSSSS! Prefer Ippudo but this will do just nicely

          1. m
            ms. cornbread RE: aser Feb 29, 2012 04:26 PM

            I don't know much about ramen, but have really enjoyed my visits to Kenzo. I assume this is much better...can someone explain the differences to me?

            1. Dr. John RE: aser Feb 29, 2012 05:35 PM

              Went to Santouka in LA a couple of years back and was very pleased. Looking forward to this.

              1. l
                lsk RE: aser Feb 29, 2012 05:37 PM

                Super exciting. Had Santouka in Hong Kong and the toroniku is heavenly.

                1. justsayn RE: aser Mar 1, 2012 07:10 AM

                  : )

                  1. i
                    insearchofflavor RE: aser Aug 17, 2012 06:53 AM

                    What is happening with this opening? Anyone have an update?

                    1. biggreenmatt RE: aser Sep 14, 2012 11:37 AM

                      Santouka is open at 91 Dundas West, south side just east of University. Just ate lunch there today; had the tonkotsu ramen and a side of deep-fried chicken pieces.

                      Santouka takes the cake over Kinton and Kenzo. Big time. Their broth is ridiculously good, the eggs are perfectly cooked and the gigantic wheels of fatty pancetta-shaped belly are fatty pieces of heaven.

                      Man am I glad I work a 2 minute walk from this small resto. I'll be coming back often.

                      12 Replies
                      1. re: biggreenmatt
                        Splendid Wine Snob RE: biggreenmatt Sep 14, 2012 12:11 PM

                        Nice! Close to work for me so I'll have to check it out soon.

                        1. re: biggreenmatt
                          grandgourmand RE: biggreenmatt Sep 14, 2012 12:28 PM

                          Whoa...that's a convenient location. Thanks for highlighting it.

                          1. re: biggreenmatt
                            jlunar RE: biggreenmatt Sep 14, 2012 12:29 PM

                            woo woo! Gonna have to go too XD

                            1. re: biggreenmatt
                              themiguel RE: biggreenmatt Sep 14, 2012 12:37 PM

                              Oh hell yes. That area has become Ramen Central now! Kenzo, Santouka, Sansotei and not that far off Kinton.

                              1. re: biggreenmatt
                                jlunar RE: biggreenmatt Sep 14, 2012 12:52 PM

                                Oh wait, is this Santouka, or is it Sansotei? Santouka should be by Bay St... Sansotei (178 Dundas) is over by University... there's been a lot of confusion.

                                Sansotei > http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/866924

                                1. re: jlunar
                                  Serbaljub RE: jlunar Sep 14, 2012 12:58 PM

                                  Where is 91 Dundas West?

                                  1. re: Serbaljub
                                    themiguel RE: Serbaljub Sep 14, 2012 01:01 PM

                                    91 Dundas West is by Bay Street between bay and yonge. If thats where Santouka is supposed to be then we are in business, but now that I think about it Sansotei is "just east of university" on the south side, Santouka (if its 91 Dundas) would be on the north side right?

                                    Perhaps Matt did get them confused....I was getting excited!

                                    1. re: themiguel
                                      Chester Eleganté RE: themiguel Sep 14, 2012 01:03 PM

                                      91 would be on the south side but it would be the parking lot next to Bay pretty much. University and deep fried chicken = Sansotei, unfortunately.

                                2. re: biggreenmatt
                                  biggreenmatt RE: biggreenmatt Sep 14, 2012 01:10 PM

                                  Shit. Yeah, I mixed up Sansotei and Sankouka, and it's 179 Dundas West, not 91 Dundas.

                                  Whatever the name, it's terrifically good ramen.

                                  1. re: biggreenmatt
                                    jlunar RE: biggreenmatt Sep 14, 2012 03:52 PM

                                    good ramen is always good!!! Just wanted to make sure XD Had someone else exclaim that Santouka had opened and then we discovered it wasn't...

                                    1. re: jlunar
                                      jennjen18 RE: jlunar Sep 15, 2012 05:37 AM

                                      Yup... i was walking up and down Dundas like 5 times last night wondering where 91 Dundas west was... and then finally settled on Sansotei. However, my thoughts of them are not as great ... :-/

                                      1. re: jennjen18
                                        themiguel RE: jennjen18 Sep 17, 2012 07:26 AM

                                        Im with you Jenn, I have eaten there three times now - the noodles are very inconsistent, you can get them properly al dente, or quite starchy/doughy and undercooked. The Miso ramen is not as creamy and balanced as Kintons offering either, but the Tonkotsu is pretty good.

                                        There are yelp reviews stating that this place is better than Ippudo in New York, which just makes me shake my head.

                                3. l
                                  Lovemomoe RE: aser Sep 20, 2012 01:03 PM

                                  I tried eating there yesterday night, to my surpise there was no line up! Of course, cos the soup was already SOLD OUT at 7:30pm. Guess I will have to make another trip over there again...(cross my fingers)

                                  1. i
                                    insearchofflavor RE: aser Sep 25, 2012 04:19 PM

                                    Seriously, where is 91 Dundas St W??? My hubby and walked by looking for this address and could not find it. 91 Dundas W would put it on the South side of Dundas just east of Bay St and there is a bigass Canadian Tire there and nothing else. Anyone have other landmark suggestions to find this place? I've been to Sansotei and I could see how some people can be confused into walking in there thinking they were entering Santouka.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: insearchofflavor
                                      jlunar RE: insearchofflavor Sep 25, 2012 05:17 PM

                                      I'll be walking by to peek in tomorrow, but Santouka isn't yet open, as far as I know.

                                    2. l
                                      Lovemomoe RE: aser Sep 25, 2012 05:28 PM

                                      It hasn't opened yet. From what I know it's going to be where the new condo will be, which is the construction site that you saw.

                                      1. c
                                        CarNut RE: aser Oct 29, 2012 02:36 PM

                                        I just posted this in another thread. Santouka is opening at 91 Dundas Street EAST, which is on the south side between Yonge St and Church St.

                                        I drove by today and the windows are still covered, but signs are up to say its Santouka.

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: CarNut
                                          jlunar RE: CarNut Oct 29, 2012 08:38 PM

                                          EAST!? We've been looking in the wrong spot all along...!

                                          1. re: jlunar
                                            Lovemomoe RE: jlunar Oct 30, 2012 02:32 PM

                                            LOL... Any ideas on when they will be open?

                                        2. Teep RE: aser Oct 31, 2012 10:56 AM

                                          Interesting comment about "layer of oil". With all the ramen places I tried in Toronto, I found that afterwards the back of my throat seemed coated in oil, usually I had to chase it down with something with fat in it, like tea with cream. Konnichiwa was the worst, Sansotei the least (have not tried Kinton yet). Is that what it supposed to feel like, or is it just me?

                                          Sansotei means Three-Grass Pavilion
                                          Santouka means Mountain Wildfire
                                          Kinton means Golden Hog

                                          8 Replies
                                          1. re: Teep
                                            szw RE: Teep Nov 2, 2012 10:29 AM

                                            I dont know if its supposed to be like that but I have eaten a lot of ramen and I dont' really have this feeling, or maybe I'm just not bothered by it and don't notice it.

                                            1. re: szw
                                              1sweetpea RE: szw Nov 2, 2012 03:08 PM

                                              I think that throat-coating oiliness comes from the collagen that breaks down during the many hours of cooking meaty bones that also contain fat. Liquified collagen provides major mouth feel and a richness that is deeper than oil/fat on its own. It is also a major contributor to the milky, unctuous broth that is typical of tonkotsu ramen. For some, it is too rich and fatty tasting. I suggest an orange or lemon soda to cut the grease factor. That, or even tea, has the astringency to balance the richness of well-made ramen broth (and dim-sum overindulgence!).

                                              1. re: 1sweetpea
                                                szw RE: 1sweetpea Nov 9, 2012 09:20 AM

                                                Anyone know if its open at 91 dundas east? A couple people have reported it opens "this weekend"...i want to know if I can go today (friday)!

                                                can't find a phone number anywhere. Anyone work in the area?

                                                1. re: szw
                                                  aser RE: szw Nov 9, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                  I heard it's Saturday.

                                                  1. re: aser
                                                    magpiebakes RE: aser Nov 10, 2012 10:22 AM

                                                    Soft opening today with limited menu. They were offering 4 types of ramen.

                                                    1. re: magpiebakes
                                                      ggom1 RE: magpiebakes Nov 10, 2012 11:00 AM

                                                      I think the sign said that their official hours will be 11-11 but that it may vary during the soft opening. I went for lunch and liked it a lot (I'm not a big fan of the other ramen places in town because they all tasted a bit odd to me, but Santouka tastes more like what I was eating in Japan). I'm looking forward to their full opening! The space is nice too.

                                                      1. re: ggom1
                                                        Pigurd RE: ggom1 Nov 10, 2012 09:57 PM

                                                        did it mention if it was open on sunday?

                                                2. re: 1sweetpea
                                                  pinstripeprincess RE: 1sweetpea Nov 10, 2012 07:57 AM

                                                  unless we're describing it differently, sansotei's tonkotsu is a fair amount of fat and a tonne of collagen. its thickness and unctuousness is unparalleled in TO. nearly to the point where i find it too much.

                                                  it could be the type of fat... there's the oils and then the blending of the solids.

                                            2. s
                                              szw RE: megcass Nov 10, 2012 07:04 PM

                                              Oh I wish I knew they were open yesterday! I went today and it was good. Similar to Sansotei, I wouldn't lose sleep over deciding between the two.

                                              Santouka didn't come with an egg. I wish the noodles were the thicker yellow chewier version.

                                              THey didn't have it today, but the menu has tsukemen ramen which is my favourite thing in the world.

                                              Staff were friendly but really inexperienced. Even for the first day, someone with more training should have been there. For example when I got there, there were many empty tables but there was a long lineup in the hallway. People who came in the doors just stood in the hallway. I went up to the front, took a while to get the attention of a worker, but finally when I did, found out there was no lineup. They sat me right away. I think the party at the front of the line was waiting for a larger table, and everyone behind just assumed they were waiting in line. After I watched and they let the lineup stay there with empty tables all around....the restaurant worker in me was frustrated but the customer in me was celebrating a victory.

                                              Anyways, its just an example of inexperience on their first day, I don't blame them and will go back. They were friendly.

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: szw
                                                Pigurd RE: szw Nov 10, 2012 09:55 PM

                                                was the tokusen toroniku ramen available?

                                                1. re: Pigurd
                                                  szw RE: Pigurd Nov 10, 2012 11:04 PM

                                                  Not today

                                                  1. re: Pigurd
                                                    Pigurd RE: Pigurd Nov 11, 2012 07:48 PM

                                                    just tried it today, pretty good, about similar to what i can remember having in vancouver... they said the toroniku ramen might possibly be available in the middle of next week

                                                2. l
                                                  lsk RE: aser Nov 11, 2012 01:02 PM

                                                  Went today around noon and it was fairly busy. Got seated right away and they were very good about taking orders quickly.

                                                  I got the shio ramen (medium fat, firm noodles), my dining companion the shoyu chashumen. We both liked our respective bowls and will definitely return, especially when they have the tsukemen and tokusen toroniku ramen available.

                                                  Having eaten at Sansotei, Kinton, and Kenzo, Santouka has the best chashu out of all of them (moist, tender, and flavourful) and the richest broth (which may or may not be your thing -- I still have that slick feeling in my throat three hours later). I liked the noodles, which I would rate as on par with/slightly below Kinton's, and enjoyed the broth, which had a sweetness underlying the porky savouriness.

                                                  However, the soup was not as hot as I remember my other bowls of Santouka ramen. It may have been that I ordered medium lard, so there wasn't as much fat on top to seal in the heat, but one thicker slice of chashu was also a little cool in the center.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: lsk
                                                    themiguel RE: lsk Nov 12, 2012 08:54 AM

                                                    Just came back to the office from crushing a bowl of miso ramen, needed to recover after a boozy birthday dinner at Chantecler yesterday.

                                                    Best in the city right now - the broth is really balanced and the noodles are lightyears ahead of Sansotei. Chashu is divine, but unfortunately no extra toppings are available yet (so no egg). The bowls are around $12 each sometimes more, so its one of the more expensive offerings in the city. The actual portion seems small compared to Kinton, but thats not a big deal for me as I actually think the Kinton portion is too large.

                                                    Place was pretty much empty when I went a quarter after 11. If I know this city, thats not going to last long.

                                                  2. Bobby Wham RE: aser Nov 13, 2012 11:41 AM

                                                    Ya, it's the best in the city right now, I actually prefer Santouka over the wildy popular Ippudo in NYC which is too rich and salty for my taste, the salt balance is just right. I am looking forward to the full menu next week.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: Bobby Wham
                                                      aser RE: Bobby Wham Nov 13, 2012 10:17 PM

                                                      me too, ippudo is just ok to me. I actually really dig their pork buns more than anything else.

                                                      Santouka is the benchmark for me in N. America. Then again I haven't been to LA in a while, lots of new ramen development there.

                                                      Hitting this up tomorrow, should be sweet.

                                                      1. re: aser
                                                        aser RE: aser Nov 14, 2012 02:21 PM

                                                        Had the toroniku. It's the real deal, that's all I have to say.

                                                        Sansotei comes closest, but the rest of the competition is blown out the box by Santouka. No contest.

                                                    2. t
                                                      tyatt RE: aser Nov 13, 2012 07:04 PM

                                                      The toroniku ramen was available today when I went. Although I have not tried Kinton or Momofuku yet, but I have tried the ramen at Sansotei, Kenzo, Both Guu locations, Ajisen, J-town. I have to say this is the real deal!! All the other places I've tried were either too salty or too oily, lacking depth in the broth etc.

                                                      I'll visit there regularly!

                                                      3 Replies
                                                      1. re: tyatt
                                                        always_eating RE: tyatt Nov 14, 2012 05:16 PM

                                                        Had the Toroniku Shio Ramen yesterday and have to say the noodles had the right amount of chewiness for me, not overdone or underdone and the broth was flavourful & was the perfect amount of saltiness. Santouka is my favourite now in TO (have eaten ramen @ Kinton, Momofuku, Niwatei & Kenzo).

                                                        1. re: tyatt
                                                          jennjen18 RE: tyatt Nov 14, 2012 07:05 PM

                                                          How much was the toroniku? Considerably more than the regular bowls of ramen...?

                                                          1. re: jennjen18
                                                            szw RE: jennjen18 Nov 14, 2012 08:10 PM

                                                            It's 15.xx I think. Regular ramen is like 10 or 11.xx

                                                        2. Teep RE: aser Nov 15, 2012 08:28 PM

                                                          Guess the word is out; passed by at 8pm Thurs and saw 10 people waiting outside and another 10 standing inside.

                                                          7 Replies
                                                          1. re: Teep
                                                            jlunar RE: Teep Nov 15, 2012 09:09 PM

                                                            I was there at 5:45 and there was already a line up!! They have the eggs now!

                                                            1. re: jlunar
                                                              szw RE: jlunar Nov 16, 2012 11:53 PM

                                                              Anyone try Raijin Ramen yet?

                                                              1. re: szw
                                                                PhilH RE: szw Nov 17, 2012 12:54 PM

                                                                Oh man, Raijin is open now too!?

                                                                1. re: PhilH
                                                                  ggom1 RE: PhilH Nov 18, 2012 01:06 PM

                                                                  I went to Raijin and I still like Santouka the best. Overall, this is what I've found for the ramen places:

                                                                  Kinton - liked the noodles but not keen on the broth
                                                                  Sansotei - liked the broth but not keen on the noodles
                                                                  Raijin - liked the broth and noodles but not keen on the toppings
                                                                  Santouka - liked broth, noodles and toppings!

                                                                  Raijin has by far the biggest space, it seems like it's 2x as big as all the other ramen places? I kind of liked that. I've only been to each of these places once though. If you don't want to wait in line at Santouka, it's pretty awesome that Raijin isn't too far away.

                                                                  1. re: ggom1
                                                                    PhilH RE: ggom1 Nov 19, 2012 07:21 PM

                                                                    Went to Raijin tonight. Had the tonkotsu shio.

                                                                    It wasn't very good I thought. Noodles not enough chew, broth not porky enough, pork shoulder was kind of bland + not that great texture (no belly!?). I liked how large the portions seem, they give you more meat than most places and the black oil is nice but I'd rather go to Sansotei nearby at the same price.

                                                                    I think my current ranking of ramen places downtown is Santouka, Sansotei, Kinton, Raijin, Kenzo in that order. Can't wait to try the tokusen toroniku when they finally have the full menu at Santouka.

                                                                    1. re: PhilH
                                                                      tyatt RE: PhilH Nov 21, 2012 07:47 AM

                                                                      Toroniku was already available last week......

                                                                      Raijin just felt the same as its Vancouver Location....the broth does not has much depth in it, in fact too porky for me. It is more value though with egg. The chasiu is softer IMO than Santouka's regular chasiu. But of course nothing can beat the Toroniku.

                                                                      Between Sansotei and Raijin, I might still pick Sansotei if they improve on their noodle. The Raijin noodles have too much 'alkaline' taste in it that I don't prefer. But they are really no competition to Santouka.

                                                                      1. re: tyatt
                                                                        PhilH RE: tyatt Nov 22, 2012 02:03 PM

                                                                        Ahhh, I was under the impression that they would have another broth outside of the shio/shoyu/miso/spicy for that but I see I'm wrong there.

                                                                        I pretty much agree except rather disliked the chashu I had at Raijin. Just on chashu alone I think Santouka > Sansotei (close second) > Kinton > Raijin.

                                                                        Noodles would be something like Santouka > Kinton > Sansotei (did they improve their noodles yet?) > Raijin.

                                                                        (It's nice to have these things to complain about when there was nothing but Kenzo around this area just months ago...)

                                                          2. s
                                                            stargazercd RE: aser Nov 16, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                            I went yesterday around 4PM. No waiting. Liked the place and the friendly servers.
                                                            My lunch partner and I both ordered Kara-miso ramen.
                                                            It was tasty but it was overly salty. I still taste salt in my mouth.
                                                            I had ramen in Japan numerous times and I do not remember their ramen being so salty.

                                                            Since it's in my area (5 minute walk), I would go back and try their other selections. But for now, no more Kara-miso ramen for me unless they go easy on the salt/miso/sodium.

                                                            1. w
                                                              warlock RE: aser Nov 17, 2012 01:27 PM

                                                              Went there today at about 10:55 am....I might have been 6-7 in the queue...they did not open at exactly 11am...and then at about 11:10 they started letting customers in one at a time,so by the time I was let in in it was around 11:20...Just putting this up so that people know what to expect...

                                                              I sat in front of the kitchen and oh my is it hot....in summer it would almost be sucidal to sit there...

                                                              Anyways to the important part I ordered the Toroniku with Miso and a Cold Green tea....it took about 10 minutes for my order....the toppings were served separately and not on top of the Ramen....so I had my first sip of the broth..Wow...just loved the oily goodness and the salty goodness....The ramen was nice and then I had a slice of the Chashu....double wow....nice fat on it,it melts in your mouth,as many would agree,the best Chashu in town...It seemed like a small bowl and I felt I might need another bowl...but the broth is so rich that I really felt satisfied at the end of the meal....Final bill came to $20 and change.. a bit pricey I would say but worth it....I'm spoilt now.....hoping to come back and try the other flavours soon... I think we are getting spoilt for Ramen choices but make sure to visit Santouka...its worth it...

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: warlock
                                                                grandgourmand RE: warlock Nov 17, 2012 01:32 PM

                                                                Yeah, I went by at ~11:45 and the lineup was super long. So, had to take a pass. Really eager to give this place a go.

                                                                1. re: grandgourmand
                                                                  jlunar RE: grandgourmand Nov 17, 2012 02:46 PM

                                                                  Was there at 1pm or so today as well. Passed on the line like you GG. The charsiu is really good though!! Best in town - agreed, warlock.

                                                              2. u
                                                                uberathlete RE: aser Nov 17, 2012 04:28 PM

                                                                Went today and had the Toroniku. Broth was nice and creamy with a hint of sweetness. The entire dish though was overly salty ... and I have high salt tolerance. My companion who has even higher salt tolerance said the same thing. I expected the pork jowl to be more tender, but it was alright. Noodles had good flavor but the texture was a bit off for me. It wasn't overcooked but it lacked bounce. As other posters have said, the bowl looks small, but don't be deceived because it is deep enough and the richness and saltiness of the broth will quickly tire the palette. It's best to order it with pickled veg like kimchi. Halfway I felt a bit dizzy which has never happened to me eating tonkotsu ramen. The place is relatively small so be prepared to wait in line. From a value standpoint, it's quite expensive, but definitely worth trying.

                                                                1. b
                                                                  bernardtkchan RE: aser Nov 28, 2012 08:39 AM

                                                                  Does Santouka have gyoza? I'm trying to decide where to go tonight between Raijin and Santouka and am having a hard time deciding...

                                                                  Will there be much of a lineup at Santouka on a Wednesday night a few weeks after opening?

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: bernardtkchan
                                                                    aser RE: bernardtkchan Nov 28, 2012 03:12 PM

                                                                    don't think santouka does gyoza, not sure if their full menu is up yet but they'll have a lot of don (rice bowl) dishes.

                                                                    raijin def has gyozas, the ratio of skin vs filling was off, not enough of the latter. Not bad tasting though.

                                                                    for all the shortcomings of kenzo, they do make a solid gyoza.

                                                                    1. re: aser
                                                                      bernardtkchan RE: aser Nov 29, 2012 07:44 AM

                                                                      Thanks for the info!

                                                                      I ended up at Santouka anyway (the lineup wasn't long and figured I could go to Raijin on a weekend without much hassle whereas the same cannot be said at Santouka).

                                                                      Had the miso toroniku with an egg and was pleased (that said, it was a cold night and I hadn't had ramen for a while so it may not have been too hard to do that). My other half had the shio toroniku but I didn't try any. Our food came in around 10 minutes and the portion didn't look too big. I've had bigger bowls of ramen elsewhere in HK and Japan but I knew that a rich broth and the egg would probably leave me mostly full anyway.

                                                                      - The meat was juicy and tender, pretty much as advertised. My only gripe was more personal in that the meat wasn't warm enough and even dumping it in the broth did not warm it up to a satisfactory temperature for me either.
                                                                      - The other toppings were nice, but didn't really help me form an opinion on the ramen overall. I was also hoping that they would have some fresh garlic at each table for customers to put on their ramen but that was not to be
                                                                      - The egg was slightly undercooked and, again, not warm enough. The yolk was still too fluid and basically spilled out into my mouth. If you cut it in half with a knife, chances are the yolk would have just spilled out into the broth. Again though, this comes down to personal preference.
                                                                      - The noodles were good. They weren't too hard or chewy and were cooked just right. Personally though, I prefer the thicker noodles found elsewhere.
                                                                      - The broth was tasty. Salty, but tasty. It was rich and left me predictably full. Taste wise, it wasn't anything spectacular, but it complemented everything else well.

                                                                      Overall, I would say that I enjoyed my ramen. Nothing stood out too much for me, but everything came together fairly well and did not disappoint. Price-wise, the ramen was not cheap at all. At $16 a bowl for the toroniku before tax/tip, this was certainly an expensive bowl of ramen. I am glad I have tried it, but next time I head there, I think I will be getting the chashu or pork shoulder ramen instead as I just can't justify a $20 bowl of ramen everytime

                                                                      1. re: aser
                                                                        MissBingBing RE: aser Apr 6, 2013 04:41 AM

                                                                        Santouka has gyoza. Nothing special.

                                                                    2. Charles Yu RE: aser Jan 12, 2013 07:36 PM

                                                                      Much have been said about how great the pork bone broth, al dante ramen noodle, melt in the mouth Toroniku pork cheek, perfect yolk yummy eggs...etc of Santouka. So I won't dwell on them further.
                                                                      However, one thing I would like to point out and that is 'what great value for money that bowl of Ikura Don is'!! Especially when ordered as a combo with the ramen!!
                                                                      Compare to Sansotei, the amount of the salmon roe given must be at least 5 times more!!!!

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: Charles Yu
                                                                        ace123 RE: Charles Yu Jan 13, 2013 07:33 PM

                                                                        Yes. It's good value at $16.99.

                                                                        I had the combo for lunch and was not hungry at dinner time.

                                                                      2. food face RE: aser Mar 2, 2013 05:54 PM

                                                                        Am I missing something here? Are we all talking about the same place?! Since when is $17 for a bowl of Ramen "good value"? The soup was mediocore at best. Pork was stingy. It was completely over salted and the noodles where packaged. It was a small bowl of soup compared to Kinton, and no where near as good in terms of depth of flavour. I left wondering what all the fuss is about. I would NEVER go back. I would rather add pork bones to packaged miso soup and buy noodles from Chinatown. It would be better than Santouka's.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: food face
                                                                          szw RE: food face Mar 2, 2013 10:53 PM

                                                                          Yeah, you are.

                                                                          1. re: food face
                                                                            Charles Yu RE: food face Apr 5, 2013 09:54 PM

                                                                            YES?! Somehow, I think you are missing something?! 76 replies and I believe you are the only one casting a negative vote?!!
                                                                            And, BTW, 'Good Value' referred to the Ramen AND Ikura Don COMBO!!!!!!

                                                                          2. s
                                                                            Strongbad789 RE: aser Mar 3, 2013 07:40 PM

                                                                            Went today (a Sunday). Wasn't sure about the current popularity so I got there about 10 minutes before 11am opening; I needn't have, as there were still a number of empty tables when I left at maybe 11:30 (fast lunch).

                                                                            That being said, the coles notes is that I loved my meal. From the start, though, I have to admit that I was originally confused as to what to order. From looking at their online menu I thought they only had four types of ramen (shio, miso, shoyu, and tokusen toroniku) and I'd heard that the fourth type was the one to try so I had planned to get that. When I perused their menu in-restaurant, though, I found that they have a section with four main types (shio, miso, shoyu, and kara miso (miso + hot spices)), and another section with the same four types as toroniku ramen variants (ie the same four but plus the pork cheek instead of regular pork). I was somewhat worried that my carefully-laid ordering plans were ruined (and I assume that more ramen-knowledgeable people than I would not have made such a mistake), but I went with the toroniku shio and hoped for the best. And I was very pleased.

                                                                            The broth was rich, thick, and very flavourful. The noodles were just the right level of chew. Even the pickled plum (I think it was) was great. But the real winner was the pork, which was absolutely fantastic. I could have eaten a whole meal of just that. I've never had better (and I had a whole lot of ramen in Japan over three weeks there a few years ago; although new memories are always sharper than old I suppose).

                                                                            If I had any problem at all it might have been the fact that the broth, while rich, thick, and flavourful, seemed to be lacking...something. Maybe a bit too much in the heavy rich flavours and not enough else to balance it. Hard to describe. I really liked it, but I felt that I couldn't finish my own bowl of broth, much less want more (at the time, although I do remember the broth with great fondness now).

                                                                            Anyway, overall I loved my meal there and I would definitely return again later to try the various other ramen options. The ramen was a bit pricy at $16 or so, but I am more than willing to pay for delicious food. If this thing was closer to my workplace at king and bay I'd be there multiple days a week (I don't want to hear how close it is to king and bay...I'm lazy).

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Strongbad789
                                                                              grayelf RE: Strongbad789 Mar 5, 2013 10:57 AM

                                                                              I popped in here to see what the TO Hounds were saying about Santouka, my top ramen in Vancouver with my favourite porky good meat, toroniku. I find it expensive enough here http://www.urbanspoon.com/u/menu/1510... at approx. $13 a bowl but still worth it for the pork jowl. $16 a bowl is really pushing it...

                                                                            2. y
                                                                              ylsf RE: aser Apr 5, 2013 08:09 PM

                                                                              Amy Pataki hasn't been so far off the mark in a long time... Geez, she hated this place:

                                                                              What is her favourite ramen place? I will be sure to avoid it...

                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ylsf
                                                                                TorontoJo RE: ylsf Apr 6, 2013 04:25 AM

                                                                                Interesting. I wonder if she simply doesn't have a lot of reference points for ramen? It seems to me that the "unpleasant mouth coating quality" of the pork bone broth is exactly the unctuous quality that one looks for in a tonkostu broth, no?

                                                                                But mushy noodles are definitely not a good thing...

                                                                                1. re: TorontoJo
                                                                                  vil RE: TorontoJo Apr 7, 2013 09:03 AM

                                                                                  Right, it sounds like she is missing the point of the tonkotsu broth and should not be ordering it, if she finds the "mouth coating quality" unpleasant and the heaviness of it an issue.

                                                                                  I recently had another meal at the Toronto location and can vouch that the noodles were not mushy at all, the broth pleasantly rich. The only change I would consider for next time is asking for harder noodles and less salty broth, so that I could drink up all of the delicious broth. Not complaining, just my personal preference.

                                                                                  This is pretty much the best I can ask of ramen in our fair city, and I seriously hope that the likes of Ms Pataki will not contribute to the "dumbing down" of ramen in Toronto!

                                                                                2. re: ylsf
                                                                                  jlunar RE: ylsf Apr 6, 2013 04:12 PM

                                                                                  wow ouch. I agree with TorontoJo - seems like she's not down with that lovely tonkotsu broth? I feel like most of the ramen places are like this (the most unctuous is Raijin's kakuni imo). The only one that hasn't had this super-rich broth is Ryoji (chicken/fish I believe).

                                                                                  Admittedly, I've eaten here only a few times, but never have my noodles been mushy. As a note, you can order your noodles "hard" as well (which I like).

                                                                                  1. re: ylsf
                                                                                    Notorious P.I.G. RE: ylsf Apr 6, 2013 04:25 PM

                                                                                    I've eaten at almost every santouka location multiple times and have never, ever had mushy noodles. What are the odds that Pataki eats there and everything goes to shit on her visit?

                                                                                    To be honest they're so consistent that its more likely her sense of taste is completely whacked.

                                                                                    Also, Tampopo reference? Really?

                                                                                    1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                                                      aser RE: Notorious P.I.G. Apr 6, 2013 06:04 PM

                                                                                      let's write a review after reading some wikipedia entries.

                                                                                      1. re: aser
                                                                                        jlunar RE: aser Apr 6, 2013 06:05 PM


                                                                                        1. re: aser
                                                                                          Notorious P.I.G. RE: aser Apr 7, 2013 12:21 AM


                                                                                        2. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                                                          MissBingBing RE: Notorious P.I.G. Apr 6, 2013 06:14 PM

                                                                                          There's more than 50 worldwide. That's some feat!

                                                                                          1. re: MissBingBing
                                                                                            Notorious P.I.G. RE: MissBingBing Apr 7, 2013 12:19 AM

                                                                                            Let me clarify, in North America. Don't touch it in Asia.

                                                                                          2. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                                                            Teep RE: Notorious P.I.G. Apr 11, 2013 11:32 PM

                                                                                            On Santouka's website they did say the owners were inspired after watching Tampopo,

                                                                                            1. re: Teep
                                                                                              Notorious P.I.G. RE: Teep Apr 12, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                                                              Oh yes, I'm familiar with santouka's beginnings and for that reason I just think that angle is super played out and cliche.

                                                                                        3. aser RE: aser Apr 15, 2013 08:53 PM

                                                                                          the tsukemen is my fav current soup noodle in the city right now. It could be only bettered by santouka dishing hanjuku eggs.

                                                                                          amy pataki, you're wack.

                                                                                          6 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: aser
                                                                                            jlunar RE: aser Apr 16, 2013 08:54 AM

                                                                                            will have to try it! Raijin has it on their menu too and I enjoyed it. Great for the warmer weather.

                                                                                            1. re: aser
                                                                                              Notorious P.I.G. RE: aser Apr 16, 2013 10:29 AM

                                                                                              Yeah, I don't know why they use that style of egg as opposed to a Hanjuku or Ajitama style.

                                                                                              I even asked for them to swap out the normal egg for a hanjuku and they wouldn't do it.

                                                                                              1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                                                                themiguel RE: Notorious P.I.G. Apr 16, 2013 10:39 AM

                                                                                                Yo P.I.G, who does the most credible hanjuku style egg in the city?

                                                                                                1. re: themiguel
                                                                                                  Notorious P.I.G. RE: themiguel Apr 16, 2013 11:39 AM

                                                                                                  I like Santouka's. I'd like it better if it was flavoured like an Ajitama. Kinton's is ok but I've gotten it and it's been cold a number of times which takes it down a notch. Haven't tried Raijin because Santouka opened up before I had a chance to go over and I don't see any reason to eat Ramen anywhere else now.

                                                                                                  1. re: Notorious P.I.G.
                                                                                                    themiguel RE: Notorious P.I.G. Apr 16, 2013 12:54 PM

                                                                                                    Thanks, Raijin's isnt bad at all actually - on par with Santouka I would say, although the rest of the bowl doesn't quite measure up. Sansotei's egg I have never cared for.

                                                                                                    1. re: themiguel
                                                                                                      Notorious P.I.G. RE: themiguel Apr 16, 2013 01:31 PM

                                                                                                      Cool, cool. I'll have to give it a try sometime.

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