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Ryoji - Izakaya and Ramen on College

Does anyone have any scoop on this Ryoji place that's supposed to open at double addresses somewhere on College?

It's supposed to double as an Izakaya and Ramen shop. This could spell compromise.

BUT it could also be great: the Onna-aji seems to involve a blend of pork, fish (bonito) and vegetable broths, which sounds unique to this chain and would definitely be a first for Toronto (similar to Santouka and their pork jowl).

What I thought really set ramen in Japan apart was how every QUALITY shop had a special gimmick. The sheer variety was mind-bending. Allegedly, there were a few places in Tokyo that put peanut butter, chocolate or whisky in their broths (though I cannot verify the existence of any of these places, but they kind of sound like novelties anyway).

It should be noted that NOT EVERY place was exemplary and there were tonnes of industrial ramen joints serving up slop until the wee hours of the morning.

But with that said, I eagerly await this addition to Toronto's burgeoning little Ramen Mosaic (copyright).

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  1. Oh and here are some links:

    English is Facebook only: https://www.facebook.com/RyojiofCanad...

    Or you can try your hand at their native Japanese site:

    1. Is there an opening date yet? Can't wait to compare to my two current favourites, Santouka and Hapa!

      2 Replies
      1. re: jl_1978

        We are projected to open on January 15 2013. Hopefully we'll be on your favourite list soon :)

        1. re: ryojiofcanada

          I will literally be there on opening day!

      2. I am looking forward to this!

        1. So is it one restaurant that serves both ramen and izakaya-style food, or is it two restaurants (one serving ramen and the other an izakaya) that are connected?

          1 Reply
          1. re: londonhk

            I think it's an izakaya that serves/specializes bowls of ramen. Not unheard of for Izakayas to serve bowls of noodles. I know Kingyo does (albeit the Udons do not come in any broth).

          2. I came back to this thread hoping for some reviews, but it looks like their opening is pushed until tomorrow. mnajji, are you still planning to go for the opening?

            3 Replies
            1. re: jl_1978

              As it stands, my buddy and I should be over there for around 6:30 (give or take).

              I know, I was REALLY disappointed the soft delay got cancelled, but it's okay. I don't like the whole "soft opening" menu concept. I want the full experience!

              Here's hoping there isn't a line-up...

              1. re: mnajji

                Sometimes restaurants say their soft opening is delayed, so that tons of people don't come. But its still actually open, so people can walk in and its not as busy. I drove by a few days ago and there were people seated in the restaurant (one half of it anyways). If you live close by, I'd just hop over and see if they are serving.

                1. re: szw

                  Hmm, unfortunately I do not live in the area but that is good to know for future reference.

            2. So I did finally go on opening night. And the verdict was pretty damn good!

              Unfortunately, because for my friend and I this actually served as the springboard to our night we drank lots of birus and got pretty bloated so we couldn't sample EVERYTHING on the menu.

              But we did try the following:

              The Ramens
              -(friend had) Onna-aji Tonkotsu: he said he loved this and it was his favourite broth (or indeed, favourite bowl) in the city. He has not had Santouka, but I don't think the broth is the key takeaway there anyway.
              -(I had) Onna-aji Shio: I loved this as well. It's very different from what most other places in Toronto in it that it's a considerably lighter, chicken-salt broth. But I thought it was fantastic. It was like liquified chicken and for what it was I didn't find it to be TOO salty. The only reason I won't have this again next time (if I am willing to brave what will inevitably be a very long line-up) is to try the first one that my friend loved.

              Overall, I would also comment that the chashu here was probably among the best in Toronto (it's been a while, but I recall having REALLY liked Sensotei's chashu) although the toroniku at Santouka is still easily the best protein anyone is putting in their soup these days (or serving next to). And I realise different people value the components that go into a bowl differently. I for one am of the believe that the broth is the single most important piece and can make or break the soup but those who like their noodles thick, curly and with a lot of resistance on the tooth (al dente!) may look elsewhere.

              The Izakaya dishes:
              -Rafute Platter: this doesn't look that appetizing (as the picture will attest) but it's four large hunks of braised pork belly with some starch (regular "western" potatoes) and radishes. Two of the bellies are darker and braised, I THINK, in soy sauce and much more slowly (as they fall apart much more easily). The other two are firmer and lighter in colour though still salty. I definitely preferred the former and it was VERY similar to the Kakuni at Kingyo, if anyone has tried that.
              -I forget what it was called (had a crazy Okinawan name) because my friend ordered it before I got there but we also got a plate of charbroiled pork jowl. This was so-so anyway. I liked the seasoning but it was very tough.

              So overall verdict? Well hard to say since I did not run the gamut of the menu but from what I did try, I would say Kingyo is still king (that was unintentional) for upscale Japanese pub fare but this is certainly a welcome alternative and you don't have to look hard for something you would like. As for the ramen, I personally wouldn't hesitate to give it the town crown, only because I am not a huge fan of the bone marrow broths that some of the other places specialise in (Santouka, Raijin). I've certainly had bowls that I personally enjoyed more in Japan and will continue to wait for someone to melt some fish into their broth. But for the time being, this place is pretty satisfying.

              Also, quickly, the atmosphere is loud and fun. I love communal table and counter eating (we made friends with a Momofuku employee next to us!). I will NOT comment to sternly on the service though. This was opening day. It was HECTIC (again, as you can see in the picture) and needless to say, they do still have some kinks to work out. But generally, everyone was friendly and willing to help out. We asked our waitress if we could get some t-shirts and she took down our email addresses. We'll see how THAT goes!

              1 Reply
              1. re: mnajji

                Here are some more photos. I couldn't attach them to original reply.

                And I know, they are blurry. My apologies.

              2. The ramen was really good, not Santouka good but delicious. Best in the west end I would say. I found the izakaya menu small. I didn't want to order the sashimi or sushi as I can get that better at other places, So i decided on their fried chicken and pork neck, both were good, not great. Most of the servers are white and inexperienced as i overheard one of the girls call it "raymen", yes, raymen. and our server had not even tried Japanese food until a week ago when she applied for the job. The interior is great. quite unique, they put a lot of work into it. This is a good west end option for izakaya, but I will stick to the "raymen" from now on, good price point too for a bowl $11.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Bobby Wham

                  Hahaha. I didn't want to take it "There" with the waiting staff... but you are spot on. They are not Ramen Enthusiasts (which definitely is A Thing)!

                  1. re: mnajji

                    Ramen was good but...I really hate the vibe there. Why are the two izakays on college st trying to mimic the vibe of college st from the 90s?

                    The place just looks tacky, with bad loud club music. The menus look so old fashioned, the drinks list looks like it came from the 90's as well. None of the charm or atmosphere of the other places in town.

                    Oh well, the food is good so I'll be back. I wish A-OK's ramen tasted this good, I'd be there a lot more often if it was.

                    Of all the new Japanese places, I think Kingyo is the one that most "got their s* together".

                    1. re: szw

                      Yeah the menu had the design of a tourist trap NY deli. Jazz deco font folded out 3 ways in a maroon menu, hahah

                  2. re: Bobby Wham

                    That's because the servers know Everybody Loves Raymen.

                    1. re: TheGloaming


                      Did anyone try the Goya Champuru? I freaking LOVE this dish! Also, does anyone know if they were serving Orion beer?

                      1. re: bernardtkchan

                        Highly doubt they're serving orion. Neither LCBO or any of the Japanese distros (Ozawa, Nishimoto) carry it.

                        The only way to get it is a private order from LCBO and that is prohibitively expensive for most restaurants to partake for a simple beer like Orion.

                        Looking forward to trying Ryoji & Zakkushi out.

                        1. re: aser

                          Someone asked on their Facebook page if they would serve it and they said they'd hope to serve it. Sounds like they probably won't if it really is that expensive to get.

                          I was there on that first night as well. Won't comment on the service. I really think they need a better/bigger menu though. The ramen really is best in the west end but I wouldn't go out of my way for it.

                  3. Any recent experiences? Going tomorrow night. Thinking will try the Ramen but interested in other menu items too. Will review previous recs in this thread.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ylsf

                      K, had the ramen, the Ryoji one with the seasoned egg and extra pork.

                      It was okay/good but not as good as Kinton, Santouka (sp?) or even Raaji (sp?, the place on gerrard). Of the recent places I have tried it ranks at the bottom, but, still "good" just not great in my books.

                      I think part of that feeling might have been the service. I never felt so rushed out of a place before. I still had my chopsticks/spoon in my hand and the waitress came around and was like "are you done too??" and there will still noticeably food in the bottom of the bowl. geez.

                      I much prefered the experiences at the other spots. Even though they were all busy, I never felt rushed or bugged. The other places all let me ask for the bill when I was ready. I don't know if it has to do with different serving styles of what (non-asian vs. asian?).

                      We got there early-ish (6:30) and it was filling up by the time we left but there were still empty tables. I didn't find the noise levels loud, or , at least didn't notice them. I also laughed at the menu design after reading the comments here and seeing it in person.

                      I will probably go back to try some other stuff when in the area again, but so far it isn't a "destination" place for me.

                    2. just wondering if anyone knows if the ramen noodles at ryoji are made with all buckwheat or also contain wheat?

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: helenhelen

                        it's not the type of soba you're thinking about. It has no buckwheat.


                        1. re: aser

                          oh, the noodles i had didn't look like that.. they tasted and looked like buckwheat ramen, so was just wondering if it was 100% buckwheat or had some wheat flour in it too. i had the veg ramen...

                          1. re: helenhelen

                            nevermind.. my bad! i kept thinking of soba noodles. :P

                            carry on..