Warm your soul and fill your belly at 10 of the most quintessentially Toronto ramen shops.
Asking Torontonians who makes the city's best ramen will drum up an array of answers, leading you to a rich stew of cultures and flavours. Thanks to the city's multicultural food scene, noodle lovers will find everything from classic Japanese ramen to less commonly found regional iterations, multicultural mashups, plant-based versions and more.
This winter, stay atatakai (an adjective meaning 'warm' in Japanese) by ordering up at these uniquely Toronto ramen shops. We can't agree on which one is "best"—try them all, and you decide!
#10: Toronto's Most MICHELIN-Recognized Ramen
In Tokyo, their ramen has earned MICHELIN Bib Gourmand recognition. The hype is deserved, with steaming bowls of umami-rich hand-blended soups, innovative ingredients (including west-meets-east white truffle oil), and wavy noodles crafted on imported Japanese machinery.
MUST-TRY: Signature Clam Intense Shoyu Ramen, for its full-bodied broth made from aromatic pork, chicken, and clams.
#9: Toronto's OG Ramen Chain
Wherever you are, whenever you need your ramen fix, chances are you're near one of Kinton Ramen's 11 Toronto locations.
Kinton Ramen fans know the chain has its recipes down to a science. The signature house-made noodles are created using a special air-tight kneading technique for the perfect texture. Chicken is sous-vide cooked for a French take on Japanese cuisine.
With options for everyone, including vegetarians and spice lovers, Toronto's original homegrown ramen chain is a crowd-pleaser for good reason.
MUST-TRY: Veg Shoyu. Rich broth, fried bean curd, wood ear mushrooms, handmade noodles, and pickled ginger. Need we say more?
#8: Toronto's Best Ramen for Soup-ficionados
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka
Santouka follows a strict process for its signature white tonkotsu broth: pork bones are gently boiled to create a mild-tasting soup, but only once to preserve its delicate taste and aroma. It is never re-boiled.
Each bowl of ramen is served in a special donburi, a thick bowl selected by the founder to properly insulate the dish for peak flavour. The temperature at which the ramen is served may be less hot than you're used to, but it's meant to be devoured straightaway, down to the last drop of broth.
Sooo good after a winter ice skating sesh at nearby Nathan Phillips Square.
MUST-TRY: Shio Ramen for its pure white tonkotsu broth, mild salt flavour and rich aromatics. It has remained unchanged since Santouka’s founding in 1988.
#7: Toronto's Most Dippy Ramen
Local ramen fanatics flock to Ramen Isshin, a popular chain straight from the motherland with locations by Kensington Market and on Queen Street West. Their name's meaning is "one heart, one ramen," and that passion can be tasted in every bite.
Known for harder-to-find ramen like tsukemen (dipping noodles), this shop wok fries veggies with miso, sake and seasonings for extra flavour before pouring their broth and fixings overtop. A variety of vegetarian apps and three meatless ramen options will keep plant-based diners happy.
MUST-TRY: Stone Bowl Shoyu Kotteri Ramen Tsukemen, where chashu pork and super-thick noodles are served alongside a rich seafood-pork broth. Dip, eat and enjoy!
#6: Toronto's Spiciest Ramen Menu
Toronto-born Kenzo Ramen draws inspo from a variety of Japanese regional ramen. This local chain boasts uniquely thin noodles (house-made, naturally), a signature 24-hour-stewed pork-chicken-seafood broth and house-fermented sauces.
Besides basic ramen, speciality ramen (e.g. egg drop Jisu Ramen) and vegetarian ramen, Kenzo offers six options for spice lovers. With four Toronto locations, including Etobicoke and the Annex, you're never far from a steaming bowl of satisfaction.
MUST-TRY: Spicy Charsu Ramen, infamous for its four levels of spice. This Hakata-style pork ramen packs a punch with its special ingredient: drops of pure capsaicin extract. Warning: maximum spice is only for extreme chilli heads.
#5: Toronto's Coziest Ramen Spot
Looking for something low-key? Tucked away in the basement of a red-bricked building in Cabbagetown, you'll find Tokyo Ramen.
This humble shop is charming and small—much like a typical Japanese neighbourhood ramen-ya—and creates an atmosphere of quiet intimacy. Settle down in this hidden noodle oasis to enjoy Korean shrimp chips, beer and ramen.
MUST-TRY: Tokyo Ramen, their signature noodles, served hot with chashu pork, karaage chicken, nori and your choice of broth: soy sauce, miso or seafood.
#4: Toronto's Best Mall Ramen
Specializing in authentic tonkotsu ramen, Sansotei Ramen honours the legacy of Kyushu's famed pork bone-based ramen broth, one slurpable bowl at a time.
MUST-TRY: Tomato, a colourful bowl of thick- or thin-cut noodles (you choose!), tomato-spiked pork-bone broth, chashu pork, Hokkaido scallop and a pile of shiitake under a tangle of red chilli threads. Food ’grammers, this dish is for you!
#3: Toronto's Friendliest Ramen
Expect cheers of welcome when you walk into Midori Ramen. Japanese omotenashi culture emphasizes the importance of hospitality. Midori Ramen proudly embodies this philosophy. From entrance to exit, you are embraced wholeheartedly per the "soul in a bowl" ethos of chefs Masaru Ogasawara and Natsuhiko Sugimoto.
Anticipate heartfelt service alongside their signature tori paitan (creamy chicken broth) ramen. Vegetarians are catered to with a uniquely complex, creamy cauliflower broth for their noodles.
MUST-TRY: Signature Tori Paitan for its delectable broth, perfect soft-boiled egg, choice cuts of chicken or pork chashu and toppings galore, including aosa sea lettuce and menma (bamboo shoots)
#2 and #1: Toronto's Most Protein-Centric Ramen
At Ikkousha Tonkotsu, expect porktastic chashu and all the fixings served up in a white tonkotsu broth. If tori ramen is more your style, walk two stores over to Ikkousha Chicken for tender breast meat chashu atop your noodles and broth.
MUST-TRY (Ikkousha Tonkotsu): Signature Tonkotsu, with tender chashu pork, black fungus, spring onions and Ikkousha’s custom-cooked noodles (which you can order to your preferred tenderness: the traditional preference is al dente).
MUST-TRY (Ikkousha Chicken): Tori Black Ramen, with its tender chicken chashu and black fungus, served in a striking black broth of creamy tori paitan darkened with charcoaled garlic and house-blended black sesame oil.