These days I cannot keep up with how fast ramen places seem to pop up in Toronto. Don’t get me wrong as I am not complaining at all. I am in fact happy of the variety of choices out there. This week, I sought to try Santouka Ramen with TitaFlips a.k.a. Diona Joyce. I had a free day last Monday and Christmas shopping at Eaton’s Centre could really build up my appetite. What was good about Santouka Ramen was its accessibility as it was only about 5 minutes walking east of Dundas and Yonge. As I walked along Dundas, it was like walking down Ryerson memory lane. Although I have my hunger back then always pacified by the gyros of a local restaurant by Dundas and Bond, I would have loved to be slurping a soothing broth instead on a winter day.
By the reviews I have seen of this place, it was always mentioned that long queues happen when you come during prime dinner hours. Because of that, Diona and I planned to come earlier than the rest of the crowd. It was easy enough to find as this restaurant was relatively bigger than the other ramen places I have been to. From the outside, I like the layout better than Sansotei or Kinton. The expanse of the kitchen covered the length of the restaurant. The dining area were of the same width of the kitchen if not a little bigger. The time being a little past 5pm, I had the leisure of choosing a good seat, which was the farthest inside the restaurant and by the window.
As I was waiting for Diona, I scrutinized the menu. I already knew what I wanted as I have seen some images from the blogs I have read about Santouka Ramen. Sometimes it was the visual appeal of the dish that gets me to try it. One could say I always eat with my eyes first. I went for the unique plating of a ramen that was Toroniku Shio Ramen. This dish separated the special pieces of pork fanned on a plate and was meant to be eaten and added to a steaming bowl of ramen. As Diona was running late, I decided to try a smaller dish that was Negi Meshi to tide my hunger over. The idea of bonito flakes on steamed rice appealed to me. Slivers of black flakes on top of jasmine rice seemed to be photogenic in my head.
The Negi Meshi arrived on the table at the same time of Diona’s arrival. From the menu, I had the impression that the serving was small but what came to me was a decent size of rice bowl laden with green onions and bonito flakes. It was big enough for a snack for sure. After settling in, Diona decided to go for Toroniku Miso Ramen.
As we waited, I saw the restaurant started filling with hungry diners and the queue started to lengthen outside. I mentally patted myself for coming early and having secured a good table that gave as much quiet in a busy restaurant as quiet would go. As the two ramens arrived, Diona noticed that Santouka’s most ordered ramen does not come with the soft-boiled egg, Aji Tama. We ordered one for each to make the ramen indulgence complete. Both Toroniku Shio and Toroniku Miso hit the right spot on taste and texture of its noodles. If I haven’t tasted Sansotei, I would have made this my first choice for best ramen in Toronto. My choice for number one should not take away from the comfort that bowl of ramen gave me. It all boiled down to my preference for the lingering deliciousness of Sansotei’s Tonkotso Ramen. What was good about Santouka in comparison to Sansotei, the wait might be shorter as the dining room was bigger than Sansotei. Either way one would choose which restaurant, ramen lovers win in all these ramen wars going to full gear. Much appropriate for the coming cold months of winter. :)
As what has become a tradition between Diona and me, we ended the night with our sweet tooth pacified. We made the short trip to Adelaide and Jarvis for servings of gelato at G for Gelato. I ordered my usual tart choice of lemon and berries and Diona went for decadence with her choice of chocolate and coconut. It was one good meal that night. Definitely nothing to complain about.