Toronto has seen a booming ramen market in the past 2-3 years and it seems like there is a new store opening every other month. It amazes me that the Japanese wave is picking its pace now as the Korean phase preceded it probably 5-6 years ago. I’m actually not a big ramen fan but that was until I went to Japan. I’m not going to lie, but everything in North America falls short of what you would get in Japan. Well that’s probably a no-brainer since that’s where ramen originated. I think the main differences include: soup base, temperature of the whole thing, freshness of the ingredients, and the FUCKING ATMOSPHERE lols. Before I spend too long about food that we can’t get readily (probably half the world away), let’s take a look at Santouka.
A brief history trip takes us to March 1988 (that is actually when I was born!) when the owner opened his very first shop. His motivation to establish a ramen business was sparked by his visit to another ramen shop. The taste did not impress him at all and thus, he made a promise to make something better. We look at the year 2013 and there are 2 restaurants in Canada, with other countries all over the world who have taken part in his adventure. Take a look at the picture below. This is the spicy miso ramen and the soup base was very satisfying. Now I’m just going to break this place into the pros and cons, please do not kill me for some of the negative statements….
– Food comes out fast (unlike frigg’n Guu *cough*)
– Food is hot (this is so effing important)
– Menu is easy to read (thank you for the pictures)
– Soup base is not too salty, quite delicious I must say
– The rice combos are shit, don’t order it lols
– Lineup is around 30 minute wait when I went at 2pm on Saturday (not horrible but not reasonable)
– Soup base is too oily
– Portions are adequate for a female, but not for a male
– A tad more expensive than other places
Honestly the pros do outweigh the cons. My advice is to NEVER order those rice combos because it’s just so dry and bleh lols. Service is average, nothing out of the ordinary but at least we have Japanese-speaking individuals serving us. I’d actually recommend this place to my Toronto peeps. I would say out of Toronto, Santouka is ranked top 3 out of the ramen business. Kinton is seriously too salty (soup base), Kenzo is fine, Ajisen is FUCKING salty (and is just not good). I still need to try a bunch but I am no ramen expert yet.
My rating: 8.4/10
Other people would rate it as: 8.7/10
My parents’ rating: 7.9/10 LOL