Japanese-owned and -operated Kinton Ramen is leading the way in Toronto’s ramen revolution.
While there’s some debate about ramen’s origins, there is no doubt that in Toronto ramen is here to stay. And I’m not talking about the Mr. Noodles that helped a lot of us survive university. I’m talking about the real deal, the kind you get at Kinton 2, the second ramen shop to open under the Kinton brand.
When I arrived at Kinton 2, shouts of “irasshaimase!” erupted from the entire staff, including the cooks, who work in an open prep area-making you wonder if you haven’t just stepped into a backstreet Tokyo izakaya.
Try Ton Ton Don, made with Kinton’s original-recipe mayo.
In Japan, ramen recipes are like fingerprints, and each restaurant has its own unique recipe based on the traditional varieties: shio, shoyu, tonkotsu and miso. Kinton 2 had to make some adjustments with its ingredients, but the result remains authentic and delicious. And it hasn’t stopped there: Kinton 2 also offers authentic yakitori (chargrilled chicken skewers) in its upstairs dining area, along with assorted Japanese tapas. But on my visit, I was there to try the house specialty.
With Kinton’s choose-your-own-adventure-style menu, diners can customize their ramen’s base, noodles and toppings. For the base, you’ll choose either the classic, full-bodied pork broth or Kinton’s own chicken broth—a savoury blend of Canadian chicken soup and its Japanese counterpart. Next, it’s your choice of ever-so-soft and juicy chicken breast or tender pork slices. The pork is lightly caramelized before serving, enhancing and sealing in its flavourful juices. After customizing the richness of your soup and thickness of your noodles, the last thing to decide on is your toppings. While I opted for the usual ramen toppings, like negi (or green onion), more adventurous diners can opt for the non-traditional, like jalapeño paste or Swiss cheese. And—as I found out on my visit—no matter which options you choose, the result is a bowl that’s mouthwateringly delicious.
￼Don’t mess with these guys – they know their ramen!
Kinton’s manager, Aki Urata, is a 20-year veteran of the ramen industry. He got his start on the streets of Kobe in 1995, helping to feed citizens of the quake-ravaged city from a sidewalk ramen cart, and he later spent seven years working in the Vancouver ramen scene. Now Mr. Urata is confident about the future of the Japanese food industry in Toronto—and with great restaurants like Kinton 2 leading the charge, that future is looking bright.
Staff: Sarah Dickson
Sarah lived in Tokyo from 2010 to 2014, where she taught English to cool business types. She also spent a lot of free time eating gyudon, shopping at Uniqlo and unsuccessfully learning Japanese. Now living in Toronto, she enjoys writing and annoying her friends with stories that start with, “When I lived in Japan….”
Kinton Ramen 2
668 Bloor St. W., Toronto | 416-551-8177
www.kintonramen.com | Open: Mon–Fri 12 pm–3 pm, 5 pm–12 am • Sat–Sun 12 pm–12 am