Obaa-san used to make First there was teriyaki, then sushi and ramen took over—now it’s time for udon to enter Toronto’s food space.
Udon is a type of noodle common in southern Japanese cuisine, made with wheat flour and served in a noodle soup or as a salad with a variety of toppings. The noodle has been enjoyed in Japan since as early as 1241 when a monk introduced flour milling to the country. Today, it remains one of Japan’s most popular dishes, whether it’s being served hot in the winter—often in one of the many regional varieties of soup—or chilled in the summer.
Hailing from the southern-central Kansai region of Japan, Udon Kitanoya specializes in the wide, round and chewy sanuki-style noodle. Just recently opened in May 2019, Udon Kitanoya has already gained a following by serving authentic udon creations using highquality ingredients from family recipes passed down through generations. The restaurant offers traditional udon in a homemade dashi stock, with flavours like simmered beef niku udon and ebi tempura udon with crispy fried shrimp topped with scallions and seaweed. It also doesn’t shy away from more modern creations, like pairing sea urchin and squid with udon in a creamy mentaiko spicy cod roe sauce. Try topping off your meal with a refreshing lemonade, which is made in-house.
Executive Chef Shikatani Masatoshi hails from Osaka, a city known for its home-style, delicious, filling and inexpensive dishes, and uses his grandmother’s recipes to make the restaurant’s tasty soup. “We want to show Torontonians the intricacy of a great, authentic bowl of udon,” says co-owner Benson Lau. “It’s a staple in many Japanese eateries, but not many know the secret to elevating the dish.” That intricacy comes from the dashi-based broth. Made daily from four types of umami-heavy dried fish—tuna, mackerel, sardines and bonito, all imported from Japan—the broth is savoury, clean-tasting and complex without being complicated, and is the perfect backdrop to the toppings and chewy noodles.
The restaurant’s aesthetic matches the dishes—the décor is simple: open-concept, bright and airy with vintage posters advertising Japanese beer and artwork painted on the walls. Located in T oronto’s Annex neighbourhood, Udon Kitanoya is already popular with students looking for a tasty, filling meal that won’ t leave them counting pennies.
EBI TEMPURA DON Perfectly fried shrimp tempura served on a bed of rice with a drizzle of dashibased sweet soy sauce.
Stir Fry Beef Udon This popular dish is served with chilled and chewy noodles, tem pura bits, green onions, shredded nori (seaweed) and stir-fried beef sitting in a small amount of sweet soy-based dashi to balance the flavours.
Udon Kitanoya 513 Bloor St. W., Toronto
OPEN: Daily 12 pm–3 pm, 4 pm–10 pm