Toronto, ON M5T 1T1
It took a long time for Japanese ramen to become popular in Toronto. When it finally did, in 2012, the trend proliferated quickly, much of it mediocre. But since then, a few purveyors have risen above expectations, their broth a little more complex, their noodles a bit more springy. The long menu at Ramen Isshin has the classics, multiple vegetarian options (with vegan noodles available) and a penchant for experimentation — cold ramen with okra and kimchee, black sesame tan tan ramen, curry tsukemen. The standout Red Dragon ramen manages to surprise with a variety of flavours and textures — wok-fried pork bits and braised pork belly slices, peanuts, fermented chili paste, a blend of red and white miso and tonkotsu broth — while remaining sufficiently tethered to the concept of ramen to not seem gimmicky.