Santouka Ramen Toronto: Japanese Restaurant Near Dundas Square

Santouka Ramen Toronto is a restaurant near Dundas Square specializing in Japanese noodle soup.

The Japanese soup import is regularly ranked as one of the best ramen restaurant’s in Toronto. Soup lovers in the city are known to patiently wait in line on Dundas Street East to taste the restaurant’s authentic Japanese noodle soup.

History of Santouka Ramen Toronto

It was in the 1980s that Santouka Ramen first captured the attention of Japanese foodies when it served its signature shio ramen topped with a pickled plum. Santouka was born the moment the Japanese restaurant’s founder, Hitoshi Hatanaka said to his family, “I’m going to make delicious ramen.”

The company was officially founded in 1988, a short four months after his family had given rave reviews for Hitoshi’s pork bone soup. The company originally began as a single ramen restaurant in Asahikawa, Hokkaido. It had just nine seats and a single item on its menu: shio ramen.

The donburi (small ramen bowl) found at Santouka Ramen was specially ordered. Santouka’s iconic ramen bowls are thick, preventing the Japanese soup from cooling too quickly.

Santouka Ramen Toronto opened its doors on Dundas Street in 2013. It now joins a family of ramen restaurants in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan and the United States.

Ramen lovers line up down Dundas Street East for Santouka Ramen Toronto.
Ramen lovers line up down Dundas Street East for Santouka Ramen Toronto.

Step Inside Santouka Ramen Toronto

I have visited several of Toronto’s best ramen restaurants over the years. I regularly joke that I’m careful to avoid becoming obsessed and always clear on my intentions to observe the fanatics with their smug mugs and pork broth splattered chins.

Looking to slurp your way through Toronto’s best ramen restaurants? Start at Santouka Ramen Toronto and then check the remaining Japanese noodle soup restaurants off your to do list: Ajisen, Momofuku Noodle Bar, Kinton, Sansotei and Kenzo,

On my first visit to Santouka Ramen Toronto I joined the end of a long line and watched an entirely Asian foodie crowd as they pressed their noses to the restaurant’s window. The interior twinkled with lights and steaming noodles slipped into the air.

I chit chatted with the two Korean girls standing in front of me and asked them what they had heard about the restaurant and their personal preferences for ramen in the city. This wee conversation became a heated debate with the entire line. Over the course of the next ten minutes I came face fo face with members of Toronto’s die hard ramen cult.

Santouka is a tiny little noodle shop that seats just 36 and is the second Canadian outpost for this Hokkaido based Japanese franchise (the first opened for the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver).

After waiting over thirty minutes for a table we crammed ourselves onto a little two top to the right of the entrance. The room bustled as servers spun around the room with Asahi beer and steaming hot bowls. While we waited for our food to arrive I waved at the excited eyeballs looking in (a line which never diminished) and smiled as I watched hungry faces stuffed with noodles dangling from their mouths.

The dining room at Santouka Ramen Toronto.
The dining room at Santouka Ramen Toronto.

Santouka Ramen Toronto Menu

Ramen is to the Japanese what Matzah Ball Soup is to my Jewish friends. Comfort! Ramen frenzy in Toronto hits a peak just as we head into the winter months when everyone is frozen to the bone and looking for a soup that nourishes the soul.

Open Santouka Ramen Toronto’s menu and you’ll find this lovely message from the owner to his guests.

The perfect temperature for delicious soup explained “To prepare our mild, pearl-coloured Tonkotsu soup, we take the time to slowly simmer pork bones before adding vegetables, dried fish and kelp. We value the exceptional flavour and aroma of our signature soup and ensure that is not diminished by excessive boiling. We purposefully maintain the broth at its optimal temperature to best preserve the flavour so that everyone from children to seniors will enjoy the soup.”

Santouka Ramen Toronto is one of the city's best restaurants for Japanese noodle soup.
Santouka Ramen Toronto is one of the city’s best restaurants for Japanese noodle soup.

Santouka Ramen Toronto Ramen

  • Shio (Salt) Ramen: Santouka’s signature ramen. White tonkotsu soup with red pickled plum.
  • Shoyu (Soy Sauce) Ramen: Chau siu roasted pork ramen soup seasoned with soy sauce.
  • Miso Ramen: Miso is incorporated into Santouka’s tonkotsu soup.
  • Kara Miso Ramen: Pork broth seasoned with three kinds of chili peppers and miso.

Santouka Ramen Toronto Rice Bowls

  • Negi Meshi: rice topped with katsuobushi, nori and diced green onions.
  • Ikura Gohan: bowl of rice topped with salmon roe.
  • Grilled Salmon Gohan: hot rice topped with pieces of grilled salmon.
  • Cha-Shu Gohan: bowl of hot rice topped with pieces of cha-shu pork.
Shio Ramen at Santouka Ramen Toronto.
Shio Ramen at Santouka Ramen Toronto.

Santouka Ramen Toronto: Toppings and Appetizers

  • Tokusen Toroniku: a signature Santouka dish. Melt in your mouth pork cheek.
  • Hanjuku Tamago: soft-boiled flavoured egg
  • Goro-niku Gyoza: crispy Japanese pork dumplings
  • Yaki Nori: toasted seaweed
  • On-yasai: fresh boiled vegetables
  • Tofu and Shrimp Salad
  • Sweet Corn
  • Seaweed Salad
  • Kimchi
Spicy Miso Ramen at Santouka Ramen Toronto.
Spicy Miso Ramen at Santouka Ramen Toronto.

Santouka Ramen Toronto Hours

Daily: 11am-11pm

Santouka Ramen Toronto Reservations

91 Dundas Street East, 647-748-1717

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