As a weekly customer at Korean joint GaNaDaRa, my heart broke when I saw they were renovating for the next two months. Where else can I get this???
Just look at those chewy but not too gummy noodles with those fresh scallions. Oh, and that lip-smackingly delicious, slightly sweet barbecue beef. It’s still the broth that gets me every time. I can’t get enough of it. Spicy, tasty. This bowl of ramen is like none other in the city. I go so often that they know my order before I sit down.
At any rate, their two month closure is hard and has forced me to rethink where to get my favorite soup. If you’re struggling, here are a few places I can point you to.
My number one pick for great ramen is Misoya near Concordia.
I’m pretty sure if I didn’t love GaNaDaRa’s ramen so much, Misoya would see a lot more of me. The worldwide Japanese chain restaurant is underground, always smoky, and often crowded. Paying can be an interminable wait. Nonetheless, these guys dish up massive bowls with the porkiest, richest broth. It’s the sort of broth that you can feel coursing in your veins. And as you can see, it’s not some watery, clear soup; it’s cloudy dense with flavour. Floating in there are crumbly bits of beef, scallions, a good helping of sprouts, half an egg (not soft boiled as you can see), and good ol’ seaweed. This ramen is for people who like their soup with a power punch. It’s not dainty. I’ve also had their pork ramen (fatty pork) as well as the vegetarian ramen. I barely remember either one and have consistently ordered the one you see above ever since. 2065 Bishop
Imadake kicked off my Ramen fetish when it opened. I skipped the sake bombs, and went for vegetarian ramen (grilled oyster mushrooms) with garlic broth because that was how I rolled at the time. I was a convert and have worked my way through a few of their ramen variations. I can speak to the goodness of the spicier Imadake ramens. Though, I still swoon thinking how slurping that garlic broth is like jumping into a bath of the seductive clove. 4006 St. Catherine W.
Plateau folk have Ramen-Ya near Mt. Royal. It’s not first on my list of ramen, though I’ve eaten here plenty of times. Given a choice of dishes, I generally opt for their spicy beef with either shoyu or miso broth. I’ve also had their seafood ramen, which is a decent dish with a few shrimps floating in the broth instead of thin slices of beef.
While those three are good options, I feel obliged to tell you two to skip.
Do not bother with Sumo Ramen. I feel like my pictures say it all. The noodles are wrong. Limp, spaghetti-like. The broth thin, salty, even oily. It was not a broth that got much love. There seemed to be an overall lack of effort here, as indicated by the half-hearted chopping job done on that cabbage and the thin scatter of scallions. 1007 St. Laurent
I also can’t say many good words about Yuki Ramen in the Faubourg, though I love watching them make noodles. Below is their vegetarian ramen, which shows a lack of effort. The broth is weak — salty, not flavourful. The ingredients are just thrown into the bowl with very little care to making them presentable or chopping them to size. The strange papery dried tofu (at least that’s what I think it is), tiresome. The whole bowl doesn’t jive together very well. Nonetheless, you can be assured that the noodles are made before your eyes and are the best part of the experience. I’ve been told the pork ramen is much better, but I’ve long since stopped going to this one in favor of others. 1616 St. Catherine W.
Don’t worry. There are more ramen reviews to come.