I have no idea what real, authentic Ramen tastes like so keep that in mind when reading my opinions below. In general I prefer udon or soba noodles. I have tried the ramen at Kazu which is only available at lunch but found it to be unremarkable with the exception of the pork which was arguably the best tasting pork I’ve ever had. Personally I wouldn’t go to Kazu for Ramen but for their other distinct dishes. The ramen at Imadake was just adequate with somewhat stiffer noodles than expected. Again I wouldn’t go to Imadake for ramen but rather their other dishes like black cod, takoyaki and okonomiyaki which are great. Kinoya does a surprisingly decent ramen. As far as the broth is concerned, none of the places provided anything remarkable except for Misoya. I still say the best soup broth I’ve had was the mini sukiyaki soup at Furusato.
2065A Bishop (closest metro: guy concordia)
Last Visit: Mar 2013, # of visits: 2
This is a Japanese chain of Ramen shops with many locations in Japan and a handful outside of it which now includes Montreal. This appears to be its first Canada location. Unlike any other Ramen place, this place really only offers Ramen as a main (whereas every other place have non-Ramen mains available). They do offer gyoza and karaage chicken appetizers.
Misoya is more expensive than the other places with prices ranging from $12.50-$15. There is only one meat choice at the moment (chasu fatty pork) and the egg is an extra cost option ($1.50) rather than being included. The ingredients are slightly different depending on the broth you choose (Kome Miso and Shiro Miso). I prefer the slightly more expensive Shiro Miso broth over the Kome Miso, the latter being more salty while the former has a subtle but still distinct flavour. The Shiro version comes with cabbage, bean sprouts, green onions, fried tofu and menma (bamboo shoots). The most interesting of these was the fried tofu (there were two pieces). Its skin was crispy but also had as gooey underlayer. The Kome version has fried potato wedges and corn instead of tofu. I like corn but the fried potato seems out of place. There was ample green onions and bean sprouts but the rest of the toppings were pretty sparse with only a couple of slivers of Chinese cabbage and a few small pieces of bamboo shoots. For the price I don’t know why they would skimp on such ingredients. As far as extra cost add-ons, I only tried the egg which was quite good (and they give you a full one, not a half one).
The noodles were quite good. They were thicker than any others I’ve had and curly with a distinct yellow colour. There was a large slice of fatty pork which was not bad. If you order the Chasu Ramen, then you get two more pieces. The Gyoza appetizer was ok, barely average, it had minced pork and some green stuff (probably leeks). The price though was not bad at $4 for five dumplings. Was this the best Ramen I’ve had in Montreal? Yes but I wouldn’t say it was miles ahead of any other Ramen I’ve had. I can see the extra cost relative to other Ramen places being an issue for some, however, for Japanese food made by Japanese people the price is par for the course and not outrageous. They now offer a cheaper lunch special combo so that may be more within certain people’s expected price range.
Here’s one review I found about this place.
1007 Saint-Laurent (closest metro: place d’armes)
Last visit: Feb 2013, # of visits: 7
Opened August 2009 in Chinatown (below Sainte-Catherine) I ordered the ramen with chasu (bbq pork). The pork was alright. It’s the fatty type of pork which I’m not the biggest fan. The Sumo Ramen has two pieces of pork with bean sprouts, green onions, seaweed, slices of what I think was black fungus and half an egg with runny yolk. Veggies are sparce (in fact it seems all Ramen places skimp on veggies for whatever reason). Prices are reasonable with bowls available from $8-$13. They used to have lunch specials that were a dollar cheaper but I think those are gone now. There are three choices of broth, pepper, shoyu and miso ($1 extra). I’ve only had the shoyu one so far which is fine, nothing to write home about but no complaints either. Miso comes with corn kernels as well. The ramen noodles are alright, quite thin actually with a square-ish cross-section and fairly straight but they thankfully aren’t mushy and do have some resistance. You can also replace the ramen with udon for $0.50 extra but I’ve never tried their udon noodles even though I prefer those over ramen. In my last visit, I had ramen with grilled chicken which was really good, moist and tender. Some other main dishes I’ve tried of the non-ramen variety include curry fried shrimp with rice and the beef yakisoba. The former was quite good and the latter was generous in portion but no different than your typical Chinese fast food stir-fry with thin slices of flavourless, dry beef.
I actually find their selection of appetizers more interesting than their main dishes (some appetizers also have main dish equivalents). I liked the eel, cooked mackerel and marinated pork. The skewered squid balls were not bad but didn’t seem to taste different than ones you’d buy at the supermarket. The gyoza is alright. I like the way they’re fried as the dumplings are all stuck on a common fried sheet. It’s fairly cheap at $4 for five dumplings which have some cabbage and carrots along with the minced pork. One appetizer that is a complete disaster and should be avoided is the Takoyaki. I couldn’t even tell there was any octopus in it at all because the inside was all mush and all I could really taste was mayo. Better to have Takoyaki at Imadake.
Yuki Ramen / Nudo
Yuki location: Inside Le Faubourg food court (on the upper floor) 1616 St. Catherine O.
Nudo location 1: Inside Eaton Centre food court on 705 St. Catherine O.
Nudo location 2: 1055 St. Laurent (in Chinatown)
Last visit: Feb 2013, # of visits: 5 (spread across all three locations)
This isn’t Japanese style but their hand pulled noodles are very good and in my opinion better than all the Japanese places listed on this page. Then again maybe I just prefer the Chinese style of hand pulled noodles. The bowls I’ve had at the food court locations generally came with lackluster toppings that were plain in a bland broth. The portions of toppings and meat also seemed to vary from adequate to barely there. The only good thing were the noodles. At least the prices are very affordable and part of the fun is watching them make the noodles fresh to order.
My last and so far first visit to their Chinatown location was definitely the best yet. This one unlike the other locations is not situated in a food court but has its own sit down restaurant. They give you a complimentary small plate of spicy veggies and some delicious chrysanthemum tea. I ordered the red braised beef shank with soup on the side and this was quite good. There were several slices of tender, flavourful beef unlike the one time I had it in Eaton’s Center. It wasn’t the best red braised beef I’ve had but certainly good. It was accompanied by some pickled vegetables along with sliced cucumbers, carrots and bits of bean sprouts. I think it’s preferable to eat these meals with soup on the side. The noodle just seem tastier this way. Their menu also offers some appetizers, various pickled dished and also dumplings. I tried the chive and pork potstickers. They were alright, a bit small and nothing noteworthy. It was interesting that the accompanying dipping sauce was filled with chopped garlic.
1216 Stanley (2nd floor)
Last visit: Feb 2013, # of visits: 4
This place just opened in I think summer 2011 and had a review recently in the Gazette. I wasn’t wowed by their BBQ pork ramen but it was not bad. It had three pieces of pork with green onions, corn, sesame seeds, zucchini, seaweed, some nori sheets and half a soft boiled egg with runny yolk. I liked the addition of sesame but nothing else really stood out. It comes in miso broth and there are no other choices. Their gyoza were nicely fried with nearly uniform dark, crispy bottoms and I liked their grilled eel skewers. Their version of the Bibimbap is predictably disappointing with its lack of variety in vegetables and bland mince meat. On the flip side, their shrimp cake burger was surprisingly tasty despite my hatred of mayonnaise that seems to be obligatory for these types of foods. Prices for the Ramen bowls range from $9.50 to $12. It’s also more spacious than Sumo Ramen making for a less cramped eating experience.
I also recently tried the Tenderous Ribs Ramen which absolutely lives up to its name. The rib meat provided was actually boneless which was a nice convenience. Despite being in the soup, it still retained its flavour and it was definitely tender with three, good sized cuts of meat that contained gristle and fat. Their fish cake appetizer was quite good, the fish cakes were tasty and soft. I previously also tried their short ribs which were not bad but don’t expect it to be similar to Korean Kalbi. Hakata’s ribs are cut a bit thicker and have their own flavour that is not sweet like Kalbi.
Unfortunately, I got a severe case of food poisoning (and I wasn’t the only one) after my last visit on a Friday evening although the food tasted fine. I had the red curry seafood ramen which was good and a sampling of unremarkable appetizers (grilled saba mackerel, fried tofu and steam egg).
Last visit: Mar 2013, # of visits: 2
They offer other noodles besides Ramen including Udon and Soba and also have a wider variety of broths to choose from (miso, shoyu, spicy miso, spicy shoyu, curry). They also offer sushi which none of the other Ramen places do if you really feel the need for that pairing. I have no idea if their sushi is any good. I think they’re the oldest Ramen place (having opened possibly as early as 2008). I wasn’t impressed with their Ramen back in 2011 and in 2013, the feeling hasn’t changed much. The prices have increased with a Chasu Ramen costing $12. I had one with miso broth and I definitely did not like the broth. It had this sort of burned meat taste to it. In fact, the miso broth tasted almost the same as Big in Japan’s ramen (and I didn’t like the broth there either). Everything else was fine if unremarkable. The selection of toppings are the same as Hakata and Sumo. The Chasu ramen came with three slices of pork which wasn’t bad but other places make better pork. Their pork gyoza was nicely fried but the filling lacked any real taste.