Best places to go in Montréal for an authentic bowl of ramen
In recent years, Montreal has been blessed with a blossoming ramen scene that has proliferated from non-existent to having places that specialize in regional Japanese specialties. If you’ve never had ramen before, it’s a humble dish of fresh wheat noodles swimming in a broth (that has most likely been simmering for hours) topped with meats and vegetables. This quintessential Japanese comfort food has been growing in popularity as more and more noodle shops and ramen houses pop up around town. Here are the some of the best places to go for an authentic bowl of ramen.
Located in the Plateau Mont-Royal neighbourhood, Yokato Yokabai specializes in authentic Hakata Tonkotsu style ramen—which is a pork bone-based soup. Their menu is a checklist that you fill out at your table. They offer two types of broth, pork bone and vegetarian, a choice of grilled pork or chicken and a myriad of toppings to garnish your bowl with that include scallions, soft boiled egg and seaweed. The wooden decor and rice paper paneling will transport you into a Kurosawa film. Their tongue-twisting name is a literal translation of a Japanese term that means, “I like it.” Order the extra salty pork bone tonkotsu, with extra scallions and half an egg and I guarantee you’ll love it.
This popular downtown izakaya is known for line-ups that stretch down the street starting as early as an hour before the doors open. Known for their reinspired classic izakaya dishes, Kazu also serves up a mean bowl of ramen. Home-made noodles in a silky smooth miso broth topped with braised pork belly and scallions will leave you craving more. Try to grab a seat at the bar for a great view of the action of the open kitchen.
Misoya is a ramen chain with over 30 locations worldwide that has been recognized in the New York Michelin guide for three years in a row. Their broths are miso-based and come in three different concentrations: shiromiso, komemiso and mamemiso. The tastes range from light to mild and sweet to a more robust and savoury full-bodied flavour. The classic bowl is delicious but try the curry ramen—a rich curry miso broth that’s topped with three pieces of chicken katsu (fried chicken cutlet), bean sprouts, corn and fried slices of potato.
Schlouppe Bistrot Nakamichi
Nakamichi specializes in tori paitan-style ramen. A rich creamy soup made with chicken bones and rendered chicken fat that produces the most impossibly luscious broth that literally clings to every strand of noodle being pinched out of the bowl. The menu is straightforward and simple. You have a choice of three ramen bowls—including a vegetarian option. The menu also consists of great side dishes and salads. Get the combo special that includes a side dish and home-made green tea ice cream with your ramen.
As a part of the Kinka family of Izakayas-style restaurants and pubs that invite patrons to explore Japanese cuisine beyond sushi, Kinton Ramen hit the ground running when they arrived in early 2016. Their official ramen challenge has patrons slurping every noodle and soup down to the last drop. Clean your bowl and you’re an official Kinton Bowler – prizes and bragging rights up for grabs.
There’s nothing like freshly made ramen and when I say fresh, I mean, homemade noodles coming out of a specialty ramen noodle machine imported from Japan. Ichifuku’s testament to quality starts from their meticulous soup making process which boasts no M.S.G (monosodium glutamate) to six kinds of noodles of different diameters which pair differently with their signature broths.
This relative newcomer in the Montréal ramen scene has locals rejoicing as this noodle house sets up shop on Parc Avenue. Cocoro is located in the heart of the Mile-End – which is coincidentally what cocoro means in Japanese; heart. A traditional offering called the Shogun which is shoyu based bowl and a creamy tonkotsu style pork bone available.
Ramen ya is considered the pioneer of the ramen scene in Montréal. Keeping it simple with their ramen offerings, this spot satiates cravings with their house special chashu tonkotsu, served with thick-sliced roasted pork belly. Also on the menu, a spicy beef ramen called the “gyu” and a veggie option for non meat eaters.
Kumamato Ramen is hitting all the right notes with diehard ramen eaters. They are on trend with the Japanese ramen shops that offer diners the choice to eat in solitude and avoid distractions while enjoying their steaming bowl of tonkotsu. Solo patrons are seated in stalls where they order and are served through a bamboo curtain with minimal human interaction.
Located in the renown Saint-Hubert Plaza - known for bridal shops and consignments stores, Ramen Plaza is a noodle oasis for the locals of the Petite-Patrie neighbourhood of Montréal. Tonkotsu, double broth (chicken based) and spicy miso available.
This boisterous izakaya has been lighting up the ramen scene for years. With a tonkotsu, kara-miso and vegetarian option made with shitake mushrooms and kombu, Imadake gets creative with their noodle offerings. Toppings like buttered corn, grilled rare beef (think pho) and marinated soft-boiled eggs are sure to whet your appetite.
A pop-up ramen shop takes over the Saint-Henri favorite ice cream shop (Dalla Rose) during the winter months. Singling three ramen options; a basic ramen, chili ramen and a signature “Dalla Rose” bowl are all vegan. Yes, vegan ramen. Classic ramen accoutrements like pork and eggs are all available as add-ons.
A newcomer on The Main, Tsukuyomi specializes in a the classic tonkotsu ramen - thick luscious pork-bone broth topped with your choice of pork or chicken. Vegan broth available as well.
This Japanese bistro offers unique takes on traditional ramen. Their classic pork and soya broth broth ramen is topped with roasted chashu pork, corn and marinated eggs. The “Very Spicy Noodles” is made with porchetta, egg, yu choi, bean sprouts, enoki, red pepper confit and spicy oil.
Jason Lee, blogger
Jason is a food eater and picture taker. As the blogger behind Shut Up and Eat, he covers everything food, from recipes to reviews. Jason has vowed that he will not stop until he has officially eaten his way across Montréal. It’s a big claim, and it’s one he’s making.