Introducing: Ryoji Ramen and Izakaya, the Little Italy outpost of the Okinawa-based chain
Little Italy’s Ryoji combines two of the city’s hottest food trends: ramen and izakayas. The popular Japanese chain, founded in 1988 by chef and owner Ryoji Kinjo, has nearly a dozen locations in Okinawa, although this is the first outside Japan. The ramen ($10) uses the company’s “Tondou” noodles (produced off-site in Toronto), and is made from either tonkotsu (pork bone) or shio (chicken and pork) broth, along with various combinations of flavourings and toppings. The izakaya menu features Okinawan dishes, like goya chanpuru (stir-fried bitter melon slices with tofu, scrambled egg and pork belly, $8) and ji-ma-mi (peanut tofu, $6), as well as other Japanese bar classics, like fried chicken ($8) and daily raw fish selections. The room thumps with clubby beats, and has the izakaya-standard communal tables and wood trim, supplemented with Okinawan details like ryukyu glass light fixtures and handmade bricks along the walls. There’s also a lounge area for patrons more interested in the shochu and sake-based cocktails than the dinner menu.
Ryoji Ramen and Izakaya, 690 College St., 416-533-8083, facebook.com/RyojiofCanadaInc