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Having been open for four months, the hype for Kinton Ramen hasn’t died down. With the arrival of several other ramen joints in the city, Toronto can’t seem to get enough ramen!

The interior

Kinton Ramen is brought to you by the team behind Guu and having been here twice, a one hour wait is not unusual. They’re open for lunch at 11:30am (until 3) and for dinner at 5pm. If you don’t want to face a long wait, I recommend arriving at opening for an early meal. Yes, the turnover at Kinton is quick but the space is small and narrow and isn’t nearly enough for the never-ending crowds of people. Oh and be prepared to get cozy with your neighbors as the seating is either communal or at the bar in front of the kitchen.

Our place setting

On my first visit, I started with the Gyoza – Japanese pork dumpling ($3.50). I’m not sure if it was because I was starving after the one hour wait, but I really enjoyed these dumplings. The four gyozas it came with had a thin skin which was lightly fried and they weren’t too greasy. The filling was seasoned well and I thought it was a great way to start the meal.


On my second visit, we started with the Chicken Karaage ($4.80). They also have a spicy version of these fried chicken nuggets, if you’d prefer. The starter came with large, juicy and tender chunks of chicken with a side of mayo-based dipping sauce. The exterior was crisp and like the gyozas, weren’t greasy.

Chicken Karaage

Kinton has several choices when it comes to their ramen. First, you’ll need to narrow down which broth you want – miso (soybean paste), shio (sea salt), shoyu (soy sauce) or spicy. Second, you get to choose if you want the broth light, regular or rich. Lastly, you can decide on your cut of meat – pork shoulder or pork belly.

The first bowl of ramen I tried was the Miso Ramen – soybean paste, Kinton pork, beansprout, scallion, corn, garlic oil ($9.50). I opted for the regular broth and pork shoulder. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of the miso broth. I found it lacked in flavour and was just missing something. On the other hand, I loved the noodles which had a nice firmness and bite to them. The pork shoulder was tender and seasoned well but I preferred the pork belly between the two cuts of meat offered.

The Miso Ramen

The second bowl I tried was the Spicy Garlic Ramen ­ – chili pepper, Kinton pork, beansprout, scallion, fresh grated garlic ($9.80). The broth was bright red and was just as spicy as it looked. Yes, the spicy broth is a little one dimensional but I loved the intense garlic flavour of it. And I mean intense! The ramen comes topped with a generous scoop of grated garlic which will leave you with garlic breath well into the night.

With this bowl, we opted for the pork belly. Unlike the pork shoulder, which comes with two pieces, the pork belly comes with one long piece. It was a pretty meaty piece of belly which I would’ve preferred a little fattier.

The Spicy Garlic Ramen

The last bowl of ramen I tried was the Shoyu Ramen – soy sauce, Kinton pork, beansprout, scallion, nori, seasoned egg ($9.50). While I preferred the shoyu over the miso, I still felt it was missing something. Not a bad bowl of noodles but nothing mind-blowing either. The one thing I particularly enjoyed about this version was the seasoned egg which had a salty exterior and oozing yolk which spilled nicely into the broth.

The Shoyu Ramen

So, what’s the verdict? While I enjoyed my experiences, I didn’t think their ramen is worth the 1+ hour wait. But with the block-long lines in front of Momofuku, perhaps this is the new ramen norm?

Kinton Ramen

At a glance:
• 1+ hour waits aren’t unusual
• Good but not worth the wait
• Small space, communal seating
• Quick and friendly service
• Located in Baldwin village

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 3.5 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars

Kinton Ramen  on Urbanspoon

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