Chef Jin Yu Lan pours piping-hot soup into one of the large bowls at KenzoRamen.
KENZO RAMEN 138 Dundas W, at Elizabeth, 416-205-1155, kenzoramen.ca. Rating: NNNN
Since relaunching downtown three years ago, Daniel and Jane Park's cozy 30-seat Japanese noodle house has grown into a mini-chain of four restaurants. The reason? Some of the tastiest soups this side of Hokkaido and Sapporo. Crazy lineups at lunch, friendly if mute service. Also: 522 Yonge, at Maitland, 647-340-2112; 372 Bloor W, at Walmer, 416-921-6787; 4860 Yonge, at Elmhurst, 647-345-1871. Best: top-of-the-line King Of The Kings ramen with house-pulled family-recipe noodles in spicy shoyu broth finished with sliced chashu pork, slivered scallion, runny soft-boiled egg, chewy seaweed and kamaboko fish cake, the Spam of Japan; creamy Tonkotsu ramen's broth tasting of liquefied pork chops; minced pork gyoza, more soup dumpling than potsticker; for the hardcore, takoyaki dumplings stuffed with unusually tender octopus.
Complete dinners for $20 per person (lunches $15), including tax, tip and tea. Average main $10.
Open daily 11 am to 10 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor (Dundas).