Spring may arrive any day now, but while the grey, chilly weather is still gripping the city, warm up your day with a hot, tasty bowl of ramen noodle soup. Some people may think of ramen as a cheap, MSG-laden budget meal, but this is definitely not the case in Montreal. Ramen is a wonderful Japanese dish of fresh noodles, veggies, and flavourful meats, cooked in bone broth and served steaming hot in a large bowl. Montrealers love ramen, and the Plateau, in particular, has some authentic and cozy places where you can enjoy the hearty soup. There are also some tasty options for vegetarians and vegans. Pop by any one of these yummy spots to warm up and wait for the sun.
Tsukuyomi opened last summer and has been getting rave reviews. It’s a traditional ramen house that makes their own bone broth, a milky, pork-based version from the Hakata region known as tonkotsu (they also make a vegan version). It’s reasonably priced at a flat $13 for your choice of braised pork, chicken, tofu, or vegan. A very nice sides menu has perfect options for sharing with such dishes as wasabi flavoured octopus with nori seaweed, edamame, or boiled spinach and sesame.
Where: 5207 St Laurent Blvd
2. Ramen Ya
With authentic decor and an extensive menu of Japanese dishes, Ramen Ya is a great choice for traditional ramen in a lively, casual atmosphere. Their spicy beef ramen is a big hit and the appetizers are also very good. Choices of broth include shoyu, miso, tonkotsu, or curry, and they offer a nice selection of toppings.
Where: 4274 St Laurent Blvd
3. Yakota Yakobai
Tucked away on Drolet street, it’s easy to miss this little ramen spot, but it’s definitely worth seeking out. Their signature marrow broth is simmered for 12 hours and the results are a deep, creamy and full-bodied broth without MSG. Happily, for vegetarians, they also make a veggie version. Everything is organic right down to the desserts, which adds a lot to the quality and traditional taste of the soup. It’s also highly customizable as you’ll be able to select your desired level of saltiness, spiciness, and amount of seaweed, and green onions.
Where: 4185 Drolet
4. Restaurant Koi
Restaurant Koi is the newest on this list having just opened in January of this year. They have been getting great reviews for the warm, modern decor, colourful Asian street food menu, and great service. They offer three types of ramen with shoyu-miso broth: braised pork, tempura shrimp, or agedashi tofu.
Where: 101 Fairmont Avenue West
5. Big in Japan
Big in Japan is a Japanese-style brasserie that makes the list because it has awesome decor and it’s open super late (Sunday to Wednesday until midnight, and Thursday to Saturday until 3AM) making it the perfect spot to satisfy a late night soup craving. That being said the service is not always that great and there is better ramen to be had. For an end-of-the-night pit stop though, the soup is flavourful and satisfying, and it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
Where: 3723 Boul. Saint-Laurent