I don’t have a picture of the store front, but this is the picture of their back room. We are sitting at one of their longer tables, and there is another smaller table beside us to the left of the picture.
3 Gerrard St East
Toronto, ON M5B2P3
Mon – Sun: 11:30 am – 12:00 am
Situated just east of Elephant & Castle on Gerrard St, Raijin is a location I passed by numerous times while I was studying downtown. However, I only got to recently check it out.
I went with a group of 8, and considering it was a Saturday, early afternoon, it was quite empty. We asked to be seated at the back, and the ladies wanted to chat it up, and the chef table thingy doesn’t really accommodate that.
Our waitress for the meal was very polite, ensuring that she did not disrupt us while we were chatting, yet at the same time making sure she was in proximity if we needed her. She was also quite prompt on filling our glasses.
The food we ordered came in decent time, meaning you didn’t have a hangry Esther to have to deal with. Another plus.
My friend said that it we needed to try and Gyoza and the Kara-age for sure, so that was what she ordered to share with our half of the table.
The Gyoza, comes stuck together, which is the second time I have had it like that. The first time was the Dumpling House in Chinatown Spadina. In any case, they were crispy on the outside like I like it, though just a tad salty for my completely liking.
The Kara-age comes with a lemon slice, and my friend asked for the Japanese Mayo, as she claims that it is the best way to eat it. The meat was soft. Only problem here was that the oil should have been hotter, so that there would be less of it left when served. But again, it was a minor oily thing, it was still quite crispy, so I didn’t make a big deal about it.
I only got to photograph our part of the table…
I ordered the small size of the Toridashi Shio Ramen. It was the perfect size for me that day. It was again a little oily, but not over the top. Because it was hot enough, you couldn’t really tell. I ended up liking the broth a lot, so I downed the dish quite quickly. The picture in the menu is of the large size…which I was kind of :T at, as the meat serving was quite small. But yet I enjoyed the small…so proceed with caution if you like meat.
I had actually wanted to try the Bamboo Charcoal Dark Miso Ramen, but the small was $10, and more than I was willing to spend on a meal that day.
My friend had a lunch, so she wanted smaller things to snack on. She went with the small Kara-age, and the Japanese style Poutine/Poutine de Japon, which was $5. I didn’t get to steal a fry, but she did like her poutine.
On side matters…
First things I should note, are things that are actually quite important to me. The washrooms are located on the floor of the lower eating area. Which is mere steps away from the closest table. That being said, it was important that the washrooms were clear and did not smell. So already I was pretty happy, as I didn’t even know it was there til I needed to wash my hands.
Secondly, I have gone to far too many places that lacked attention to minor cleanliness of the environment. For example, not realizing that the cloths that they wipe the tables with, smelt disgusting. I’ve gone to restaurants that had laminated menus books, that had been wiped with nasty cloths, which stunk up the menu. Not to mention food remnants made the pages stick together. Though the Raijin menu’s have been redone so that it is mere paper on a clipboard, I didn’t have that issue with them.
I also appreciated that the atmosphere was pleasant. Well lit, so I didn’t have to struggle to see my food, and provide me an opportunity to notice if something was off with the meal.
To sum up, I think that this would be a good place for the students to check out. It isn’t overly pricey, but gets the job done in terms of meeting general hunger needs. The employees were respectful no matter the age, and generally quite attentive. If you are looking for a big meal, than their portions are a little on the small side. But if you like variety in bowl sizing, they have a few options for some of their dishes. I wouldn’t say that this is the best ramen place in downtown Toronto, but one that students might really enjoy checking out.
*NOTE: they have recently gotten rid of their student discount program*
*I was not paid for this post, or was compensated in any other way*