Ramen Raijin is a standard Japanese ramen restaurant that’s fast and popular with local students and workers. The casual environment also encompasses a small store with a few Japanese grocery products.
It’s owned by the Zakkushi group, which also boasts Zakkushi on Carlton, and is in turn owned by a global Japanese group with restaurants around the world. Teppan Kenta used to occupy this space.
You’ll be greeted by the expected yells and welcomes and sent off with the usual hollered farewells standard at most ramen spots. A high ceiling features wooden beams meant to represent thunder with lights representing lightning. Raijin is the Shinto god of storms.
The oddly-shaped space is well utilized with a long table for bigger groups, small tables for more intimate affairs, and a bar facing the flurry of activity in the open kitchen.
A small plates menu meant to accompany drinks is offered after 9 p.m. and features snacks like a poke bowl ($13.95) and teriyaki poutine ($5.25).
Fries are smothered in a ton of kewpie mayo and layered with cheese, thinly sliced green onion, and nori.
Tokyo shoyu ramen ($12.50) bathes classic wavy noodles in a lean chicken broth, an example of their clear, slowly simmered Torigara style soup with typical accompaniments of fish cake, seaweed, and bamboo.
Spicy tonkatsu ramen ($13.50) is an example of their other signature soup style, pork-based and pressure cooked at a high temperature. The rich broth is spicy and flavourful, supporting the pork and noodles, with some corn added for texture.
Cold yuzu shio ramen ($12.95) is available on a special menu during my visit. Citrus-flavoured ramen is topped with chicken char-shu, sliced honeyed lemon, crunchy pea shoots, a seasoned soft-boiled egg, curled Japanese leek and fragrant yuzu peel.
The grocery section encompasses Japanese staples not easily found at the average corner store like Kewpie mayo, Pocky, dried squid, and nori maki arare.
There’s also a frozen section with mochi and other treats like swiss rolls and cream puffs as well as frozen yakisoba and rice balls.
A fridge of beverages has Calpico and UCC coffee.
A small area next to it has pre-made items like onigiri at two for $3.
This restaurant used to be located right off Yonge at Gerrard St., but its new location near Wellesley subway station and the hungry lunch crowd from nearby government buildings make it a convenient and fun place for a quick and comforting meal.