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It seems like the already star-studded lineup of Toronto's ramen restaurants is getting another jewel, with Afuri Ramen ready to open a location shortly.
With several international locations worldwide in America, Singapore, Portugal and even Hong Kong, the new site will mark the restaurant's first foray into Toronto and its third overall in Canada. The other two locations exist in Vancouver and Richmond in British Columbia.
The brand is named after Mt. Afuri in Japan and sees itself as the torchbearer of that sacred spot, bringing all of its glory and reverence to the rest of the world. It strives to always aim for excellence in everything it produces as long as it's under the Afuri banner.
"Mt Afuri remains — straight, honest, steadfast, dependable," the restaurant's website stated. "That's our aim. One ramen. One staff. Always higher."
Speaking of which, one of Afuri's signature dishes is the Yuzu Shio ramen. The key ingredient that sets Afuri's ramen apart from all other preparations is yuzu. For the uninitiated, yuzu is a small citrus fruit mainly native to East Asian countries.
The restaurant uses its juice in its chicken broth and even uses it as a garnish on top. Its acidic flavour profile adds a certain freshness to the ramen, which is usually quite an umami-dense experience. The citrus cuts through other flavours quite well and acts as a refresher for the palate. And according to the restaurant, it pairs perfectly with both the broth and the charcoal-grilled pork.
"We think of it as a thoughtful, refreshing update on everything that makes ramen so great," the restaurant's website stated.
Besides ramen, Afuri Ramen's menu also features gyozas; gohans; a variety of small plates like stuffed buns, salads and karaage; and even boasts of a full bar serving an array of signature cocktails, Japanese whiskeys, sake and other alcoholic/non-alcoholic beverages.
Even though Toronto is a veritable treasure trove for ramen restaurants, what sets Afuri apart is its philosophy of wanting to push "higher" in everything it does, its never-ending quest for achieving excellence and, of course, the yuzu-infused ramen. Even the kitchens at all of the locations across the world employ the same techniques as the ones used in the central location at the foot of the Afuri mountain in Japan.
Outside of the immediate aspect of food, Afuri also likes to utilize ramen as an opportunity to educate others. It strives to share the passion for the craft of making food, advocate for sustainability and enrich the communities around. It seems like Toronto is not only gaining a stalwart of the culinary landscape but also a pillar to help support the surrounding communities.
Although no official word has been released yet of its location and timeline, Afuri Ramen is listed under the applications undergoing public notice on the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario's website with the listed address given as 411 Church St.
Keep an eye on this space as we work to update it with an official location and date of opening.