As I debated on what restaurant to debut on the blog, Toki Underground became the obvious option because it literally took me two years to finally taste for myself what the hype was all about. Since then, Toki has been my favorite Ramen spot in the District of Columbia. The name of this spot speaks for itself- it is literally a hole in the wall BUT don’t let that fool you- the authenticity of their food speaks for itself and I bet it’s Taiwanese approved! After hearing stellar recommendation about this place, I knew I had to try it for myself. I’m sure you’re wondering why, and I can explain because 2 years is a really long wait time but I will prefix my explanation by saying it was well worth the wait.
My first visit to Toki was back in 2013. First let’s talk about finding the place – unlike most restaurants, there is no large sign indicating that you’ve arrived at the restaurant. The sign for the restaurant is pretty nonexistent, not at all obvious to an untrained eye. The door is extremely narrow and it feels like you’re entering a secret/ “mysterious” underground location with restricted access— think roaring twenties, speakeasy style– where you need a passcode to get in (like really), which I must mention adds to the exclusivity of this place. Upon walking through the door, it is by no means underground- it’s actually located on the second floor of the building.
I finally found the place wondering where the stairs were leading only to get my heart-broken numerous times because the wait time was 2+ hours.
After 5 failed attempts, I noticed a pattern that made it almost impossible to get a seat during dinner time. So I decided to change my strategy and went for lunch instead and BOOM!!! I got a spot! I then realized how small the dining area was- it could barely hold 20 guests. Luckily the food came in time and it was everything and more than I had expected. It was D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S to the last chopstick! It was worth the wait (I know, time is money but good food melts my heart). My favorite definitely is the Kimchi Ramen— if you are adventurous and can handle a bit of heat, this is a must try otherwise, stick to the good ‘ol Traditional.
Advice: I recommend walking in or making reservations for lunch and for dinner, plan to wait an average time of 2hrs to be seated— good thing is, there are a ton of bars to hang around on H Street while you wait. Be sure to pop in here once in while to find out more about other awesome places on H Street! Reservations open two weeks in advance Mon-Fri for lunch and only from 5pm–6pm for dinner
Below is a snapshot of my review;
Restaurant- Toki Underground click here
Must try- Kimchi Ramen
When I think ramen I think comfort food, convenient, quick, and affordable. This place exceeds expectation if you strategically plan your visit.
Although Toki doesn’t serve brussels sprouts, but their Kimchi Ramen is my new brussels sprout and it was well darn crispy 🙂