Category Archives: Japanese food

Japanese food Restaurants

Tokyo Grill (Toronto Restaurant)

The BEST Casual Japanese Food Joint in Downtown

A couple of Japanese exchange students clued us into this tiny unassuming restaurant on a busy section of Yonge Street. It’s specialty is authentic casual Japanese fare – I’m told it’s the type of food families eat around the dinner table, or at the local izakaya (pub). It’s actually run by Japanese folks, and the small tables are usually packed with groups of Asian students looking for quality cheap eats.

A warning to the uninitiated – there is no sushi here. Many unsuspecting customers who equate Japanese food with sushi have left disappointed. For those looking for something other than the old california roll, tempura, and miso soup combo, Tokyo Grill is something special.

The appetizers are simple. Edamame, grilled fish, and japanese pickles are good starters if you’re hungry, but the mains arrive equally fast.

A selection of ramen bowls, donburi, and grilled foods dominate the menu. If you can’t decide, the specials board offers great suggestions, and all featured meals come with complementary miso soup (incidently, one of the best miso soups we’ve had this side of the Pacific).

The croquette dinner is a favorite – two panko encrusted crispy potato patties served with rice and salad and sauce. The terriyaki dishes are popular, and also come with pan-grilled vegetables. Salmon is usually a great choice.

The sukiyaki is perfect in the winter months, with a soul-warming sweet broth chocked-full of thin-sliced beef, tofu, Japanese spinach, bean sprouts and onions. Ask for an extra bowl of rice, and there’s enough for two.

And on the last Saturday of the month, Tokyo Grill serves up freshly made soba noodles by the platter. It surprised me how different fresh soba tastes compared to the store-bought dried variety – not quite the same difference between fresh and dried Italian pasta.

This visit, I opted for the chicken kastu – deep-fried breaded chicken fillet served with salad, rice, and tangy tonkatsu sauce. The chicken was moist, but not greasy. The salad was simple, with a citrus-y dressing. Just non-pretentious, wholesome food

582 Yonge Street (at Wellesley)

Japanese food Restaurants Travel eats

Ramen Museum in Shin-Yokohama

I went to the Raumen Museum in Shin-Yokohama yesterday. Not only did they have a museum explaining the history of ramen, as well as the differences between the types of noodles and flavours from different regions, but there was also two floors of ramen restaurants set in a Showa 33 (1958) themed area, where you can choose and eat ramen from different famous ramen restaurants across Japan.

IdeShoten ramen- soy sauce and miso base. Delicious!

I only managed to try two restaurants before I was too full to eat more, (their mini-bowls were not as mini as I had expected. ) but they were delicious.

Of note, one restaurant we went to had a ‘ramen fork’. I think it was probably designed for people who can’t use chopsticks, but due to the novelty of it, my friend and I decided to try it out. It actually works really well!

They were selling the forks in the souvenir shop for 840 yen. I bet it’d probably work well with other noodles and pasta too.

Sakamoto ramen- soy sauce based with chicken and leek toppings. The broth was too watery and bland for my taste, but the chicken was good.

I’d like to go again and try some of the other ramen shops too.

More info:
Raumen Museum Official Page

Japanese food Restaurants

Kenzo Ramen-ya (Toronto Restaurant)

In our ongoing search for authentic casual Japanese food, good ramen has always been surprisingly elusive. Then GD and I discovered Kenzo Ramen (Dundas and Bay, http://www.kenzoramen.ca/) and one chilly night, we decided steaming bowls of noodle soup would be the ideal late-night snack. Boy, were we glad we made the trek to Kenzo.

The restaurant is small, and decorated with Japanese elements. It was packed, but after about a 10 min wait, we were seated in a cozy corner table. The short menu offers traditional ramen from different regions in Japan (brought back memories of the tasting menu at the ramen museum in Yokohama), and a selection of “sides” (basically, additional popular Japanese foods like gyoza). We ordered the tonkotsu ramen and the netsu ramen. And just because they had it, we also had an order of takoyaki

The big bowls of ramen were heart-warming, and the broth was layered with great flavours. Definitely the best we’ve had in Toronto. The takoyaki was so-so, more of a novelty than anything else. Everything was nicely presented in Japanese style, especially for a casual food joint. The takoyaki came in collapsible bamboo bowl. The beer came with a small dish of wasabi beans. All in all, we’ll definitely go back when the craving hits again.