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)

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