Monthly Archives: October 2010

Golden Court Abalone Chinese Restaurant


270 West Beaver Creek Road Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3Y9
(Leslie Ave & Hwy 7)
T: (905) 707-6628

One of my favourite Chinese Dim Sum restaurants in town!

Recommendations
• Baked chicken pie with coconut sprinkles – very tasty! (This is not on the menu. It is only offered on the weekends between 11am to 1pm. A server walks around the restaurant with a tray, introducing it to each table. Once they are gone, they’re gone.)
• Deep fried octopus tentacles
• Tempura glutinous rice with pork, bean and salty egg filling
• Fresh fruit mango roll
• Baked egg custard tarts
• Chrysanthemum tea
• We also recommend you share (as Chinese Dim Sum dishes are traditionally shared) to enjoy the full experience.

Good to Know
• Best seats: Anywhere in the main dining room (The smaller room on the left when you walk in can be too bright and stuffy.)
• Service: Not bad for a Chinese restaurant
• Atmosphere: Comparatively clean, dining room is bright and big (I seldom have to wait in line.)
• Ideal for: Large groups, kids, parents, family, casual gathering, date
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: Reservations for dim sum are not available (First come. First Serve.)
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Golden Court Abalone on Urbanspoon

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Guu Izakaya


398 Church Street, Toronto, ON M5B 2A2
(Church St & Gerrard St E)
T: (416) 977-0999
www.guu-izakaya.com

Guu is not the typical Japanese restaurant we are familiar with here in North America. When you walk through the doors (either entering or leaving), you will be greeted by the entire staff (of 5? 10?) in unison.

Although Guu does offer sushi dishes, they specialize in Japanese Tapas.

Recommendations
• Hotate Carpaccio – scallop sashimi
• Takoyako – deep fried puffed octopus balls
• Kabacha Korokke – deep fried pumpkin croquette with boiled egg inside
• If you like natto, try their Salmon Natto Yukke – pieces of salmon sashimi, natto, shibazuke, takuan, wonton chips, garlic chips, green onion, and raw egg yolk. They also provide sheets of NORI seaweed to wrap the mix in.
• Nama Gra Sawa – freshly squeezed (you squeeze your own) grapefruit with vodka/soju and ice.
• We recommend you share (as most Japanese tapas dishes are traditionally shared) to enjoy the full experience.

Good to Know
• Best seats: Tables on the right (upper floor) when you walk in (but for a party of one or two). I think you get the most privacy here.
• Service: Very courteous (As soon as you walk in, you are showered with Japanese welcome greetings. Our server was very polite and helpful.)
• Atmosphere: Large space but occupied by a few large community tables (If you’re lucky and go early, try to grab one of the few tables (for twos) on the right upper area.)
• Ideal for: Casual, after work gathering, date, quick eat
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: N/A; first come, first served (In the winter, when lining up and waiting outside the restaurant, there are heat lamps for you to stand under to keep warm.)
• Patio recommended: N/A
• Note: there is a 2-hour dining limit

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Guu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Sushi Kaji Restaurant


860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z
(Islington & The Queensway)
T: (416) 252-2166
www.sushikaji.com  

Sushi Kaji is popular for their omakase. (“Omakase” is similar to a tasting menu in which you are served a number of smaller dishes, one at a time, and each dish is chosen by the chef. Some restaurants do not allow substitutes.)

The chef prepares and puts a lot of thought and consideration to each omakase dish. Sushi Kaji offers three menus to choose from: $80, $100, and $120 (not including beverage, tip or tax). Although it was pricey, I felt it was worth it. Think of the dining experience as an “artistic culinary dinner”.

Recommendations
• Look at each of the three menus and see which combination of dishes you like more. (The menus change daily depending on what’s fresh and in season.) If it is your first time doing omakase, you might want to go with the $80 menu, which should suffice. The more expensive ones usually offer a little more quantity and quality. No matter which menu you choose, you will not be disappointed.
• To go with your meal, try a can of Japanese beer (i.e. Sapporo or Asahi) or Plum Wine (with ice) if you prefer something sweeter.

Good to Know
• Best seats: At the sushi bar (if you’re not looking to have a private discussion over dinner)
• Service: Server introduced each dish that was served and was diligent in attending to my queries. (If I had a question and he didn’t know the answer, he’d relay it to the chef and then got back to me.)
• Atmosphere: Unpretentious, cozy, wooden furniture
• Perfect date place: Romance, birthday, anniversary, parents, and others
• Make reservations: Yes, especially during holidays
• Attire: Smart casual, casual
• Patio: No
• Convenience: Parking spots available on Queensway; there is also a small parking lot beside the restaurant
• Warning: The food is freshly served (so fresh that the amaebi shrimp sashimi was still moving when it was brought to my table).

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Kaji on Urbanspoon

Julie’s Cuban Restaurant


202 Dovercourt Road, Toronto, Ontario, M6J 3C8
(Ossington Ave & Dundas St W)
T: (416) 532-7397
www.juliescuban.com

Julie decorates her restaurant with nostalgic trinkets, magazines and toys, which make you feel comfortable and right at home. This was the only place in Toronto that sold Crystal beer. Unfortunately the last few times I was there, they said they were having difficulty reordering it. (I’ll keep you posted if I hear they are selling it again.)

Recommendations
• Ceviche – fish cooked in lime juice
• Strawberry Artichoke Salad
• Potaje de Frijoles Negros – black bean soup, Cuban Style
• Coconut Shrimp
• Tostones Rellenos – plantain cups filled with avocado (picadillo or shrimp)
• Guava Cocktail

Good to Know
• Best seats: The two tables (for a party of 2-3) beside the window at the front
• Service: Friendly
• Atmosphere: Very casual, nostalgic, homely (The restaurant is small but they have a back room as well.)
• Ideal for: Date, casual gathering
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: Yes
• Convenience: Some street parking on Dovercourt (but limited). If you’re looking for parking, it’s easier to park if you are driving south along Dovercourt, towards Queen St.

Julie's Cuban on Urbanspoon

Trinity Square Cafe


6 Trinity Square, Toronto, Ontario M5G 2B1
(Bay & Dundas; beside Eaton Centre)
T: (416) 599-9315
http://trinitysquarecafe.webs.com

Trinity Square Cafe is a registered not-for-profit charity, primarily funded by the Toronto Central Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The cafe is a program for people in recovery and living with mental illness.

Recommendations
• Home style soups: Moroccan Tomato Soup (made with peanut butter)
• Greek Salad

Good to Know
• Best seats: N/A (only communal tables available)
• Service: Friendly and helpful
• Atmosphere: Cafeteria-style, a very small dining room with a few tables
• Ideal for: Lunch, quick eat or take out
• Attire: Casual, almost anything goes
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: N/A
• Convenience: Right outside of the Eaton Centre (located near the east doors beside Mercatto or Sears entrance from the mall)
• Hours: Open for lunch only; usually from Monday to Friday from 11:30 to 2:30. (Occasional disruptions may occur that may result in closing for a couple of days. Please call ahead if you are making a special trip here.)

Rosedale Diner


1164 Yonge Street, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 2L9
(Yonge St & Summerhill)
T: (416) 923-3122
www.rosedalediner.com

Rosedale Diner is a family-owned diner since 1978. I usually go for breakfast/brunch and afterwards I would walk around the neighborhood to check out the houses. If the weather is nice, I would usually head over to Ramson Park to doggy watch.

Recommendations
• Burger on a pita (it’s small and chunky, not overwhelmingly greasy)
• Rosedale Diner Breakfast with blackcurrant jam

Good to Know
• Best seats: The two window seats at the front of the restaurant or the sofa chair table at the back dining room.
• Service: Friendly
• Atmosphere: Neutral earthy tones; a nice gallery of dog photos along the wall of the restaurant (and they are for sale too – what a smart business/cross-selling idea!).
• Ideal for: Breakfast/brunch, neighborhood folks, date
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: N/A
• Patio recommended: Backyard garden patio

Rosedale Diner on Urbanspoon

Miku Restaurant


Main Floor, Guinness Tower, #2 – 1055 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 2E9
(West Hastings St & Burrard St)
T:(604) 568-3900
www.mikurestaurant.com

Miku is one of the few restaurants that offers authentic Japanese dishes, i.e. Aburi (flame-seared), Oshi (pressed) and Maki (rolled) sushi and prepares them with complementary sauces that make tasting even more delectable and exciting. (“Aburi” is a thicker cut of raw fish that is seared quickly, leaving most of the fish raw. This is a good introduction to sushi for first-time sushi eaters.)

Recommendations
• Miku Zen (similar to a mini-omakase or chef’s choice)
• Aburi (flame-seared) dishes, oshi (pressed) and maki (rolled) sushi
• Green Tea Tiramisu

Good to Know
• Best seats: On the patio (throw blankets are available if you get chilly)
• Service: Our server was very patient and thorough in introducing the menu and making recommendations
• Atmosphere: Surrounded by glass floor-to-ceiling windows, nice and bright (on a sunny day), spacious, high ceilings
• Ideal for: Business, romance, celebrations, family
• Attire: Smart causal, business
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: Yes

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Miku Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Aki Japanese Restaurant


745 Thurlow Street, Vancouver, BC V6E 3V5
(Robson St & Burrard St)
T: (604) 682-4032

An authentic Japanese restaurant located downtown with a delicious selection of yakitori (Japanese style skewered chicken)!

Recommendations
• Tebaski (chicken wings) and tsukune (chicken meatballs) were very tasty and juicy
• If you’re willing to try something different, then we recommend the hatsu (chicken heart), sunagimo (chicken gizzard), and torikawa (chicken skin) – very crunchy
• Calpico (Japanese yogurt drink) and soju (a Korean distilled beverage usually made from rice) – milky and not too sweet

Good to Know
• Best seats: For party of 1 or 2, at the sushi bar; but for larger groups, try the private Japanese dining rooms with the sunken furniture, shoji screens, and tatami floors
• Service: Good; servers were very polite (most spoke fluent Japanese)
• Atmosphere: Large restaurant, big space, located in an underground mall, decor and furniture is mostly made of wood
• Ideal for: Large gatherings, date, celebrations, family
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: Yes, this is a popular place
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Aki Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka


1690 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC V6G 1C7
(Robson St & Denman St)
T: (604) 681-8127

Excellent Japanese Ramen Noodles .. brings back memories of eating on the streets of Hokkaido.

Recommendations
• Miso Ramen with a soft yolk egg (the yolk is orange in colour, soft and slightly runny)
• Tofu and Shrimp Salad
• Gyoza (pan-fried dumpling) – the skin was thin and crispy
• The menu has photo illustrations. But if you still can’t make up your mind, head out to the front of the restaurant where you’ll see models displayed.

Good to Know
• Best seats: Near the window, at the front of the store (This is also the coolest seats because they are furthest away from the kitchen.)
• Service: Very nice but spoke English with a heavy Japanese accent
• Atmosphere: Restaurant was small and the air conditioner was not on (even in July)
• Ideal for: Quick eats, casual
• Reservations recommended: N/A (but I hear there are usually lineups during busy hours)
• Attire: Casual, almost anything goes
• Patio: N/A
• Food: Don’t forget to sprinkle a bit of the shichimi pepper to taste

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Hokkaido Ramen Santouka on Urbanspoon

Fune Japanese Restaurant


100 Simcoe St, Toronto, ON M5H 3L2
(University & King St W)
T: (416) 599-3868

Fune is one of the few Japanese restaurants in the city that offer a rotating (floating) sushi bar.

Recommendations
• Try sitting at the sushi bar. You will see plates of sushi floating by on a small stream (like a tiny river) in front of you. Help yourself and pick the plates you like while they float past you. Each plate is colour-coded. The different colours indicate the price of the item. (If you are unsure, speak to the server.)

Good to Know
• Best seats: At the sushi bar
• Service: Staff is generally friendly here
• Atmosphere: Located below street level; bold, trendy decor
• Ideal for: Date, pre/post show dinner, parents, casual, business
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: N/A
• Convenience: Street parking on Simcoe (but only a few spots available)

Fune Japanese on Urbanspoon