Monthly Archives: January 2011

Ajisen Ramen

332 Spadina Avenue Toronto, ON M5T 2G2
(Spadina & Dundas)
(416) 977-8080

Although Ajisen has other shop locations, I think this is the first Japanese Ramen specialty shop in Chinatown. You can’t miss it! There’s a big figure of an Asian girl holding a big bowl of noodle soup.

• Fried Tofu
• Tenderous Rib Ramen

Good to Know
• Best seats: No particular preference
• Service: Indifferent – neither good or bad
• Atmosphere: Bright lights, lots of vibrant colours, pink chairs, canteen-style sitting with mostly community tables
• Ideal for: Casual, family, casual date, quick eat
• Attire: Casual (almost anything goes)
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Ajisen Ramen on Urbanspoon


Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant

270 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T 2E5
(Spadina & Dundas)
(416) 746-8646

This is a popular round-the-clock (even at 2am in the morning this place is busy) joint. It is one of the few Vietnamese restaurants I feel comfortable and relaxed in (mostly because of the decor). Also, I am a huge fan of their Satay Beef Noodle Soup. I actually think it’s the best in town!

• Satay (rare) Beef Noodle Soup – spicy (not just “hot” spicy but they use lots of herbs to build the “satay” flavour); available in S, M, L and XL (bowl) sizes.
• Fried Spring Rolls – I like using the lettuce leaf to wrap my spring roll before dipping it into the fish sauce. (I find it refreshing eating it this way.)

Good to Know
• Best seats: The softer sofa chairs (but are available for table of twos only)
• Service: Generally friendly
• Atmosphere: Contemporary, black marbles, picture of gold sand hanging over the bar (maybe Feng Shui related?), dim lighting (overall: comparatively speaking, quiet nice for a Vietnamese restaurant)
• Ideal for: Casual, family, casual date, quick eat, after clubbing munchies
• Attire: Casual (almost anything goes)
• Reservations recommended: No
• Patio recommended: N/A
• Free Parking: Available around the back of the building (Warning: it’s a very dark parking spot and I don’t generally feel it’s safe to park there without someone breaking in. Having said that, it never happened and there is an attendant at the front.) Remember to get your ticket validated when you settle your bill.

Pho 88 Vietnamese on Urbanspoon

Segovia Restaurant

5 Saint Nicholas St Toronto, ON M4Y 1W5
(Yonge & Wellesley)
T: (416) 960-1010  

Although I’ve never seen this place packed, there’s lots of life in this small, tucked away dining spot. Located on St. Nicholas, which is a small lane way west of Yonge on Wellesley, this restaurant offers dining and music entertainment all in one evening.

• Sangria
• Fried Squid
• Mushrooms
• Paella – Marinera (with lobster, shrimp, scallops, squid, fish and mussels)

Good to Know
• Best seats: In front of the performer/band if you’re looking for a little entertainment while dining.
• Service: Most of the staff was friendly except they made a huge, glaring mistake on our bill (added an extra digit to our bill!!) and the gentlemen didn’t even apologize for his error. Instead, he returned with the corrected bill and commented, “Is this better now?”
• Atmosphere: Cozy, family style
• Ideal for: Family, date, casual, those seeking a different culinary dining experience
• Attire: Casual, smart casual
• Reservations recommended: Yes (just in case there’s a function)
• Patio recommended: N/A

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Segovia on Urbanspoon

Buk Chang Dong

691 Bloor St.W Toronto, ON M6G 1L3
(Christie & Bloor)
T: (416) 537-0972

A perfectly delicious way to warm up on a cold winter day with a Korean stew (chigae) meal. This restaurant has a nine-item menu, six of which are chigaes. All entrees are between $7 to $9 each.

Chigae comes with a stone pot of rice (and a raw egg which you break into the stew to cook). After they scoop the rice into your bowl, they add water into the stone pot to prevent the remaining rice from sticking. You can eat this with your spoon as you would with congee. You can also add salt if it tastes bland.

Your meal also comes with several small apps – usually miso beans, sprouts, seaweed, and kimchi. Other options other than chigae include Bibimbap (a bowl of rice with mixed vegetable and beef on top) and Bolgogi (fried beef on an iron plate).

• Vegetable Soon Tofu Chigae (if you are vegetarian)
• Bolgogi
• Stone Pot Bibimbap
• Any of the chigae – you have the option of “white” (not spicy), mild, medium or regular spicy and extra spicy. (Be sure to request your preference. Otherwise, the default is “regular spicy”).

Good to Know
• Best seats: Near the windows. This restaurant is tightly packed (intended for quick dining).
• Service: Okay
• Atmosphere: Simple. Tightly packed – tables are very close to each other. (Min privacy)
• Ideal for: Casual, quick eat, take out, budget
• Attire: Casual
• Reservations recommended: N/A
• Patio recommended: N/A
• Hours of operation: Open 7 days a week (11am to 10/10:30pm)

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Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu on Urbanspoon

Spice Route Asian Bistro & Bar

499 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1K4
(Spadina & King)
T: (416) 849-1808

A great choice if you’re looking for an evening of drinks, dinner and socializing. I recommend coming on Thursday night if you haven’t already. Dine on the second floor so you can watch people pour into the bar area located right in the centre of the restaurant. You’ll be amazed to see how quickly the traffic flows in and fills the space. If you want to be part of the action, don’t be shy … grab your drink after dinner and head right to the bar or patio and join the crowd.

• Cocktails – Lychee Sakatini (usually comes with 2-3 peel lychees) or Red Dragon (served with berries)
• Buddha vegetable feast stir fry
• Spiced chicken + Peking duck lettuce wraps
• Kobe carpaccio 
• Viet rack of lamb
• Clay pot tiger prawn
• Miso glazed black cod

Good to Know
• Best seats: I prefer seating on the second floor (to watch the action going on around the bar area). If you are with a large group, they have a room right under the DJ booth that is very cozy and relaxing. There is also a private party room available.
• Service: Generally friendly and nice
• Atmosphere: Mystic, Asian, zen-like decor from Buddha heads to real photos of different places in Asia
• Ideal for: Date, casual, mix & mingling, business
• Attire: Business, smart casual, trendy
• Reservations recommended: Yes
• Patio recommended: Yes. They have the cabins open in the summer which is a great place to hang and sip on cocktails/beer.
• Also check out: the Koi fish pond on the patio; the washrooms with floor-to-ceiling glass windows facing out to a garden (don’t worry, this area is restricted so you won’t see people walking by while using the facilities); Brent House across the street if you want to party/dance.

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Spice Route on Urbanspoon