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Good Japanese, but nothing raw?

Looking for a Japanese place that has really good cooked dishes. I find that at a lot of sushi places I've been to, where the sushi/sashimi is very good, the cooked dishes (like teriyaki, tempura, etc.) just aren't up to par. It'll kill me to not eat sushi for the next 7+ months (yup. bun in the oven.) but there's no way that I can drop Japanese food altogether. And I get tired of eating only California rolls and Futomaki.

Looking mostly in the downtown core, East York, Beaches, Scarborough, Markham.


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  1. curiousity.... but where have you been having your cooked items so far?

    ematei off of patrick st is the most izakaya style place in toronto that i know of and does a good cha siu ramen for around $6. additionally, the izakaya items usually eaten with beer like kakifry, teriyaki and sukiyaki are pretty darn good.

    as usual, i will gladly praise my japango as i love their salmon belly, kakifry, chawan mushi, wakame salad, udon, etc. oh, and the green river (bbq eel and avocado) is a fantastic combination for alternative sushi.

    excerpt tasteto.com
    "Miso soup and wakame salad (a $2 upgrade from regular salad, both included with our Sushi Dinner) arrive first and are a delightful start. The broth of the miso is hot, deep and rich but only contains a couple of diced cubes of tofu and seaweed leaves. Wakame salad has a slight pucker and a sweet crunch in every bite of the chilled emerald green strands. Appetites awakened, cooked items make their way to the table. Salmon Belly ($6.50) is simply a large piece of delectable fatty broiled fish. Flaking easily off of the tasty skin, the moist flesh is saturated with flavour. Two very large plump oysters coated in crispy breading provide a great contrast in texture with the velvety rich inside of the cooked bivalve, kakifry at its best ($9.99)."

    3 Replies
    1. re: pinstripeprincess

      I live in East York, so my only options so far have been the sushi places on this side of town. I love the black cod at Sushi Delight, but that's about the only good cooked item that I can think of right now. Also, we do a lot of take-out/delivery. From the aforementioned Sushi Delight, and Aji Sai. I don't normally order cooked items but my hubby won't eat raw fish so I get to taste his dishes, which I really don't like.

      I've been meaning to try Japango for a while, but do they only do raw items for their omakase? I'll try Ematei, too. I love ramen! (Was that excerpt for Ematei or Japango? 'Cuz it sure sounded yummy!)

      1. re: sierramum

        the excerpt was for japango. their omakase is a mix of raw and cooked, in fact asking for purely raw usually tends towards a higher bill. if you were to ask for a cooked omakase, i believe you'd enjoy it quite a bit and get away with a cheaper price tag.

        hiro gets knocked back and forth, but the one time i've been there for an omakase i enjoyed the cooked items much more than the raw selection i received. it was interesting, done well, very traditional and delicious. of course... also expensive.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Thanks pinstripeprincess. I guess I won't have to hold off going to Japango after all! :-D

    2. Cooked sushi: inari (tofu skin); shrimp; tamago (egg) - but not many places make this with care - if done well can be heavenly - Ichiriki on Bloor comes to mind; eel; salmon skin roll; spider roll; other fancy rolls made with tempura shrimp and avocado etc.

      1. Don't know where you are, but Mye in Oakville has a lot of really good cooked Japanese food. Worth the drive if you are anywhere in the West

        1. i'm curious, do pregnant women in japan stop eating raw sushi?

          1. Katsura inside the Westin Prince hotel near Don Mills and Lawrence has a very good variety of cooked Japanese food. It's a bit more pricey though.

            I did not stop eating sushi when I was pregnant (Son is 6 months old now). I just made sure that I only went to the busy restaurants where the fish is probably more fresh. I also didn't eat raw tuna just to be cautious. My son turned out perfect (my biased opinion).

            1. Sushi Rock Cafe at 2359 Yonge Street (North of Eglinton & Yonge) 416-483-5943 has a large selection of sushi rolls with cooked fish, cooked appetizers, salads, soups, entrees, noodles and vegetarian rolls too. We often get it delivered and it's not bad.

              1. For the ultimate 'Cooked Japanese', there's always Sushi Kaji! When we ate there a few months back, my brother-in-law specifically requested a 'cooked Omakase' and Kaji was more than happy to accommodate. Dishes range from simple braised fresh winter bamboo shoot in sweet soy/sake, to King crab croquette with creamed sweet corn, broiled miso ling cod, grilled lobster and veal combo with foie gras/uni sauce, octopus 'meatball in a to die for sauce, tempura using exotic ingredients.....etc. If distance and money is no object, take a ride out west. Definitely the best Totonto can offer.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Charles Yu

                  Thanks, Charles. I'll definitely have to check it out!

                2. There's Miyabi on West Beaver Creek in Richmond Hill, they have a great selection of cooked dishes including okonomiyaki, udon, ramen, chawanmushi, shabu shabu etc etc.....

                  Downtown wise, besides the ones listed, I would recommened.

                  Tokyo Kitchen - Charles st, east of yonge

                  Okonomi House - also Charles st, west of yonge

                  both are affordable, comfy spots with a homey feeling.

                  1. Have you tried Sakawaya, also in the hood? The menu for cooked items seems smaller than what this old NOW review describes, but there are some items that sound a little different. I'm more of a sushi fan and we stick with Aji Sai generally so I can't personally vouch for the place.



                    I stopped eating raw fish when I was pregnant too. Risks may be low but stakes suddenly seemed very high - I had a whole different perspective than I did pre-pregnancy. Once the baby comes you can order a celebratory sushi platter from Aji Sai.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: julesrules

                      Second Sakawaya. the yakitori was definitely above par the last time i was there. A hidden gem for sure.

                    2. I actually don't eat fish (raw or cooked) except for in very rare specific circumstances. But I love Japanese food.

                      Sushi Garden at Yonge and Wellesley has always been very tasty for me.

                      I personally love their beef teriyaki and tempura. I always get the bento box that gives me a little bit of everything and they're flexible enough to make the tepura without shrimp and give me avacado cucumber rolls instead of california rolls.

                      1. I think it all depends on your budget. I personally been to around 30 Japanese restaurants in GTA. I found that if you want good quality food then you need a bigger pocket.

                        My personal favourite will be Mikado on Laird and Eglinton, just south of Eglinton on Laird. Highly recommand the Osyteryaki (you can't eat this any where else since the sauce is a secret sauce by the owner), around $7 bucks for 2 baked oysters. Set lunch is around 10 bucks. Other cooked items include their Ebi Tempura Udon, Oyaku-Don, Unagi-Don, and Katsu Curry on rice are they best in town.

                        A lot of the Japanese restaurants in GTA are opened by Chinese or Korean, but Mikado is actually run by Japanese, so the food is authentic. But then again, it's not a place that you can afford to go everyday.

                        If you are looking for something that's more affordable. I have at least a hand full of all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurants that are above average in mind. They range from 20-25 bucks without any alchol drinks, and I am talking about tip and taxes included.