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Feb 6, 2008 12:10 AM

J-town and Corso Italia?

I live downtown and pretty much walk everywhere, so my chow world is usually confined to south of Bloor, north of Front, West of Yonge, and east of Bathurst, with the occasional TTC trip for more interesting fare.

My father's visiting, and he has a car, so I'd really like to explore J-Town and Corso Italia with him. Especially J-town; if I remember correctly, it has some excellent fishmongers (is that term still used today?) and butchers? Not to mention the "best-est" Jap restaurants in Toronto?

Some recommendations for stores and restaurants for both J-town and Corso Italia would be great. Nothing upscale, just good food at better prices. Thanks!

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    1. While I love J-Town for what it is, it's not really a "spend the afternoon" type of place. Perhaps you are envisioning a big mall, such as Pacific Mall, which it is not. It is more like a very small supermarket, with an attached bakery, fish monger, take-out sushi stop, and quick eats cafeteria. Taro, the fishmonger, has incredible selection and variety, but, aside from one table and a prepared and pre-cut fish fridge, most of the fish is kept in the back. Perhaps a trip to both J-Town and Pacific Mall would be more worth your while, as they're only about 10 minutes apart?

      5 Replies
      1. re: Late Blooming Onion

        J-Town's fish monger is not open on Sundays, which we found out the hard way, on a nice Sunday afternoon :(

        1. re: Late Blooming Onion

          Actually, what I had in mind was a themed afternoon or sorts. A nice lunch of a particular cuisine followed by a walk along said neighbourhood. I'm Chinese, so I didn't want to do Chinese food and a trip to Chinatown/Pacific Mall. :D

          Hmmm....what about a Japanese restaurant uptown followed by a side trip to J-town? Which restaurants would be a good bet then? A restaurant that's actually run by a Japanese chef be nice - the ones in downtown are mostly Chinese/Korean. While the food is not bad, there is not much variety/difference in the menu offerings.

          We were thinking either Japan or Italy; that's why I also was asking about Corso Italia, the neighbourhood as well as recommended restaurants.

          Or are there any other neighbourhoods I should consider? Bayview perhaps? More ideas would be great!

          1. re: meclone2

            For an authentic Japanese resto downtown, you might try Ematei on St. Patrick (near Queen West).

            I'm an auto-less downtowner too, but have also always wanted to visit J-town... if you do end up there, please report!

            1. re: meclone2

              Aoyama (Great Japanese sushi place and operated by a Japanese couple as you mentioned that was important) is on Vic Park between Sheppard and Finch....J-town is a block from Vic Park and Steeles so nice combo for your consideration. If going on a weekend or Mondays, check operating times as J-town has stores closed on Sundays and Mondays I believe and Aoyama does not have Sunday Lunches. The decor at Aoyama is spartan (though sushi is excellent)....for similar quality but slightly better decor, consider nearby Michi Cafe at Sheppard and Pharmacy (operated by 2 Japanese siblings) which is open on Sundays (lunch and supper), but closed 1 day during the week - Monday (plse check if considering).

              1. re: T Long

                Forgot to add that Aoyama has a rather limited printed menu but has lots of "off menu" offerings (you should ask on the phone if considering this option).

            1. re: Davwud


              toronto's own little "japan-town" in markham. it's cute and lovely but rather uneventful at times just because it is so tiny! it's a packed little plaza with some tasty things though. love staring at the fish at taro and often want to grab a pre-cut sashimi plate and sit on the benches outside wolfing it down. sometimes it's amazing just to stare at the slabs of hamachi, toro, etc that are sliced up and lust over the sheer quantity.

            2. Corso Italia is a great 'hood...Marcellos on St Clair West at Dufferin is a must try....also The Big Ragu on Lansdown at St Clair...some evenings they have live Music...The Regal Road Cafe...has live Jazz at Weekend Brunch...and The Rushton has something for everyone....miranda