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REAL Japanese food in GTA/north end

New to the board and the GTA. Lived in Japan for 5 years. Where is there REAL authentic Japanese food in the GTA or north end like Richmond Hill, Hwy 7, or north of the 401? No fusions, no Chinese- or Korean-run quasi-Japanese restaurants. I am looking for the real deal, with a real Japanese chef. Where does the Japanese community in the GTA eat?
Thanks in advance. Cheers!

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  1. Places where I notice a lot of Japanese customers are Ematai in downtown, Aoyama in N. York, and J-town at Steeles and Don Valley. You will be getting a lot of replies to this post...

    1. Here are your best bet of authentic Japanese food in GTA :

      - Zen in Scarborough (order the sushi and sashimi omakase, the sushi is the most similar to what you have at Tsukiji market of Japan)

      - Sushi Kaji in Etobicoke (high end Japanese Omakase with both raw and cooked food)

      - Hashimoto in Mississauga (a kyo kaiseki experience in Toronto)

      There are also other good choices like Ichiriki, Japango, Takesushi, Ematei (for cooked food only), Aoyama, Cafe Michi .....

      1. I am willing to bet that Konnichiwa on Baldwin St is what you are looking for.Everybody that I seen working in the place is Japanese. The husband wife owners are ex-Prince hotel.
        I would be interested in comments.
        Shmoegun

        1 Reply
        1. re: Vinnie Vidimangi

          What do you recommend at Konnichiwa ? There are a lots of Japanese restaurants with Japanese-only staffs and chef like Sushi Kaji, Cafe Michi, Hashimoto, Ichiriki, Japango .............................

        2. I'm sure you can't wait for this to hit town:
          http://www.thestar.com/Life/article/1...
          Japanese government inspectors deciding which Toronto "Japanese" places are authentic enough for their standards... this will separate the wheat from the chaff in a hurry...
          (now if the governments of Mexico or Louisiana started such a program, NOTHING in Toronto would pass!!!)

          6 Replies
          1. re: TexSquared

            Yeah...but too bad that Authentic and good-tasting are not necessarily the same thing...as I've found out too many times to my chagrin...

            1. re: T Long

              I say the quicker these guys get here the better. Going by what you said, "Authentic and good-tasting are not necessarily the same thing" just means you've grown so accustomed to eating the phoney stuff, that when presented with the Real McCoy you don't realize it and think it's wrong.

              Like if all you knew of Cajun food was that repackaged Chinese crap from Bourbon St./Kelly's Cajun Grill, then you went to New Orleans to try authentic....

              1. re: TexSquared

                What I mean is that some "Authentic" stuff is not for me...for example what you think is great, I might still think is crap and we would both be right. Of course "authentic" can be great...just not necessarily.

              2. re: T Long

                Hi T Long, would you share some of your authentic and bad-tasting experience with us please ?

                1. re: skylineR33

                  There are a lot of posts on this board about "great authentic food" experiences....some I just happen to disagree with. Not that they were "bad" (don't think I used that word), just that they were not great for me (bleh...for lack of a better word). I am not suggesting that anyone else is wrong...just expressing and sharing my viewpoint...

              3. re: TexSquared

                The Japanese Restaurant Association of Canada folded earlier this year, and that probably means no "Authentic" certification program either. Had no idea until now.

                This is their home page with the announcement: http://www.jrac.ca/

                The page about the Authentic Qualification Program is still up, and it's at http://www.jrac.ca/AuthenticJapaneseR...
                Quite interesting reading and mirrors a lot of the opinions on this board about authenticity.

                This is sad since such a program was badly needed. Would have made it easier to find authentic places rather than waste a trip to yet another "100 California rolls from hell" place run by non-Japanese....

              4. Miyabi at 280 West Beaver Creek Road is great.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Wil

                  But the service is terrifically slow. The food is quite decent, but be prepared to wait for everything -- menus, tea, water, giving your order, food, and even the bill.

                2. I too, would not mind some north 905 suggestions. I remember reading about a very good Japan/sushi in richmond hill a few months ago - but of course now I cannot find the name anywhere......

                  1. Solo Sushi Ya in Newmarket. Japanaese chef/owner trained and worked in Okinawa and Tokyo. Omakase at around $50 per person is one of the better deal in town

                    6 Replies
                      1. re: Charles Yu

                        Everything great except he is not a Japanese. He is a chinese instead. I like his small resturant though. Price is a steal. Btw, he charged only $45 before.
                        ......... Is it necessary to be a Japanese in order to qualify his food is authentic?

                        1. re: pokerdan

                          Not that it affects the food in any way, but how do you know he is Chinese and not Japanese. Amy Pataki certainly believes he is Japanese...this is an excerpt from a May 2006 Star article.... "Citing an uncertain economy and high parking costs downtown, Gao plans to continue plying his craft in Newmarket. This makes him part of the coterie of devoted Japanese chefs operating on the city's fringes, joining Masaki Hashimoto (Hashimoto in Mississauga) and Mitsuhiro Kaji (Sushi Kaji in Etobicoke)."

                          1. re: T Long

                            As you said Amy believed he is Japanese and I know she is wrong. I totally agree that doesn't affect the food at all.

                              1. re: Blueicus

                                That's not sufficient. That's an western interpretation (spelling) of an phonetic sound of a name....what is the ethnicity of a Lee or Young for eg. Also, a name alone usually does not indicate the origins of a mother...usually only the father (I'm trying hard to be politically correct here). Even if he was part ethnic Chinese, but grew up and trained in Japan, I would say he is (more) Japanese...just like a lot of us are Canadians that are not aboriginal. Most important to his Chef-ing ability is where was his training. I understand Gao trained in Japan...but I do know where he grew up.

                      2. There's always the JTown @ Victoria Park/Steeles
                        http://www.japantown.ca/

                        the mall doesn't really have a restaurant, but the food quality from the mall is always decent. Lots of japanese imports @ the mall, good luck!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: oohlala

                          Yeah, it has a café that serves japanese curry, katsu, miso soup, noodles, it's actually pretty good!

                        2. If Newmarket is not too far, Solo Sushi-Ya is fantastic. Japanese owner and chef. Jao is kinda eccentric but his food is very good. Can't go wrong with the sushi bar and kitchen as been improving steadily in the last year. His omakase over the winter was only $50 and was very good. Might be pricier in the summer months with better fish selections available.

                          1. Ummm...what about Sushi Marche in Leslieville. Sure he aint Japanese (John Lee). But dude spent 23 years studying and cooking Japanese food (of which he spent a decent amount of time working under Morimoto). I've heard that this place doesn't disappoint. This is probably as high quality and 'authentic' you're going to get in TO.