Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Mar 24, 2008 05:40 PM

Inaho: a pleasant surprise!

As I've posted recently, was looking for an authentic Japanese restaurant in GTA. I have lived in Japan for 5 years and been to many places. My wife is Japanese so I eat Japanese almost every night.
I was disappointed to see so many fusion and Chinese- and Korean-run places with all manner of strange concoctions.
Well, we just had lunch at Inaho in Richmond Hill. We went in there with low expectations and were we pleasantly surprised. It is fine. Now granted, it is not a high-class establishment with 10 waiters and flying fish in from Tokyo Bay every day (which means little since every Japanese person knows that Tokyo Bay is filthily polluted so eating fish from Tokyo Bay is not as appetizing as it appears to people who have never been to Japan) like some other places which charge you $150 a head.
Anyway, think of Inaho as your friendly neighbourhood mama-san (or nomiya or the old-style izakaya on the street corner). If you have that image, then you know what you can expect. A place where you can go to relax, drink, eat some sushi, have few laughs, talk to the chef, drink more, eat more, laugh more. Inaho is a family-run little eatery/pub (Japanese-style, of course) owned and operated by a Japanese man and his Chinese wife. They are friendly and the food is nice, well-prepared, and tasty. The place is tiny and seats maybe 20 people. But what it lacks in grandeur, it more than makes up for in coziness. The chef has many regulars who he knows on a first-name basis and I guess, like in Japan, they come in to unwind and have a beer and enjoy some food. They stay, chat, laugh, drink, eat, all in a cozy, family-like atmosphere where you are treated like a friend and not a wallet. 5 stars for authenticity!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. 5 stars authenticity ? I don't think so, the Gyudon I had in there is like dessert, it is way too sweet with TOO much sauce. The chirashi don I had the other day is not fresh where they thin sliced the salmon and tuna to big sheets of sashimi ?! I feel like eating smoked salmon. Definitely cannot be compared to any of the sashimi I had in Japan at all ! But with your review, I hope they have improved now.

    Plus I can never think of it as a izakaya in terms of food and atmosphere, FYI, Inaho is a typical cozy small joint sushi place just like a lots of others sushi places in North America.

    Wait until you try Cafe Michi / Zen to see better quality in TO ! Try the chirashi don at Cafe Michi with $22, lots of fresh sashimi (tamago, ika, maguro, kampachi, hirame, tako, and sake/murin marinated ikura ...etc, + Salad + cake + coffee), a much better deal than Inaho.

    "every Japanese person knows that Tokyo Bay is filthily polluted so eating fish from Tokyo Bay is not as appetizing as it appears to people who have never been to Japan"

    Do you mean the fish at Tsukiji fish market is no good quality ? If yes, where do the chef go to select fish every morning ? I know a lots of top chefs in Japan go to Tsukiji to select ingradient every morning. For example, the michelin 3 stars Sushi Mizutani in Tokyo visits suppliers at the Tsukiji market every morning to get the ultra high quality seafood !! Also, Sushi Dai at the Tsukiji inside market is one of the highest rated place for sushi at TabeLog ( A user driven site in Japan).

    2 Replies
    1. re: skylineR33

      I do believe Shogun was referring to fish that is FISHED out of Tokyo Bay. And I agree with Shogun because I was a resident of Tokyo for many years myself. Tsukiji Market is just that, a fish 'market' -- a market that sells fish caught from all over the world. The 'local' fish at Tsukiji are usually caught in the cleaner waters of Hokkaido, Kyushu and not Tokyo Bay.

      Shogun said nothing about Inaho being good value for money. So why are you plugging Cafe Michi for it's good deals? And regarding the '5 star authenticity', Shogun was referring to the great Izakaya atmosphere of how the patrons feel welcomed by the proprietors in a cozy atmosphere with feel-good food.

      Skyline, you totally misinterpreted Shogun's write up and attacked everything he had to say about Inaho. Why can't everyone on this board give their opinions in a civilized manner?

      1. re: wasabi_girl

        My point is I do not see Inaho a 5 stars authenticity according to my experience there, I see no star, ok ? I basically just listed out my bad experience there and my disagreement. Regarding Tokyo Bay, it is a question to Shogun, I am looking for some clarification as Tsukiji is close to Tokyo Bay and there are all the fish suppliers, did you see the question mark ? I plug in Cafe Michi because I am expressing my opinion on what I feel regarding a authentic and tasty Japanese restaurant in Toronto, not the food I had in Inaho. Again, I am expressing my opinion on Inaho that it does not feel like a Izakaya to me, and I think it is not appropiate to think it as a Izakaya, ok ?