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Yakitori bar in downtown Toronto?

Hi all, I've tried searching for yakitori places, but haven't found any that specialize in it. Can you recommend a good yakitori bar that serves up chicken hearts, livers, skin, beef tongue, shisito peppers, etc., as well as the usual yakitori items plus beer and shochu? Please include price per person if you have it. Preferrably in downtown Toronto, but if willing to travel if it's worth the trip. Thanks!

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  1. There is nowhere in Toronto that really specializes in yakitori. Your best bet would be Ematei, which will usually have everything that you are looking for, as well as many other good izakaya-style hot items. Don't bother with the sushi there, not that it sounds like that's your agenda.

    4 Replies
    1. re: childofthestorm

      I'll second Ematei. Very well-done, and probably the best izakaya food in Toronto.

      Charles Yu (I think) mentioned good yakitori at Japango, but I haven't been to try it.

      1. re: tjr

        Yes, Japango's version is very good! The sauce is amazing.

      2. re: childofthestorm

        I'll happy third the suggestion of Ematei, although I too really wish there was a place that specialized in Yakitori!

        1. re: JonasBrand

          Unfortunately, it wouldn't be successful in Toronto. Ematei is excellent for the price and the fact that it is in Toronto, though. Torontonians, in general, aren't going to be eating up miscellaneous skewered chicken pieces.

          Yakitori is something that I find incredibly easy/cheap to prepare at home (I grew up in Japan). With a good tare (simple to make), you'll find that you won't miss it as much anymore. Same goes for all of the simple homestyle Japanese classics. You won't find very decent versions of most things in Toronto, but you can find things to fill the gap. Ematei excels at most of the homestyle dishes that are either lacking on most Japanese resto menus, or completely overlooked. I will go out to try the Japango yakitori when I get a chance, though.

      3. i wish. i've been craving some decent yakitori since i came back from japan. Sakawaya had decent yakitori (a lot of what you list above) on the menu under it's old ownership but don't do anything even remotely close to that anymore...

        1. Thanks everyone! Sounds like we're SOL as far as a yakitori bar where you can just hang out and eat grilled goodies and drink. I was looking for a place with the atmosphere of a lively eating and drinking crowd than a (usually) quiet sit down restaurant, but I'll definitely check out Ematei to satisfy the yakitori cravings.

          1. Has any yakitori bars sprung up in the last year???

            5 Replies
            1. re: Pigurd

              No.

              Guu from Vancouver is rumoured to be opening at the end of the year.

              1. re: Pigurd

                There is a new Izakaya opened this summer called FIN Izakaya at Yonge and Eglinton! It's owned by Japanese and the chef is Japanese as well. The food is great although they just changed their menu from summer menu (go well with beer) to winter menu (go well with sake). I prefer the summer menu with yakisoba and stuff, but the takoyaki is the best!!

                The famous Guu from Vancouver has also opened on Church street!! Each Guu location has different menu, and I hope this Guu will not be disapponiting!!

                1. re: shinchanchan

                  I tried Fin tonight and found it good, but expensive and not the vibe I was looking for. The vibe and prices are both upscale. For the record, we shared grilled pork belly, grilled beef, fried chicken, raw octopus, veggie tempura and blow torched mackerel. The veggie tempura was a little greasy, but everything else was tasty.

                  1. re: GoodGravy

                    Guu is now open in Toronto with a very lively boisterous izakaya vibe. I can't recall if there was chicken yakitori on the menu specifically, but I think the odds are good.

                    Recent Guu monster thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/674683

                    1. re: Gary

                      No yakitori unfortunately....