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Japanese Izakaya Nejibee

A friend of mine told me that a japanese restaurant is coming form japan called Nejibee, from what i know it has over 30 locations and seems to be a very popular over there. Has anyone heard of this?
If its true it would be nice to have another restaurant that is i hope owned and operating by real japanese that serve real japanese food.

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  1. They have a facebook page saying opening soon.
    Izakaya Ju is pretty good only if they had a branch in downtown.
    Here is an Idea a Izakaya that shows UFC as I am sick of eating bad food at bars/pubs that show UFC.

    1. Nejibee will be opening in the Yonge/Wellesley area. This is their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/nejibee

      Full disclosure: my cousin is involved in opening this restaurant. He is Japanese-Canadian. His Japanese wife runs Atelier May (http://www.atelier-may.com/) and Hair Happiness (http://www.hairhappiness.com/) hair salons, also in the Yonge/Wellesley area. They are working with the owner of the Nejibee chain in Japan on this new Canadian outpost of Nejibee.

      1. I can also verify that this is true. I'm friends with someone from Japan who is involved with its opening. From what I hear, they'll be hiring soon.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

          what kind of reputation does this place have in Japan?

          1. re: shekamoo

            I had never heard of it till this year. I know of their sister restaurant which is called Trattoria Gioia but I've not eaten there either. Guess we'll have to see when their build is finished.

            There's at least one other chain from Japan looking here as well. Lots of new openings to look forward to. A couple in the next two weeks or so.

        2. Finally have their own website, not much on it yet:


          I agree with your statement about it being owned and operated by Japanese. Sayonara to Akasaka and the rest of the Chinese Teppanyaki places...

          1. Folks we have removed a number of off topic and rather acerbic replies in this thread. Please keep in mind, we're here to rate the chow, not one another.

            1. Toronto Life blogs about the rash of Japanese izakaya and ramen shops opening up all over town: Yet another new izakaya on the way: Nejibee


              1. Walked by this place today and all of the "Nejibee" signage that used to hang in the windows is gone.

                Looks like the open kitchen ventalation is installed and there is a stove behind the bar but not much else. Does not look like much progress has been made in the last 4 months.

                Anyone know if this is still going to open?

                1 Reply
                1. re: pourboi

                  Not sure - but it seems they have removed their facebook and twitter accounts so it doesn't look positive. I hope that they are just severely delayed as I'd love another authentic Japanese place in the downtown core.

                2. Ok, I walked by today and it looks like there is big work going on... the window banner is now hanging in the space next door which becoame vacant a month or two ago and they had 3 trucks and a bunch of guys in working.. Seems like the may have stopped work to negotiate the rental of the space next door to increase their seating capacity. Probably have a bar area and the new space will be more of a dining area is my guess.. but either way looks like good news..

                  1. Walked by the other day and thought I'd update -- at least part of the restaurant looks just about ready for action. There's a completed long bar/open grill area, and that night, the bar was full of people sitting there, all with laptops open, and it seemed like the chefs were cooking something. Test menu? Staff training? (All the 'patrons' were Asian, so possibly friends/family of owners?)

                    The other side of the unit (where I thought the restaurant was originally going to go) is still full of construction materials though. Not sure if they're planning on ditching that space, or opening up the other space first, or what.

                    1. They seem to be open tonight.. I saw from a distance all the lights on and a chef maning the stoves and several customers inside.. not sure if it was public opening or just a preview as I did not have time to go to the door and take a look...

                        1. Walked by last night and the place was hoping.. food looked great through the window.. but on my way to an oscar party so no chance to stop.. They are open 7 days a week from 5:30 to 11pm according to the signs on the windows... no liquor licence yet but food is half price at the moment... menu attached..

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: pourboi

                            Darn! I was hoping to go for lunch on Monday. I wonder if they plan on opening for lunch once they have their "official" opening?

                          2. I just came back, even though I've never been to Don Don I'd guess it rivals Don Don for worse izakaya. The 50% off discount only made it tolerable. It'd be a huge ripoff otherwise. The space is small and buried off a weird alley/street between 2 buildings. There are only a couple large communal tables and a ring of bar stools around the small kitchen. I was dining alone and still had to wait 30 minutes to be seated at the kitchen stools. Unfortunately I had a front row seat to the kitchen and saw the quality of food being cooked. I ordered jalapeno chicken, okonomiyaki, miso rice ball, chicken karaage and pork belly skewers. The jalapeno chicken ($3 regular) was 2 tiny fried chicken drumsticks with some chili powder sprinkled on. They were maybe an inch and half in size. The diner beside me ordered the miso poutine. They used crinkle cut McCain fries! The kind you'd find at a highschool cafeteria. I also saw the tofu steak ($7.50 regular) being prepared. It was just 2 halves of a tofu cube grilled on the griddle. That's it, no sauce or anything! The chicken karaage was the only dish that was ok. Batter was a bit hard but the portion was only a little bigger than what you'd get a Raijin for half price. It was served with a tiny dollop of japanese mayo that was gone after dipping 2 pieces. The worse was the okonomiyaki. Even after sitting on the griddle forever, the batter was still soft and couldn't hold it together. There was only cabbage and batter with 2 slices of bacon placed underneath. It was also unedibly salty for me. I'm guessing it was the sauce they used since I didn't see any salt added. I'm pretty tolerant with salt but this was the first time I've ever turned a dish away for being unedible. I ate 2 bites and told the waitress that I couldn't finish it. I've had the okonomiyaki at the okonomiyaki house at yonge/bloor and it was far superior and cheaper! The final nail in the coffin was fighting with them to comp the okonomiyaki since I couldn't eat it. There is no way this place is going to survive against Kingyo and Guu.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: sbug206

                              i went monday night as well (around 10pm). the location is totally fine since i know the area well. it may be harder to find as it's on a small street that connects bay to wellesley. anyhow, we waited about 5-10 minutes before being seated at the bar. they do take your number and call you when your table is ready. not much giong on in terms of decoration.

                              as sbug206 mentioned, the food was tolerable at the 50% off price. the croquette was cold inside. food tasted fine, but nothing that impresses. the teppanyaki guy takes a lot of care in what he makes as he takes a long while to make the okonomiyaki. the okonomiyaki does not come with noodles, which is the hiroshima-style that i like better. it did sound like the menu was only for the "discount nights", so they may have a lot more menu items in store.

                              i really hope (for their sake) that the portion sizes yesterday were modified; because if they were normal amounts, it would be a big disappointment. e.g. crinkle-cut poutine, the jalapeno chicken (above) and their signature keichan-yaki ($12.50 regular) - is simply teppanyaki chicken and onions....not even enough to fill the hot plate it comes on.

                              no liquor license yet and they should be taking credit cards from now on.

                              1. re: msprnt

                                The other issue is, if the take your number to call you when the table is ready... where do you go? there is nothing around there except maybe Tim Hortons on Bay St. There are no bars on the "same block" to hang out at.. But from the sound of the food they may not have the problem of people waiting to get in...

                                I was concerned initially by the posts above as the people running it seem to have hair salon experience not restaurant experience... It is not an easy business for a newbee...

                              2. re: sbug206

                                Wow, that sounds incredibly... unJapanese.

                                But to be honest, based on other Opening Night/Pre-Opening night experiences, I'm going to let this one simmer for a few weeks before even considering giving it a try.

                                But I definitely believe, in a league with the likes of Guu, Kingyo and the recently-discovered (in my case) Manpuka on the low end this place has to do A LOT to get noticed.

                                1. re: mnajji

                                  I can tolerate service issues as they're just figuring things out. They were manually sorting orders by laying them down on the ledge beside the window! When it came time for the bill I had to retell what I ordered so they could enter it into their POS.

                                  Even if they finally have their full menu of 40-50 items, I don't see any creativity or imigination with the dishes. It was about the level you'd get from a bad AYCE sushi place. They need a new chef if they have any hope of surviving.

                              3. A review on Yelp is up as well doesn't look promising but I guess I will wait for a couple of other people to chime in

                                1. I had high hopes for this place when I went last night and was able to get a seat at the bar even though the rest of the place was jammed. There are two large communal tables upon entering, and the bar at the back. Past the bar is one smaller table that may hold perhaps 8 people.

                                  So while I was congratulating myself for not having to stand and wait for a table (which many people did), I ended up paying for it by having to sit a good 10 minutes before my order was taken, and another 30 minutes before my order arrived. It was a simple okonomi-yaki (9.99) and another 15 before the keichan-yaki (12.50).

                                  As a side note, the menu was reduced from the one that pourboi posted. I had wanted some crab or deep fried tofu but those were not listed. The food came out sizzling hot, but the onions on the bottom of the okonomi-yaki were burnt black beyond recognition. And I was expecting more for the price of the keichan-yaki although it was tasty.

                                  There were enough servers, but definitely not enough kitchen staff. Clearly, the kitchen was overwhelmed and not able to keep up with the orders. The couple beside me asked a couple of times for their yakisoba and ended up cancelling it as it was their last outstanding item. When the bill came, they were given the incorrect change. The same thing happened to me. They rectified it after I pointed it out. If you're paying cash, check your change.

                                  Unfortunately, I am in agreement with sbug206 on this place as well as the 2 reviewers on yelp. This place was just not prepared to handle the masses. At 50% off, the food was ok; if the size of the dishes is the same as their regular price, then it's a super small amount of food for the price and you are better off elsewhere, like Guu. Hard to justify the wait. And avoid wearing nice clothes unless you enjoy reeking of grilled bbq when you leave.

                                  1. Any recent visits to Nejibee? I noticed they are offering frequent deals on Facebook.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: panko

                                      I have not been but everytime I walk by it is mostly Japanese clientele

                                      1. re: pourboi

                                        A good sign I suppose. But if I am in the area, would take my business 100% to Koyoi instead.

                                        I consider it a nice little neighbourhood gem I discovered (or that CH discovered for me, but still).

                                        1. re: mnajji

                                          I have been to Koyoi a few times and enjoy it but thought it would be nice to try Nejibee.

                                          1. re: panko

                                            Haha, normally I would agree, but this thread has put me off that idea in an irreversible way.

                                    2. Well looks like this place did not last long walked by today and all the windows were papered up...

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: pourboi

                                        NO WAY! Does anyone know if it was every busy.

                                        1. re: mnajji

                                          Most times I walked by.. about once a week I would never see more than 5 or 6 people in there...

                                          Interesting though I walked by again a few hours later and there were a bunch of guys in there but it looked like there were building stuff not taking stuff down.. there were also no notices or signs on the door... So they may not be down and out yet...

                                          1. re: pourboi

                                            They aren't closing down; they are having problems with their kitchen equipment and are working to fix it and hence the temporary closure.

                                            1. re: bluefirefly

                                              A note on the door would sure help... as right now all the windows are papered over which you usually do not do to fix some kitchen equipment...

                                              1. re: pourboi

                                                There was a note on the door today when I went by that said in broken English that they are closed for good and not reopening. Kitchen "Issues" may have been a ploy to close and remove equipment without landlord suspecting anything...

                                                1. re: pourboi

                                                  too bad. i would have thought the location was not half bad...

                                                  1. re: limitedtimeoffer

                                                    Yep - seems kinda silly to close in 3 months. I imagine it was poor planning/budgeting --- I would assume businesses are all slow for the first bit and you're guaranteed to lose money.

                                                    This is also the only restaurant i've ever seen that took so gd long to open

                                                    1. re: limitedtimeoffer

                                                      It is hidden behind a Rabba so not a lot of walk by traffic... Surreounded by three condos so enough people in the area but right now there is a condo under construction right beside it so you have the construction noise..

                                                      I think they needed better ventalation as it always seemed there was greasy smoke hanging in the air. I think they tried to stay true to their Japanese ways but it almost came across as tacky here... i.e. paper with specials and menu items written in coloured florescant hilighters taped to the walls..

                                                      I lived in the condo beside them and never once did I get in the mail a flyer from them.. their website still says opening soon.. Just seemed like they did not know how to attract people...

                                                      Also (especially at lunch) I think they needed to "dumb" down the food a bit to get the people in and trying it... "Yakatori Taco" maybe?

                                                      1. re: pourboi

                                                        could be that toronto crowds somehow think the yelling crap at Guu is more authentic...WHICH IT IS NOT....sadly, in this city, good food is not that important versus what people think it good food...

                                                        1. re: limitedtimeoffer

                                                          Well the food at Nejibee stunk, authentic or not. It wasn't even worth the discounted price at the time. I shouldn't have to fight to get a dish comped that I took a bite and returned.

                                        2. Door was open today and some Japanese people renovating the interior.. I popped my head in and was told that the business was sold and a new owner would be opening up soon.

                                          No idea if they will keep the same name or not.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: pourboi

                                            I believe the former Nejibee will re-open as Teppan Kenta:


                                          2. Here are the deets on the new izakaya going up in it's place:


                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: kwass

                                              Sounds weird. FINALLY crossed Zakkushi off my list and loved it... except for the cheese-covered chicken skewers... those were a strange experience.

                                              BUT the one time I did have cheese in Japan was at this obscure deep-frying place (that I found in the depths of some Chowhound thread: http://bit.ly/15lpbfH) it was at the center of a deep-fried ball of salmon on a stick... and it WAS really delicious.

                                              We'll see if this place lives up to that.

                                              1. re: mnajji

                                                Dying to try Zakkushi. It's @ the top of my list.

                                                1. re: kwass

                                                  Yeah, it's pretty awesome. And considering all the eel and wagyu beef I got, considering also the liter of Sapporo that was also involved, the $50.34 I paid seems like remarkably good value.

                                                  1. re: mnajji

                                                    Wow! That does sound like good value. Good to know, since I plan on eating a lot as well :)