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Japanese Izakaya Nejibee

Ei8929 May 2, 2012 07:25 PM

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. elvisahmed RE: Ei8929 May 2, 2012 07:50 PM

    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. c
      canmark RE: Ei8929 May 3, 2012 10:11 AM

      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. Notorious P.I.G. RE: Ei8929 May 3, 2012 10:39 AM

        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.
          shekamoo RE: Notorious P.I.G. May 3, 2012 11:08 AM

          what kind of reputation does this place have in Japan?

          1. re: shekamoo
            Notorious P.I.G. RE: shekamoo May 3, 2012 03:06 PM

            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. t
          TexSquared RE: Ei8929 May 14, 2012 08:55 AM

          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. The Chowhound Team RE: Ei8929 May 14, 2012 01:06 PM

            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. c
              canmark RE: Ei8929 May 15, 2012 04:24 AM

              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. p
                pourboi RE: Ei8929 Jan 19, 2013 07:11 PM

                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
                  bluefirefly RE: pourboi Jan 20, 2013 06:08 AM

                  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. p
                  pourboi RE: Ei8929 Jan 24, 2013 10:15 AM

                  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. c
                    CuriousCat RE: Ei8929 Feb 13, 2013 11:06 AM

                    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. p
                      pourboi RE: Ei8929 Feb 23, 2013 06:09 PM

                      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. kwass RE: Ei8929 Feb 23, 2013 08:29 PM

                        Here is the write up from Post City:


                        1. p
                          pourboi RE: Ei8929 Feb 25, 2013 08:31 AM

                          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
                            kwass RE: pourboi Feb 25, 2013 02:24 PM

                            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. s
                            sbug206 RE: Ei8929 Feb 25, 2013 08:28 PM

                            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
                              msprnt RE: sbug206 Feb 26, 2013 06:32 AM

                              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
                                pourboi RE: msprnt Feb 26, 2013 06:47 AM

                                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
                                mnajji RE: sbug206 Feb 26, 2013 10:41 AM

                                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
                                  sbug206 RE: mnajji Feb 26, 2013 10:51 AM

                                  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. elvisahmed RE: Ei8929 Feb 25, 2013 08:53 PM

                                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. b
                                  bluefirefly RE: Ei8929 Feb 26, 2013 04:10 PM

                                  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. p
                                    panko RE: Ei8929 Apr 23, 2013 04:19 PM

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

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: panko
                                      pourboi RE: panko Apr 23, 2013 05:38 PM

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

                                      1. re: pourboi
                                        mnajji RE: pourboi Apr 23, 2013 07:05 PM

                                        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
                                          panko RE: mnajji Apr 23, 2013 07:23 PM

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

                                          1. re: panko
                                            mnajji RE: panko Apr 23, 2013 07:28 PM

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

                                    2. p
                                      pourboi RE: Ei8929 Jul 27, 2013 11:44 AM

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

                                      10 Replies
                                      1. re: pourboi
                                        mnajji RE: pourboi Jul 27, 2013 03:26 PM

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

                                        1. re: mnajji
                                          pourboi RE: mnajji Jul 27, 2013 04:56 PM

                                          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
                                            bluefirefly RE: pourboi Jul 27, 2013 06:07 PM

                                            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
                                              pourboi RE: bluefirefly Jul 27, 2013 07:41 PM

                                              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
                                                pourboi RE: pourboi Jul 30, 2013 09:48 PM

                                                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
                                                  limitedtimeoffer RE: pourboi Jul 31, 2013 06:08 AM

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

                                                  1. re: limitedtimeoffer
                                                    ssainani RE: limitedtimeoffer Jul 31, 2013 06:50 AM

                                                    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
                                                      pourboi RE: limitedtimeoffer Jul 31, 2013 06:52 AM

                                                      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
                                                        limitedtimeoffer RE: pourboi Aug 1, 2013 10:30 AM

                                                        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
                                                          sbug206 RE: limitedtimeoffer Aug 1, 2013 02:09 PM

                                                          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. p
                                          pourboi RE: Ei8929 Aug 5, 2013 05:58 PM

                                          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
                                            canmark RE: pourboi Aug 15, 2013 05:58 AM

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


                                            1. re: canmark
                                              canmark RE: canmark Sep 18, 2013 05:30 PM

                                              Photos of Teppan Kenta from Toronto Life:

                                          2. kwass RE: Ei8929 Aug 28, 2013 03:26 PM

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


                                            4 Replies
                                            1. re: kwass
                                              mnajji RE: kwass Aug 28, 2013 08:03 PM

                                              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
                                                kwass RE: mnajji Aug 29, 2013 04:46 AM

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

                                                1. re: kwass
                                                  mnajji RE: kwass Aug 29, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                  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
                                                    kwass RE: mnajji Aug 29, 2013 10:01 AM

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

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