Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Feb 4, 2014 08:37 PM

Japanese birthday celebration downtown Toronto

Looking to plan a full day of Japanese treats for my birthday on a Friday with a few friends. Prefer downtown or southwest (not Markham nor J-Town), and need ideas for breakfast/coffee, lunch or afternoon tea; dinner; and late night drinking. Thinking of Japanese activities in between each, such as the Japan Foundation on Bloor Street West or perhaps a hair blowout at a Japanese salon. (The Iyashi bedrock spa seems too far north at Yonge/Lawrence.) Maybe a tea ceremony in a zen garden is a pipe dream.

Thinking the Black Dice Cafe on Dundas West to end the evening. Japanese whisky is a must. Have never been there. But perfect west location to get home in 15 minutes by taxi.

I love Zakkushi and Kingyo and Noir Coffee (kinda Viet-Japanese, right?) but they also seem a tad too far. But maybe someone will chauffeur me around. A place that does proper robatayaki would be ideal. Don't worry about finding me the best sushi though I've never been to Ja Bistro. I would skip Yuzu due to atmosphere. I like loud and raucous Tokyo-style or at least with great whisky and sake. The sake distillery doesn't run tours on Fridays but I will ask. Shi Bui might be tried and reviewed by then. Tapas-style food would be better than ramen. And a place that takes reservations for dinner for a group would be ideal.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Great list! The Japanese Foundation always hosts great, unique events.

    If you like the loud and raucous, Guu is ideal (although yes, reservation for a group is tough, but I think the wait will be worth it)

    Thinking along Dundas W, Scadding Court's Gushi does great, inexpensive yakitories - you'd have to double check the winter hours though. For your non-food activities, Blue Button and Mjölk along Dundas are both great boutiques to visit for your Japanese fix.

    For quick take-outs, can't beat Santo's grab n' go near the counter (also great old-school Japanese drama !VHS! rentals at the back) and the Sakura tray from 930Sushi, King W.

    If you are not especially into Kaji-ish sushi dinner service, try Teppan Kenta. I have never been but have heard great reviews from reliable sources. Down-to-earth, cheerful, and delicious service/food.

    Happy Birthday!

    3 Replies
    1. re: happycamper

      Thank you! Sanko is one of my favourite stores for browsing. I have read very mixed reviews on Teppan Kenta. But yes, Guu Sakabar is my back-up dinner plan (reservations at 5 pm only on Fridays.)

      I still have never eaten at Scadding Court. Here is the info on Gushi.

      Our schedule for February is
      Monday - Friday
      Delivery Hour

      We close February 24th(Monday)-26th(Wednesday).
      For Final maintenance.

      Then We are.....

      1. re: happycamper

        Is Teppan Kenta open for lunch? Maybe that's a good way to try it.

      2. Shangri-La seems to offer a Japanese style tea service (not ceremony) with some of their 68 teas in the lobby lounge.

        Look what I found:
        Ichimaru's kimonos. And so close to lots of good eating.

        Is Ryoji on College any good for lunch? The website says they are open for lunch every day though this page doesn't:

        Is JaBistro strictly sushi at lunch?

        Also considering Sansotei ramen for lunch. (I tried Raijin ramen last night and loved it, btw. But I also haven't had ramen since last summer Down Under.)

        1. Any reason you have skipped or avoided many of the Izakaya's which proliferate our wonderful city?

          Even mainstream Guu will have 'loud and raucous'

          3 Replies
          1. re: ssainani

            I've read some poor reviews of places like Don Don, I've been disappointed in the past at Hapa (shortly after it opened, I hated the atmosphere and set-up, and the food was average), and I did mention above that Guu Sakabar is my backup plan. Other great places like Kingyo and Zakkushi and Fin are just too far away for the kind of crawl I'm organizing.

            If you can give me actual suggestions for izakayas that are awesome, please do so here.

            1. re: Food Tourist

              Given that Kingyo and Zakkushi are a few blocks apart from each other, and are both awesome, if it were me I'd throw cab rides to and from Cabbagetown into my plan.

              1. re: childofthestorm

                I should have mentioned I did Zakkushi last year for my birthday.

              1. re: Food Tourist

                Over-priced, mediocre mayo-filled rolls. Really odd fusion-confusion twists.