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Japanese birthday celebration downtown Toronto

Food Tourist Feb 4, 2014 08:37 PM

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 http://www.jftor.org/whatson/2014Danj... 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.

Arigato.

  1. happycamper Feb 4, 2014 10:12 PM

    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
      Food Tourist Feb 5, 2014 04:33 AM

      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. http://www.gushiisgushi.com/pc/chicke...

      Our schedule for February is
      Monday - Friday
      11:00am-7:00pm
      Delivery Hour
      11:00am-3:00pm

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

      Then We are.....
      GRAND OPENING AT MARCH 1ST 12PM!!!

      1. re: Food Tourist
        happycamper Feb 6, 2014 05:33 AM

        thanks for the update.

      2. re: happycamper
        Food Tourist Feb 5, 2014 08:25 AM

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

      3. Food Tourist Feb 5, 2014 08:22 AM

        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: http://www.textilemuseum.ca/apps/index.cfm?page=exhibition.detail&exhId=356
        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: http://www.ryojiofcanada.com/food.html

        Is JaBistro strictly sushi at lunch? http://www.jabistro.com/menu.html

        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. s
          ssainani Feb 5, 2014 09:57 AM

          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
            Food Tourist Feb 5, 2014 10:14 AM

            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
              c
              childofthestorm Feb 5, 2014 11:20 AM

              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
                Food Tourist Feb 5, 2014 11:54 AM

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

          2. Food Tourist Feb 5, 2014 12:39 PM

            Any thoughts on Hapa at the Ritz hotel? http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Propert...

            1. Food Tourist Feb 5, 2014 12:45 PM

              Fusion? Any thoughts on Kanji in Parkdale? http://kanjitoronto.com

              1 Reply
              1. re: Food Tourist
                happycamper Feb 6, 2014 05:26 AM

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

              2. g
                ggom1 Feb 9, 2014 04:57 PM

                What about Ematei? The tatami rooms can be reserved.

                2 Replies
                1. re: ggom1
                  Food Tourist Feb 9, 2014 07:36 PM

                  Thanks, that is another favourite of ours and a great backup plan. (My problem is being original as another friend had her birthday in their tatami room in the past.)

                  1. re: Food Tourist
                    1sweetpea Feb 11, 2014 09:28 AM

                    You could try http://bushiudon.com/ for udon noodles and other treats. I read in another thread that their tempura is very good.

                2. Food Tourist Mar 12, 2014 07:52 AM

                  We've decided on Ryoji for dinner since they take reservations at prime time, and instead of Kanji that seems to have worse food.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Food Tourist
                    s
                    szw Mar 12, 2014 12:50 PM

                    In case you didn't know, the Guu family now has a yakitori restaurant above their second Kinton location in koreatown.

                    Ramen Isshin is in the west end (atmosphere not so great).

                    Personally I wasn't a big fan of ryoji's food but it was better than Hapa Izakaya.

                    1. re: szw
                      Food Tourist Mar 13, 2014 07:13 PM

                      Anything beats Hapa!
                      But does Ryoji beat Kanji? That is the million dollar question for tomorrow's group of 11 guests.

                      1. re: Food Tourist
                        happycamper Mar 14, 2014 08:10 AM

                        I believe so.

                  2. Food Tourist Mar 26, 2014 04:46 PM

                    Sadly, Ryoji was mediocre. A few good dishes but overall disappointing. Not to mention the poor atmosphere for an izakaya. No yelling, no fun, not Guu.

                    1. Food Tourist Mar 26, 2014 04:46 PM

                      JaBistro $30 lunch platter was quite good, some misses but overall enjoyable. Mix of cooked and rolls.

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