Toronto’s best new Japanese restaurants

Ramen, sushi, snacks galore! Plus: 5 dishes you gotta try, Japanese cheesecake and the skinny on shōchū



Ten years ago it was sushi, five years ago it was izakayas and ramen. Today a new crop of Japanese eateries has sprouted, bringing unfamiliar dishes and regional styles to Toronto’s taste buds. Though their menus might appear varied – from high-end sashimi to authentic udon bowls to unfussy set menus – they’re united by a simple theme: flights of fusion fancy take a back seat to faithful replication. Now you can dine like you’re in Japan’s capital without leaving town. 

  • Udon is done right at MeNami: Ever wonder why Toronto has dozens upon dozens of ramen shops – enough to engender fervent local debate about who has the best noodles, the richest broth, the heftiest slabs of chashu pork – but until very recently, not a single restaurant dedicated to udon? Here’s why.
  • Shoushin: high-end sushi as it’s done in Tokyo
  • Snack like in Tokyo at Imanishi: There’s no sign outside Imanishi Japanese Kitchen, unless you count the one left over from the previous tenant, a Dundas West Portuguese sports bar.

Plus:

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    MeNami

    5469 Yonge, Toronto, Ontario

    Ever wonder why Toronto has dozens upon dozens of ramen shops – enough to engender fervent local debate about who has the best noodles, the richest broth, the heftiest slabs of chashu pork – but until very recently, not a single restaurant dedicated to udon?

    The short answer: “It’s a very, very sensitive noodle,” says Chae Kim, the owner of MeNami

    Read more here.

  • 2

    Imanishi Japanese Kitchen

    1330 Dundas W, Toronto, Ontario

    The menu is typical of what folks their age (Gomyo is 35, Imanishi 30) eat daily in Japan, where Gomyo was born and Imanishi spent several years cooking. (They met 12 years ago in Vancouver, where they worked at Guu Gomyo later became the creative director for the chain.) 

    Fusion twists are nowhere to be found – unless you count the potato salad, umami’ed by judicious use of anchovies and flanked with taro chips for scooping, which they borrowed from a friend’s Spanish restaurant in Tokyo. (“It doesn’t have to be all Japanese – if it’s from Tokyo.”)

    Read more here.

  • 3
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    Natalia Manzocco

    Shoushin

    3328 Yonge, Toronto, Ontario

    Jackie Lin, formerly of Zen, created Shoushin to present high-end sushi as it’s done in Tokyo. 

    “They don’t just serve the fish as it is,” he says. “Usually, they do something about it. White fish they might marinate in kelp. Shiny fish like mackerel or sardine or shad they usually salt and then marinate in vinegar. Tuna they’d probably marinate in soy sauce.” 

    Read the rest here.

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