Aka-Oni Izakaya

Aka-Oni Izakaya is a Japanese restaurant that has been opened for about a month. It is located in one of the plazas along Silver Star Blvd in Scarborough. DSC06018_Fotor.jpgThe interior has a clean and simple look and feel. Aka-Oni Izakaya is largely decorated with bottles of Japanese alcohol which I thought was a good way to reuse.DSC06019_Fotor.jpgWe arrived at lunch time and upon settling down on our table, the server poured us some Japanese green tea. However, we did not receive menus until we asked for them and even then, we only received the Lunch Menu and the “Today’s Special” Menu. Upon inquiring, they also gave us the Kitchen Menu and the Sushi Bar Menu.DSC06020_Fotor.jpgComplimentary green salad. I loved the citrus ginger dressing which is flavourful and delicious. DSC06034_Fotor.jpgDSC06027_Fotor.jpgThe main reason I came here is to try the Black Diamond Wave Roll ($15.99). Topped with a generous amount of foie gras, some caviar, and gold glitter, this roll is packed with ingredients!! BBQ eel, caviar, crab meat, cucumber, and avocado. So delicious! The foie gras gives it a slightly creamy  taste.DSC06022_Fotor.jpgThe next dish we shared was the Black Garlic Ramen ($10.99). I really enjoyed this because the soup base is full of flavour. If you love the taste of roasted garlic, this is for you! When it arrived, it wasn’t as warm as we would expect a bowl of noodle soup to be. Though this didn’t bother me.DSC06039_Fotor.jpgThis is the Beef Tataki ($11.99), served with a citrus soy sauce. This was dish was not bad, though I’ve had better beef tataki which is seared . The seared beef is chewy, plain on its own but nice when dipped in the sauce. DSC06035_Fotor.jpgIn my opinion, the BBQ Eel Pancake ($5.99) was just okay. We ate half before taking a picture – oops! It is topped with pieces of BBQ eel and sprinkled with katsuobushi (bonito flakes). DSC06047_Fotor.jpgIce cream was on the house to end our meal. The choices are green tea, black sesame, and red bean.DSC06041_Fotor.jpgThe service is an area for improvement though we will forgive that since Aka-Oni Izakaya is still fairly new. Overall, I think this place has a good large variety of dishes. Whether you’re looking to have ramen, sushi, sashimi, skewers, grilled meats and seafood, or a bento box (lunch only), there is something to satisfy everyone! Since there is so much variety, this is a good place to go with a few others and I would recommend ordering several dishes to share.DSC06050_Fotor.jpg

633 Silver Star Blvd #108
Scarborough, ON M1V 5N1

Mon-Thu: 11:30 am – 1:00 am
Fri-Sat: 11:30 am – 2:00 am
Sun: 11:30 am – 1:00 am

(416) 298-3828

Aka-Oni Izakaya  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

La Cubana

We passed by La Cubana along the Ossington strip area, while we were looking for a place to eat that is easy on our wallet. We decided we were going to try Cuban food that evening and I’m glad we did! The place is clean, relaxed, and the atmosphere feels like a diner from way back. DSC04577_Fotor.jpgDSC04578_Fotor.jpgAll plates are price at $15 and comes with a side of rice and beans, plantain, and slaw. We ordered the Achiote Roasted Chicken Plate and the Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder Plate pictured below.
DSC04580_Fotor.jpgFirst off, the chicken was very juicy, delicious and was well seasoned. The rice and beans was full of flavourful, another favourite. The slaw was very fresh and we loved it! The plantain on the other hand was disappointing. We thought that it was very dry, bland, and it tasted like fried batter. The pork shoulder that J ordered was like seasoned pulled pork. It wasn’t as memorable as the chicken and it was a little too salty for our taste.DSC04581_Fotor.jpg
Here is the close up of the Achiote Roasted Chicken Plate! We both recommend this dish. Everything is perfect except for the plantain.

We also ordered the Yuca Frita ($4) which is fries made of the root vegetable Yuca (also known as Cassava) since J has never tried this before. We weren’t a big fan of this either. If you’ve never had yuca fries, the texture is starchy and powdery in your mouth. It’s also quite dry. I didn’t get the chance to take a picture of this though.

La Cubana is a neat, casual place to grab a quick bite. We will be coming back for their signature pressed sandwiches the next time we’re in the area!

92 Ossington Ave.
Toronto, ON M6J 2Z4

Sunday to Thursday 12pm until 10pm
Friday & Saturday 12pm until Midnight (Full Kitchen)

416-537-0134

http://www.lacubana.ca/

La Cubana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Saving Grace

Saving Grace, located at Bathurst and Dundas in the Trinity-Bellwoods area has become one of my favourite brunch spots.sg 1_Fotor.jpg
Since the place is quite small and the food is so delicious, the wait time is generally between 1 – 1.5 hours throughout the day. The lady I spoke with on the phone suggested to arrive 15mins before opening at 9:45am as we would likely get a table. J and I showed up on Sunday at 11:15am, placed our names on the clipboard located inside by the door, and stood outside to wait our turn. We patiently waited about 45 minutes for a table.DSC05068_Fotor.jpgTheir everyday menu includes yogurt, French toast, oatmeal, porridge, polenta, a variety of sandwiches, eggs, and their popular french toast with caramelized banana and maple syrup ($10, $5.50 half order) and of course tea and coffee.DSC05066_Fotor3.jpgOn the chalkboard are the specialty dishes available for the day. This menu is constantly changing and never boring.DSC05018_Fotor_Fotor.jpgWe ordered three dishes which all came with a side of seasoned roasted potatoes and arugula salad. I personally don’t like arugula, but besides that I loved everything we ordered and they seriously tasted as great as it looks! DSC05054_Fotor.jpgThis is the poached eggs on cornbread waffle, with brie, bacon, blueberry preserves ($13.25). I’ve never heard of cornbread waffles until I came here. Its plain on its own but quite delicious with the hearty toppings!DSC05034_Fotor.jpgDSC05032_FotorScrambled eggs with dill, and smoked salmon, avocado, pickled red onion tartare ($13.25) is the dish that J ordered. The tartare is a tasty and unique brunch item. The scrambled eggs were fluffy and the dill paired well with it. I kept stealing bits of his dish – yum!DSC05027_Fotor.jpgWe also shared the warm brie pear walnut honey on open baguette ($9). The bosc pear makes this a sweet and refreshing way to end our meal. I’d like to try making this at home one day.DSC05063_Fotor_Fotor.jpgThe food was absolutely delicious and we thought it was worth the wait. We were so stuffed from ordering so much food but I’m really glad we did! We had to take some of the potato and toast to go but that’s okay.DSC05044_Fotor.jpgThe plating is so colourful which makes it very appetizing. I do want to try their french toast with caramelized banana and maple syrup next time which I regret not ordering.
DSC05039_blogThis place is homey and perfect for a date (if you can avoid the lines), or just a weekend brunch with some girls. Like most good brunch spots downtown, they don’t take reservations. Be careful if you take a walk and come back, because you will lose your spot on the wait list if you’re late!

907 Dundas St W. 
Toronto, ON M6J 1V9

(416) 703-7368

Saving Grace Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

TSUJIRI Toronto

If you love matcha and desserts as much as I do, you have to visit Tsujiri at its first North American location!

This Japanese chain specializes in desserts and drinks with this finely grounded green tea powder, known as matcha. I first stumbled upon Tsujiri this past summer during my trip to Japan when I was in the city of Kyoto. All the green tea dessert display models looked so appetizing as I peeked through the window. I had to stop by. DSC04881_blog.jpg
Pictured is a display model of the Tsujiri Sundae (#36 on the menu, $7.50).DSC04789_blog.jpg
They really take their time and a lot of care in each order to ensure consistency and quality. Because of this, there is a longer wait time.

What’s on their menu? Blended ice drinks, lattes, shaved ice, ice cream floats, sundaes, cakes, macarons, cream puffs, and more. So much sugary goodness! Although the desserts we ordered was with matcha soft serve ice cream, there is a cheaper vanilla option as well.image
This is the O-Matcha Parfait (#47 on the menu, $4.75) with layers of chocolate cake and matcha butter cream.
ice creamm.jpgThis is the Tsujiri Shaved Ice (#40 on the menu, $8) with layers of matcha soft serve, topped with mochi and red bean. It was sooo good, and the ice cream was very flavourful. I loved it and thought it was worth the wait! 3 ice cream.jpgMy friend C ordered the matcha Tsujiri Soft Cream (#39 on the menu, $5.75) which is soft serve ice cream. We were a little diappointed with the portion considering the price. For a bit more, you will be better off ordering one of their Sundaes which comes with toppings

I couldn’t get enough green tea so I went again in the evening! This time, there was a much longer line.DSC04836_blog2.jpgAfter telling J how much I enjoyed the Tsujiri Shaved Ice, he was convinced and ordered it, while I had the matcha Chiffon Cake Sundae (#38 on the menu, $7.50) pictured to the right. The Chiffon Cake Sundae has layers of matcha soft serve, corn flakes, a scoop of red bean served with a slice of spongey matcha chiffon cake.DSC04867_blog.jpgWe also ordered the O-Matcha Cream Puff (#46 on the menu, $2.75) which is filled with light fluffy cream and matcha. It was soft and yummy, despite it doesn’t look like the picture on the menu.all three.jpgThere are a few booths along the wall, each can seat two people. At the back of the shop, is a larger Japanese style seating area that can accommodate about six people. Be sure to remove your shoes before sitting in this area!DSC04786_blog.jpgI can’t wait to visit again and try their drinks and the Opera cake! Overall, I really enjoyed the desserts here. The locations in Japan have other items on the menu such as green tea noodles, hopefully they will eventually expand their menu here to include that. Be prepared as the line could get long as this place becomes more popular.

147 Dundas St. West
Toronto, ON
M5B 1E4

http://tsujiri-global.com/

TSUJIRI Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Cacao 70

Cacao 70 is a Montreal dessert chain that opened up its first location in Toronto a few months ago at the Distillery District. Everything on their menu involves chocolate. While I’ve been to the Cacao 70 in Montreal, I was uber excited when they open one in Toronto. I came here on three separate occasions.cacao 70 entrance.jpg
The place was a little busy but N and I didn’t wait too long until our turn. We shared the Choco-Nut Waffle which is a classic waffle topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate drizzle, candied hazelnuts, served with fresh fruits.DSC02561_blog.jpgDSC02560_blog.jpg
There are so many types of hot chocolate on the menu which I definitely have to come back to try! We each received a warm cup of American Style Hot Chocolate (choice of milk, semi-sweet or dark) complimentary for moving tables, which we didn’t mind at all. We both love dark chocolate, so this drink really hit the spot on this cold evening. It was rich, not too sweet, and delicious!DSC02553_blog
On my next visit, J and I ordered a fondue set, Sweet Chocolate Experience for Two. What really caught my eye was the mini grill for the marshmallow!DSC02917.JPG
Some girls and I were planning a girls brunch date and I suggested Cacao 70 as I wanted to try their brunch menu (available from 10am – 4pm). I was feeling something healthy and ordered the Vegetable Frittata which is like a quiche in a skillet but without the pastry. It came with a side of fresh fruits and of course, chocolate!DSC03433_blog.jpg
My friend H ordered the Illegal Chocolate Waffle. This comes with caramelized bananas, which is the star of this dish. Yummm.DSC03430_blog.jpg
Below, pictured at the top is the Lazy Breakfast (scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, potatoes, beans). Pictured bottom right is the Blue Mushroom Omelette (with onions, mushrooms, spinach, swiss cheese, potatoes). Both served with fresh fruit and melted chocolate!brunch.jpg
Every item on the Cacao 70 menu, whether its desserts, drinks or brunch comes with some form of chocolate. You can also order chocolate that originates from different parts of the world. Overall, it is a great place to hang out and chat with friends. You can count on this place to satisfy your sweet tooth and chocolate cravings!

28 Gristmill Lane
Toronto, ON M5A 3C4

Sunday – Thursday: 10am-11pm
Friday & Saturday: 10am-12am (midnight)

416-216-8686

http://cacao70.ca/en

Cacao 70 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kitten and the Bear

Kitten and the Bear is known for their artisan preserves and buttermilk scones. This cute little shop is located on the west end, in the village of Parkdale. They have a small tea room as well as take out. We decided to go for their Jam & Tea Service ($17.50/person).
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Since the tea room is quite small with one table that seats 2 and a second table that seats 3, they do not take reservations and operate on a first come first serve basis. Luckily there was a table for 2 available when J and I arrived.
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The Jam and Tea Service comes with:
  • Flight of seasonal preserves
  • Buttermilk scones
  • Clotted cream
  • A choice of pour-over coffee or tea (including black, white & oolong, green, herbal).
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As a green tea lover, I decided on the Tropical Green Tea which is a Japanese Sencha with tropical fruit and citrus notes, and of course J had the Pour-Over Coffee. I like the set up and the elegant designs on the tableware, it almost felt like Alice in Wonderland.
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The scones were warm and freshly made. They were arguably the best scones I’ve had – light, fluffy, and slightly crisp on the outside.

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The jam flavours of the day were:
  • Strawberries & Chocolate – chunky, quite sweet, reminds me of classic strawberry jam
  • Banana & Bourbon & Vanilla Bean – if you are bananas about this fruit, this one is for you
  • Sweet Orange & Honeyed Whisky – this marmalade has an intense orange burst
  • Blackberry, Plum and Violet – chunks of berries and plum, with a slight hint of violet

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We picked up a jar of Blackberry, Plum and Violet jam on our way out. Jam, jellies and marmalade are all handmade in small batches and free of preservatives. We were told that unopened, these artisan preserves have a shelf life of just over a year.

Overall, we really enjoyed the whole experience.

574 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON M6R 1A6

Tuesday – Sunday : 10 am – 6 pm
Monday : Closed

(647) 926-9711

http://kittenandthebear.com

Kitten And The Bear Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Miku Toronto

Miku is a Japanese restaurant specializing in Aburi Sushi and Aburi Style cuisine. I took J to Miku for his birthday back in February. I’ve heard many good things about this restaurant and I thought it was the perfect occasion to go here!
Everything sounded sooo good on the menu, we really couldn’t decide what to order. After much thought, we both settled for the Winter Set Menu ($60/person), which is only available until March 17th. It was the best decision because we got to taste a variety of items on the main menu without ordering full portions of any one dish. The Winter Set Menu is a 3 course meal, and there’s also an optional sake pairing with each course ($20/person).
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The first course consist of 7 pieces of sushi from their Miku Signature Selection. The Aburi Sushi are blow-torched and which gives it a nice flamed taste. They were absolutely delicious and very flavourful on its own without the need of dipping in soy sauce or wasabi like the usual sushi restaurants. The Aburi Salmon Oshi was definitely my favourite.
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The next course was the Surf & Turf Trio which consists of three different entrees (Miso Baked Sable Fish, Butter Poached Lobster Tail, AAA Sterling Silver Beef Tenderlointhat can be found on Miku’s regular menu but in smaller portions. We preferred this because we were able to try different dishes. All of them were amazing, the seafood and the beef tenderloin were all cooked to perfection.
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Here is a close up of the Miso Baked Sale Fish with charred eggplant puree, sorrel, kale chip.DSC04031_blog2
AAA Sterling Silver Beef Tenderloin served with wasabi veal jus, wild mushroom, brussels sprouts, and shallot puree.
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To finish off the meal, is their signature Green Tea Opera cake. Layers of green tea genoise, matcha butter cream, dark chocolate ganache, adzuki bean cream, with hazelnut wafer and matcha ice cream on the side. So much yummy goodness! This was J’s favourite because of the perfect mixture of different flavours and textures.DSC04079_blog.jpg
Although I called ahead to make special arrangements for the dessert to come with a special birthday message and a candle, it did not happen. I explained this to the server and they made sure we were happy. They brought out a scoop of their caramel ice cream as complimentary and received 10% off the bill.
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This was one of our favourite dining experiences. Miku comes with a high price tag, but I would definitely come back again if I had the chance!

105-10 Bay Street (at Queen’s Quay)
Toronto, ON M5J 2R8


Lunch:
Daily 11:30am-3:00pm, Bar Bites 3:00pm-5:00pm
Dinner:

Sunday-Thursday 5:00pm-10:00pm, Bar Bites 10:00pm-Late
Friday-Saturday 5:00pm-10:30pm, Bar Bites 10:30pm-Late


647-347-7347

http://mikutoronto.com

Miku Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato