Teara Lab

Teara Lab with their opening on Friday May 27th, will be Toronto’s first and only Japanese fusion sandwich shop!  Teara Lab is a fast casual restaurant located in the heart of downtown at College Street and Spadina Avenue.
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I think Teara Lab has a great concept. Everyone who works there wears a white lab coat which ties in with the restaurant’s name. Teara Lab lives up to what the Japanese is known for: high quality. I am so grateful to be invited to their pre-launch event and test out their menu.
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Teara Lab offers dishes created by the head chef of KaKa All You can Eat, which is my favourite sushi AYCE place! Below is a picture of each of the six sandwiches available on their menu. I was able to try four of these!
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Soy Glazed Pork Belly Sandwich ($11.99). Hands down, this was my favourite sandwich of the evening and I highly recommend it. Full of flavour and the pork belly was very tender and juicy.
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Roast Chicken Burger ($9.99).
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Curry Japanese Pork Sandwich ($9.99).
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I would have to say that Teppanyaki Teriyaki Chicken Burger ($10.99) was very tasty as well! The chicken was juicy and its everything you would expect in a chicken burger plus the wasabi mayo.
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Pictured above is the Red Wine Brais Beef Sandwich ($13.99). The portion is pretty big and the crunchy bits on top gives it some texture. This sandwich wasn’t as memorable for me as the other sandwiches I tried.
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Tonkatsu Pork Sandwich ($9.99) is simple but delicious. The thickness of the cutlet is pretty decent too! If you’re looking for a smaller sandwich that is easy (not as messy) to eat, this is a great choice.

There are also side dishes such as Fries, Yam Fries, Poutine, and Asiaslaw. Drinks on the menu include a variety of fruit tea, slush, creama, and milk tea. With any sandwich, you can make it a combo (fries and drink) for only $2.
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I really enjoyed the Yam Fries ($3.99) pictured above. It is well seasoned and did fill me up really quickly.
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Hokkaido Milk Tea (M $4.50, L $5.00), also comes in hot version. This was the first drink I ordered! I liked that this was not that sweet. I usually order my drinks half sweet or no sweet bubble tea shops and Starbucks, but this was perfect as is. DSC07834_Fotor.jpg
Above are some of the other drinks. From left to right: Taro Milk Tea, Lemon Dada, and Matcha Red Bean Slush.  The drinks at Teara Lab reminds me of ones you would find at bubble tea shops (except they don’t offer tapioca, instead they have aloe vera, red bean, pudding and lychee jelly available for $0.50).The second drink I ordered was the Passion Fruit Green Tea (M $4.20, L $4.70). I loved this drink since it wasn’t that sweet either and passion fruit is just one of my favourite flavours! Apologies, I didn’t get a picture of this but it was very refreshing and I highly recommend it as well. DSC07878_Fotor.jpg
This was my first tasting event I’ve been to by Sweven Media, and I really enjoyed myself and meeting other food bloggers.Overall, I think the unique sandwiches and drinks that they offer are worth the visit! The ingredients they use are definitely fresh. Since Teara Lab is located conveniently across from the University of Toronto St. George Campus, I would imagine this to be a popular spot for students.

*Disclosure:  Although this was a complimentary meal, please note that all opinions expressed are my own and not those of the company.

181 College Street
Toronto, ON

M5T 1P7

MeNami

MeNami prides itself as the first genuine traditional Udon House in Ontario. Udon is a type of thick wheat noodles found in Japanese cuisine. It can be served warmed or cold depending on the type of dish.DSC05829_Fotor_Fotor.jpgOpened only a few months ago, Menami has already created a lot of buzz. This place is pretty busy, hence expect to wait if you don’t have a reservation. The restaurant is located at Yonge and Finch.DSC05830_Fotor.jpg
J and I swung by around 5:30pm on a Saturday evening, put down our name and number and waited for about 40mins. They will contact you by phone when your table is ready.DSC05842_Fotor_Fotor.jpgDSC05844_Fotor_Fotor.jpg
We were blown away by the Beef Tataki ($12) appetizer and this was my favourite dish. The sauce was very tasty, full of flavour, and has a bit of a kick to it! It is citrus -y and sweet.DSC05864_Fotor.jpg
The Spicy Salmon Tartare ($9) was yummy as well and is served with crispy deep fried wonton skin. The salmon is chunky and fresh.DSC05861_Fotor_Fotor.jpgDSC05889_Fotor.jpg
Next was the Black Sesame Puree Udon with Beef ($15)! I rarely leave a restaurant without trying one of their speciality items. There were many Udon dishes to choose from on the menu but this one caught my eye. It was an interesting dish since the sauce is quite sweet and reminded me of the traditional Asian black sesame dessert. It was warm and we were quite content slurping up the noodles. The udon noodles were springy and not starchy. The only downside is that there wasn’t much beef.DSC05853_Fotor.jpg
Corn Kaki-age ($5) with a honey butter mayonnaise dip! I can see why a lot of people enjoyed this corn tempura dish. Personally, I’m not a big fan of fried food but I liked the sauce and I thought it went well with the corn kaki-age.DSC05893_Fotor.jpg
The bar area is nicely arranged and I liked the wood furniture and details, the cool lighting fixtures, and hip vibes.DSC05896_Fotor.jpg
MeNami is a great place to eat with friends or with a date. There’s a good selection on the menu whether you’re feeling for something unique, or just tapas and drinks. DSC05890_Fotor.jpg

5469 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M2N 5S1

Sunday 11:30am – 12am
Monday – Sat 11:30am – 2:30am

(416) 229-6191

http://www.menami.ca/

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

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

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