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Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews

Coupons to Teriyaki Experience

February 13, 2017 by

We’re excited to announce that Teriyaki Experience is launching their new Winter Warmers Soup Collection this month! A new soup broth, ramen (with soybean paste, pork bone, or served cold), and miso soup have been introduced to their menu and are available at all Teriyaki Experience locations.

Teriyaki Experience Shrimp and Chicken Ramen Bowls
We ordered the chicken ramen with mild broth and shrimp ramen with spicy broth along with six gyoza dumplings.

Teriyaki Experience Chicken Ramen
Interested in trying one of the new Winter Warmers items? We have two coupons for you!

Get $1.00 off any soup and a BOGO free ramen coupon by signing up here!

Ramen noodles at Teriyaki Experience

Looking for a Teriyaki Experience location in the York Region? Check out their full list of locations.

Thanks to Teriyaki Experience for sponsoring this blog post.

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Dessert Dinner Drinks Italian Japanese Lunch Miscellaneous Spanish Sushi

Top Places for Dates in Markham

February 13, 2016 by

For the First Date

Chit-Chat Play Board Game Cafe

Chit-Chat Play Board Game Café
Get to know your date in a fun and casual environment where you can stir up some healthy competition between the two of you. Chit-Chat is a small, but popular board game cafe with more than 400 adult- and kid-friendly games to choose AND buy from. There are also plenty of yummy desserts including gelato, waffles, and cheesecakes if you want to treat your date to a sweet surprise!
Bonus: there’s no time limit here so you can stay as long you’d like (our record was 5 hours!).
Price: $12 per person on weekends for unlimited play and a drink valued at $3.25 (or upsize for extra charge)
Cotton Candy Latte Art - Initium
Initium Co.
Want to really impress your date? Initium takes “going out for coffee” to the next level with their extravagant lattes. From cotton candy espresso drip drinks (‘cause who doesn’t want a fluffy cloud of goodness?) to their beautiful latte art, their drinks are worth going for the picture alone! They’re almost too pretty to drink. Almost. In addition to the fun drinks they also have a small brunch menu where you can get light snacks such as smoked salmon and croissants!

For the Ones Who’ve Just Dropped the “L Bomb”

Markham's Inspire Restaurant in Markham Village
Inspire Restaurant
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Enter Inspire Restaurant, where their dishes truly are “inspired” with Asian-fusion. From a variety of cool dishes such as Udon Carbonara or Butter Chicken Serpentini (pictured above), they take common Italian dishes and spin it to include Asian flavours. We say Asian flavours because you’ll see flavours from all corners of Asia from Korea to Japan to China to India. Prepare yourself for the nap you’ll want to take after eating here because their dishes are decadent, rich, and oh-so indulgent. We suggest their Inspire Burger with Pulled Pork Frites (above) – it is DELISH.
Pizza at Levetto in Vaughan
Levetto
Homemade pasta? Check. Huge portions? Check. Seriously, Levetto’s best feature is their portion size to price point – it’s impressive. The pastas are definitely one of the biggest highlights of the menu (as in you NEED to order it!) – they have their very own extruder in-house so pasta is made fresh on site and the result is a variety of shapes that are each dense, chewy, and delicious. We recommend splitting a pizza and a pasta between the two of you. You won’t regret it!

For the Couples Who Have Put WORK in


Tapagria Spanish Tapas Restaurant
Don’t want to trek all the way downtown for Spanish food? You don’t have to. Tapagria offers a variety of pintxos, cold and hot tapas, and our favourite, paella! If you really want to treat your sig-o out, order the $72 Chuleton Asado, a massive 32 oz roasted rib-eye that is seasoned and marinated with beautiful flavours. Served with roasted potatoes, romesco, and charred scallions, this brings a welcome and elevated twist to your classic steak and potatoes.
Zen Japanese Restaurant in Markham
Zen Japanese Restaurant
Previously located in Toronto, Zen has moved uptown to grace Markham with its presence. This humble features delicate and incredibly fresh pieces of sushi. Opt for a spot by the bar and have the sushi chefs personally place sushi one-by-one in front of you, Jiro-Dreams-of-Sushi-style. Enjoy their MASSIVE Spider Roll which has some of the meatiest soft shell crabs we’ve ever seen. We dare you to try to eat it in one bite (we deem it impossible)! Don’t forget to leave space in your tummy to end your meal off with a slice of their Mandarin Pie – tangy and a refreshing dessert to a delicious meal.
Who said you need to drive all the way to Toronto to have a nice night out? Whether you’re just getting to know a person or you’re the long-term couple, we hope you enjoy these as our top places for a special date in Markham!

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Dinner Drinks Japanese Lunch Out with Markham Food Reviews Snack

Donburi Restaurant Review – Out with Markham Food

February 4, 2016 by

The word “donburi” means a rice bowl consisting of meat, vegetables, and other ingredients cooked together and served over rice. Of course, this dish is extremely popular at the Donburi restaurant in Thornhill. Donburi is one of the few Japanese restaurants that don’t serve sushi. This opens up our options whenever we’re craving Japanese food that’s not sushi-related. We’ve tasted many things from their menu and nothing disappointed us. If you plan on going as a group, we recommend ordering multiple side dishes and entrées to for sharing.

Spicy gyu fries - DonburiSpicy Gyu Fries

When we visited, this was one of the newer items on Donburi’s menu. The fries had just the right amount of everything in it – spiciness, crispiness, and softness. We finished this quickly and were craving for more.

Beef tataki - DonburiJ1 – Beef Tataki ($9)

This lightly seared and marinated beef was surprisingly very flavourful, especially after dipping it in the citrus-soy sauce. We recommend eating it with a piece of the red onion to get the full effect of this appetizer. We’ve ordered the beef tataki a few times already and still aren’t sick of it.

Beef with ponzu sauce - DonburiS7 – Beef with ponzu sauce ($2.50)
Beef sirloin steak with ponzu sauce and grated daikon radish.

We’ll be honest – this skewer was small for two people, so we barely remember how it was. If you’ve ever tried it, let us know how you like it in the comments below!

Takoyaki - DonburiJ7 – Takoyaki ($5)
A delicious ball shape snack with diced octopus hidden inside.

Takoyaki are one of our favourite Japanese snacks. These octopus balls were perfectly warm, soft, and full of flavour.

Chicken omurice - DonburiD10 – Chicken Omurice ($8)
Chicken fried rice in a tomato base wrapped in a thin egg omelette.

This is personally one of our favourite entrées at Donburi. It might look small in the photo, but trust us…there is a LOT of rice packed in there. This is good enough for two or more people if you’re sharing multiple dishes.

Umami Don - DonburiD15 – Umami Don ($10)
An indescribable flavour bomb that will explode in your mouth.

The Umami Don includes unagi (eel), spicy mayo, cucumbers, dashi stock, and of course, rice. The description on their website was right. This was an explosion of flavour! We love the mix of ingredients as there was a unique taste and texture with every bite.

Calpis Fusion Drink - DonburiCalpis Fusion – A mix of mango Calpico and aloe.

Of course, we needed a drink to go with our meal so we each had the Calpis Fusion. This refreshing beverage is only available for a limited time (we don’t know how long) and is perfect if you’re looking for something sweet and cool to go with your meal.

Address: 505 Highway 7 #93, Thornhill, ON L3T 7T1
Phone Number: (905) 597-6505
Tip: Donburi is located at Commerce Gate, so there is plenty of parking.

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Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews

Ramen Restaurants at New Kennedy Square

January 28, 2016 by

I’m always venturing for ramen places from one city to another.  Different areas seem to have their own ways of presenting their own businesses to the public.  I visited the Markham area recently and it seems like all of the businesses are within one large complex separated by roads and residential areas.  They might be less accessible if you don’t know how to drive, BUT there are lots of other ways to get there.  In Markham, I am sure everyone knows Sansotei is a legit ramen place, but let’s explore somewhere a little different within the Markham area – New Kennedy Square.

Located up at Hwy 7 & Kennedy, New Kennedy Square is a large plaza with food, businesses, and entertainment.  To get here by public transit, I simply board the Kennedy YRT bus at Steeles and Kennedy near Pacific Mall.  There are many restaurants in this area and a lot of them have been open since I was young. (Now I will let you guess my age ;).  There are three places that have ramen offerings on their menu. Let’s talk about them one by one.

Blue Ocean CaféBlue Ocean Cafe - Tonkotsu Ramen

Hokkaido-Style Tonkotsu Ramen ft. Hokkaido ramen with Stew pork soft ribs ($8.99)

Blue Ocean Café is a Hong Kong style café offering a wide selection of tasty food items from Malaysian curry to rice combos to noodles in soup.  They also offer a special house-made char siu known as “sam sok” cha siu.  Since they only offer a limited amount each day, they’re usually sold out by lunch or early dinner time.  As I was studying this menu, there was one small section that offers Hokkaido-style ramen. Blue Ocean’s Hokkaido-style ramen consists of a tonkotsu (pork bone) soup base topped with standard topping such as kikurage mushroom, corn, sesame, and a soft boiled egg.  As for the main protein, you can choose in a choice of stewed pork soft ribs, enoki mushrooms, beef, or teriyaki chicken.  This time, I decided to try the stew pork ribs.  At uptown ramen restaurants, stew pork soft ribs seems to appear often on menus.  The stewed pork soft ribs had a strong flavour with a soft & chewy texture.  Overall, their noodles & toppings were quite decent.  However, the flavour of the tonkotsu broth was more on the salty side.  Furthermore, there was a lack of creaminess in their pork bone broth.  If you are not comparing this with authentic Japanese ramen, this is worth a try.

Raku Ramen & Izakaya  

Raku Ramen Izakaya - Pork Belly Cheese RamenPork Belly Cheese Ramen

Raku is a Japanese-style ramen and izakaya establishment, which has a selection of tapas, robata grill, sushi, sashimi, and ramen.  They used to offer their ramen in a stone pot when they just started.  Recently, they changed it back to a standard ramen bowl.  I am used to eating ramen place at in the downtown Toronto area, so I don’t expect too much at uptown ramen establishments.  From their ramen selection, I tried something that was a little different from the standard selection of shio, shoyu, and miso).  I selected the dish below.

Pork Belly Cheese Ramen – Their house-made pork belly was actually one of the specialties that they are offering as a separate ramen item.  Accompanied with pork belly, this is a tonkotsu (pork bone) based ramen topped with green onion, kikurage mushroom, naruto maki, bean sprouts, corn, and cheese.  I had a variety of toppings in this bowl.  Indeed, cheese had enhanced the creaminess of their tonkotsu soup base, which masked the disadvantage of their soup base.  Their pork belly cha shu had less fat content on the surface, and the meat itself was quite tender.  Overall, this was quite interesting to try.

Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar

Original Shio Pork Bone Ramen + Wonton & Seaweed

Similar to Deer Garden, Chef Papa Tea & Noodle Bar has a “customize your own noodles” concept.  Pork bone based ramen is one of the selections on their menu.  You’re given a large piece of paper for your noodle selections.

Here are the steps from the ramen section:

Chef Papa Noodle Bar - Shio Pork Bone RamenHokkaido Pork Bone Ramen

Step 1: Pick your soup flavour

  • Shio (Original sea salt)
  • Red miso
  • Shoyu (Soy Sauce)
  • Szechuan dan dan sesame ramen

Step 2: Choose your noodles (Obviously you’d choose ramen noodles in this box, but there are other noodle options available on the list.)

  • Ramen noodles
  • Udon
  • Rice vermicelli
  • Instant noodles

Step 3: Choose Toppings (two choices)

(Note: The ramen package includes half of a soft boiled egg, corn, and kikurage mushrooms.  On top of these, you can pick two more toppings.  Depending on the topping, additional charges may apply.)

  • Pork cha shu
  • Beef brisket
  • Luncheon meat,
  • Slice lamb
  • Wonton

(Optional) Step 4: Pick a side order (additional charges may apply)

(Optional) Step 5: Pick a drink (coffee or tea; additional charges may apply for other drinks)

Since it was my first time visiting, I was a little crazy with the toppings.  I decided to add wonton ($1.75 extra) as one of them.  I also thought nori seaweed was not included in the package, so I ordered seaweed as another one of my selections.  Perhaps, extra seaweed was added to this ramen so it had completely enhanced the flavour of their tonkotsu broth.  The overall taste ended up quite well at the end.  If you like your ramen to be completely customized, Chef Papa is the place for you.

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Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews Sushi

Top 5 Sushi Restaurants for Maki Rolls in Richmond Hill & Markham

October 28, 2015 by

Maki rolls no longer only refer to the simple California rolls or cucumber rolls that people used to eat.  Many Japanese restaurants in the Greater Toronto Area now offer special maki rolls that show them off under a more creative light. Here, I’ve compiled my top 5 favourite Japanese restaurants for maki rolls in York Region.

5) Hana-bi Sushi

Hana-Bi Sushi is a Korean-owned Japanese restaurant located at First Markham Place. To be honest, their food is good, but not to-die-for. What keeps me coming back is the consistency of their food quality, reasonable prices, good customer service, and location, which is close to where I live. I wouldn’t recommend someone to drive far to get here, but if you are in the area and are craving maki rolls, I’d recommend Hana-Bi. My favourite maki roll there is the Tataki Roll. Their udon is great as well!

4) Gal’s Sushi

I love specialty maki rolls, but they are not the cheapest thing to eat. On days where my maki roll cravings kick in (while on a tight budget), I go to Gal’s Sushi for their Lunch Special Rolls Box. For $9.99, it comes with a combination of California roll, spicy salmon roll, crab salad roll, and deep fried roll. Their specialty rolls such as the Shrimp Caterpillar Roll and Cloud Roll are also very good.

3) Akane Sushi

Akane Sushi is a Japanese restaurant located near Highway 7 and Bayview Avenue. They’re always busy so I suggest coming early if you have a large group. Their prices are affordable and food quality is good. My top recommendation is their love boat (which includes a variety of sashimi such as salmon, tuna, uni, scallop, and shrimp) and their Akane Roll combo. Their Blue Mountain roll is also amazing!

2) Osaka Sushi

Toronto Roll - Osaka Sushi

Toronto Roll

Osaka Sushi is one of my favourite sushi restaurants. Some restaurants only have good maki rolls and average food, or vice versa. Osaka Sushi is not one of those. Pretty much everything I’ve tried there is great. My top recommendation is their Toronto Roll and Amazing Spider Roll. In case maki rolls don’t fill you up, their spicy beef ramen is delicious. They also make custom rolls!

1) MI-NE Sushi

Assorted sushi rolls - MI-NE Sushi

Orangeville roll, Tuna Love Roll, Golden Dragon Roll, assorted nigiri sushi, California Roll and Spicy Salmon Roll

MI-NE is my no doubt my favourite place to go for special maki rolls. Pretty much all the maki rolls I’ve tried here are delicious. My absolute favourite is their Orangeville Roll. For vegeterias, their yam rolls are great as well. Tip: Their specialty rolls are gigantic so don’t order too much! To get the best value, visit them during lunch time when they offer Maki Roll Set Lunches. The sashimi here is average, so skip that and only order the rolls.

(Pins on map labelled backwards to match numbering above.)

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Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews

Shiso Tree Cafe Review

October 9, 2015 by

Fusion foods are one of my favourite types of cuisines because you not only do you get to enjoy one specific type of cuisine, but you also get to dabble into at least a second one. One of my favourite recent finds of fusion food is tucked away in a place called J-Town in Markham (intersection of Steeles and Woodbine).

J-Town is a wonderful little place filled with Japanese inspired restaurants and foods and even hosts a supermarket where you can find all your Japanese essentials. Within J- Town is one of my favourite restaurants called Shiso Tree which brings Japanese and Italian cuisine together, marrying two very different cuisines into a single dish that surprisingly is harmonious to your taste buds.

Shiso Tree offers a wide selection of different pastas using classic Japanese ingredients such as Nori, Unagi, and Miso based sauces to create this unique fusion of the two cuisines.

Below is just a small sample of what Shiso Tree has to offer:

Shiso Tree - Unagi Don

Unagi Don – cream teriyaki sauce, shimeji mushrooms, with Japanese barbecued eel, garnished with nori & shisho

Shiso Tree - Sukiyaki

Sukiyaki – thinly sliced beef rib eye cooked in house, Japanese soya sauce blend & beef jus, garnished with mushrooms, green onions, nori, shiso

Shiso Tree - Smoked Salmon a la Creme Vodka

Smoked Salmon a la Crème Vodka – vodka-based cream sauce with smoked salmon, fresh dill, garnished with ikura (salmon roe) & caviar

Shiso Tree - Shiso Clam Vongole

Shiso Clam Vongole – white wine, olive oil, garlic, bacon, fresh Manila clams, shiso

Shiso Tree - Okonomiyaki Fries

Okonomiyaki Fries – dressed with homemade steak sauce, Japanese mayo, bonito fish flakes, green onions

Shiso Tree - Tartar Mayo Fries

Tartar Mayo Fries – topped with homemade Japanese tartar sauce and nori

These dishes are just a handful of what you may be eating when you visit Shiso Tree. I highly recommend anyone in the area to check this restaurant out. The prices are very reasonable with the majority of the pasta dishes averaging around $12. Maybe in the future they will expand into making a line of Japanese/Italian fusion of sushi.  Now that would be interesting. Until then, their delicious fusion pastas will have to do.

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All You Can Eat Dinner Japanese Reviews

Best Japanese AYCE Restaurant in Markham

October 6, 2015 by

Kaka All You Can Eat

KaKa All You Can Eat is one of GTA’s newest all-you-can-eat Japanese restaurants. Located at First Markham Place, it has become a highly popular local gem in the York Region area with constant lineups regardless whether it is a weekday or weekend. Please note that even though this places serves an a la carte weekday lunch, this review will be based on their buffet menu. Branded as an upscale AYCE Japanese spot, KaKa aims to provide a premium innovative experience to their guests. Rest assured that despite its name, which might be a branding tactic, the restaurant provides a pleasant surprise and breath of fresh air to the buffet scene. Since opening two months ago, the buzz about this place has exploded on social media and I’m happy to share what all the hype is about!

Sushi - Kaka All You Can Eat

While this Markham restaurant costs just a tad higher than most AYCE restaurants, it is well worth the ‘premium’ price. Expect to find top notch quality and items that you don’t normally find at a Japanese buffet. To give you an idea, KaKa serves aburi sushi (blow torched sushi), oshizushi (pressed sushi), spring egg (poached egg), oysters (baked with cheese), and a variety of in-house specialty desserts (green tea creme brulee, mango lychee slush, blueberry cheesecake, cappuccino custard cup, etc). Be prepared to be wowed by presentation too! The offerings from this place is not something you’ll find at any run-of-the-mill Japanese buffet.

What really sets KaKa apart from its competitors is its ambience. It has a very modern and classy feel to it reminding you of a proper sit-down restaurant. Additionally, the iPad ordering system makes the entire all-you-can-eat-experience seamless and fun. It’s not exactly a new concept but I suspect not everyone has been exposed to this cutting edge technology of ordering.

At the end of the day, everyone is just looking for new experiences. KaKa delivers on that front by bringing to the GTA a new concept to the saturated AYCE market providing superior quality food and service than its competitors. The uniquely delicious menu offerings, friendly attentive staff and welcomingly relaxed environment makes KaKa a leader in the food industry. Maybe this will be a new direction for all Japanese buffet restaurants in the future? Being a repeat customer, KaKa All You Can Eat has impressed me enough to highly recommend this place for everyone to try.

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Chinese Dinner Japanese Lunch Reviews Vietnamese

5 Noodle Spots to Avoid in Markham

September 15, 2015 by

We’re Janice and Joel from Blunt Food Review and we enjoy eating – we eat out A LOT! The next logical step to this was to start blogging about our gastronomic adventures. We like to keep things short and simple (a.k.a. BS-free), and we know most people do as well when it comes to food; hence Blunt Food Review was born.

Eating in Markham is always a hit-or-miss. With so many noodle choices, it’s easy to walk into a random restaurant and be disappointed. We just wish that we had a list of these ‘misses’ early on, which is why we compiled this list. We hope this will help you on your noodle adventures in Markham!

Niwatei

Niwatei - Chashu Ramen
Bluntly reviewed by Joel

If this isn’t the saddest looking bowl of ramen ever, then I don’t know what sadness is! I ordered the Chashu Ramen at Niwatei within J-Town with high expectations and I have to say that my expectations were crushed. The egg was overcooked, which you can clearly see in the picture. The chashu was not tender and quite hard to chew.  The soup was bland and worst of all, the noodles were overcooked. This was quite simply a mediocre bowl of ramen.

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House

Mei Nung - Beef Noodles
Bluntly reviewed by Janice

Mei Nung Beef Noodle House at First Markham Place has a high Yelp rating so I was excited to give it a try. Unfortunately I was quickly disappointed by my bowl of noodles as I chewed through the tough beef brisket. In addition, the entire restaurant smells heavily of stinky tofu, which doesn’t really go away and seeps into your clothes.

Beef Noodle King

Beef Noodle King - Beef Brisket Noodle
Bluntly reviewed by Janice

Beef Noodle King is a small restaurant slightly hidden behind First Markham Place. I knew I shouldn’t expect too much going into the restaurant when I saw that it was empty at lunch on a Sunday. The beef was surprisingly soft but the soup was bland and noodles were overcooked. The tacky velvet wall décor didn’t help much either.

Deer Garden

Deer Garden - Fish Soup Noodles fixed
Bluntly reviewed by Joel

This is a bowl of Fish Soup Noodles at Deer Garden, which is a favourite amongst noodle aficionados. Unfortunately, my bowl of noodles was quite disappointing. I can sum up the disappointment with one word – bland. The soup was watered down to the point where I could barely taste any fish flavour. I hate to say it, but I’ve had better from Deer Garden and I expect better from them.  Until they can keep up their consistency, I’ll be avoiding this place for now.

Pho Pad Thai

Pho Pad Thai - Pad Thai
Bluntly reviewed by Joel

This is the Pad Thai that I ordered at Pho Pad Thai. Please lower your expectations because they do not serve traditional recipe Vietnamese or Thai food here! I learned my lesson to not order Pad Thai at Viet/Thai combination restaurants following this dinner: when a Pad Thai is red in colour you know that they simply use too much ketchup for the sauce. It ends up not tasting like Pad Thai at all and more like ketchup with noodles!

Do you agree with our reviews? Let us know in the comments below!

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