Yunaghi, roughly translated as calm sunset, is a delightful “Japonaise” resto with a French twist … or deux.

Choose two countries that take food and art seriously. Create fusion masterpieces. Delight the senses. That’s what owners Yurika and Yasuko did when they opened Yunaghi.

I recently visited the latest restaurant to open just off Harbord, a street known for its haute cuisine. I should have realized the experience would surpass expectations when I was welcomed to my table by an origami crane bearing my name.

A quick glance at the menu and I knew it wouldn’t be a typical Japanese meal. Yunaghi offers an eclectic mix of Japanese-inspired dishes with a little bit of French je ne sais quoi. Good thing I arrived with an empty stomach and an open mind—the nine-course menu is omakase, meaning I was about to place all of my trust in Yunaghi’s head chef, the talented Tetsuya Shimizu.

Tetsuya chooses only the freshest ingredients to create his dishes each day. (While the menu undergoes seasonal modifications, certain ingredients may change more frequently, based on availability and freshness.) Eating omakase-style meant I got to sit back and relax as I was presented with course after course of artful dishes that certainly amused my bouche.

At Yunaghi, food is definitely art. With each new course, I hesitated to take that first bite lest I make a mess of the beautiful display in front of me. (Unfortunately, the food looked too good not to eat, so I happily made a mess of all of my dishes.) From appetizers splashed across my plate-turned-canvas to pretty-in-pink sashimi to a gorgeous variety of veggie ornaments on my plate, I was wowed by my entire meal.

And the dishes turned out to be just as creative in taste as in look. While a bath of green-tea dashi gave an old favourite (sashimi) new life, the shira-ae (seasonal veggies) sprinkled with orange zest and almond glass made for a citrusy sweet surprise. My personal favourite, the roast chicken, swam in a duck-chicken-pork soup that packed triple the flavour of your average broth. Ooh la la!

For diners with adventurous palates, Yunaghi is amust-visit. It’s like a playground for your senses.

yunagi resto toronto
 Shira-ae: love at first bite
yunagi resto toronto
 Roast chicken, noodles and nori… or modern art?

Yunaghi Gastronomie Japonaise
538 Manning Ave., Toronto | 416-588-7862
Open: Wed–Sun 5:30 pm–12 am • Mon–Tues closed