Mastering the art of a balanced meal

Whether you like it one dish at a time or all in one bowl, you can sample a little bit of everything in these perfectly portioned combos.

When it comes to the daily grind, there’s nothing you anticipate quite like your lunch break. Whether you’re at work, at school or just enjoying some serious time off, a good square meal in the middle of the day gives you a chance to recharge and restock on some energy for the afternoon.

If you cherish your lunch breaks as much as we do, you won’t want to waste them on some slapped-together meal! And that’s why any dedicated lunch-taker will surely appreciate the artistry of a Japanese lunch. These masterful meals generally offer an array of small dishes for a reasonable price—arranged with an eye to colour and presentation, giving you a feast for your eyes as well as your tastebuds. What’s more, the careful balance of food groups in these combos means you’ll stay on top of your nutritional needs too.

So, what do you need to know when ordering a Japanese lunch? There are several styles, with the main types being teishoku (a combo or meal set), donburi (a one-bowl dish), noodles (such as udon, soba or ramen) and yōshoku (or Western-inspired cuisine). A teishoku meal will usually include some staples—like rice, miso soup and pickled vegetables—alongside a main dish and a side dish. For those who aren’t sticklers for keeping ingredients separate, a donburi meal typically features a combination of meat or fish and vegetables, cooked together and served over rice. Udon, soba and ramen dishes have a similar concept, but with noodles in soup. And with a yōshoku meal, you’ll find dishes brought over from the Western world and reinterpreted, with options such as Japanese curry, a rice omelette or deep-fried shrimp, to name just a few.

Getting hungry yet? Luckily, there’s no need to go all the way to Japan for your epic lunch. Here are some of our favourite Japanese lunch spots located right here in Toronto.


Enjoy a Japanese lunch right here in Toronto

These restaurants offer an array of options from the Japanese lunch tradition. Find the combo that will best please your belly … or just try them all!

Ichiriki Japanese Restaurant

A little bit of everything packed in one special

Lunch Special | $14.50

Attention, indecisive eaters: if you choose Ichiriki’s Lunch Special as your midday pick, you’ll get to try a little bit of everything! This is one satisfying meal at an equally satisfying price. Where to begin? Enjoy some salad, miso soup, fresh salmon sashimi, a couple of California rolls, a deep-fried dish (tempura or “fry”) and a rice bowl (oyako-don, gyu-don, shoga-yaki, teriyaki or curry).

Ichiriki Japanese Restaurant

120 Bloor St. E., Toronto | 416-923-2997  | www.ichiriki.ca

OPEN: Mon 11:30 am–2 pm, 5:30 pm–9 pm • Tues 11:30 am–2 pm • Wed–Fri 11:30 am–2 pm, 5:30 pm–9 pm • Sat 5:30 pm–9 pm • Sun closed


DSC02555_4cS

Tokyo Kitchen

Serving authenticity in the classic bento box

Lunch Box | $ 10.95 

While Tokyo Kitchen has a wide variety of lunch options, you can’t go wrong with their Bento Box. With a two-piece California roll and two salmon sushi,  assorted tempura (six veggies and two shrimp), a teriyaki option (salmon, chicken, beef or shrimp), salad and rice, this meal is a steal! All sauces are homemade, so you can be sure you’re getting  an authentic experience.

Tokyo Kitchen

20 Charles St. E., Toronto | 416-515-0387
OPEN: Mon–Fri 11:30 am–2:30 pm, 5:30 pm–9:30 pm • Sat 5:30 pm–9:30 pm • Sun closed


P06_1 copy

Kingyo

For the big eater who loves to be surprised

Assorted Deluxe Bento | $17

If you’re looking for something a little different, Kingyo’s Assorted Deluxe Bento is for you! This hearty lunch includes 8 different dishes (or 10 with apps) that are switched up every few days. But don’t worry: the chefs only choose from the most popular dishes on the menu. Expect anything from kara-age to ebi-mayo to negitoro to tofu salad to pork kakuni … and so much more!

Kingyo

51B Winchester St., Toronto | 647-748-2121 | www.kingyotoronto.ca

OPEN: Daily 11:30 am–3 pm • Sun– Thurs 5:30 pm–11:30 pm • Fri–Sat 5:30 pm–12 am


P06_2

Fin Izakaya

Truly epic meal set : The mother of all rice bowl combos

Mega Don | $18.45

At lunchtime, Fin Izakaya is a donburi-ya (rice bowl restaurant), serving a huge selection of rice bowls with toppings ranging from fresh sashimi to pork katsu. The star of the menu is the Mega Don, topped with chicken kara-age, pork katsu, aji fry and shrimp katsu. With an unlimited amount of options for drinks and side dish combos, you’re guaranteed to leave fully satisfied.

Fin Izakaya  

55 Eglinton Ave. E., Toronto| 647-347-3864 | www.finizakaya.com
OPEN: Mon–Tues 5:30 pm–12 am • Wed–Fri 11:30 am–4 pm, 5:30 pm–12 am • Sat 5:30pm–12 am • Sun 5:30 pm–10 pm


P07_1

Funé Japanese Restaurant

A beautiful dish in harmony with its delicious fish

Sushi Lunch | $14

The Sushi Lunch at Funé offers up an assortment of the freshest fish of the day hand-picked by the head chef—with selections like tuna, salmon, shrimp and much more. You’ll want to take a minute to admire the beautiful presentation before eating, because this lunch is as pretty as it is delicious. With miso soup and salad on the side, this combo is sure to hit the spot.

Funé Japanese Restaurant

100 Simcoe St., Toronto | 416-599-3868| www.funerestaurant.com
OPEN: Mon–Thurs 11:30 am–2:30 pm, 5 pm–10 pm • Fri 11:30 am–2:30 pm, 5 pm–10:30 pm • Sat 5 pm–10:30 pm • Sun 5 pm–10 pm


P07_2

Nami Japanese Restaurant

Grab a seafood lunch that’s dressed to grill

Robata Teishoku | $20

Nami’s Robata Teishoku is a seafood lover’s dream lunch. Using only the highest-quality catches, Nami’s chef of 20 years prepares a lunchtime masterpiece consisting of your choice of marinated fish (black cod, salmon neck or belly, sardine, mackerel or squid) in addition to chicken yakitori (skewers), some veggies on the side (chef’s choice!), rice, miso soup and salad.

Nami Japanese Restaurant

55 Adelaide St. E., Toronto | 416-362-7373 |www.namirestaurant.ca

OPEN: Mon–Fri 11:45 am–2 pm, 5:30 pm–10 pm • Sat 5:30 pm–10 pm • Sun closed