A North York restaurant and bar is serving up a new twist on a traditional dish.
On the island of Shikoku, you’ll find Japan’s smallest prefecture: Kagawa. Fittingly nicknamed “Udon Prefecture,” Kagawa is the country’s not-so-secret source of both stunning scenery and the best udon there is to be had. Period.
So, naturally, when MeNami owner Chae Kim decided to open an udon-inspired fusion restaurant and bar steps from up-and-coming hot spot Yonge and Finch early last year, she sent her head chef to Kagawa to receive formal training in the culinary art of freshly made Sanuki udon. By the time he returned, certification in hand, it was clear to the pair that frozen noodles just wouldn’t do—and with that, MeNami was poised to be Toronto’s first and only restaurant to specialize in Sanuki udon made from scratch. After an extensive basement renovation involving the installation of a complex udon-making machine, heating and cooling controls to ensure optimum year-round temperatures and a new filtration system to soften the water and remove harsh minerals, MeNami has been busy serving up nearly 20 different types of the city’s freshest udon. From Nagasaki udon—featuring a generous helping of squid, shrimp and mussels—to spicy pork udon with kimchi, black sesame udon with beef and a veggie lover’s udon, there’s a piping-hot dish on the menu for every palate. Not into noodles? No problem. MeNami also offers dishes served on rice like tonkatsu (pork cutlet), tapas such as smoked salmon in parsnip sauce and an assortment of fresh salads.
The dining experience at MeNami is made that much more interesting by the décor. A mix of vintage, modern and industrial styles complemented by rustic wood tables and under-bar lighting, the restaurant’s atmosphere is undeniably as fun and funky as it is intimate and friendly. Drop in on a Friday or Saturday night and you’re sure to find a bustling crowd of young, hip 20-and 30-somethings slurping noodles while bartenders pour draft beer, imported sake and creative cocktails like Matcha Drunken Tea and Sailor Moon Gone Wild. Open past 2 am most nights, MeNami offers North York locals a cosy place to kick back and let loose while exploring a unique array of Japanese fusion tapas and drinks—and an udon experience that can’t be beat.
Five years in Asia broadened Amanda’s horizons—and those of her tastebuds. From eating kimchi for breakfast to grabbing a midnight snack at Beijing’s night market, she’s always open to trying new foods. These days, you’ll often find her slurping ramen with her nose in a book somewhere in Toronto.
5469 Yonge St., North York | 416-229-6191
OPEN: Mon–Sat 11:30 am–2:30 am • Sun 11:30 am–12 am