Despite Japanese businesses booming across Toronto, they had yet to coalesce into a concentrated area—until now! This month we take a walk down Dundas West, through the heart of the city’s budding Little Tokyo.
Japanese fashion has finally arrived
Women’s Camisole Jumpsuit
Combining a compact top and wide-leg pants, you’ll be trendy and comfortable in this jumpsuit!
The presence of a Japanese district in Toronto was cemented by the arrival of two of Japan’s fashion giants. If you’ve somehow missed the hype around Uniqlo’s Canadian launch last fall at the Eaton Centre and Yorkdale, let’s catch you up. This brand prides itself on providing well-made, stylish clothes that act as a “fashion toolbox” from which customers can mix and match to express their own unique style. Uniqlo is less about dictating what you should wear and more about providing a wealth of options to showcase your individuality.
CF Toronto Eaton Centre 3F, 220 Yonge St., Toronto | www.uniqlo.com/ca
OPEN: Mon–Fri 10 am–9:30 pm
Sat 9:30 am–9:30 pm ● Sun 10 am–7 pm
From clothing, to stationery, to house-wares: MUJI has it all
Gel-Ink Ballpoint Pen
No more frustration! These pens are precise and easy to use, giving you smooth, clean, unbroken lines.
The other Japanese fashion pillar holding down the entrance to Little Tokyo is lifestyle retailer MUJI’s Atrium location. First-time visitors to MUJI often spot the housewares section and mislabel the brand as a Japanese Ikea. However, if we’re making these comparisons, MUJI could also be a Japanese H&M and a Japanese Papyrus. MUJI is famous for its stylish minimalism, an esthetic statement it applies equally to fashion, lifestyle items and stationery. In one trip, you can pick up a classy blazer, a modular storage unit and a cute card, but you’ll be hard-pressed to find any Swedish meatballs!
Atrium, 20 Dundas St. W., Toronto
TEL: 416-591-2233 | www.muji.com/ca
OPEN: Mon–Fri 10 am–8 pm ● Sat 10 am– 7 pm ● Sun 11 am–5 pm
Don Don Izakaya
Spend a lively night out in Little Tokyo
Spicy Seafood Udon
Rich pork broth seasoned with spicy sesame oil, brimming with delicious seafood!
Don Don was one of the first Japanese businesses to set up shop on Dundas West, and this raucous izakaya has since become the go-to location for those looking for dinner, drinks and a great time. In addition to the standard, Japanese-tapas-inspired fare and drinks you’d expect of an izakaya, Don Don offers an impressive selection of sake. Don Don’s signature fixture is a large taiko drum that the servers strike to welcome each new party to the restaurant. If you’re looking for a memorable night out in Little Tokyo, what better way to start it off than with a drumroll?
130 Dundas St. W., Toronto
OPEN: Lunch: Mon–Fri 11:30 am–4 pm Dinner: Sun–Thurs 5 pm–12 am ● Fri–Sat 5 pm–1 am
The only dessert shop of its kind on this side of the Pacific
A sweet treat! Layered with chestnuts, mochi (rice cake), red bean paste and brown rice puffs.
The Dundas West Tsujiri location is not only the first in Canada but also the only one in the Western Hemisphere! Given that fact, it’s no wonder that this cute dessert boutique often sees lineups out the door. You could call Tsujiri a Japanese take on Starbucks if you were to swap out all the coffee for delicious Japanese matcha. Tsujiri mixes up this staple and other famous Japanese teas by blending them into all manner of lattes, cappuccinos and iced drinks. The shop also uses its authentic, high-quality matcha powder in a range of cakes, pastries, ice creams and other desserts.
147 Dundas St. W., Toronto
OPEN: Daily 11:30 am–10:30 pm
Yutaka Japanese Cuisine
The perfect place for your sushi party
Fresh seafood at its best. The selection may change depending on the catch of the day. Served with grated wasabi and pickled ginger.
Though it may look like just another izakaya from the outside, Yutaka is a hidden gem of Little Tokyo for the sushi lover. While it offers some standard Japanese fare, like donburi rice bowls and noodle dishes, Yutaka focuses on providing top-notch sushi for pretty reasonable prices. The restaurant has a great open atmosphere and can accommodate larger parties a lot more easily than most of the smaller, more cramped sushi restaurants in the city. Yutaka is open for both lunch and dinner—and, if you’re looking for lunch, their Sushi Lunch for Two is a particularly good deal.
157 Dundas St. W., Toronto
OPEN: Lunch: Mon–Fri 11:30 am–3 pm Dinner: Mon–Fri 5 pm–10 pm Sat–Sun 5 pm–Close
Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Café
Little Tokyo’s one and only maid café
As its frequent lineups out the door can attest, Uncle Tetsu’s Angel Café is one of the most popular attractions along Dundas West. If the name sounds familiar, that’s because the Angel Café is an expansion of Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake shop—offering the same mouth-watering desserts you’ve lined up for, except served by the uncle’s friendly maids. That’s right: a maid café in Toronto! This eccentric bit of Japanese culture is definitely something you need to experience, and you no longer have to y to Akihabara to do it. If you time your visit right, you can even enjoy your Uncle Tetsu treats while taking in a live performance by the maids on the Angel Café stage.
191 Dundas St. W., Toronto
TEL: 647-351-2666 | angelcafetoronto.com
OPEN: Mon–Thurs 3 pm–10 pm ● Fri–Sat 12 pm–10:30 pm ● Sun 12 pm–10 pm
TAKEOUT: Mon–Thurs 1 pm–10 pm Fri–Sat 12 pm–10:30 pm ● Sun 12 pm–10 pm
Taking the sushi roll to a new level
Everybody’s favourite snack! Pancake batter that is fried in the shape of a ball, with diced octopus in the centre.
Whereas Yutaka is the go-to spot for the sit-down, sushi-and-sashimi crowd, Rolltation is for those who aren’t afraid of a little culinary fusion. In a groundbreaking move that would cause consternation to sushi masters everywhere, Rolltation has brought Toronto its first sushi burrito. Yes, you read that right, and it is definitely as delicious as it sounds. Picture your typical maki roll, except giant, with flavours that range from Wasabi Tuna to Curry Chicken. If that sounds a little too adventurous, they also offer poké bowls: the Hawaiian culinary rice bowl creation that is part donburi, part chirashi sushi and fully delicious.
207 Dundas St. W., Toronto
OPEN: Daily 11 am–10 pm