This traditional spot will remind you why you fell in love with Japanese food.

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The Danforth is a place where people come to be together. It’s a family-oriented neighbourhood where people of different cultures and ages, newcomers and old-timers mingle and somehow all seem to fit right in. This convivial atmosphere is what attracted chef and owner Chris Ryo to open his own place on the Danforth after 30 years of working in restaurants in Tokyo and Toronto.

Chris’ vision was traditional ryōri, or Japanese cuisine, done right. Even the dining room has a traditional vibe that gives you the feeling of rediscovering something familiar. Decorated in simple wood panelling with Japanese signs hanging from the ceiling, it feels like it’s been uprooted from the corner of a Tokyo neighbourhood and moved to Toronto. You could imagine that the same families have been coming here for decades and may be surprised to learn that the restaurant is only five years old.

The menu lives up to its promise, with familiar dishes that give you exactly what you want yet are even more delicious than you expect. The Spicy Miso Ramen is a house specialty that’s a big hit with the regulars. But don’t think you have to stick to ramen! Nakayoshi’s menu really digs into the classics and, if you’re not from Japan, there’s a good chance there’s something here you haven’t tried before.

For the warm weather, I definitely recommend the Cold Ramen. Refreshing and satisfying, it’s topped with lots of healthy vegetables and comes with a dipping sauce that the team at Nakayoshi are justifiably proud of. The Pork Shogayaki, with pan-fried sliced pork, onion, vegetables and ginger sauce on a sizzling hot plate, is a great choice for a celebration. And speaking of celebration, Nakayoshi also has an excellent drinks list, with a wide selection of sakes and Japanese whisky and beer.

Two of my favourite items on the menu are actually very local. The first is a beer with a Japanese twist by High Park Brewery: Under the Sakura, described as a cherry blossom lager. The second is the Teriyaki Poutine, which started as an experiment but was so popular that it made its way onto the regular menu.

These two nods to local tastes show that Nakayoshi is indeed a part of the Danforth community, all while remaining quintessentially Japanese.


Hungry for more? Let’s dig in!

ramen

Spicy Miso Ramen

The Spicy Miso Ramen hits all the right notes— it’s rich and well-rounded with just enough kick to be super satisfying. It’s a great example of Nakayoshi’s air for traditional food.

udon

Tempura Udon

Enjoy a tranquil moment: with shrimp, noodles and broth, the Tempura Udon is simplicity itself. It’s everything that homestyle cooking is supposed to be—calming, comforting and filling.


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Nakayoshi Izakaya

812 Danforth Ave., Toronto 416-792-7788

www.nakayoshiizakaya.com

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

Closed every last Sunday of the month