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Sushi Time

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 Sushi Time is a small to mid-size restaurant serving Japanese food at very reasonable prices. Its contemporary design and dim lights also provide a very relaxing environment. It is located downtown on Queen St W, and is one of many sushi establishments in the area. My bf and I often get takeout from Sushi Time whenever we feel like eating sushi in. They have often been quick and efficient in taking orders, and delivering the orders in a timely fashion. It's also free delivery with an $20 order if you're in the delivery zone vicinity, and you can get 10% off if you pay in cash.

We have our usual order whenever we do get delivery, and it's often the following item (same as when we go there to eat). I find that Sushi Time is moderately priced and they offer the standard Japanese food on their menu. Additionally, their menu is quite extensive, and this can be viewed by the link below.


 I usually get their chicken teriyaki dinner or beef ribs teriyaki ($9.75/dinner). This time, I got the later, and they have changed the presentation of the plating slightly. Everything is now on one giant white plate, and they have swapped out lettuce for the salad. For the price, I thought that there was a generous portion of beef ribs teriyaki which were tender, and rarely with any fat on them. Each dinner comes with white rice, side salad and also a bowl of miso soup.


The chicken teriyaki ($8.75) dinner also comes with comes with miso soup, salad, and steamed rice.


I absolutely love their tropical roll ($7.95) and thought that it was beautifully presented. The usage of mango and avocado in rolls may be common, but this roll does it for me. It's a light and sweet roll that went perfectly with my meal. The crispy texture of the tempura bits in the roll provided a nice crunch to it.


The salmon maki ($4.50) was slightly bland, but with a little soy sauce, it helped to enhance the flavor a bit.


 The Sushi Time Pizza (6 pcs) [crispy sushi rice base-top with salmon, green onion, white onion, tobiko with sesame seed and special sauce] ($7.25) is one of my favorites. The sushi is cut into six pieces, and its crispy rice patty is topped with slices of salmon.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food:4/5
Service: 4/5
Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$$$ || Online Menu

Address: 325 Queen St W, Toronto, ON

Sushi Time Japanese Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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W Burger Bar

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A couple of weeks back, my friends and I decided to go for drinks after an early dinner at Grill Time. We decided upon seeing W Burger Bar as the weather got colder, and we didn't want to walk any longer. The modern establishment on Yonge and College offers a variety of burgers, alcohol, and other bar items.



pink lemonade (shots) ($2.00 each) [raspberry sourpuss, triple sec, lime juice]

While the others opted for alcoholic beverages (pic omitted but they got beer and cocktails); I decided to just get the strawberry milkshake ($4.99). The frothy milkshake was made perfectly, and you can really taste the strawberry flavor of the ice-cream used. For those who love alcohol with their milkshakes, you can get the alternative version which is their spiked milkshakes with 2 ounces of alcohol.

They offer a selection of 10 different burgers priced between $6.99 to $18.99. Every burger is served on a freshly baked homemade regular or whole wheat bun. They also have a variety of complimentary sauces and toppings. However, cheese is extra for $1.50 per slice.

My friend ordered the bison burger (farm-raised bison seared on our flat top to seal in flavor and tenderness) ($10.99), and liked it. According to him, the burger meat was solid, and the onions caramelized into the meat making it a tasty burger.


One of my friends and I decided to share the WBB signature sauce chicken wings (double dusted and fried to perfection) ($10.99/lb). I love the wings, and unfortunately these wings are one of the worst wings that I have ever tasted. The wings were of a good size, but the sauce made them so overly bitter and salty at the same time. I really had a hard time eating them, and downing them down with milkshake didn't help with the bitter aftertaste.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 3.5/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $$
 
Address: 10 College St, Toronto, ON M5G 1K2

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Sushi Garden

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Sushi Garden is a budget friendly sushi restaurant located in Delisle Court at Yonge and St. Clair. I was in the area visiting a friend, and we decided to go for lunch nearby. It's rather nondescript from the outside as it's quite tucked in the corner, but my friend recommended the place. We walked inside, and were approached by the server to be seated. It was a Sunday, so their lunch menu wasn't valid for the weekend.


After perusing through the menu, I opted for the following items. The chicken teriyaki (white meat) ($6.99) was cooked well, moist, and the sauce was delicious. Additionally, it was rather well portioned, and they give you a lot of rice with the meal.


Unlike other sushi establishments, each meal does not come with a salad or miso soup. Rather, it can be added onto the meal for an additional $3.00.


Lastly, I also got the Salmon Lover (16 pieces) ($12.99) which came with sashimi (6 pc), sushi (4 pc), and maki (6 pc). I think that if a place cannot serve salmon right, then it's not worth going to as it's one of the most basic fish. Anyways, I am glad that the plate that this plate that Sushi Garden served was tasty and seasoned well. The quality of their fish was great, and the rice was compact, well flavored, and didn't fall apart.

 The interior was clean, and I believe that many of their customers are locals in the area due to its semi-hidden location. I saw quite a few customers ordering take-out while we were dining. Our server was rather quiet, but he was quick and courteous.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4/5
Price: $$
 
Address: 1560 Yonge St, Toronto, ON, M4T 2S9

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Mihwa

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Mihwa is one of the many Korean restaurants on Bloor St W, or otherwise known as Koreatown. We wanted to try out a different place other than the nearby Owl, and JangWon; two establishments that my bf and I frequent a lot while in the area. 


The restaurant is relatively small with a few seats. The decor is that of the typical Korean restaurant, and provides a very homely ambiance. We were quickly seated, and given the menus and a water jug. After ordering our food; the server brought out the complimentary bachan (beans, kimchi, seaweed and bean sprouts).

 Mihwa serves a variety of Korean dishes for reasonable prices; on par with several restaurants on the block. Honestly, there's nothing about this particular establishment that sets it apart from the rest. We ordered three dishes to share between the two of us for lunch.


 First up was the spicy rice cakes; one of my favorite Korean dishes. The tteokbokki (boiling rice cake, vegetables, egg) ($6.00) had a nice chewy texture, and the sauce had the right hint of spiciness. Additionally, the portion was generous enough with the good amount of both rice cakes and fish cakes. However, I thought that the fish cakes were sliced quite large, and could have been smaller in size.


 The kalbi (seasoned marinated beef short ribs with steamed rice) ($13.00) was one of the more expensive items on the menu. Many of the other items were well priced and portioned for under $10, so it makes for a filling lunch or dinner. The ribs were marinated in a sweet sauce, and were quite tender. Although, it's not the best kalbi that I have ever had; I still enjoyed the dish.


 Lastly, for our third dish, we chose to try out the kimchi jjigae (kimchi stewed in hot spicy broth with pork) ($8.00). I was slightly disappointed with this dish as despite it being labeled as "spicy"; I didn't think it was spicy at all. Rather, the broth was rather mild for my taste. However, this traditional dish does contain a good amount of noodles, kimchi, and tofu so it does fill you up.

Overall, Mihwa was bright, clean, and the service was attentive enough. If you're looking for a quick bite in Koreatown with no frills, then this is a decent place to try out. 

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.6/5
Service: 3.5/5
Dining Experience: 3.5/5
Price: $

Address: 623 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON, M6G 1K8

Mihwa restaurant on Urbanspoon

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JaBistro

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JaBistro is a modern Japanese restaurant known for their beautifully presented sashimi platters, and blowtorch sushi. It sits right in the Entertainment District of downtown Toronto; making it very accessible by both TTC and car. Additionally,  JaBistro is run by the Kinka Family who also owns Guu Izakaya, Guu Sakabar, Kinton Ramen, and the newly opened Yakitori Kintori. 


 The restaurant is easily recognizable for its logo of the fish with the luminescence in front of its face. Walking into the establishment, you'd be greeted by a hostess, and most likely be asked to sit at the bar while you wait for your table. The interior was tastefully designed with its sleek use of wood, and it's also windowless. Due to the nature of having no windows; there is no natural lighting (even during lunch time).


Normally, we would have dinner around 6-7 pm, but on this Sunday, the earliest available slot was 8:30 pm. I usually have dinner slightly about 1-2 hours earlier than our reserved time, so I made myself a sandwich at home. Probably not the best idea as I immediately regretted not waiting as I saw our neighbor's sashimi platter (oh well, there's always next time!). The bf prefers nigiri to sashimi, so I guess I'll need to bring in some reinforcements who loves sashimi to get the platter. Anyways, JaBistro doesn't offer a plethora of traditional sushi dishes; rather they have opted to have both tradition and innovative dishes.


Started the evening off with the usual drinks; coke and green tea. The green tea arrived in a large mug with a bigger-than-norm tea bag that was reusable at least twice. 


The both of us got our own order of salad (cucumber, greens) ($8 x 2). I enjoyed the salad very much as the dressing was light, and the thinly sliced cucumbers added a nice refreshing touch. 


We also got an order each of miso soup [lobster broth] ($5 x 2). I believe that the miso soup used to come with a lobster claw, but I guess they have changed it up since they first opened. It's now presented in a mug sans claw.


 The ika [calamari, tosazu vinegar] ($10) was lightly coated in batter, and wasn't too overly greasy. Although, the sauce might be a little sweeter than one might expect for calamari. It was still rather tasty nonetheless, and the portion was more than enough for two people.


One of JaBistro's signature roll is their JaBistroll (blowtorched aburi) [salmon, snow crab, uni, cucumber, tobiko] ($22), which we ordered. Apparently, by blow-torching the sushi, it helps seal in the flavor of the ingredients. I absolutely loved the smoky flavor, and how the creamy texture of the uni went well together with the salmon and snow crab. This particular dish is highly recommended!
creamy uni and delicately sweetness of the salmon and crab balanced out by the salty roe. - See more at: http://www.abbeyskitchen.com/blog/jabistro-toronto-restaurant-review/#sthash.debtwZ0S.dpuf


The bf wanted to try out the kyukyoku that night, but our server informed him that they didn't have exactly 12 different kind of fish that night (so it was unavailable). He ended up getting the sushi (nama) [classic nigri 7 pieces] ($27) instead. This board arrived with a selection of 7 different nigri, and they all just melt in your mouth. I loved how the nigri are already flavored with both wasabi and soy sauce underneath the pieces of fish.


 The ebi nanban [battered tiger shrimp, tartar sauce] ($14) was six pieces of battered shrimp coated in tartar sauce. The shrimps themselves are very sweet in flavor, so the tartar sauce actually made them a lot sweeter than I would have liked. In all, the shrimps were crispy and well made.


The bf forgo dessert, but since I love sweets, I got the choco cream puff [choux pastry filled with chocolate whipped cream] ($8) for myself. As you can see from the image, it was beautifully presented and tasted wonderfully creamy and chocolatey.

As for service; it didn't start off very strong as we had to wait well over 25 minutes past our reservation. Apparently, the customers at the table were finishing up their desserts, and just called for the bill. Anyways, they paid for their bill but resumed chatting. I am assuming that JaBistro prides themselves for great service, so they didn't want to ask the customers to leave until they're ready. I am not too sure how I feel about this, as service is important, but we were just sitting at the front waiting ... and waiting. Eventually, another table freed up, and we were seated around 9 pm. I know that the staff are mainly from Japan, so they might follow the customary of always being polite (aka not kicking someone out).

However, once we were seated, the service was rather quite professional and really good. Our server(s) were friendly, knowledgeable of the menu, and courteous. The food also came out at a reasonable time, and spaced apart well. They also refold your napkin when you're away from your table (washroom, phone calls, etc ...) so I thought that was nice. Overall, JaBistro is a great place to dine for its quality food, good service, and I had an enjoyable dining experience.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 4.5/5
Service: 4/5
Overall Dining Experience: 4.5/5
Price: $$$$
 
Address: 222 Richmond Street W, Toronto, ON, M5V 1W4

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Real Sports Bar & Grill

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I am not a huge sports fan and usually only go to sports bars if I am meeting up with friends. However, if you're an avid sports fan then I am sure you'd enjoyed Real Sports Bar & Grill to watch the latest games. I believe that this establishment is one of the largest ones in Toronto with its abundance of space, and multi-screens along the walls.

A girl friend of mine loves this place and decided to host a small gathering here one afternoon with a total of 8 people. Everyone got there around 9 pm. However, I had a prior engagement and couldn't make it until 10 pm. My friend greeted me outside of the sports bar and shared her frustrations; as the waitress had "just taken their orders" a few minutes before I came. They had waited nearly an hour to get their orders in despite the capacity not being a full house. As a disclaimer, the above information was second-hand as I wasn't present during the wait.


Upon entering the dim lit sports-centric establishment; I noticed that the decor was very sleek and more on the upscale end. There were several flat screens throughout the bar with different sport games on. Real Sports Bar & Grill is spacious with ample seating from booths, bar seats, tables, to stools seating. They also have a large bar at the front of the establishment with several beers on tap; priced between $6 to $11.




The menu offers a wide range of bar food such as appetizers, chicken wings, salads, sandwiches, burgers, ribs, and steaks. The food items are slightly priced higher than the average sports bars but you have to take into account of its location next to the Air Canada Centre and how the establishment positioned themselves as more "higher end".


The Real Sports Nachos ($17.49 / party size) [three cheese blend, jalapenos, green onion, pico de gallo & sour cream] was of a good size, and definitely shareable. You have a choice of adding either guacamole, chili, BBQ chicken or BBQ pulled pork for an extra $4.00.


One of my favorite food is probably chicken wings, so this was a no-brainer for me as I flipped through the menu. I decided on the 1/2 dozen chicken wings ($14.49) with a side of fries ($2.99). There were a choice of 15 different sauces and I got the Thai sweet chili. According to a little printed tidbit on the menu; this was the sauce that got the chef hired at Real Sports Bar & Grill. The large wings were coated evenly with the sweet sauce, and came with a small portion of carrot and celery with Caesar sauce. I liked that the wings were crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. The fries came out in a mini deep-fryer basket which I thought was pretty cute.


One of my friends got the Canadian Flat Bread Board ($14.49) [pepperoni, bacon, portobello mushroom and double cheese]. The flat bread was quite delicious and extremely cheesy which I liked.


The Real Sports Burger ($13.49) [Canadian AAA ground beef served with chopped lettuce, tomato, onion and Real Sports sauce]. It's an extra $3.00 if you want to add sweet potato fries to your burger meal.

The wings that I ordered was an individual serving. If you want to share with others, then there's the 1 dozen wings ($27.49). The two couples who shared this platter also chose Thai sweet chili as their wing sauce.


The service wasn't completely unbearable, but it was average at best. The wait for the food and bill afterwards was a bit of a wait. Based on the reviews online; service is either a hit or a miss for patrons. Also, there is a 18% service charge for groups of 6 people or more (even if you ask for separate bills).

The overall atmosphere of the sports bar was good though. People are either chatting amongst their group of friends or attentively watching the games on the multi-screens. There weren't any big games happening that day so it wasn't overly loud at all. I can't imagine how busy or loud it would be on any finals night but it does sound fun (if you're a sports fan).



RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3.8/5
Service: 2.7/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3.6/5
Price: $$
 
Address: 15 York St, Toronto, ON, M5J 0A3

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Pho Xe Lua (Train)

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If you're looking for authentic Vietnamese cuisine then Train (Xe Lua) isn't the place for it. However, it's an okay place to eat after a late night at the club, show, or the movies. It should be noted that the place can get quite busy post-clubbing on a Friday or Saturday night as it's one of the few restaurants that are open super late in Chinatown.


I have been to Train (Xe Lua) a few times after nights out with friends in the past few years. However, this review is based on a more recent dinner experience (about 2 months ago). The restaurant isn't that hard to miss with its bright red sign with a cartoonish train on it, and it's located on the upper level.

The minimalist decor and non-existent service isn't very appealing to first time customers. However, there are a few positives such as the prices are affordable, menu is rather extensive, and the food usually arrives out pretty quickly. Like I mentioned previously, don't expect to be warmly greeted by the employees here. It's basically a place for a quick bite to eat, hence its fast turnover rate.


The pork chop on rice with steamed egg ($7.50) arrived on a white plate with a good ration of rice and a thin slice of pork chop. The pork chop was sliced so thin, and too sweet for my taste buds. The meat did not taste like Vietnamese cuisine to me, but had a rather distinct Chinese flavor to it. I actually don't recommend this dish at all.


The minced shrimp on sugar cane (2 pieces) [#608] ($5.00) were rather small but tasted decent. 


My second half of the meal was the BBQ chicken, grill meatballs and spring rolls vermicelli [#316] ($8.00). I liked the BBQ chicken as it was grilled well and rather flavorful with a hint of lemongrass and fish sauce. However, I was not a fan of the spring roll. The texture was rather mushy instead of crispy and it came out cold.



The mango and durian milkshakes ($3.50 each) were surprisingly good. I really liked the fact that they made it fresh and the drinks weren't pre-made. My durian shake was full of flavor, and it didn't taste watered down at all. Xe Lua's milkshakes are on the top of my list whenever I'm craving for a cool drink.

RATINGS:

Quality of Food: 3/5
Service: 3/5
Overall Dining Experience: 3/5
Price: $
 
Address: 254 Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON, M5T 2C2

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