Japango (Toronto)

Japango Toronto

As I entered, they asked the dreaded question, “Do you have a reservation?” Shaking my head, I held my breath, “It is only 11:30 on a Tuesday.” I thought, “How it is that I need a reservation?” Here I was, on a day off trying to get a taste of Japango’s sushi creations. Lunch, I heard, is good time to visit as they have an affordable menu and if you arrive before noon the wait for the small 20-ish seat restaurant would be minimal. Luckily, they had room for me and led me to a table in the middle.

The lunch menu has a selection of delicious bentos, but it was sushi my stomach was craving. Ordering “sushi one” ($15), I had but a few moments to take in the quaint preparation station and famed chopsticks in boxes held at the back (only reserved for those who eat frequently at Japango), when a bowl of steaming miso soup arrived. It was simple and salty: not a sliver of seaweed, cube of tofu or garnish of green onion in sight. But, it was piping hot and savoury.

Miso soup japango

Beautiful pieces of fish arrives shortly thereafter, so the soup was placed aside. There’s the familiar deep pink tuna, vibrant orange salmon, and cooked shrimp. The other slices, I could only guess at but not named off the top of my head. The tell-tale silver skin seemed to be mackerel and the suspicions were confirmed upon tasting. But, the last three were unknown.

The paper placemat was some help with labelled pictures so that I could guess the medium pink one to be hamachi or yellow tail. Unfortunately, the waitress wasn’t the most knowledgeable and had to ask chef before letting me know the two white pieces were butterfish.

sushi Japango

It really didn’t matter. Each piece was equally delicious with delicate tastes from the mackerel, tuna and yellow tail. The shrimp was a little over poached but still not as hard as some other places. For the soft almost creamy butterfish, a crispy garlic oil was brushed on top to enhance the neutral fish.

The California roll was a thin layer of rice wrapped around flavourful nori, crispy matchstick thin cucumbers, stringy fake crab and an adequate amount of crunchy fish roe. I tried to prolong the lunch by savouring the roll and letting the tobiko pop and release its briny oil on the tongue. 

The whole meal was over in less than half an hour with a waiter quickly bringing the bill as the dish was whisked away. I don’t blame them, they need to be quick; as by that time, a small queue had already started. And I was satisfied: not overly full, given Japango adheres to the traditional more fish than rice ratio, but comfortably filled and my craving for sushi quelled.  

Overall mark - 8.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 122 Elizabeth Street
 Website: http://japango.net/

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

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