Kinka Izakaya on Church Street

Kinka Izakaya on Church Street is Toronto’s most talked about new Japanese restaurant.

I arrived at 4:40pm on St Patty’s day and expected to just walk into the restaurant. Kinka Izakaya on Church is Japanese through and through. There’s a very organized procedure for restaurant entry. I was luckily the first person in line but was amused by  how quickly it grew behind me.

By 5pm (the official opening hour) there was a line reaching the curb. Kinka Izakaya on Church is Toronto’s first restaurant from a family of izakaya restaurants that operate in Vancouver. The restaurant has received loads of positive press. Kinka Izakaya on Church has been ranked as one of the best new restaurants in the city by Toronto Life. In its first few days of opening as the line ups were notoriously long (up to three hours). Make sure to arrive early to ensure that you get a seat…or be prepared to stand in line.

The door opens and a cute little Japanese hostess welcomes one group from the line at a time into the restaurant space. Once inside the hostess screams a welcome at the main entrance  and all of the staff (including those in the kitchen) respond with a jovial chorus. Once seated I was given a warm towel to clean my hands and I was once again sung a rather beautiful “thank you for dining with us,” in Japanese.

The vibe at Kinka Izakaya on Church is hustle and bustle. Don’t expect to be able to have a clear conversation during your dining experience but do expect a happy and loud Japanese bar experience. The food is affordable, well presented and delicious. Please do order the massive $9 jugs of Sapporo beer. They make you a bit tipsy and add to the boisterous ambiance of Kinka Izakaya.

Gyu Shabu Salad: sliced boiled beef on greens with black sesame sauce.

Maguro Tataki: lightly seared BC albacore tuna sashimi with ponzu sauce and garlic chips.

Agedashi Tofu

Kobocha Korokke: deep fried pumpkin croquette with boiled egg inside.

If you’re in The Annex, be sure to check out Kinka Izakaya on Bloor Street.

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