Saturday, January 18, 2014

REVIEW | Kintaro Izakaya - an intimate & cozy yakitori izakaya tucked away on Church Street

Toronto is home to many, many Japanese izakayas, and a lot of them have the loud and lively atmosphere in common - afterall, izakaya is a drinking establishment in Japan.  I do enjoy that atmosphere when going out with friends or having a girls night, but sometimes I prefer a more intimate and cozy environment that allows for conversation over food.  Toronto's Kintaro Izakaya on Church St. that opened in late summer of 2013 was perfect for that.

photo from

When we walked in, we were seated without waiting and noticed many posters & signs that made the place feel like a restaurant in Japan!  Loved all the details.

Not only does Kintaro differentiate itself by specializing in yakitori, the skewered & grilled chicken parts, it also boasts a big dining space with many booths for privacy of their diners.

On their website, they do an awesome job explaining "yakitori"with the graphic below:

Note - I did not take my camera this night and had to use my phone, which had a hard time focusing :( Sorry for the burry photos - I thought about not including it, but I think it's better to include to give you an idea of what each dish looked like.

Below are the dishes we got:
 Char Su (barbecued, marinated pork) - $11.95
I wish we got the dish that comes with rice. It was too salty to eat by itself.

Chicken Karage (Japanese style fried chicken) - $12.00
The fried chicken was tender with a crispy outer layer - perfect!  The accompanying salad on the side was delicious as well, especially the crispy taro chips.

Unagi (eel) - $11.50
 Pretty good - but not work $11.50.

Beef Karubi (short ribs) - $6.40 each
Riceball Bacon (bacon wrapped ricecake) - $5.50 each
Ebimaki Bacon (bacon wrapped shrimp) - $6.90 each
We loved all of these, especially the bacon wrapped rice cake for its chewy texture.  The short ribs were enjoyable as well, you get a lot for the price.

 Enoki Bacon (bacon wrapped enoki mushroom) - $7.50
 One of my favourite kushi's of the night.  You can't go wrong with bacon-wrapped-anything, really!

Tonkotsu Miso (pork-bone soup noodle) - $10.95
The ramen was mediocre. It was a good change from the skewered meats we were having, but I probably wouldn't order this again.

I really enjoyed the quiet & intimate atmosphere here - definitely a good post for date nights!  The service was fast and friendly as well.  I found that overall, the food was good, especially the kushis, but compared to other izakaya & kushi restaurants, non-kushi entrees are slightly higher priced.  Nonetheless it's definitely worth while to check out.

Kintaro on Urbanspoon

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