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“How does a fast food restaurant become fine dining”
Review of JaBistro

JaBistro
Ranked #328 of 8,947 Restaurants in Toronto
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $25 - $48
Cuisines: Japanese
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: Downtown West
Description: Modern Japanese
Reviewed March 17, 2013

It doesn't.

The course before our 'first' course was excellent - Salmon En Papillote done in a foil was excellent - absolutely excellent. One minute later - the first course arrived - of course it had to be fitted around the salmon - and one of the courses was deep fried. Deep fried does not wait - nor does the deep fried soft shelled crab.

However it just gets worse. The sushi - pre prepared just doesn't work. Cold rice and a hot fired top. not for me.

All of this seemed a bit light so we ordered a beef tartar. What a mistake. This was followed with a comp of a duck gizmo - with a cold - yes that is cold, soft poached egg.

Moving along to the next course - better - which was a black cod. Well cooked but not a patch on Vancouver Island.

Desert - oh well forget it - we went out for ice cream

Good luck -

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1  Thank bcwqueenst
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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95 - 99 of 107 reviews

Reviewed February 27, 2013

JaBistro is certainly different and more innovative than your regular japanese restaurant in toronto. All the dishes we had were delicious and memorable. The Kamo/smoked duck breast salad was amazing. The egg that goes with it was perfect. The kyukyoku is a must-try! They serve each piece of sushi to you one by one. The fish was extremely fresh and there are many pieces that we've actually never had before. It was definitely an exciting and wonderful food experience. They have a relatively decent selection of sake and their cocktails are good. The service however needs improvement. They seem to be a bit understaffed at the time we went (dinner reservation was at 9pm). That being said, there were only 4 tables there and it should've been manageable. The first server was good and gave us great recommendations. But after he left for the night, there seems to be just the one waitress working there, and she didn't make sure that our drinks are refilled/we get new drinks right away. The bar is supposed to generate a good amount of $ for any restaurant and for them not to make sure that you're "never thirsty" isn't good for business. We also had a hard time understanding what kind of fish we're being served as the sushi chef have a thick japanese accent and his english wasn't the greatest. In the end we didn't care that we didn't know what we're eating because it was just simply amazing.

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1  Thank PrincessPrima
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

There are many sushi restaurants in Toronto. The problem is that most of them are mediocre, at best. Granted, Toronto is 1,000 miles from the nearest ocean and not a hotbed of Japanese culture. But most of Toronto's sushi restaurants seems to be focused on price and quantity - definitely not quality.

JaBistro is one of the few exceptions. The fish is absolutely fresh and of the highest quality. The presentation is beautiful and the preparation is meticulous. Even the soy is house-made.

It's not cheap - but quality seldom is, outside of Asia. There's also no a la carte sushi menu - it's all essentially "chef's choice." But this generally means that you'll get the best fish available that day.

Service is attentive, knowledgeable and friendly and there's a pretty comprehensive list of sake and wine. All in all, JaBistro is a winner!

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Thank RedstoneBoy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 13, 2013

My wife and I visited the restaurant last night after hearing some of the positive reviews in the online community. We are huge fans of Japan (have visited 5 times) and of Japanese food (we will usually eat out at Japanese restaurant 1-2 times a week) and we are always on the hunt for a great experience. Our favorite Japanese restaurants in town are Yuzu, Omi, Japango (Elizabeth St) and Hiro Sushi - which are all tasty but sometimes hit or miss with respect to freshness.
The quality of the food at JaBistro was incredible, especially for a Tuesday night. A good gauge of quality is the taste of the Uni (Sea Urchin). We have eaten this fresh out of the sea at the Tsukiji fish market and the Uni I ate at JaBistro was as close as I have ever had to that taste. The variety of seafood and preparation was commendable, and the humility of the sushi chefs was reminiscent of sushi bars in Japan.
We had a selection of sushi and sashimi and also had an item off the Bistro menu (Black Cod with Shrimp Toast) and finished every last piece on our plates and left with a smile on our face. The service was excellent, and at times they were TOO attentive (i.e., being asked by 4 different people if I would like another beer), but I prefer this over the opposite!
The decor was minimalistic and suited the presentation of the food well. The bathrooms were very clean and the restaurant was also impeccably clean.
Although this was a pricey meal (@200 $ for two of us with a beer and 10 oz sake), I would be happy to skip two meals at one of the other sushi regulars on my list for one meal here.
Recommend this to anyone in Toronto who is on the hunt for the holy grail of sushi.

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Thank Mark B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2013

Went with my wife last night at the height of the snowstorm. Enjoyed the whole experience enormously. Very welcoming staff right down the line and a smartly designed room: Japanese-flavoured, but not cliched.
Ordered three "bistro" plates, all beautifully presented and wonderfully tasty: deep fried shrimp, soft shell crab and pork belly. The belly was a bit lean for me, but with good flavour.
Went on to a 7-item sushi sampler. Found it high quality, but not as blown away as some people.
Big surprise: great desserts! Special of the day was a kind of jellyroll involving black sesame seeds and chocolate. Sounds weird but proved wonderful. And their signature matcha puff, with sesame custard was another wow.
Service throughout was very sweet, friendly and helpful.
Wife enjoyed a house cocktail, bottle of Sapporo and a plum wine after. I loved the green tea mojito.
Would go back again in a minute, but probably more for the bistro dishes than the sushi. Dinner was $150 with tip, 3 plates, 7 pieces of sushi, 2 desserts, cocktails, beer and digestif. A different dining experience, but worth it if you're going to the Four Seasons or RTH.

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Thank Richard O
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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