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the food was better than other places but compared to the price my expectations were higher. this place is seriously going to hurt your wallet if you want to get full.
A hidden gem! Ematei is authentic. Great food and lots of stuff you simply can't find elsewhere. Japanese celebs eat here when they visit Toronto. Nuff said.
I'm surprised by the few negative reviews... Service was good, I loved the athmosphere and food was really amazing. Definitely in my top 3 japanese restaurants, I'll visit again for sure. Make sure you call before going, as the place was full (Sat. night) and it took a while to find a parking spot (Sat. night)
First of all, I would say that I am canadian japanese and I believe that I have some sense of real japanese taste so that I can recognize what the REAL Japanese food is. Honestly, I was very very sad with its service which I was offered by servers because they do not know what the customer service is and what it should be. As I know they are offering some sort of expense food, the service are not suitable to that price. The servers do not know how to smile and how to make customer satisfied. I decide that I never go there again and I will forget that they are exsiting in Toronto.
I quite liked this place and would go there again to have izakaya. I didn't do it this time. There are very few places (if at all) in Toronto that have strictly izakaya and from what I gather from their menu, their izakaya selection appears varied, original and tasty. Their sushi seems slightly better than the run of the mill fare, but for the additional cost (they are pricier than many) I think I would choose to go elsewhere, or pay a bit more to have something much better. I found the environment and staff to be charming. I have not been to Japan, but from what I gather (from being to several "authentic" Japanese places) the decor and handwritten posters and menus this seems to be consistent. We did get poor service (the server forgot one of my friend's orders and it took a very long time) but was apologetic....she even said that her sashimi was still "cooking" but it was...charming.
Some of the best sushi I have ever had. The lunch specials had so much food for their worth! I would definately go back.
Excellent Japanese Curry. Udon soup base very tasty. Excellent value for a downtown location (especially for lunch). Authentic Japanese, not Korean/Chinese Japanese like most other Japanese restaurants along Queen Street.
This is a hidden gem in Toronto, much better than most "chinese or korean" sushi place on bloor and queen. The sushi here is good but very expensive and very small portion, but much better than most toronto sushi restaurant. I don't usually go here not for the sushi though (I still haven't find any great sushi place in Toronto, comparing to Vancouver and SF, probably the ingredient). I am most impressed with the non-sushi dishes such as nabeyaki udon, sukiyaki, the bento box, etc. And if you are really hungry, try to order Omakase to have a taste of everything (chef's choice. Oh yes, the waitress are very slow. They look like university oversea students doing part time though, give them a break and just remind them. They are forgetful but will apologize and bring whatever you asked right away.
I am Japanese and I would say the food is quite authentic here. The chicken cutlet curry was very very good, the best in town :) and the california roll was ok, not the best. Service is ok, not exactly friendly. But Ill have to say ive tried many chinese and korean owned japanese restaurant but really the food is not the same (poster above doesnt know what Japanese food should taste like). Ive come here and tried various things and liked most of it.
I lived in Japan for over 10 years and when I start to feel 'homesick' this is where I most want to go. Authentic Japanese staff, food and decor. Not cheap, but what Japanese place is? plus I get more in terms of quality here than I do anywhere else. The protions are not huge-- I recommend getting a selection of dishes and sharing among your party. The clincher for me was that this is the only restaurant I've discovered in Toronto that has shio (salt)yakitori rather than just the tare (dipped in sweet sauce) kind. I highly recommend Ema-tei for anyone who has been to Japan and misses the izakaya, or anyone who wants to get a taste of what eating out in Japan is really like.
It was the worst experience ever. We ordered the Matsu dinner sushi set which has a mixture of raw fish, some rolls, and most notably, one UNI sushi. and then, the server said they run out of UNI and asked if that's ok. we thought since we know very little about sushi, we'll let the chef decided what to be substituted. In the end, we got one Salmon sushi as the replacement of the Uni sushi. As little as we know about sushi, we know that salmon was set at $4.50/2pcs, while uni was set at $8.50/2pcs in their menu. We argued that this is a rather unreasonable substitution. The server then came back and said they are willing to reduce the price from $24 to $23.50. First of all, why should there be a 50cents reduction in price if they thought that the substitution is reasonable? If they didn't think that it is reasonable, what makes them thought that a 50cents reduction is fair? Is there a price implicitly built in their mind about the quality difference of Uni and Salmon? The server was really embarassed in front of us when she mentioned about 50cents reduction, probably becoz' she may sense that it is quite a humiliation. What does that mean by a 50cents when a restaurant chef was trying to settle for what he has done wrong? Would that be a signal that says, "this guy aims for just money, give him and shut his mouth, 50cents should be enough." In the end, I asked the server to pack the sushi. And paid for the whole amount, plus around 10% tips, and put the sushi in front of the chef without even touching it. I went and asked if he thought respecting customers was something he had never thought of. I asked why he had to put his server into difficult situation. The response was totally hostile. They didn't even have a second of regret for upsetting customers. And I am really sorry about that lovely server who got depressed becoz' of the whole situation. I myself should take some responsibility for pointing out the unreasonable substitution. But I believe this slight thought of regret had never even got into the chef's mind for a slight second. The final conclusion is: 50cents = Ema-Tei's reputation Is that too much? You bet!
A hidden gem in downtown Toronto, Ematei serves traditional Japanese food in a cozy and clean location. In addition to their hot pots, grilled fish, and extensive sushi menu, they also offer less known Japanese dishes. If you’re looking for an authentic Japanese dining experience, try the beef tataki, chicken yakitori or chirashi Ematei – they won’t disappoint.View this Smart List
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