- Address: 222 Richmond St W, Toronto
- Visited: 07/20/2016, Dinner, 2 people
- Cuisine: Japanese
- Rating: 5.0 5.0 Excellent, worth every $
4.5 Good, food & value
4.0 Good, but $$, would re-visit
3.5 Meh, good $, would re-visit
3.0 Meh, would not re-visit
2.0 Did not like $$$$ [$] <20; [$$] <40; [$$$] <80; [$$$$] >80
- Website: http://www.jabistro.com/
My first experience at JaBistro was back in 2013 for my birthday, when I was wowed by both the exquisite food and wonderful service. Since then, I’ve stopped by for lunch (what a deal!) and a few more dinners. With each meal, JaBistro continued to wow me and remains my go-to spot for high quality sushi in the city. Needless to say, when I was invited to check out their outdoor patio space, I was beyond excited.
Disclaimer: All food and drinks reviewed below were provided complimentary. All opinions expressed below are wholly mine.
Atmosphere: Stepping onto the rooftop patio, I immediately felt at peace. With plenty of natural wood, clean lines and a minimalist design, the space felt like a zen oasis in the middle of the city. The patio has been open since 2012, but was renovated this summer and fitted with a retractable roof. Now diners can enjoy the space even if there’s a drizzle of rain. Hanging string lights light the space and adds a touch of whimsy. Reservations aren’t taken for the patio and tables are filled first come, first serve.
Service: The Hubby and I were shown upstairs by the hostess and walked to our seat. Our server was friendly, soft spoken and efficient. I especially appreciated how she carved our fish head table side and chatted with us while expertly separating meat from bone. This was an intricate task and our server did an excellent job making sure all of the large bones were removed. She also checked in on us throughout the evening and at no point was my water glass less than half full.
Food: Dinner began with a sashimi platter with two slices each of Tai Sea Bream, Chutoro, Salmon and torched Wagyu Beef. All three types of fish were fresh, sweet and so buttery. I loved the slight torch on the sea bream that added a hint of smokiness. The chutoro just melted as I chewed.
Next up was an appetizer platter that included a whole grilled Sea Bream fish head (the showstopper), a mug of Lobster Miso Soup, Ebi Mayo and a few Calamari rings. Being served a whole fish head was definitely a woah moment and I applaud JaBistro for serving the entirety, teeth and all. Whenever I have a whole fish with my family, my mom and I always fight over the head. The amount of meat on this one, would’ve been plenty to share. The cooked fish was also tender, juicy, mildly seasoned and full of natural flavour. A sip of the savoury lobster miso soup was perfect after each bite.
Following appetizers was the sushi course, 3 pieces of nigiri and 4 pieces of JaBistro’s aburi oshizushi. Similar to the sashimi plate, the quality of fish on each nigiri piece was top-notch. My favourite piece was the lobster with ikura, which had a great balance between sweet (lobster) and salty (ikura). I also enjoyed the texture of the lobster, that had a bit more structure than other varieties of fish. All 4 pieces of the torched sushi had to be savoured. They were rich, flavourful and smokey.
Dinner ended with a slice of Matcha Mousse Cake and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Both the cake and ice cream were not too sweet or too heavy, fitting after a full meal. The ice cream was creamy but light with a strong vanilla flavour. The cake was airy, with multiple layers of textures and tastes.
JaBistro’s rooftop patio was a beautiful space and weather permitting, I will now always be choosing to head upstairs.