It’s near impossible to not spot a Japanese restaurant as they are everywhere. Torontonians are now more appreciative of not only the aesthetic and flavour aspects of Japanese cuisine, but also the ambiance of the more traditional establishments. Due to the abundance of Japanese restaurants, not many are capable of creating a lasting impression that distinguishes them from the rest. Aoyama, a tiny and cozy restaurant that looks unassuming on the outside, is actually a hidden gem that serves the utmost authentic Japanese food that will leave you coming back for more. Conveniently located by Finch & Victoria Park, this uptown restaurant only seats a capacity of 25 patrons. With no reservations made means you’ll be turning around for the door and feeling only disappointment and anger in yourself for not being able to experience heaven on a plate; something that Aoyama can create effortlessly.
Right beside the sushi bar are signs with cute drawings, along with selections from their appetizer menu and seasonal specials. Although difficult to resist the temptation of ordering everything on there, I was able to decide on several enticing items to satisfy the food monster within me.
To begin my enviable food adventure, I had a Spicy Tuna Roll ($1.50) which I finished in less than a minute. The tuna was delicious and the hand roll was securely wrapped, but I particularly liked how the filling lasted until the very last bite. Similar to indulging an ice cream cone, sometimes when we reach the bottom, there is no more ice cream and we’re left with an empty cone. No worries because that will definitely not happen here. I’d take a Spicy Tuna Roll over an ice cream cone any day :)
The White Toro Sashimi ($6.50) was so fantastically fatty that all I could do was smile and let out a gentle MMmmmm ;) Why must moments of happiness be so ephemeral? Those two pieces of White Toro Sashimi still haunt me until this very day; the absence of them is almost torturing me.
Kaki Fry ($6.50) are deep-fried oysters and Aoyama’s were humungous and scrumptious. I know that not everyone likes oysters as they can sometimes be fishy, but these were amazing and tasty. They’re an acquired taste, but if you can get pass the texture of it as well, then they might grow on you. Crispy and non-greasy on the outside, soft and delicate on the inside. There’s nothing else quite like it.
If I were asked the question, “What would your last meal be?”, without any hesitation, I would answer Chirashi Sushi. So needless to say, my main was Chirashi Sushi ($16) that not only satisfied my taste buds, but also my mind, body, and soul. There’s something about a big bowl of sushi rice, topped with an assortment of fresh sashimi and garnishes. The sight of it is enough to drive me insane, and I lose all consciousness while enjoying it; I wouldn’t even know it if my friends all left me. Aoyama’s is a terrific deal since it was only $16 for such excellent quality. I honestly have no questions about their freshness and the chef’s skills. The different colours, the texture, the depth, and the amount of fish and rice makes Chirashi such an undeniably comforting and hearty dish, yet not heavy at all.
So everything above was consumed by me only ;) Below are orders of my friends, followed by the Akasaka Omakase Course ($49). No detailed descriptions, but I included these pictures for your viewing pleasure :) You’re welcome!
Agedashi Tofu ($4.50)
Akasaka Omakase Set (missing the ice cream picture here)
Course Special Soup
Aoyama is Japanese-owned and their service is exceptional. Our server was very friendly and the food came quickly. If you’re looking for an Authentic Japanese Restaurant uptown, then I highly recommend Aoyama because they’re superb!
2766 Victoria Park Ave
North York, ON M2J 4A8