With jumping izakayas, creative sushi chefs and thoughtful takes on tradition, Montreal is in the midst of a Japanese food moment that's blooming like so many cherry blossoms. So raise your plum wine wherever you are dear reader, and let's salute a spring season of bright culinary adventures inspired by the meeting of new and old, east and west, elegance and pub and street.
Kinka Izakaya Shaughnessy Village
The pioneering family who brought Izakaya to the fore in Vancouver and Toronto with Guu are behind Kinka and Montrealers are excited to have them here setting the bar high for traditional Japanese pub food. Pro tip: try the Karaage. Reviewers think this might take the cake for best fried chicken in town.
Izakaya Kabocha Plateau
Expect the usual cheerful yelling of Irasshaimase! when you arrive, and then expect super fresh ingredients and playful recipes like the squid ink poutine! Yelpers also love cooking their own beef on the the Gyu Yaki traditional tabletop Japanese grill.
With a modern asian fusion menu crafted by popular Montreal chef Antonio Park there's lots you're going to want to try so maybe come with friends when celebrating a special occasion and plan to share? To try: tasty twists like the pulled oxtail dumplings, Brussels sprouts chips, or the ginger fried lobster.
Thazard Mile End
A farm-to-table French/Japanese fusion restaurant with table-side sushi service on a cart, excellent cocktails, and interesting beers? We must be in the Mile End.
Sumi Dojo Plateau
Part of the reimagining of lower St Laurent, this Izakaya is fun and pop-y, and features a few show-stopping desserts like the jasmine tea panna cotta.
Flyjin Old Montreal
Flyjin is a third wave cafe, and a Japanese pub with gluten-free brownies, and a nightclub with creative late night cocktails like the Yuzu Collins. Come for a caffeine fix or to dance it out: either way enjoy how freakin fun fusion can be.
Saiko Bistrot Izakaya Downtown
Izakaya in the downtown core with delicate and simple nigiri so fresh it has reviewers seriously excited. If you're open to adventure, choose the omakase tasting dinner and let chefs Yusa-san and Shin Ichi-san guide you. Lunch service can be packed, but dinner delivery is an option if you want to dig deep into this deliciousness in the privacy of your own home.
Get a taste of Vancouver's famous Japadogs here, and don't miss the pork ribs, or the grilled corn on the cob with coconut... in other words, expect to eat this friendly fusion food with your fingers. And when it's warm enough, why not do it on the sunny terrace for all to see!
Jardin Iwaki NDG
Adventure to this homey, tiny 12-seat nook in NDG for an affordable, authentic seven course Japanese meal. The adventure will continue once you're there as the chef leads you through his choices for the evening -- you are not in charge here so just relax and trust that you're in good hands.
Kaiji Sushi Villeray
The most important things to know right off the bat about this joyful Jean-Talon gem are that, 1: this is a Bring Your Own Wine restaurant and 2: they serve spicy sushi tacos. The rest you should discover for yourself. Enjoy!
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