Originating from Japan, omakase is a set course meal chosen by the chef. While many restaurant like Miku, Yasu, and Japango have become well-known for having omakase, they also tend to be quite expensive ranging from $70 – $100+. Stone & Fern would like to introduce you to the best omakase in Toronto due to its incredible value.
With 7 courses at the price of $50, Shinobu offers the best omakase dinner in Toronto considering that an order cannot be finished by one person alone (for reference: we split 2 omakases between 3 people and were very full). Located on Yonge Street, between Lawrence and York Mills, one may be discouraged at the thought of paying for parking on a busy road; however, free residential parking is close by and a great alternative. Almost indistinguishable from the outside due to its drawn curtains, Shinobu’s bright red sign foretells the cozy and intimate setting found inside.
With a tiny space that seats about 30 people, service was quick and very attentive. Be sure to make a reservation over the phone before going. In addition, omakases need to be ordered at least 24 hours in advance. With that being said, let’s take a look at the food.
The 7 Courses
Course 1. Sashimi Sampler
The sashimi sampler had 8 pieces of sashimi ranging from the usual tuna to octopus. We highly enjoyed this dish, with the highlight being the sea urchin wrapped in fluke. The urchin was very fresh and the fluke was enjoyably chewy. The salmon was also delicious and stood out due to the seasoning on it. Our only disappointment was the amberjack, which was a little fishy.
Course 2. Steamed Egg
The second course was reminiscent of my recent trip to Japan. The steamed egg was perfectly smooth with a variety of ingredients such as shrimp, scallop, chicken, and shiitake mushrooms.
Course 3. Pork Belly
The pork belly was small, but incredibly soft. It was an explosion of flavour that melted in your mouth due to the delicious peanut butter sauce that had a hint of spicyness.
Course 4. Tempura
The fourth course was a large amount of tempura. One plate consisted of multiple pieces including shrimp, broccoli, pumpkin, yam, eggplant, edamame, and a shiso leaf. For the shrimp tempura specifically, we were disappointed that the batter to shrimp ratio was very high.
Course 5. Miso Soup
The miso soup was strongly flavoured and we were pleasantly surprised to find clams in it.
Course 6. Sushi Sampler
For the sixth course, we had six pieces of sushi and a handroll. The shrimp sushi was very soft, chewy, and fresh. The salmon was pretty fatty, making it more delicious – this is usually highly desirable in Japan. The handroll was a minced bluefin tuna, which was my favourite part of the course.
Course 7. Dessert
Last but not least, we had a scoop of black sesame ice cream accompanied by a bite of matcha cheesecake. The ice cream was rich in flavour and was definitely better than the usual T&T tubs.
All-in-all, this $50 seven course meal is truly great value, making it one of the best omakase in Toronto. Furthermore, they have a great selection of other items including the Volcano Rainbow Roll (which they torch at the table) and the signature Toriten (aka fried chicken). Shinobu’s authentic Japanese feel down to the small space truly transported me back to Japan. I would highly recommend it for any occasion!
3403 Yonge St.
Toronto, ON, M4N 2M8
Dinner: Tues-Sun 5:30-10pm
Lunch: Sat 11:30am-2:30pm
Stone & Fern is a travel and lifestyle blog started by friends who have a passion for exploring cities, capturing moments, and trying new food. To see more of North America, click here.