By Dan Clapson, Linda Garson and Diana Ng
It’s midsummer now and if there’s one style of cuisine that really relies on freshness when it comes to its ingredients, it’s sushi. Some of us love a well-sliced piece of tuna sashimi while others go for the rolls that are a bit more extravagant, perhaps formed into the shape of a dragon or deep-fried on the outside.
Ki Modern Japanese
You can’t go wrong with a cool glass of premium sake with sushi, but Ki Modern Japanese makes the experience even more stylish and delicious by pairing seasonal cocktails with Japanese food. For those who are looking to have a full sushi dinner, Ki has an extensive list of options, including sea urchin and sea bream, for nigiri and sashimi. Whether you’re craving classic rolls (maki) like the dynamite roll and the spider roll, or modern rolls like the beef maki and tempura butterfish maki, the selection here will definitely hit the spot.
If a lighter dinner or some pre-dinner snacks is what you’re after, Ki’s izakaya menu features around 10 dishes, that pair well with Ki’s selection of beer, wine, sake and cocktails. Have the sliders with a beer or some tuna tacos with a cocktail. Cocktails, like their orange Creamsicle, which includes mandarin vodka, and their pomberry mojito, which includes junmai sake, incorporate Asian elements that complement the flavours in the food.
With Ki located in the heart of downtown, it’s easy to head down after work for happy hour to enjoy buck-a-shuck oysters, everyday. That’s right, it’ll be hard not to make this your regular happy hour spot.
Consistently noted as the best establishment in the city to find traditional sushi offerings, you can find Zipang in its humble location on 1st Avenue NE in Bridgeland. Walking in, the room is simple but clean, and there is just something in the air that tells you immediately that this place is going to do right by raw.
Here, you won’t find rolls filled with strawberries, chicken and other less traditional ingredients or served in the shape of a heart or a set aflame. Instead, what you will find is some of the most tender, melt-in-your-mouth sashimi like scallop or toro (tuna belly), warming bowls of udon noodles (perfect for a rainy day) and fresh uni. Something that is arguably an acquired taste, but most self-proclaimed expert sushi diners will sing its praises.
Even when owner Naoya Umino goes a little out of the box with rolls like the signature Zipang roll, he still maintains the integrity of all flavours involved, layering them delicately one after the other. If you’re ready to graduate from sushi fan to full-blown sushi love, this is the place for you.
1010 1 Ave NE, 403-262-1888
Cerezo Café and Bar
It’s often said that we eat with our eyes and if it’s true, then you’ll be full in no time at Cerezo – after taste, presentation is paramount for husband and wife team Mitsuru and Misato Hara. It’s foodie photo snapper heaven! This hidden gem started offering regular night-time menus last year – and as of this year, breakfasts too (don’t miss the pork belly Eggs Benny!). You’ll want to relax and linger here; this is not fast food – it’s all prepared specially for you, including all the sauces,
breads and desserts.
Evidence of this little restaurant’s past as a gift shop is everywhere, with antique sideboards adding a comfy, well-worn character, and there’s a sunny 12-seat patio at the back too that becomes shady later in the day. Cerezo’s trio of sashimi, tuna tataki with three sauces, and beef tataki, are very popular, but why not get adventurous and treat yourself to their signature Ikameshi, a warm dish of whole squid stuffed with rice, ginger and tobiko, that takes 20 minutes to make, or how about Foie Gras Don or Miso Cheese Tofu Puff with Fig Jam? Or try a dish from the regularly changing special menu too, such as house-cured salmon carpaccio with umi vinaigrette, and a glass from the list of wines, sakes, beers, and specialty teas and coffees!
1002 Edmonton Trail NE
Have a noisy and boisterous bunch? Don’t worry; you’ll fit right into the bustling and fun atmosphere at Kinjo. While many Japanese restaurants aim to be either elegant or trendy, Kinjo has carved a niche for itself as being a family-friendly destination for sushi. Pocky chocolate-covered biscuit sticks are sure to bring smiles to the faces of ladies and kids in the house.
Grab a seat at the sushi bar and watch the wide variety of sushi on boats float by before taking a plate that whets your appetite. The menu selection here ranges from the predictable, like salmon sashimi and tuna sushi, to the more contemporary and unexpected like the black stone roll (with tempura squid legs) and the Las
Vegas roll (with jalapeno, strawberry, wonton skin, cream cheese, and spicy tuna, among other things).
Of course, a restaurant cannot call itself family-friendly without doing something special for birthday boys and girls. Tell them it’s your birthday, and be prepared
to be sung to by the crew. With three locations to choose from — Dalhousie, Millrise and MacLeod – -it’s easy to find a Kinjo near you.