Japanese cuisine has taken on Toronto’s food scene for quite some time. Sometimes however, it’s difficult to find quality Japanese food in the heart of downtown. You Don Ya has made an impression on me as I embarked on this Foodie Utopia visit one night for dinner.

Upon entry, I was stunned by how beautifully designed it was. The walls were cladded with beautiful Asian styled art, and the restaurant was extremely clean. The designs of the tables and chairs, up to the table setting with cutlery were modern and added a very elegant touch to the dining experience. My guest and I were greeted by the owner, Kim, who was extremely welcoming and took us to a private room that had been reserved for us to feast onto some of the items on their menu.

You Don Ya has been opened fairly recently – for roughly 4 months, You Don Ya has been offering Japanese Donburi to its patrons, offering a variety of rice bowls with 18 different types of dons which come with a diverse amount of toppings. It is located on the strip of Dundas Street along with a large cohort of other Japanese eats.

We ordered a variety of different appetizers – Unagi Oshizushi, Miso Soup, Salad and Shrimp Tempura.

The Unagi Ozhizushi was a torched pressed sushi style, and was definitely visually appealing. I thoroughly enjoyed its appearance, and enjoyed even more the first bites of the sushi itself. For me, the unagi sauce was a bit too overpowering, however with the right amount of soy sauce dipped with it, you can enjoy the Unagi Oshizuhi all the same.

The Miso Soups that we had were definitely not your average miso soup – you can certainly taste the quality that was empowering the bowl of soup. It was lightly garnished with green onions and mushrooms, which made it a great treat during the cold night we arrived. The Salad that was served as well was essentially shredded cabbage that was paired with a peanut sauce that was really extravagant. Near the end of the salad bowl however, it was a bit overpowering to have so much of the sauce accumulating in the bowl. Regardless, it was a wonderful appetizer.

The shrimp tempura had also come out and quite frankly, I was expecting more of the traditional appearance of shrimp tempura (i.e; more crispy tempura flakes and a light colour). However, don’t let looks deceive you! This shrimp tempura was nicely prepared, and the house sauce on top of it really added to this dish’s character. We ended up finishing all of it in a few minutes.

I ended up taking an order of the Kaisen Don, which was a flavourful combination of salmon, hamachi, butter fish, baby amaebi, hakkaido scallops, and delicious ikura on top of sushi rice. I personally liked how the steam from the rice cooked the bottoms of my fish – it showed how the rice was served fresh. I had free reign on soy sauce to pour on top, and this dish was overall a very delicious one.

My partner ordered the popular choice on the menu – Hamachi Nabe, which was served in a heated stone pot which made the rice a bit crispy. You would pour a house made soy sauce on top and have a little bit of entertainment as the bowl sizzles and the bonito flakes dance on top of cured Japanese yellowtail, an egg yolk, Japanese soy broth, and furikake, a popular Japanese rice seasoning.

For both my partner and I, we felt that the rice to fish ratio was a bit uneven – where the rice was overpowering the amount of fish given. However, this may be our inexperience with eating this kind of dish – usually when I order Japanese, it’s sashimi or sushi rolls as oppose to a donburi.

With this in mind, You Don Ya is surely a great spot for many students looking for a new place to try, or for those looking for a more quality Japanese experience.


Plating – ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

Ambiance – ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

Taste – ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡

Service – ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡ ♡