I have always felt strongly about my hometown, Toronto. As I sat on the patio at Kokyo Authentic Japanese Cuisine at 501A Yonge Street at Alexander Street, I could see the old fire station clock on Yonge. Around me were the many trees and small parks and people walking that create the "music" of Yonge Street and give the city life. It is a wonderful sense of belonging when you are living and growing in a place you can call your hometown.
Kokyo is like an island of fresh tasty food in a relax
ing atmosphere. Johnny Zhenge, a real character himself, is the owner and he always has time to say hello to everyone, even if they are just walking by. Kokyo's food is original and the price is always competitive.
We sat on the enormous patio and of course we had to have the Edamame, boiled soy beans topped with salt. The Yakitori is a must - two chicken skewers grilled with veggies and teriyaki sauce. Vegetable tempura for $4 is delicious and inexpensive. However, the house specialty is a truly different item. It is a Sushi Pizza made with a crusty rice base, with spicy sauce, served with salmon, tuna or vegetarian topping.
I usually have the Bento Box with chicken teriyaki for $9.95. This includes rice, soup, green salad, numerous pieces of sushi, dumplings and vegetable tempura. You will not even think about dessert after this meal.
I also love the sashimi combo, which includes 15 different pieces of sashimi with rice, soup and salad for only $10.95.
Kokyo delivers its wonderful food to most of Toronto. This restaurant is a favourite of many Torontonians but to the thousands of travellers who stay at the Marriott Hotel around the corner, it is a treasure.
Kokyo means hometown, and I always love coming home to Toronto. It could be Yonge Street or the CN Tower or the neighbourhoods. Or maybe it is just the streetcars. I have never been sure. I do know there is something about Toronto that makes me feel safe, relaxed and at peace. When I am away I am always talking about Toronto, telling people they have to visit, because it is such a special city. Maybe it is because of people like Johnny, who knows his customers by name and welcomes people, not only to his restaurant, but to our hometown, Toronto.
FIVE STARS: (Extraordinary) A one-of-a-kind, world-class experience.
FOUR STARS: (Excellent) Superior. Memorable, high-quality menus and/or savvy service.
THREE STARS: (Good) Solid places that beckon with generally appealing cooking.
TWO STAR: (Fair) Just OK. A place not worth rushing back to. But, it might have something worth recommending.
ONE STAR: (Poor) Below-average restaurant.
*Reviews are meant to describe a dining out experience at a given period in time and are the personal opinion of the writer.
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