I love going to Japanese Izakaya restaurants for food and drinks. That’s because I like the concept of ordering a bunch of food items in small portion (more like the Spanish tapas) and share it among friends or co-workers. Little by little, we get to try various food items and grabbing an ice cold Sapparo or Asahi beer makes dining experience even better.
Don Don Izakaya, located west of the Bay and Dundas intersection is a place I go sometimes. Around the area, there aren’t many Izakaya restaurants either. I especially love bringing friends who have never been to a Japanese Izakaya. I found that the unique decor, Japanese culture and the dining experience open up their minds.
Don Don Izakaya is located on the 2nd floor of the building. As I entered from the ground floor, walked 2 flight of stairs, walked through some Japanese decorated curtains, a greeter greeted us. You can sit near the high stools at the bar section or you can sit along the narrow section near the kitchen. Or you can sit in wooden bench tables where you are basically sharing the tables with other patrons. I know most peeps aren’t used to sharing the tables with other strangers at first, but as they sat longer at the table, they could feel a different vibe and get used to the sitting arrangements.
Whenever patrons arrived or leaving the resto, staff will scream out something in Japanese and they will pounded the wooden drums near the entrance of the dining room to greet and thank you for your presence. It’s quite an unique experience.
I personally, prefer to sit near the kitchen area, so that I could observe the chefs preparing the the food items. It’s quite a treat seeing how the chefs work and communicate with each other. Sometimes, flames coming out of the oven or grill makes it even more entertaining.
MoVernie Tip: Izakaya is not meant for you to order one item for each people. And you shouldn’t expect each item to be big portion. As a tip, I recommend you order 2 or 3 items (depending on the size of your party). If you have party of 3 or 4, perhaps order a pitcher of beer and order 3 or 4 items to start. After you have consumed the first round and your party is still hungry, order round 2 and round 3 of more food items, bits by bits. My theory is that…your dining table space is limited, it’s hard to place all the food items at the same time. Besides, you want to indulge the food at a normal pace and while the food is hot. You don’t want to rush eating all the food and while some items are cool down coz you couldn’t manage to chow down all the food in time.
In particular, steam pork belly with napa cabbage, fried chicken, spicy mayo shrimps, seafood stir food Udon are my MoVernie picks. But make sure to check out the food menu, the pictures are interesting, and there are so many yummy items to choose from.
MoVernie Tip: If you have a big group and you want to have your own VIP room, I recommend you to call Don Don Izakaya and make a reservation. If you want to try, there are “tatami” rooms which means you take off your shoes and sit like a traditional Japanese people by sitting on flat floor mats.
Don Don Izakaya
130 Dundas St W