Chou Izakaya

I went to Chou Izakaya back in December with a few friends. My one friend had bought the $20 for $40 Groupon so I guess I was somewhat forced to go when they have great deals like this! =D Chou Izakaya is located at the corner of Church & Wellesley in the Gay Village of Toronto. Opened during the summer of last year, Chou is a traditional Japanese bar offering up to 40 – 50 tapa style dishes on their regular menu daily.

The restaurant itself is narrow and some what more spacious than Guu Izakaya. It’s a quiet and affordable eatery.

Tuna Tataki ($6.60)

Shime Saba ($8.00)

  • Shime Saba is vinegar-pickled mackerel, a classic dish from Japan. Mackerel does not preserve well if its not consumed a few hours after being caught.
  • This was my first time indulging mackerel, and man it was uber good. Our waitress had used a blowtorch to give the saba that final touch before serving it to us
  • In terms of taste, it had a great smokey flavour that didn’t take away from the mackerel’s natural flavours. It was a very delicate piece of mackerel
  • I sensed a bit of “fishiness” for the after taste

Fresh Grapefruit Sour ($5.00)

  • This cocktail was a first for me. Served with a grapefruit on the side where you have to squeeze the juice out of the grapefruit and pour it into the cocktail and stir – it was super refreshing! 

Spicy Salmon Roll ($6.00)

  • I always opt for Spicy Salmon Rolls but unfortunately this was a let down. Too much rice and mayo, very little salmon and no kick of spiciness at all

Sashimi 3 kinds ($9.60)

  • Tuna, Salmon, Butterfish 
  • They have a great assortment of sashimi – I loved the salmon and butterfish!

Pork Belly Skewers ($2.50/each)

  • This was probably something I could have eaten all night! As soon as I saw this on the menu I knew I had to order it. You have the option of having them with sea salt or terriyaki 
  • We smelt it coming our way and wish we ordered more. These skewers were perfectly cooked – very juicy and moist

Kimchi Pork Cheese ($6.90)

  • Stir fried pork belly and kimchi with cheese on top 
  • This looked very appetizing but was quite on the heavy side and a little bit salty so I ended up eating my way around the cheese so it wouldn’t be as filling.
  • The pork belly and kimchi was quite tasty

Ika Yaki ($7.00)

  • grilled squid with butter soy 
  • I think I prefer my squid deep fried. Anyways, this ika yaki was sort of bland and I was just chewing away….

Takoyaki ($5.60)

  • Crispy fried octopus ball served with Japanese BBQ sauce 
  • These takoyaki looked really good but had minimal filling. I personally still think Fin Izakaya has the best Takoyaki thus far

Oba Chicken ($7.00)

  • Deep fried chicken breast with japanese mint leaves served with sweet chili mayo 
  • The Chicken was deep fried to a perfect colour, however with the addition of the mint leaves… I thought it tasted a bit odd =S The mint leaves were too overpowering. I guess this is a love it or hate it kind of dish

Amaebi Karaage($7.00)

  • Crispy Fried Sweet Shrimp 
  • Wow! were these shrimps ever large…. The batter wasn’t too thick and it wasnt that greasy! This is something I could snack on for a while

Curry Korokke ($5.60)

  • Deep fried potato with grounded beef in curry flavour 
  • I thought this curry korokke was quite bland – I didn’t really taste the beef – in fact the texture of it was just mushy potatoes

So with the purchase of our groupon, we had $40 deducted from our final bill! =D

Luckily Chou Izakaya does accept reservations and is a lot quieter than what you’d expect of an izakaya (if thats the mood you’re going for). The servers here are very polite. Overall, I personally thought there were some dishes that were hits and misses but I say its not bad if you’re looking for an affordable eatery.

Chou Izakaya on Urbanspoon


Leave a comment

  1. Marthafied
    February 8, 2013 / 12:35 pm

    Everything just looks so fresh and deliscious! Made me drool actually…lol…

  2. Daniel
    February 8, 2013 / 1:40 pm

    The pork belly skewers look sooo good. The note that the server made is also a really nice touch. Fantastic post 🙂

    • Grace
      February 8, 2013 / 2:19 pm

      why thank you 🙂

  3. fabliss
    February 8, 2013 / 1:59 pm


  4. mooken
    February 9, 2013 / 12:40 am

    – “don’t recall eating this” — I know that codeword. 😉
    – I’m surprised this was your first time with mackerel! and yes, it’s always fishy ..
    – love Fin’s takoyaki. om nyom.
    – shiso leaves are a very acquired taste, definitely need something as strong to counter it, like preserved plums.

  5. valerie
    February 11, 2013 / 9:04 am

    At first I thought you were talking about Guu Izakaya, one of the best restaurant in Toronto (my personal opinion). I´ve never been to this one, but the food looks delicious, especially that tuna tataki. I might give it a try soon 🙂

  6. Grace
    February 13, 2013 / 8:17 am

    yup! definitely give them a try and order the shrimp!!! =D

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