Ebisu on Queen / Ebisu Toronto

There has been an influx of west coast imports as of late to Toronto, and another added to the list is Ebisu on Queen (Toronto). They have been open for a couple of weeks, and are still in the mist of their soft launch stage. Ebisu Japanese Restaurant originated from Vancouver, as its first location opened in December of 2006. There are two locations in Vancouver and one in Richmond, along with two restaurants under the Kamei names. The brand itself is very well-known in Vancouver, and they hope to expand it in Toronto with this new outpost.

So, what is Ebisu? Ebisu translates as "Yebisu" - meaning the fisherman's god of fortune and good luck. Ebisu is the only one out of the Seven Gods of Fortune to originate from Japan.


I was invited about a week ago to attend a media tasting to try a few of their signature dishes (some from their Vancouver menu). Prior to their grand opening, I was here to give Muse Salon (upstairs of Ebisu) a try, where I had an enjoyable hair salon experience. Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) took over the former Sushi Queen space located at 204 Queen St. West, and had a complete renovation of the space. The newly opened Ebisu on Queen embraces the concept of izakayas with its paneled wood, and minimal decor giving it a contemporary tranquil feel.

The contemporary space is perfect for lunch or dinner with friends, but is also fitting for any occasions including watching sport games, birthday parties, large parties, and even romantic dates. Similarly to their popular Vancouver outposts, they offer an extensive menu of tapas dishes and drinks set in a lively sushi bar lounge. The extensive menu offers traditional Japanese fare with a mix of international flavours along with a huge selection of drinks.




The evening started off splendidly with an array of drinks from the Ebisu Drink Menu. We opted for the Maccha (Green Tea) Cocktail ($8.95), which was surprisingly light and refreshing.





The menu at Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) centered on contemporary and fusion Japanese food. In regards to fusion dishes, there were several dishes that were made of a combination of different culinary elements. An example of such dish was the Cajun Tuna Tacos ($7.50) - seared fresh tuna & shredded mixed salad dressed with our tantalizing house ginger saucewhich consisted of lightly seared tuna mixed with tomato, fresh avocados, and dressed with a house sauce. One of the issues that I found was the consistency, as one of the tacos was not evenly coated while the other was drenched. 



In addition to signature rolls, Ebisu offers three different kinds of seared box sushi (battera sushi) on the menu. Battera sushi was made by pressing sushi rice and fillet of a fish into a mould to create a rectangular shape, and then lightly seared with a blowtorch. Additionally, the battera sushi are topped off with different toppings to give each one a distinctive taste. It should be noted that the searing is done at the table by the server, so you can watch it being done.



Saba (Mackerel) Miso Battera Sushi ($11.50)





Salmon Motoyaki Battera Sushi ($12.50)


Out of the three options, my favorite was the Hamachi (Yellowtail) Jalepeno Battera Sushi ($13.50).



The Chowder Pot Pie ($8.95) was a dish filled with comforting flavors, and perfect for the cold winter. Flaky puff pastry tops a rich mixture of vegetables and clams.


In recent years, I have come to love Takoyaki ($6.95) - deep fried octopus balls topped with bonito flakes and house sauce. Whenever I am out at a Japanese restaurant, I would always order a side of octopus balls (just for myself). The ones from Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) were cooked perfectly that I ate 10 takoyaki without realizing it! They were nice and doughy on the inside with a good portion of octopus pieces, and generously topped with mayo and bonito flakes.


For those who love sake, the well-priced, Izumi Toronto Sake Sampler ($9) may be an option. Several izakayas don't have samplers available (prefer diners to buy full bottles), so the management at Ebisu decided to offer this option on their drink menu. This allows diners to sample a flight of three different Izumi branded sake; Sake Sangria, Nama Nama, and Teion Sakura for a set price.



The Oyster Motoyaki ($9.50) - fresh beach oysters, spinach, white mushrooms baked in a Japanese Motoyaki sauce, was pretty huge, and contained a good chunk of oysters baked into a half shell. It was pretty good - creamy and flavorful.


I have always enjoyed DIY aspects of some dishes, and the BBQ Beef Short Ribs ($10.95) - slices of thick & juicy Angus beef short ribs marinated in Korean influenced homemade BBQ sauce served with a mini BBQ grill on the side, was no different. It came out on a portable tiny grill, and diners have the option to grill them to their liking. The BBQ ribs were tender and well-marinated in a sweet soy sauce.


Real Crab Vancouver Roll (4 pcs is $6.50 and 8 pcs is $11.50) - crab & avocado wrapped in BC smoked sockeye salmon, is one of their signature rolls that is very popular in Vancouver.


Spicy Sashimi ($8.95)


Pork Cutlet Curry ($12.95) - with organic green salad


If you want to try the ramen, then I would suggest dropping by for the lunch deals as they have a good selection of lunch sets. The lunch sets come with ramen, mini don, and a dish of today's appetizer for typically the same price as a ramen priced around dinner time.

Miso Ramen ($13.95)


Ramune (Japanese Soda) High Ball ($8.95)


Ebisu on Queen (Toronto) is open Monday to Sunday for both lunch and dinner. Check out their website for their full menu of seafood, vegetable, sushi/sashimi, hot stone rice bowl, ramen, and more.

Address: 204 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M5V 1Z2

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Disclaimer: The food provided in this post was complimentary. However, all of the opinions expressed in this review are of my own.

Ebisu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato