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Cafes

Wagamama

Posted by Wendy D / Posted on January 14, 2009

WagamamaIn Japanese, "wagamama" means selfish, which is what Miwa Yamada's parents called her as a child. So when she grew up, she was like, "yeah that's right, I'm so wagamama that I'll open my OWN CAFE. Take that!" And Miwa The Pastry Chef opened Wagamama Cafe, and it was good.

The CounterOriginally a co-partner business, Wagamama is now run solely by Miwa, the keeper of recipes and the baker of goods. Almost all food is prepared on premises (the croissants and danishes are supplied by a local baker) with Miwa's personal recipes, some influenced by a Japanese twist (green tea cake, sesame cookies).

Tuesday's potato leek soup of the day is a hit and in-house breads are sold every Saturday at Sanko Market (daily leftovers are donated to The Good Shepherd). Gorgeous cupcakes tempt my belly at the cash as I order a cafe mocha and a carrot wagamuffin (come ON, that was necessary).

Pumpkin MuffinTurns out I got a serendipitous pumpkin muffin instead, cause whoa - taste central. Server Christine says they're so popular that people will call in advance to ensure the flavour bombs are in stock. And while I'm on the subject of "people", Christine also estimates that 90% of customers are regulars.

As I sit at my table, three people enter (separately) and a group conversation commences (together). The cafe mocha and my friend's hot chocolate were decent, but I think the real star of this show is the fresh food - my mood was a little shifty when my good camera died mid-cookie, but the smell of baked goodness made everything better.

Doggie BiscuitsThere's less of a make-yourself-at-home vibe here than other spots (only a few tables, no wi-fi and closed at 5pm), but the friendly staff and satisfying eats make Wagamama a worthy stop for King West dwellers.

Drink Menus

Food Menu

Jams & Jellies

Teas

Stupid RaisinsSo maybe I don't like raisins...

Discussion

26 Comments

krystyn / January 14, 2009 at 01:53 pm
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Ohhh I thought by your title that something was wrong with the raisins at this place!!

I always hated raisins, but I tell you, if it's a childhood aversion to raisins, I would give them a try again. I did and I'm happy that I did so!
Corina / January 14, 2009 at 03:42 pm
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I go here a LOT (and I hate raisins, then now and forever) and it's really a delicious place...

HOWEVER, I find the staff, especially if you go in the second half of the day, are sometimes quite rude to customers. I find that if you're recognized as a regular, you get smiles and good service, but otherwise it's pretty disinterested.

I have had a mixed bag of experiences, but thought it worth mentioning in case anyone ever gets a cold shoulder at this place - it's not always like that :)

p.s. DELICIOUS chocolate croissants.
Morga / January 14, 2009 at 05:47 pm
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I have been to this place several times and would love to say I enjoyed it, but every time I have went they are out of everything. One day I wanted just a sandwich and they had no meat left. Not just a single bad experience but every time I have gone they haven t had enough, and they gave me an attitude like it was my fault for not showing up soon enough.
tforster / January 14, 2009 at 06:59 pm
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I work a couple of blocks East of Wagamama and have been frequenting this cafe at least once a week for the past couple of years.

Their daily soups are fantastic and the sandwich bread is incredible. Thursday's are my favourite for the Tomato Vegetable soup and Tuesday's Potato Leak is a close second.

I do have to agree somewhat with Corina. The staff can come across as borderline rude sometimes. There is not a lot of smiling and cafe-employee-banter that you would expect and want from a small owner run cafe. Perhaps that's because they're just so busy churning out great food.

Since El Penco which was replaced by Craft Burger well over a year ago the only serious soup competition remaining has to be Sadies Vegetarian Diner.
Bethany / January 14, 2009 at 08:48 pm
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does anyone know if this place is dog-friendly? just noticed the dog biscuits pic, so i'm wondering... i find there aren't enough dog-friendly cafes in toronto!
benrito / January 14, 2009 at 10:14 pm
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great photos. the food looks tasty. i like your puns!
jack / January 15, 2009 at 12:54 am
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わがまま
Corina replying to a comment from Bethany / January 15, 2009 at 09:08 am
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VERY UN-DOG-FRIENDLY.... I got a serious scolding just for asking...

And then, for trying to order a coffee from the doorway with a 'keep the change' tip (the place was pretty empty, not like the girl was too busy) .. I was treated as though I had broken a dog rule or something. Good coffee though :)
Stephen / January 15, 2009 at 11:20 am
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love this place - bread is so fresh - soups totally warm your belly in a great way.
WhereIsMyCoffee? / January 15, 2009 at 08:31 pm
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My family and I used to frequent this cafe and really enjoyed their various cakes and desserts. Unfortunately, we stopped going once the other partner left because the cafe atmosphere had changed. The staff became unfriendly and we had disagreements over some orders, which they were quick to blame on us. It really was much better when it was co-owned.
Cookies99 / January 16, 2009 at 10:27 am
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Amazing Chocolate Creme Brule!! The service was friendly both times I visited.
Vince / January 16, 2009 at 11:49 am
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I go to Wagamama all the time and I have to say it is the most friendly cafe I have been to. I know all the staff by name and they are ALWAYS super friendly. I really don't understand the postings that say the staff members are rude. I'm a regular there, but I have never seen the staff be rude to anyone - regulars or not. Maybe you just get what you give.

Oh, and the dog thing? Isn't that a health issue? I didn't think any business that serves food allowed dogs in. Personally I don't want to eat in a place that allows dogs. Maybe that's just me.
Nic Morgan replying to a comment from Corina / January 17, 2009 at 04:18 pm
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Rude staff? Never once had a rude staff member there, and although it's the pumpkin muffin that made me a regular, the cool staff are what keep me a regular.
Nic Morgan / January 17, 2009 at 04:26 pm
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I commented to Corina before I saw the other comments in the thread. I go there for the food, the good coffee and I have to walk past two other decent coffee places to get there. They make a pumpkin muffin that is out of this world - light, fluffy, full of flavour and basically just perfect - and they always seem busy at the times I go there. Occasionally they're out of my pumpkin muffins, so I settle for a carrot, a banana chocolate chip, or my second favourite - the apple crumble muffin. If you're up for a treat, they make the best cookies in town, and I say that despite being ALLOT closer to Dufflet. Amazing.

I've never seen a rude, unfriendly or otherwise unwelcoming moment, and I recognize allot of the people who go at the times I do. They couldn't keep a crowd of regulars without having something going for them other than the quality of the fare.

It's definitely worth a going a few extra minutes out of my way, and not starting my day there sort of ruins it.
Robert / January 17, 2009 at 05:47 pm
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There's no other place like this in the city. Everything at Wagamama is absolutely delicious.
Rude staff? Never had this experience. If you want drama - and a small coffee that's called "tall" along with a $5 cookie, go to Starbucks!
Angela / January 17, 2009 at 05:55 pm
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I've frequented Wagamama since it opened. Their lemon tart is out of this world!

Some of the posts here regarding bad service surprised me. Never once have I had a bad experience, even during the lunch time rush. I have, however, observed some pretty rude customers!

I have no qualms recommending Wagamama (and have introduced it to numerous people).
Johanne / January 23, 2009 at 11:40 am
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I used to live directly above Wagamama's and I would drop in rather frequently. The coffee is really great, the muffins and croissants are tasty, but the service was usually really un-smiley. I can't say that it's a welcoming crew at this busy little cafe, but the interior is quaint and they also sell locally-made pottery- great for gifts or to jazz up your coffee mug collection.
- Johanne
Bruce / January 23, 2009 at 02:42 pm
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Just a side note, there's a chain of restaurants worldwide (mostly based in the UK) also called Wagamama (http://www.wagamama.com/). Kind of an upscale but casual Asian/fusion noodle place (very good!) with two locations in North America so far, in Boston and nearby Cambridge. Time to hire the lawyers, perhaps?
YOU HAVE NO TASTE! replying to a comment from WhereIsMyCoffee? / February 1, 2010 at 08:00 pm
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Another stupid comment from the competition.
YOU HAVE NO TASTE! replying to a comment from WhereIsMyCoffee? / February 1, 2010 at 08:02 pm
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SHOVE IT! You have no taste at all and we all know that you post negative comments.
You being the competition and all.
Mark / April 23, 2012 at 11:45 am
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I love this cafe.
Great food and coffee's.... I think they have been open for like twelve years.

Wicked treats! YUMMMM!
Liz / November 30, 2012 at 02:01 am
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Thanks for the advice! I will look at the cheurb. By the way I see they are bringing out a bean 2 cup could be a real can of worms!Are you a free-lance engineer? If so give me a ring -we are always looking for knowledgeable guys to repair coffee machines [that is if you are interested? ] Use below phone number .Thanks for the feedback.
Roger / April 28, 2014 at 10:58 am
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The have the best soup and sandwiches in the area.
Lous / July 18, 2014 at 08:42 am
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Very rude staff, will not be coming back here. I'm glad other people are noticing how rude the owners are at Wagamamma. There are plenty of cafes in the area that I rather go to than this ridiculous spot. Never again.
Auri / November 2, 2014 at 10:15 pm
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It can take a bit of time, but everything at Wagamama is worth the wait! Many of my friends who have moved ALWAYS make it their first stop during visits, and over the years I cannot count how many amazing muffins, scones, croissants and cookies I have consumed with real enjoyment.

If you want instant service with a (fake) smile there are plenty of other options; if you want to patronize a locally-sourced family-owned cafe whose amazing pastry chef has never been above making bread or muffins, this is THE place.

I hope, for Miwa Yamada's sake and for the large community that loves everything about Wagamama that makes it different, that this will never change.
Amanda / November 4, 2014 at 11:42 pm
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From all of your customers and friends, Miwa may you rest in peace. Thinking of your children and family.

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