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Restaurants

Gyugyuya

Posted by Anders Whist / Reviewed on April 15, 2014 / review policy

gyugyuya torontoGyugyuya, a recent addition to a crowded stretch of Dundas, is a rare Japanese restaurant in Toronto not focused on sushi. No, Gyugyuya is a curry house, serving up large portions of rice and aromatic Japanese curry topped with a wide variety of sizzling meats.

gyugyuya torontoCurry, introduced to Japan by the English in the 19th century, has become quite popular in Japan over the past 50 or so years, and Japanese curries turn out to be not so different from more familiar varieties. Gyugyuya's take on it is aromatic and pleasantly spiced, with hints of nutmeg featuring prominently. All of Gyugyuya's curry dishes feature the same curry, and thus rise and fall with the quality of the meat.

The restaurant itself isn't especially appealing, a long, narrow space painted a deep shade of yellow. Top 40 blares in the background. Metal cups and serving dishes further add to the industrial feel. Still, it's busy, even late in the lunch hour, and people seem to be enjoying themselves.

gyugyuya torontoOn the advice of our server, we start with the Gyu Curry ($11.99), which features soft, flaky beef on top of rice and curry, with a cabbage salad and sliced hardboiled egg on the side. The thin strings of beef are tender and sweet, with a faint saltiness to them, and the delicious meat pairs well with the sauce.

The Karage curry ($9.99, $3.99 as a side) features fried chicken with a hard, thick exterior. It's less interesting, as the relatively flavourless breading predominates, and the chicken lacks the rich moistness or flavour that good fried chicken possesses.

The Yakitori ($9.99/$1.99) is a little better - the chicken skewer is moist with some flavourful charring, though the chicken itself is bland, resulting in a dish that is more average than anything else. Additional meats, eggs (fried and boiled) and other toppings are available as add-ons, though the curry dishes are plenty filling.

gyugyuya torontoThe menu is focused mostly on curry and on bowls, which feature meat over rice, sans curry. The Katsu Don ($9.89) comes with fried pork or chicken, and the pork version comes out sizzling. It's almost schnitzel-esque, with a thin breading that allows the tender and delicious pork to shine. It's all topped with a fried egg that adds some welcome moisture and texture, and thick strands of cooked onion add sweetness, though the dish doesn't come together in quite the same fashion as the curry, though the individual elements are strong. The side salad and miso are, however, standard-issue.

gyugyuya torontoGyugyuya bills itself as Toronto's first restaurant specializing in Japanese curry, and with its bold decor and meaty dishes it does stand out. The underlying elements should be familiar to curry fans, though: It's a regional take more than a curry revolution. As with any cuisine, some things work out better than others. Avoid the underwhelming chicken dishes and stick with the beef and pork and everything should work out fine.

gyugyuya torontoPhotographs by Miranda Whist. Follow Anders on Twitter.

Discussion

27 Comments

Eric V. / April 15, 2014 at 01:30 am
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Rare? Other than all of the ramen places and the wildly popular Guu franchises?
poh replying to a comment from Eric V. / April 15, 2014 at 03:07 am
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Ramen places aren't curry places and Guu is an izakaya.
ender replying to a comment from poh / April 15, 2014 at 07:13 am
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That's the point of Eric's post. The article says it's rare to find a Japanese restaurant not focused on sushi. Eric pointed out there are lots of Japanese places not focused on sushi...
v79 / April 15, 2014 at 07:51 am
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That disgusting yellow interior is more than enough to keep me out of this place, not even taking into consideration the less than stellar review. I'll stick with Kaiju at Yonge and Gerrard (in the basement of the Aura shops/condos)for my Japanese curry fix. It has superior food, prices and atmosphere.
Joseph T / April 15, 2014 at 09:09 am
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And you can read more about this place in this weeks Dinesafe article...
kioch / April 15, 2014 at 09:19 am
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It all looks so mmmmmmmmmm!
jashik replying to a comment from Joseph T / April 15, 2014 at 10:21 am
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Where? I looked in there and this restaurant wasn't there.
Lafcadio replying to a comment from ender / April 15, 2014 at 12:34 pm
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Why are Torontonians so picky and so petty?
d / April 15, 2014 at 02:17 pm
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Hipsters much?
K replying to a comment from Lafcadio / April 15, 2014 at 02:21 pm
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Not all of us are petty my friend...not all!! These blogs are notorious for gravitating away from the original article and focus. It's rather sad! In my opinion...this place looks great! I'll count my vegetarian friends out (as potential dining partners) but my boyfriend and I will certainly hop on board. YUM!
Laugh / April 15, 2014 at 02:28 pm
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I'd be shocked if the owner was Japanese
sprawl_explorer replying to a comment from Lafcadio / April 15, 2014 at 02:28 pm
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To generalize Torontonians as such is pretty petty itself.
jd83 / April 15, 2014 at 05:52 pm
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Hoping this place is decent. Walked by a few days ago and got a bit excited. Only thing missing is a ticket machine outside.

Every time I go to Japan I have curry a couple of times. Usually just hit up Manpuku or Tokyo Kitchen here in the city, but I'll try this place once.
HK / April 16, 2014 at 01:38 pm
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For once a Japanese restaurant not serving sushi in a cookie cutter menu. In Japan curry can be more popular than sushi.
Some of the stuff seem to cost on the expensive side. I know I sound cheap but I've seen places where they serve the same stuff for $6-7
ricepick / April 16, 2014 at 04:38 pm
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Honestly doesn't look that great. What will be great is when someone can bring the amazing Japanese chain of COCo Curry House to Toronto. It would fit in perfectly in this city. There you go food business people, here's your challenge. This knock off just won't do. I'll eat my words though if this place is any good. I doubt it.
Actually Ate Here / April 18, 2014 at 04:46 am
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I ate here a few times since it opened in late Feb. It's really good. The curry lacks a bit of depth, but they're still pretty new and needs to work out some kinks. Their deep fried stuff is amazing. It's always tender and you can cut it with a fork. In this case, spork because that's what they use here. It's really cute. They're nicely seasoned and full of flavour. I don't find it salty after the meal and the service is great. The waitresses are attentive and refills tea/water and gives out bowls and extra utensils when they know you're sharing.

If ppl say manpuku is better, they take the stuff premade, that's why it's cheap. The stuff they use are low qaulity ingridents. Doesn't mean it's bad, it's great for ppl with tight budget. And Sid is a smart and cool guy.

If ppl say CoCo House is better, move to Japan and don't come back. Yes they are amazing, unless you can convince them to franchise one in Toronto, then this is what we have. I'm glad that there's acutally someone even willing to venture a curry house in Toronto when all people here know about Japanese food is sushi, ramen, and izakayas.

The prices are basically downtown prices. To people who are refusing to try this place because they need to know if it's run by Japanese people: who cares? Curry's origin isn't even Japanese. I know Italian restaurants run by Brazilians, Indian restaurants by Caucasians, Mexican place by Chinese, and they're all superb. But that won't convince you.

The design is Brazilian inpsired. When I first saw them renovating, I thought they were Chinese run. But once you're inside, you can connect the theme.

I would recommand this place. They're only a little over a month old, not even two months into their business. Go try it out.
BillyO / April 22, 2014 at 08:38 pm
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How does this Japanese curry place compare to the one in the basement food court of Aura condo at Yonge/Gerrard? I heard that one is pretty good
james / April 24, 2014 at 07:50 pm
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I bet just like Kaiju which people mention it is not owned by Japanese people
that kaiju place is a Vietnamese joint hence the inauthentic flavours
but hey authenticity??pfft who cares?
PS: Japanese curry?? just go to any Japanese restaurant in town including Tokyo Grill
Lud replying to a comment from Actually Ate Here / April 24, 2014 at 08:58 pm
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Congratulations on your new business. I hope you do well
So basically what you are saying is you are not Japanese. People authentic Japanese curry at Japanese owned restos like Manpuku or Tokyo Kitchen in or near downtown

PS to Actually Ate here: lol at your chinese people make Mexican food or vice versa or whatever you said
Ahmad / April 25, 2014 at 04:53 pm
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I think I am going to skip this place. Gyu means beef red meat in Japanese and best curry is with chicken. Yeah these people are not Japanese and just faking it like all the fake sushi places
What's Up / May 2, 2014 at 11:48 am
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First Chinese were trying Japanese food, then Koreans started guu and Kinton and now Vietnamese are in on it. I will stick with Tokyo Grill or Tokyo Kitchen
timmy / May 3, 2014 at 08:47 pm
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this place be balls to the walls chinese food!!!
Layton / May 6, 2014 at 10:22 pm
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rare Japanese restaurant not focused on sushi??
Heard of raijin, Santouka or Udon bushi or Tokyo Grill or Teppan Kenta or Ju???
Luke / June 9, 2014 at 07:32 pm
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I wish blogto had a little more expertise or experienced in its writers/articles.So what we have here is another case of Chinese people masquerading and messing up Japanese food. What a waste of time and my lunch. You want Japanese curry: go to manpuku or Tokyo Kitchen. Funny how those places have a larger menu and do curry better and ina ctual Japanese style (maybe because they are Japanese) unlike the disappointment that this place was
ros / June 10, 2014 at 01:29 pm
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I like the food there. Its pricy though, because gyudon in Japan is 400 yen, about four bucks. I don't mind paying $11-$12 if the portions are larger though. Curry is good but must pour MORE curry sauce !! So I will not be going there unless they get out of the " KECHI " Mentality.
Angela / June 20, 2014 at 08:55 pm
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this restaurant is not Japanese just serving fake Japanese food. go to Miyabi or Tokyo Grill for a real curry from Japan
Ken / October 2, 2014 at 09:59 pm
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More non-Japanese making fake Japanese food and more restaurants selling 'Japanese' food to Chinese hordes

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