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Restaurants

Japas

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Reviewed on November 16, 2012 / review policy

Japas TorontoJapas, open since late October, is the newest resto-lounge to infuse a little late-night attitude into the pervasive sushi experience. Occupying the corner lot that once housed Camto, this new addition to Koreatown aspires to be a hit with locals and the 20-something student crowd by keeping late hours and serving an inexpensive tapas menu alongside pitchers of beer.

Japas TorontoInside the narrow dinning room, long tables and bench seating make the space feel kind of like a beer hall. At 6pm on a weekday, only a couple tables are full but it's not hard to imagine boisterous crowds enjoying sake-fueled nights over plates of the daily oyster varieties and snack-bar selections like, the Yakitori skewers ($2) and Enoki mushrooms wrapped in bacon ($3).

Japas TorontoOwners Kim Chou and Chris Xu want to offer seafood in a casual and inexpensive setting, taking full advantage of the supplier relationships Chou has already established through his other business, Kensington Market's New Seaway Fish Market.

Japas TorontoTaking advantage of Chou's expertise for myself, I sample items from the raw bar like the Bincho Tataki ($7), a generous plate featuring smoky flavoured, thin-sliced, seared tuna and refreshing cucumbers marinated in tart ponzu sauce.

The Oshi Sushi Tasting ($13, lead photo), offers six unique presentations of fresh selections, which tonight include; fluke, scallops, tuna and salmon topped in a variety of garnishes and complimentary sauces.

Japas TorontoThe Wild Jumbo Shrimp Tempura ($7) is impressively light and fresh and comes dressed with spicy wasabi mayo and house sauce that packs a little punch.

My visit to Japas hardly disappoints, but my guess is that things were only getting started as I was heading out. Japas is open nightly from 5pm to 2am.

Japas TorontoPhotos by Morris Lum

Discussion

9 Comments

BH / November 16, 2012 at 12:00 pm
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In this day and age you just have to have a website as well as an online menu unless you've already built up a reputation.

It sounds interesting from the review but with so much choice out there every restaurant needs to keep up with the competition. By the way, I always like it when reviewers get a few snaps of the menu in cases like these.

And it doesn't exactly cost a lot to have a site up and running either. Some places go right to using blogs or Facebook (one of the few uses for that social media crap). I don't care as long as I have the info.
Camila / November 16, 2012 at 01:28 pm
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They will do well, they don't need any sort of social media or advertisement. This neighborhood likes to eat and drink local and camtoe had it's own following that will now automatically go to this place.
People in the neighborhood care about what's around here. So long as it is reasonably priced and includes vegetarian options and serves alcohol we'll be there, at least to try it. We'll choose to dine out nearby and support the area over going to another strip anyday.
I'll be trying it out myself soon.
BH / November 16, 2012 at 02:33 pm
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A read of my comment would tell you I wasn`t talking about advertising; I meant just getting out basic info like hours, contact info, special events and menus.

Like everyone else does.
Charles / November 16, 2012 at 06:10 pm
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Just came here on your recommendation. Had a terrible experience the food was extremely sub-par.
Angie / November 16, 2012 at 06:11 pm
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I love blogTO but you guys have no clue what you ate talking about in terms of Asian food. I went here because of your recommendations but it was dissapointung. The skewers were bland and the tofu dish wasn't fresh. The happy hour oyster special was cheap but they ended up giving 12 of the same oysters and they weren't good.
jay / November 16, 2012 at 08:23 pm
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Just want to point out that the former owner of Camto still has a significant stake in Japas. I say this because he was a former OPP/drug dealer who got busted a couple of years back and did some time. Camto was known to sell cocaine/oxy to the local asian crowd so I would be careful. If you dont really have morals and only care about the food, then go ahead.

I went here on Tuesday and Wednesday (I have low morals btw). Both times I was a bit disappointed as the oyster/raw fish are from the leftover stock of their Fish store in Kensington Market....and whoever has been in the fish business know fish aint shipped daily! holla!
Trollololol / November 19, 2012 at 10:48 am
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This place is alright. Aside from awkward asian syndrome, the oysters werent that bad. I would go again on the ambience alone.
mel / February 18, 2013 at 09:50 am
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Dined here last night and must say it was hands-down the worst dining experience I've had in Toronto.

First thing - don't call yourself an "oyster bar" if you don't know how to serve oysters. The shucker has clearly never been trained (a trend we find continues with the rest of the staff) and I found chunks of shell in the oyster, some were still attached to the shell with their adductor muscles... and the most horrible part - 50% of the oysters they served on my plate were bad and reeked of dead fish.

It took an hour to get our drinks and first order (raw oysters) and had to complain to find out what's taking our food so long. The staff were unresponsive and incapable of service. We wondered if it was just us, and started watching the service at the tables around us. The couple next to us asked twice to get 2 glasses of water. The same thing happened with their sake. Their food was served before they received their drinks.

Got to the point where we couldn't help but start laughing at how horrible the experience was. Everything that could have gone wrong did, to the point that we expected our sashimi to come out frozen and applauded when it didn't. The sushi pizza was burnt, the edamame took almost 2 hours to arrive at the table (cold), the sushi tasting dish included dairy-based sauces on 2/3rds of the sushi served (gross), and it goes on and on.

My date had to run to the washroom during dinner because the food wasn't sitting well. BUT the university crowd seemed to enjoy the pitchers of beer and promotions being served. Perhaps that's Japas' sweet spot: university students who come for the beer and specials.

The food was terrible. The service was laughably bad. The prices (unless you are there for a promotion/special like their happy hour) are outrageous for the crap they serve - comparable to a Yuzu or Blowfish.

My advice: save yourself the food poisoning, don't bother with this place.
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