Las Vegan

Kingyo Toronto Serves Vegan Food

Posted in Restaurants by karoumy on January 3, 2013

Kingyo is an Izakaya restaurant in Cabbagetown. It’s also the Toronto location of a Vancouver restaurant. This makes it part of two trends that I was previously unaware of.


Izakaya is Japanese for lounge or Tapas if you’re fancy. This one grabbed my attention since it mentioned a vegan menu section in the Toronto Life review. You can click-through the Toronto Life link for all the unnecessary details. Here, it’s about the food.

What especially caught my attention was the mention of Shojin cooking. Shojin is the Japanese Buddhist style of cooking that I’ve been curious about for a while.

The dish I was most curious about, Kyoto Style Shojin, is limited to ten a day. I called in advance and they still had three left. We arrived an hour later around 8:30pm and it was sold out.  No big deal, they have a few other vegan items on the menu. We also asked about a few other dishes on the menu. Fortunately, they understood that vegan means no fish products whatsoever. This was very reassuring. No potential mixups at this place.


The first dish that came out was the Avocado Battera Plum Seaweed Sauce. The first thing I noticed was the avocado was perfectly ripe. And the rice was perfect too. It was really, really good. Very simple and tasty. In fact so good we ordered another round.


The next dish we ordered was the Daikon Radish and Vegetable Tempura Salad. The tempura reminded me of a potato pancake. This was good too. The word that comes to mind to describe this dish is balance. There wasn’t one flavour that dominated the dish. To me, this is a sign of culinary expertise. I can get philosophical with this kind of food. Let’s talk about Martial Arts Movies, Taoism and Zen Buddhism. Everything in it’s proper proportion. The beauty of complimentary opposites.


I was not expecting this–Looks Like Fish Yah? Vegetable Nigiri Sushi–it does look like fish! Let’s start with the okra and go counter-clockwise. I think the okra was steamed and still crispy. The next one over is a mushroom with some crispy deep-fried stuff on top. Honestly, I can’t remember what that white thing was…maybe Daikon? It was good. Then next to it is a tomato slice with coriander on top. We referred to that one as the Mexican sushi. And next to that is squash resting on a cucumber slice. My favourite was the Lotus root which seriously looked like fish. And then finally the eggplant; also amazing. And that thing in the middle is a cucumber roll with a surprise shot of wasabi inside. We were told to eat that first. Also, no soya sauce was provided with this dish.

I enjoy sushi from time to time. It’s usually cucumbers and avocado in different variations. Once in a while I find something different like Umeshiso or Natto. This is the most different and interesting thing I’ve tasted to date. Each piece had a distinct flavour.

Altogether with sake and lemon green tea the meal came to $65 (with taxes) before tip. This is what I normally spend on sushi for two people.  The quality and variety is much better at Kingyo. I’m going back for more. And hopefully earlier so I can try the Kyoto Style Shojin.


5:30PM – 11:30PM every day.

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3 Responses

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  1. mrsleny said, on January 4, 2013 at 10:08 am

    Great review. Finally some vegan Japanese. I missed out on trying a shojin restaurant in San Francisco several years ago. It has since closed 😦

  2. MeShell said, on February 22, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    Oh wow. That looks awesome, and I can’t believe it’s in Toronto. Our vegan Japanese option thus far has been Joe Yee (but it’s in Richmond Hill…)

    Thanks for this. The pictures look great!

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