Volume 96, Issue 84
Tuesday, March 11, 2003

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RESTAURANT REVIEW: Tanakaya Japanese Restaurant

Japanese delights at Tanakaya

Tanakaya Japanese Restaurant

130 King St
(in Covent Garden Market)

By Megan O'Toole
and Andrew Knox
Gazette Staff

Allen Chen/Gazette

For a delicious taste of Japan in London, you need go no further than Covent Garden Market. Tanakaya Japanese Restaurant is situated within the market square, just opposite the LCBO. With its blend of excellent service and exquisite food, Tanakaya is an experience to truly savour.

The restaurant provides an oasis of Japanese décor integrated with the market's community atmosphere. Settling down for a refreshing authentic Japanese meal at Tanakaya can constitute a perfect end to an excursion in the market, or if you prefer not to deal with the bustle of the market, the restaurant is open outside of regular market hours. Whatever atmosphere you desire, Tanakaya can accommodate it.

The restaurant environment is small and personal, with modernized Japanese décor and a friendly, attentive staff. You can also watch the chef in action as your meal is freshly prepared.

Overall, the prices are reasonable for those working with a student budget. For appetizers, the vegetable tempura is affordable at $6.95, and consists of a variety of deep-fried vegetables in a light batter. Other options include Age Dashi tofu ($4.75) and sushi pizza ($9.95).

Meals are served with green tea, which compliments the flavour of the food, and all bento entrées come complete with salad, rice, and miso soup. The unagi kabayaki meal ($18.95) is a succulent serving of barbecued eel with unagi sauce and vegetables, offering a delectable blend of flavour and a perfect, tender texture.

You can also choose from a variety of sushi sets, ranging in price from $6.95 for an affordable personal serving, to $32.95 for a meal to share. The mid-range sushi boat at $22.95 comes with 12 pieces of assorted sushi, including salmon, tuna and shrimp, the latter of which is especially delicious. Also included in the boat are various smaller sushi rolls.

If you want to create a meal suited specifically to your personal taste, you can mix and match various sushi rolls, te maki (hand rolls), sashimi and nigiri sushi. Among the available options is the classic California roll ($4.50), or if you want to branch out, you can try the amazing spider roll ($12.95), which contains deep-fried soft-shell crab with lettuce, carrots, cucumbers and masago.

To finish off the meal, you may want to try a scoop of green tea ice cream, which constitutes a sweet and refreshing end to a luscious meal.

Tanakaya also offers several different party trays, which range in price from $35 to $70 and are sure to satisfy a larger group.

One of the best features of the Tanakaya experience is their delivery service. Fine Japanese cuisine is only a phone call away, allowing you to avoid the bitter chill of winter. In addition, if you're in the market and don't have time to sit down, they also offer takeout.

Tanakaya Restaurant is open Monday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.. After market hours, you can enter the restaurant through the outside entrance on the north wall of the market.


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