Head to Ki for the Financial District’s Staple Japanese
Looking for a place to close your next deal? Let ‘Power Lunch’ be your guide to the most delectable spots in the city. A gem in the middle of the financial district, Ki still shines bright.
Location: 181 Bay St, Toronto, ON M5J 2T3
Must-try eats: Start with a palate cleanser like the house Oshinko pickles, then move on to Ki’s signature plates. Our favourites? The sake aburi (you can’t go wrong with a torched salmon), and the hamachi-jalapeno sushi with ginger and yuzu shoyu.
Libations: Sake, of course. And cold, at that (it’s spring after all). Like wine, sake appeals to all different kinds of palates. And at Ki there’s tons of sake to choose from. At least 10 cold sakes that come by the glass. Do you like your drinks tart? Or maybe creamy, with a caramel finish? Ask you server.
Where to sit so you’re in-and-out in 60 minutes: If you’re dining alone, pick the bar. Otherwise, you can’t go wrong with the tables and banquettes right in front of the bar.
Groups of financiers wearing tailored suits litter Ki at lunch. After all, the restaurant was made for them. It’s modern Japanese of the utmost quality: at Ki, dishes are always consistent. That’s probably why its been a mainstay for these types of groups over 10 years. There’s certainly a buzz about the place. In terms of decor, what’s cohesive is the restaurant’s dark wood and dim-lit space—“zen,” as one would say. This is a restaurant that lets you focus on the people around you.
The sushi and signature dishes at Ki reigns. A good mixture of things to pick at, from the pickles (as mentioned above) to the seven-spice edamame and lobster to tempura, is the only way to start your lunch. But it’s all about the sushi and sashimi. The sake aburi is a must, so is the hamachi, kiwi tuna and kyoto maki. If you were looking for a light lunch, stop there. Otherwise, standout dishes (albeit heavier) include the beef striploin tataki, miso-marinated black cod, and seared diver scallops.
If sake isn’t your thing there’s a plethora of beers, cocktails and mocktails that will pair perfectly with your meal. Everything’s seasonal at Ki, so you won’t find anything here that’s too heavy this spring-summer season. The Bill Murray is a balanced cocktail made with barrel-aged Mars Iwai whisky, house Japanese vermouth, sugar and orange peel. There’s also an impressive selection of Japanese craft beers, like Hitachino Nest, which differentiates Ki from any other Japanese institutions in the city.