I’ve been to Japonais Bistro (11806 Jasper Ave) a few times in the last couple months and I have to say it’s now become one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Edmonton!
Japonais (pronounced ‘zaponay’) is very spacious. It takes over the old one one eight restaurant and before that Suede Lounge. I had never been to either so I don’t know how much different it looks now but it is a nice, modern, clean, and spacious place.
The delicious food photos you’ll see as you scroll down in this post are from a mix of a date I had with my friend Brittany (@britl) as well as a double date night Mike & I did with his sister Amanda and boyfriend George.
What I really love about Japonais is their variety and how unique the variety is. A lot of Japonais’ rolls and their ‘Chef’s Specialities‘ are offered at no other Japanese restaurant in Edmonton. Not only is there lots of variety and one-of-a-kind dishes, but these are very tasty dishes. Fresh, great flavour combinations and just very much a different style than you’d expect with typical rolls and Japanese food.
They get the usual suspects down right. The Sashimi ($9.95 for 6 pieces) is fresh, the Beef Tataki ($12.95) is sliced just right and the ponzu sesame dressing with seaweed is delicious.
I tried their Tuna Nachos ($13.95) on the Chefs Specialities menu and just fell in love. These nachos have spicy sesame tuna with tobiko, avocado, sesame seeds & japeleno on crispy wonton chips and they were so light and all the ingredients just worked. I had wanted to try their Seafood Ceviche ($14.95) – assorted seafood, jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, onion, fresh lime juice with wonton chips but someone had ordered the last one right before I put in my order so while the Tuna Nachos weren’t my first choice, I would be picking them again the next time I go.
I didn’t think their Pizza Sushi ($8.95) or their Chicken Udon Soup ($11.95) were anything too special but I still wanted to share the food photos:
Now let’s get to the rolls! By far – our favourite rolls were Japonais’ TNT – crab, avocado shrimp tempura, tobiko, TNT sauce & sesame seeds – rolls ($13.95). Not only is the presentation fantastic, but the texture/crunch and flavour is amazing. For the price, I also think the TNT rolls are your best bet – it’s significantly cheaper than most of the other rolls but also significantly more delicious.
The Love Crunch rolls (baked crab, avocado roll with salmon and spicy tuna, tempura bits, sweet soy and tobiko – $17.95) are also a favourite – though I still prefer the TNT – for both flavour and price. Still the presentation here, as with all the other rolls we had except the Bakudan rolls, was great.
Check out a few of the other rolls we tried (the Cheezy Dragon rolls are interesting because they include cream cheese. I really liked it!):
In a past dinner date Mike also tried their Ishiyaki beef (beef cooked on a stone grill at your table, served with sesame and ponzu sauces – $15.95) but didn’t find it that great because you don’t get too much beef and the $15.95 price doesn’t include any rice or sides so $16 for some beef you cook yourself is not really the best value.
I’ve now tried three different desserts at Japonais as well and really liked all three. The Banana Spring Roll (banana, nutella with caramel syrup & black sesame ice cream – $6.95) is Mike’s favourite. You can also get it with other flavours of ice cream but Mike doesn’t like green tea so black sesame is a great alternative. I actually think the Cheese Tofu ($7.95) dessert is my favourite. It has a very refreshing and light feel to it. And the Matcha Creme Brulee was good but not my favourite. The presentation for it is definitely the best though!
Japonais hasn’t been around for that long but I really do hope it stays. It’s a great addition to the Edmonton food scene + Japanese food scene and again I can’t stress how I love the variety of rolls and how unique some of the dishes are. There’s also oyster night on Tuesdays which I haven’t tried yet but is on my list to try (though you need to order $20 of other food & drinks before you can get the $1 oysters. That’s easy enough to do though!) They also have a chef’s assorted special dinner you can get (Omakase) for $75 a person, which I would be very curious to try but also wonder if $75 can be justified, lol.
The prices here are expensive – no doubt about it. Japanese restaurants for dinner typically are and Japonais is no different in that sense. The restaurant and the food is delicious, the service is also great, but I wish it wasn’t as pricey as it is. Don’t let that keep you from trying Japonais or from coming back to it though. It’s definitely one of my favourite Japanese restaurants in Edmonton now!
So have you been to Japonais?! What did you think??