Hello Neighbor: Rakitori Japanese Pub & Grill Hillcrest


Like that trusted friend you can call to, in good times and in bad, finding that late night hideaway with great food and drinks is priceless.

We discovered Rakitori one late evening after the gym, when not many other places nearby were still open.  From that night on, it's been a frequent favorite. (** 3 visits within a week type favorite).

The humble exterior, facing the busy and bustling University ave, leads into a cozy and ambient hybrid between a stylish uptown bar hangout and an intimate eatery.

The people are fun and friendly, the specials are on point, but what really really made me adore this place is their salmon skin salad.  Served in a wooden box, this dish has quite the generous portion of crispy salmon skin (that has a sliver of meat still attached), a mix of seaweed salad, fresh greens, roasted garlic, roe and just the right amount of dressing.  Somehow this salad is filling, satisfying, bright, savory and delightful all at the same time.  I have yet to visit Rakitori and not order this dish.

Other favorites:
Chicken heart yakitori.
Baby octopus yakitori
Pork belly yakitori
Spicy seafood ramen
Oxtail ramen in Tonkatsu soup (if the menu doesn't show this soup avail, ask for it, and they'll let you know if they have it that evening)
and quite a few others.

I'd also like to highlight that I really adore the consistency/texture/bounciness of the noodles they use in their ramen and their black garlic oil with roasted garlic addition is a flavor party!

I often trek up to the Convoy area when craving yakitori, so I'm so stoked to have this place in Hillcrest, close to home and the gym.

We'll be headed here again soon and if any of you happen to try the green tea fondue, let me know what you think!   I really like the butterscotch pudding.

Till next time, happy eating!

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