Aoto-ya Blue Door Japanese Restaurant - Hidden gem!!
Once in a while you find a hidden gem. A diamond in the rough. A neglected goldmine. Aoto-ya is just that. Aoto-ya is located on Victoria Drive, not exactly the most "happening" of places haha.
I found this place while randomly searching for food on yelp! Someone said that this place is similar to Hi Genki, and I agree. You're not going to get fancy food here. Or "mind-blowing" food. It's Japanese comfort food, done right. Unpretentious, simple, and delicious.
This place isn't very well known yet it has a 90% rating on urbanspoon! Yes, ratings are highly subjective but they still hold some degree of truth.
Signature DishesAoto-ya's speciality is their Teishouku Combo, which is a main dish served with a kobachi side dish,pickles, rice & miso soup. They have different variations like shriomizaka no shiso fry, grilled salmon, shougayaki, simmered mackerel, shiso tonkatsu which range from $8 - $18!
They also have sushi, donburi, udon, and sashimi! Their sushi rolls are only a $2.50 each! If you order 3 or more you can a free miso soup.
They even have dessert items like mochi, matcha parfaits, coffee floats, ice cream, and taiyaki! Roasted Green tea is free but they also have an extensive drink menu!
Service was alright, nothing more, nothing less. The waitress was polite, but didn't smile or make conversation. There only appeared to be one server in the restaurant from what I observed. Aoto-ya is a mom-pop operation, so the food comes does come out slower. If you're willing to look past that, you'll enjoy your time here.
The decor is really simple and modest. They have their daily specials plastered on the walls, above eye level. Some of the dishes on special aren't available on the regular menu. On the table they have signage advertising their selection of teas and desserts!
Price - Affordable $
If you come at lunch the specials and bento boxes are really affordable! Their Teishouku combos are more costly, but the other menu items are pretty inexpensive. Dinner is a pricier endeavour, as it is with most restaurants.
Value - Good
The portion sizes are large and coupled with their cheap prices, this place is great value! For less than the price of a fast food meal, you can get healthy, delicious Japanese food made with care!