I’m a big fan of trying new things, so when I heard that a new Japanese home-style restaurant was opening in my neighbourhood on King St East, I got excited and booked reservations with the owner.

Upon entering the wooden frontage of Izna, the first thing I noticed was their serene sand garden that had been beautifully arranged for a zen atmosphere. The place felt like being transported to another time when Samurai still wandered in for a bite to eat.

I brought my friends along for fun and we ordered several dishes to share and taste. Just be forewarned — the portion sizes are large and they give you plenty of food! 

The cuisine was a western take on traditional versions of Japanese homestyle dishes. With so much to choose from, we decided to try most of the menu. I started with my regular Japanese restaurant go-to appetizer of Agedashi Tofu and it did not disappoint. 

The stand-out favourites of the night were the rice dishes. My friends loved the Una Don — a rice bowl topped with a generous portion of BBQ’d eel — while I can’t stop wishing for more of the Sake Don — a rice bowl topped with salmon green onions, avocado and a savoury sauce. The rice was really flavourful and the ramen and udon noodles were also great. I will be coming back in the colder autumn months for some warming bowls.

Basically, we ordered way too much food and left very full and happy. The presentation was visually appealing, set on a tray with a side of kimchi, yellow radish and a miso soup. Our server was very friendly and attentive and made sure we had plenty of ice cold lemon water and tea, while chatting with us about the dishes.

I was also pleasantly surprised to see $6.95 pints of King St. Saison from local brewery Block 3 on tap. It’s a great local beer and super refreshing.

Overall the portion sizes were large, the prices were good, and the food was delicious, ensuring that Izna is the kind of restaurant you can go to over and over again.