I am a huge fan of Japanese poke bowls, sushi and desserts, so I was excited to try these at Kitaya!
It was another one of those days where we had no time to cook, so it left us with no clue what to eat for dinner in the last minute. There was a snowstorm here in Toronto and the entire city was spending 1-2 days shoveling snow – how fun, right?
I’m sure you guys will remember the crazy amount of snow we had in January 2022!
The weather here in Toronto was super cold while we were on the hunt for food.
Kitaya Japanese Takeout Review
Rui and I are huge fans of Japanese restaurants and their desserts, so we decided on the fly to stop by Kitaya, a Japanese takeout in North York, to try their poke bowls.
They are located inside the same plaza of where C&C Supermarket is.
Address: 890 Don Mills Rd. Unit 138-140, Toronto, ON M3C 1V6
Despite the freezing cold weather, I wanted to also grab their delicious soft served ice cream, especially their signature Tokyo Cheesecake. It’s what they’re mostly known for but we decided to come back the next week to try their desserts menu, which I did a review about in this same post, so be sure to read all the way through.
Spoiler alert: We decided to include Kitaya in our list of the best dessert places in Toronto!
Kitaya accepts pre-orders online and by phone so we decide to order our meals on their website. It’s really easy and you have the choice to pay online with your credit card, or cash in person. They also allow you to put in special instructions for the bowl. For example, if you want sauce on the side or extra corn, etc.
Anyways, onto their poke bowls and our thoughts!
Kitaya Poke Bowls
Rui and I ordered the Salmon Poke bowl and the total came out to be $26 for two bowls. If you pay in cash, you get a 15% during the time of writing this. They also give you a free cinnamon waffle when you order any poke bowl.
It’s a bummer we didn’t take pictures of the bowl. We were too hungry and just wanted to eat so we didn’t bother with the images on this day. But we have images of Kitaya soft serve ice cream after this review. 🙂
My first thought about the Kitaya’s poke bowl was they give you too much rice – like WAY tooooo much if you ask me. Unlike Makirrito in Markham, they don’t have the option of brown rice. On top of that, they don’t serve mixed greens in their poke bowls, so it definitely lacks vegetables.
Toppings in Kitaya Poke Bowls
We had about 8 to 10 chunks of salmon sashimi in each poke bowl so it’s a decent amount of fish. They also give you green peas, corn, and mango slices in the bowl mixed with flavourful seaweed salad.
This bowl was clearly high on refined carbs (ugh, white rice) and not balanced with the right amount of protein and fibre. The rice just overpowers but this is just my personal opinion.
Rui agreed – he thought the amount of rice was a lot and that they could have reduced it so you don’t have to eat so much of it. I ended up throwing half of my rice because I like to reduce the carbs as much as possible for health reasons.
The bad thing is because they give you so much rice in the poke bowl, it’s so easy for you to keep eating it without realizing it or stopping. It’s like eating chips, noodles or any carby thing because you “feel hungry” or maybe you just feel the itch to munch on more food.
In terms of taste, it’s not terrible or anything like that. It’s still edible and the seaweed salad packs it with flavour. You also have the option to add soy sauce which they give to you on the side. We would say their poke bowl is “just okay” and nothing special.
In my view, the amount of rice they packed devalued their bowl. Given the same amount of toppings (fish, peas, mango, corn, and seaweed), if they served less rice, it would have made the poke bowl look more presentable and valuable.
We’ve had better poke bowls and we usually like the ones that give you a variety of more toppings, special sauce, and let’s not forget, mixed greens like spinach, arugula and the like.
Price of Kitaya Poke Bowls
The poke bowls at Kitaya is slightly cheaper in price ($13) but we think it’s worth spending a little more on a better quality bowl with more toppings and less rice ($15-16).
Again, not horrible but I personally wouldn’t order their poke bowls again from here because they lack the veggies and they don’t have brown rice as an option.
Even though we didn’t like the poke bowl as much, we are still looking forward to trying their sushi the next time we come back. Who knows, maybe it’s different, and they won’t pack it with rice? ?
We also have a list of Toronto’s best sushi restaurants if you’re looking for some good Japanese food to try in your list.
Kitaya Soft Served Ice Cream Menu
Despite our lower rating of their poke bowl, we absolutely adore their desserts menu!
Tokyo Cheesecake Soft Served Ice Cream
Rui loved their Tokyo Cheesecake! He chose the mix of soy and black sesame ice cream. During this time in the winter, they didn’t offer the matcha soft serve. The server told us this is only offer during the summertime, so we’ll be back to try it out.
Texture and Taste of Soft-Served Ice Cream
First of all, their ice cream is very smooth, and you do get that premium feel when you’re indulging in their delicious desserts.
With this order, you get a good amount of soft served ice cream. The cream is really the best part! If you’re not a crazy desserts fan, you may want to share one of these with your partner or friend. But if you have an obsession over ice cream, then you’ll want to pig out on the Tokyo Cheesecake all by yourself!
It really does taste like soy (kind of like soybean milk) and sesame. We like the sesame more since we’re fans of black sesame soup. You can also checkout our review of the black sesame dessert from Honeymoon Desserts at Markham and Scarborough.
Toppings in the Tokyo Cheesecake
This dessert cup comes with graham crackers, crushed walnuts sprinkled on top, and Pocky sticks! One of our pocky sticks was banana flavoured and it was pretty good!
The graham cracker or cookie gives this dessert a nice crunch to the soft-served ice cream. What an amazing combination!
One more topping is a small slice of cheesecake on the side. We admit that this cheesecake isn’t the best cheesecake, but it wasn’t bad either. It’s a nice addition to have with the dessert. I mean, we are here for the ice cream and not cheesecake, right?
If you’re looking for the best cheesecakes in Toronto, this article will fulfill your cheesecake obsession.
Overall, this is one of their signature desserts on the Kitaya menu, and it’s a must-try!
Black Sesame Twist Soft Serve
If you’re looking for a quick, simple, and delicious dessert to satisfy your sweet cravings, then their soft-served cups will do the job!
To be honest, I personally prefer just eating their black sesame ice cream over their more “fun and fancy” Tokyo Cheesecake. Rui is different and that’s why he ordered their most popular item on the menu.
What I love about this black sesame ice cream is the premium creamy feel. The great part about this ice cream is it doesn’t melt too quickly like other ice creams. The plus side is it isn’t overly sweet!
In fact, you won’t even think it’s too sweet – it’s just right. Even people who go gung-ho about sugar will enjoy and love this treat too!
They also serve this single cup soft-served in other flavours like soy and matcha. Again, matcha is only available in the summertime.
Kitaya Ice Cream in a Cup Update: 04/09/2022
We just finished a delicious Korean BBQ dinner at Daldongnae with a friend and the three of us were craving for some desserts.
I remember how good the soft served ice creams were at Kitaya so I suggested to stop by here to see if they have any different flavours.
This time around, during April, they no longer had the soy or black sesame ice cream. Such a bummer because I LOVED the smooth black sesame ice cream! However, this time they offered the green tea Matcha and roasted green tea flavours. Spoiler alert – the Roasted Green Tea ice cream far exceeded my expectations!
Since we were all kind of stuffed from dinner, none of us wanted to order the Tokyo cheesecake. Again, even the single cup or single cup ice cream is a pretty large and decent size here.
We ordered two Hojicha Roasted Green Tea, and one traditional Matcha Green Tea.
Here’s our review on both of them!
Kitaya Matcha Soft Serve Ice Cream
I still prefer the black sesame ice cream from last time. Generally speaking I love green tea flavour but there’s just something about black sesame that I can’t get enough of.
Needless to say, the matcha soft serve ice cream here was still delicious and super smooth. For you green tea or matcha lovers, you won’t be disappointed with this order. It’s definitely got the green tea taste but not overly strong.
The great thing about this ice cream, like all their other ice creams, is that they are excessively sweet like some of the traditional ice creams out there. The quality was just as good as the last time we were here, but I prefer the black sesame.
Who knows, maybe on days when I’m just feeling for green tea desserts, I’ll prefer the matcha over black sesame. Not surprising coming from an unpredictable and indecisive person like me.
Roasted Green Tea (Hojicha) Ice Cream
I’m saving the best for last!
My husband and friend both ordered their own Roasted Green Tea in a cup.
This one costs an extra dollar compared to the regular Matcha flavour, but it is worth it!
At first when I saw this tinted tanned-coloured ice cream, I couldn’t imagine it tasting good. Plus, I thought sticking to the original green tea flavour would be safe since I had no idea what to expect with this foreign-looking roasted flavour.
To our surprise, all three of us agreed that this Roasted Green Tea ice cream was phenomenal!
It was so good that Rui offered to trade with me because he could read my mind. He knew that I regretted choosing the regular matcha. Lol.
So, I traded my traditional green tea with him, but we both ended up sharing each other’s. I just naturally keep going for the roasted green tea flavour. It was almost like crack for me and I was super adddicted.
Our friend was full from dinner, but he still finished his ice cream to its last bite because it was that heavenly! Here’s a picture that he took before eating it:
Kitaya’s Roasted Green Tea ice cream did not taste like any traditional green tea ice cream. For you boba or bubble tea lovers out there, you will absolutely love this flavour! If I had to describe the taste, the closest I could say is it has a roasted milk tea taste to it with a hint of green tea. I would say, overall, it tastes like a green tea roasted milk tea boba tea. Just image that flavour in a super smooth ice cream texture inside your mouth.
This was definitely a great choice and none of us regreted it. Because of this flavour, I was no longer craving for their black sesame soft serve although I still love it! Both flavours are awesome and if you asked me to choose one, it would be pretty hard. I’d say for tonight, I was so glad that I was able to taste and experience the roasted green tea flavour.
Kitaya is definitely one of my favourite places to get ice cream now and we will be back again on an occasion to try their different soft serve flavours.
I personally give this particular ice cream a 4.5 out of 5 for tonight because I really did enjoy it and was really happy about it! 🙂
Kitaya Ice Cream in a Cone
Because we loved their green tea ice cream that we tried a few months ago, we came back for the same thing. This time we asked for their waffle cone instead of a cup!
If you enjoy ice cream in a cone, then you’re going to love both their green tea and roasted green tea ice cream in a cone. You can tell the quality is there and the texture was just as creamy as usual. Here are our ice creams in a cone!
Creamy Green Tea Ice Cream in a Cone
You can see Rui holding his ice cream here. It was pretty hot during the month of August, so the ice cream melted a lot faster than the last time we had it! Still delicious though – yum yum! 🙂
Green Tea and Roasted Green Tea Ice Cream in a Cone
You can see my roasted green tea soft serve ice cream on the right – it’s darker in coluor compared to the matcha green tea. Again, if you’re looking for something different, then go for the roasted green tea flavour. It’s absolutely fantastic and I know you’ll love it!
Their soft-served ice cream gets a solid 5 star from us! We loved it. Enough said.
We didn’t like their poke bowls, so Rui gives it a 2.8 star rating. I personally give it a 2 star but only because I’m picky about my toppings and ingredients that go into each bowl. It’s edible, and not horrible, but we believe they can make improvements and do better. As mentioned, they can reduce the amount of rice served, and offer brown rice and veggie options.
We want to try the sushi from their menu, so we’ll come back and update this.
So far, we highly recommend their desserts menu!
Great service. The second time we came back, the same server was just as soft and polite. She gets the job done fast and isn’t rude. On top of that, their pre-order online is super easy to use.
This is a Japanese takeout, so there isn’t any dine-in especially now that it’s COVID. The place is really modern and clean, and there are no complaints.
Their food is affordable and not super pricey. At least their non-dessert items are comparable to other Japanese takeout restaurants.
Their desserts are price slightly higher than other dessert takeout places, such as these best gelato joints, but it’s not that much more. We believe the quality of their ice cream is worth the little extra price!
Kitaya Japanese Takeout Rating: 4/5
We may not be a fan of their poke bowls, but perhaps we didn’t order the right thing.
However, we really love their soft-served ice cream, and it seems like this little takeout place is popular for desserts.
Overall, we are giving them an overall 4-star rating because their dessert menu is great!