DonDon, a new downtown izakaya, to feature reservations and a chauffeur service for patrons who’ve had too much to drink
The runaway success of Guu, first on Church Street and then in the Annex, highlighted a demand in Toronto for Japanese food that went beyond the ubiquitous cheap (and not-so-cheap) sushi joints. When DonDon Izakaya, a new restaurant at Dundas and Bay, opens in late October or so, it will attempt to meet some of that demand, albeit without Guu’s general boisterousness and no reservations policy. Instead, owners Tony Wong and Anthony Phang, of Sushi Time on Queen, and Kazu Maruyama, editor of the Toronto Japanese website Bits, hope to provide a quieter atmosphere and a lower price point.
The 150-seat restaurant will be open for both lunch and dinner, and the open kitchen will pump out izakaya-style dishes, specializing in yakitori (Japanese skewered chicken) but also serving sashimi and vegetarian dishes. Like any good izakaya, DonDon—which is apparently slang for “more” in Japanese—will boast a large selection of sake and several Japanese beers. It’s reassuring, then, that the restaurant will offer something that might be a first in the city, even if it is “a common feature of izakayas in Japan,” as we’ve been assured—a chauffeur service for patrons who’ve had too much to drink.
DonDon Izakaya, 130 Dundas St. W.
7 thoughts on “DonDon, a new downtown izakaya, to feature reservations and a chauffeur service for patrons who’ve had too much to drink”
Spent a year in Japan and trust me, there is no chauffeur service if you’ve had too much to drink at an Izakaya. It’s called taking a cab home (since everyone uses public transit anyways).
Sorry to disagree, but there are such drive home companies in Japan. They are similar to the volunteer Nez-Rouge programs that are available around the holidays here. An explanation:
Daiko (代行) is a special kind of taxi service with two taxi drivers and one car. If you call for a daiko, the two drivers will show up and one of them will drive your car (with you in it) back to your house. The other driver will follow in the taxi. Once you pay the driver of your car (usually not much more than a regular taxi fare), he or she hops into the waiting taxi and the daiko team go on to their next call. It is a perfect arrangement because you can go out drinking and never have to worry about getting your car home.
Taken from: http://www.alientimes.org/Main/TisTheSeasonToUseDaiko
I was in Japan for 3 years, and used such services on a few occasions. Quite convenient, I must say, although as stated above, many others use taxis or transit to get home.
Who CARES if the chauffeur service is “authentic” or not, it’s a nice service to have, and very surprising for a place that intends to have lower prices than Guu! I don’t even think Guu could justify offering such service! Anyway let’s see how this place does–another Japanese restaurant not owned by Japanese people (so why question its authenticity, people?).
Is this the place beside Chatime? Visited Chatime for some bubble tea and noticed Don Don but it still was not open. Any idea on the new opening date as it is now almost Christmas?
We popped in there on Friday, and they were having a friends-and-family-only night. The hostess said they’d be open this week!
I went several times there and I am not impressed with how they inform their to-be customers.
They weren’t opened yet but there was no sign on the front when I was passing by it last November (2011). The door can be opened but seemed like the restaurant was still renovating. Of course the restaurant was not ready to open yet.
Yesterday (Jan 17, 2012), I saw the decoration flags outside the store and the door was open, so I went in and upstairs to the restaurant. No one was there with chairs on the table and all lights were on.
If the restaurant is not ready for opening or not during the store hours, please put a “close” sign or a notice to notify customers! Don’t make your customers guess when you are going to open!
I am not impressed and will not again make an effort to check it out.
This place is awful. We popped in a couple weeks ago for a quick bowl of soup and it was the most horrific experience ever. Sure the atmosphere is nice, but upon ordering, not only did the servers not speak enough english to understand that we wanted a DOUBLE gin and gingerale(which is on their menu) but they walked away pretending they knew what we wanted, and proceeded to serve us plain gingerale and told us they didn’t have any gin after a lot of pointing and question asking.
Because they have an open kitchen, you’d think they’d try their best to practice proper health code practices, but nope: I watched one of the “chefs” cough all over everything and even into her hands and then proceed to NOT wash her hands and touch a whole bunch of food.
Along with this, I watched the person making our soup SLURP out of the ladle he was stirring the soup with! Talk about double dipping! Needless to say, I did NOT eat the soup. I don’t care if the germs dissipate because of the heat…use a different spoon to taste please! Lastly we also ordered teppanaki which was barely cooked and basically flavourless.
I would never ever go here again and recommend others to stay away. Worst experience I’ve ever had at a restaurant.
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