Introducing: Wabora, the latest restaurant to open at the Thompson Hotel
Minsoo Kim proudly sets one of his sushi creations, the South Beach roll, on the table. Nestled next to a set of rice-free rolls wrapped in cucumber are two slices of bluefin tuna, the sashimi mother lode, marbled with fat like a steak. “That is the best tuna in the entire world,” Kim says of the rare, contentious delicacy. “As soon as it’s available, I get the first phone call.” Kim is a schmoozer, clearly, as well as a former minor league pitcher and the owner of Wabora, the latest addition to the Thompson Hotel’s arsenal of restaurants.
Opened earlier this month, the place is a culinary playground for Kim, who says that he could be struck with inspiration for a new sushi creation at any time. He’s been known to offer his customers samples of his decadent inventions (he’s not afraid to add cream cheese or all five of Wabora’s secret house-made sauces) before putting them on the menu. When he brought Wabora’s first incarnation to Bracebridge in 2005, the selection of rolls was around 30. Now both restaurants offer over 60.
Wabora is not just sushi. The restaurant features one of the only Robata grills in the city, stocked with bincho; the meticulously crafted and highly sought-after white charcoal from Asia burns longer and more evenly than its black counterparts. On it, such fare as duck breast ($25, served with foie gras) and whole calamari rubbed with salt ($18) sizzle away.
Decor is suitably opulent for a Thompson restaurant (limestone masonry, original artwork from Shawn Westlaken and Young-Moon Kim), and so is the wine selection: manager and sommelier C.C. Simmons spent two months at the Muskoka location coming up with a matched wine list. As for Kim, his goals are high. Not only does he aim to have the city’s best bubbly selection (nothing’s better than a beautiful champagne with a nice spicy roll, he says), but he wants to have the city’s best sushi lists, too. With competitors like Sushi Kaji and Ame, it’s a good thing he has ambition to burn.
Wabora, Thompson Hotel, 550 Wellington St. W. (at Bathurst), 416-777-9901.
37 thoughts on “Introducing: Wabora, the latest restaurant to open at the Thompson Hotel”
Two disappointments for Wabora. First thing, no sushi bar or tempanyaki area. Second, went there last Saturday and everything was good EXCEPT for the sushi nigiri. Fish was not fresh and the tuna was tough and chewy. Hopefully, they can serve better than this as the prices are double of the local joints.
The very best. Such a pleasant staff. Wonderful wine selections. Finally; a great restaurant in the hood!
With the endangered state of bluefin tuna today and the devastation of their breeding ground in the Gulf of Mexico, it is horrifying and shocking to read of Kim boasting about it on Wabora’s menu. Shame on them!
Why would they serve and boast about having a Critically Endangered fish on the menu?
Simply the best sushi and rolls ever!!!!
Price is great still cheaper than b.fish
Great atmosphere and food
Had the bulgogi, it was fantastic. Will be coming back thid weekend for round two.The owner was attentive, felt truly welcome. Have frequented the bracebridge location, and this did not disappoint.
How awful. What’s next, tiger tataki? Grilled gorilla? Ponzu polar bear?
Great meal at Wabora
With great wine selections
We had blast
Wow great party we had at the
My friends b day we were 16 of us
And every single one loved the sushi
Rolls and robata meals
The owner Minsoo Kim let us
In to roof top at Thompson hotel
After dinner party
We had a awesome time
Thank you Minsoo
Shut the F*** up about the fish, as long as the fish mongers are selling it they will buy. I am not for eating endangered species, Email or picket the companies selling the fish. Whats next your all gonna fly over to Japan and and explain to the people/culture you can’t have tuna anymore. Fact Japan consumes roughly 400,000 tonnes a year around 24% of the worlds tuna. So Leave the stupid fish comments alone. Wabora keep up the good work food was fatastic, Hmmm how about that Tiger tataki….
The Japanese will find out they “can’t have tuna anymore” only when it’s finally extinct. What a forward thinking culture. The only upside…mercury poisoning.
Very disappointing that they serve Bluefin. My friends and I refuse to go until they take it off the menu.
As for the Bluefin debate. Let’s all stop for a moment and realize that since MAN has inhabited this earth, he has managed to wipe out 95% of the known animal species.
Now go get in your car, check your voicemails and continue to be a carbon sucker; like all of us.
Talk about a great wine list that is focused on the “right” wines for sushi! Their prices are very reasonable too.
I’m going back with friends and order a bottle of Champagne!
The best rolls and black cod
In the world…..:) yam
If you have problem with bluefin
Just don’t order it
Blowfish has also bluefin
Are you gonna complain about
Blowfish having bluefin on their menu
Actually Wabora don’t have bluefin on their
Grow up !!!!!
This joint is cool. It has the makings of being the “Blue Ribbon” (NYC) of Toronto. Outstanding staff, food, decor, wine and music! Wabora is in the right place at the right time. Next time I’m in Toronto; I’m there; again.
Has there been any reviews from critics yet?
Is there a Wabora website?
Do they use Open Table?
BEST SUSHI IN TORONTO HANDS DOWN! EXCELLENT AND FRIENDLY STAFF. WILL BE BACK SOON.
People want Bluefin and that is why it is offered, also Minsoo Kim is all about the flash and making money as well as ripping his staff off to make it so he will never stop offering Bluefin.
The best sushi ever
Thank you Wabora
Should anyone ever leave negative comments regarding their employer, please have the integrity to use your real name.
The Tuna was soooooo good!
Amazing sushi and sashimi. Fresh and I can honestly say it was some of the best sushi/sashimi that myself and my husband have tasted! We come from the West Coast where sushi is awesome at Tojo’s, and this place is “up there” and worth every penny!
@streets. Let me guess. You also voted for Stephen Harper. You drive an M3, and talk into your bluetooth headset while your ‘girlfriend’ rides shotgun (or wish you did). Christ, I bet you wear Diesel and speak with a boisterous fake accent. I know pluralizing the word street must have been difficult for you, but next time, try using a proper name. Even a made up one. LIke Tony.
Tonight we had a reservation for 17 at Wabora inside Thompson Toronto hotel. The food, ranging from rolls upwards of $6.50 and appetizers from $4, to bento and entrees around $15-$30, were delicious. Everybody commented on the great selection and service at Wabora. The washrooms even had baby conveniences, and parking below the Thompson Hotel was exceptionally clean (so we didn’t need to walk outdoors in the winter to access the restaurant). Picture menus were helpful, all the sushi was tasty, brown rice and Southbeach options were requested, and cocktails were good. Couldn’t ask for more!
overall the price is still expensive vs quality.
liquor and tuna are very good here.
Tuna is tasty. I wouldn’t worry too much about some minority brag about extinction topic. It is like a waste of effort being a protester in G20.
Min Soo, pursue your dreams! We’re loving it!!
I just came back from Warbora. The food is very expensive, but it’s very nice inside. The food was great! Very fresh and flavourful. The chocolate spring rolls are to die for. The dessert was definitely the best part. However, since we were a group of 10, they could not give us separate bills. The staff were being a bit rude about that. As well, some people from our group were late, and I can tell that the manager was trying to make us leave. So all in all–the food is very good, but pricey, and the staff are quite rude.
spotty service once server knew i had a wagjag voucher. she claimed i’d ordered 3 entrees (on top of 2 soups & 2 appetizers), which added almost $40 to the tab. why would two women need that much food? unfortunately, as per the voucher, i had to leave 15% gratuity. too bad i still have 3 more vouchers to use.
tuna tower is decadent!
gotta love all these cry babies complaining about the bluefin tuna and boycotting the restaurant. How about you be a bit more objective and focus on the quality of the food and service at the restaurant? stupid people are stupid.
I recently went to Wabora and it was such a horrible experience. We went for my best friends birthday, it was everyone’s first time there (group of 8 ppl). Our server messed up all of our dishes (forgot most of them) , waited 2 hours for food and our food was drenched in oil. The server ended up giving up 3 dishes for free, yes 3 dishes that’s how bad it was…needless to say we will not be going back.
got that right Jennifer all about the $$ and flash!
Minsoo is the biggest fake in Canada.Yes the food is fresh but I wouldnt step foot in that restaurant again if he is working.Fake and not a genuine personality at all!!
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