Two nights ago I had dinner at a restaurant that opened up recently and it was such a new experience for me as I never had a hibachi or teppanyaki dining experience before. I also just want to clarify that since I am a vegetarian, this review will only be discussing the venue, service, and the vegetarian food I ate here. Read below for the review but first feel free to follow the blog and on social media (Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook) for more vegetarian food content! For a visual preview of what you can expect in this blog post and video of the show the chef put on with the hibachi teppanyaki grill, see the video below!
About & Location
Hibachi Teppanyaki & Bar is a Japanese cuisine specializing in hibachi and teppanyaki grill dining. According to Benihana’s website, Hibachi originated in the Heian period from 794 and 1185 AD and the word translates to “fire bowl”. On the other hand, it is not clear on when Teppanyaki was originated but this is when you have a long flat grill (like the one here) and the chef does a little performance with fire. Nonetheless, it is an interesting experience and it was my first time having a dinner like that. The restaurant itself seems to be a franchise as they have 7 locations in Ontario which you can see on their website, but the one I went to was their new Scarborough location (430 Progress Avenue, Scarborough, Ontario). It’s technically located in Scarborough Town Centre but not inside the mall, it is outside with the bulk barn, lcbo, etc. So there is a good amount of parking.
Service, Venue, Set-Up
It is highly encouraged to make a reservation. We made one for last night but we still had to wait a little while, and I remember those that came in later were told if they didn’t have a reservation they would need to wait almost 2 hours. As you wait and go to your table you will see some really nice art displayed & incorporated on the walls.
The way it is set up is that you are sat in a group table with other parties and the server will provide you with menus to look after because in terms of the main meals, the chef will only come out once. Therefore, keep in mind if you’re not comfortable with sitting with other people, this might not be for you. However there is a bar section with other food options you can enjoy. Also, in terms of the food you can order appetizers that comes from the kitchen and desserts later.
The service was okay but I think because of how busy they were we did have to remind them of certain items we ordered but it wasn’t a big deal, and frankly they were still efficient. As you can see in the video, and the picture above the fire is literally right in front of you but you are still at a good distance to not worry about being burnt. I will say that even though the table behind us was a little far away I felt more heat from there then I did from the heat right in front of me. The chef was nice and performed some tricks and added some humour, which was enjoyable and if anything was the main highlight of the dinner. I did wish they could have separated the veggies better.
For the main/teppanyaki set they do have several options (especially seafood) but for vegetarians there is only one which is the tofu dinner priced at $26. The set comes with 6 pieces of tofu paired with mixed grilled vegetables and steam rice along with miso soup and house salad with ginger dressing on top. You can make some upgrades, as we did upgrade the rice to fried rice (note: has egg) for an extra $3.50. It also comes with two sauces, one ginger based (suggested for fish) & one mayonnaise based (tastes like thousand islands and is suggested for chicken), but the sauces are vegetarian. We decided to split it among the 3 of us so we just got one set and an addition fried rice. We also got appetizers to share among ourselves which was the veggie roll ($8) and veggie gyoza ($9). One of us got a pina colada ($5.95) and for desserts we tried the 1-piece mango cheesecake ($6) and green tea ice cream ($5).
In terms of taste, I would say it was okay. I know that might be a bit disappointing but that is just my opinion. I found that the miso soup and salad tasted ordinary with nothing to make it stand out (but the ginger did help the salad a lot as it gave some flavour). The gyoza was crispy okay but I did like the crispiness. Sushi was also decent, tasted like a classic veggie roll.
With respect to everything that came out of the grill, it was cooked properly. The fried rice was nicely mixed and the veggies were grilled properly as well and both tasted great. I do wish they had more veggies especially since this was part of the vegetarian meal as the total veggies cooked on the grill was split evenly among everyone on the table, regardless of what they ordered. In terms of the tofu, it was also grilled nicely with a little sear, but I did find it a little salty. Keep in mind, we did split one set for 3 people with one additional fried rice but I found the portion to be decent with the exception of the veggies.
Also, the dessert was tasted pretty good (has a bit of a tiny aftertaste) as well as the mango cheesecake had a nice outer texture with mango chunks inside, paired with a little sweetness with the chocolate dressing. The green tea tastes pretty much how it sounds which was served chilled.
All in all, it was nice to dine in here. It is a bit priced more on the high side and I do feel that you are paying for more than the experience than anything as the only thing that may be considered overpriced is the teppanyaki set but if it is just one or 2 people, you are getting a good portion size. I would recommend them to have more vegetarian options and add more veggies to those that order the vegetarian meal. Maybe they can use some mock meat/plant based alternatives to add a bit more excitement to the vegetarian menu. I think this is a nice spot for a casual date or with a bigger group of friends because the Hibachi / Teppanyaki dining experience is not something everyone experiences often. Nonetheless, these are just my thoughts. Let me know what you think in the comments below or on the upcoming social media posts by giving a follow on Tiktok, Instagram, and Facebook!