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Introducing: Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co., a pair of new restaurants on the corner of Baldwin and McCaul

Introducing: Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co.

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

After Baldwin Palace Restaurant closed, the space it vacated was originally meant to be a new Wild Wings franchise—but when the community successfully blocked the chain’s arrival five weeks ago, restaurateur Sang Kim (Ki, Blowfish) stepped in with a new proposal and started blogging all about it. On Saturday, just a little over 30 days later, Yakitori Bar opened to throngs of hungry students and locals, and Seoul Food Co., whose entrance is on McCaul, will be following suite in a couple weeks.

Yakitori Bar occupies the front part of the location and is decked out with the now-requisite barn wood, dark slate walls and black subway tiles, with TVs blaring Korean music videos. In the kitchen is chef Shin Aoyama, whose focus is, appropriately enough, on yakitori skewers, sold by the pair, with options like pork belly ($4.95), beef ribs ($5.95) and Hokkaido scallop ($6.25). There are also sides like a flight of kimchee ($3.95), with each type pickled for a different length of time, kimchee three ways ($4.95) and kimchee poutine ($5.95). For drinks, there are sake and soju cocktails, including a Gangnam Style cocktail ($7.07). There’s also the Yakitori Top Chef menu, which features specialty yakitori with recipes from Toronto chefs such as Francisco Alejandri (Agave y Aguacate), Rossy Earle (SupiCucu) and Matthew Basile (Fidel Gastro).

In the back of the space is Seoul Food Co., which will offer takeout Korean with a small stand-up bar for a quick meal. The space will include a bi bim bap bar, where customers can choose from types of rice, meat and vegetables, and another stand for Korean-inspired sandwiches made with bulgogi and kalbi. There will also be a small shop selling sauces and goods from local chefs, including SupiCucu’s hot sauce, Paula Costa’s Dragon’s Piri Piri and, naturally, Sang’s own Kickass Kimchee.

Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co., 1 Baldwin St.,, @yakitoritoronto

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  • Chris

    I’m more interested on the story about the blocked Wild Wings.

  • david

    why was the Wild Wing blocked?? That’s just what Baldwin needed—there are too many ethnic restaurants on that street–Japanese, Italian, Japanese noodle, two or three suschi places—we didn’t need another ethnic place–I thought St. Louis ribs was going to take over this location? I give this place 3 months–based on how empty it is already it will be lucky to last this long!!

  • mike

    “Yakitori Bar opened to throngs of hungry students and locals”

    ?Exactly when were you there?? I live on Baldwin/Henry–I haven’t seen more than a handful of people there in the evening–the woman behind the bar was standing there talking to the chef most of the time—who stopped the Wild Wing????

    I agree this place won’t last!!!

  • richard

    Why does this area need another ethnic restaurant?? Why didn’t the Wild Wing open–who stopped it?? My understanding was that the patio alcohol license was blocked?? I don’t want to eat at a Korean restaurant—there’s no demand for this-considering there already are two suchi places/a Japanese noodle place up the street, and other ethnic restaurants (ranging from Mexican, Italian, Indian curry etc) As a student I want something fast and filling—I was hoping for this Wild Wing—hopefully this place won’t last and another attempt will be made to bring it back (or something similar!!!)

  • Scott

    Richard, if you want something fast and filling simply open up your mind’s horizons and your taste buds and wait until Seoul Food Co is open for business. You’ll be able to grab a Bulgogi burger which will fill you up and likely cost you less than that lb or 2 of wings you crave. As a bonus, your wallet will be heavier and your body, lighter.

  • jk


    Very very very disappointed and even more so embarrassed on this place. The owner was walking around, asking how the food was and how busy they were….First of all, anyone who has been in that area know that there is rarely a throng of Uni students that roll to this area. Forget it being break now….even in the summer, this area is not a high traffic area.

    That being said, the decor and design is nice, but most new places opening up seem to be banking on that only. I ordered a Momokawa Organic drink and instantly knew that the waitress brought the regular one instead. I been drinking this since it first came on the market, so I knew the taste was off from the start. This led to a mild argument with the owner coming back and apologizing and what not… Okay no biggie.

    The dduk bok ki was WARM on the bottom and cold on the top…I kid you not…As a Korean, I felt bad for the non-Koreans who never had it and thinking thats how its suppose to taste…NO…If its hard and warm, dont eat it! I took one bite and asked for the bill… IMO, there were better putting a Wild Wings in there…

  • Philip Choi

    JK- exactly who are you? All you seem to be preoccupied with is slamming second-generation Korean restaurants, the guise of anonymity allowing you to clearly feel that your bile is morally justified. Your comments about OddSeoul was at best unhelpful. Your astonishing lack of insight (not to speak of grammatical ineptitude- you really should consider turning your spell check on) does little to shed light on what exactly “Non-Koreans” are missing at these restaurants. Perhaps as the self-appointed ambassador of Korean cuisine, you might consider writing a little more thoughtfully about what constitutes “Korean food”. It would go a long way to “enlighten” the non-Koreans, no? As a Korean myself, you are an embarrassment to my second-generation heritage. Keep writing, but do yourself a favour and turn your spell check on- it will help get your message across.

  • Steven

    *Big Disappointment – Terrible Dining Experience*

    This is a place where the staff has no idea what customer service means.
    We are a group of 4 who made a reservation for 7:30 on a Saturday
    evening. Only to be seated at the worst table next to the area where
    dishes come out and bar staff walks in and out. We requested to have a
    different table and were told they were all reserved for 8:30 sitting.
    There were 26 empty seats in the dining room and they couldn’t accommodate our
    request not to sit at the worse table in the dining room. It’s clear to
    us that 8:30 crowd must be VIP enough for them not to be accommodating
    at all. We were frustrated and left the bar. Will not try this place
    ever again.