During the summer, diners flock to Baldwin Street for lunch on the many swelling patios under the shade of a wide, leafy canopy of trees. One of the best bets there is Konnichiwa, a quaint Japanese-owned and run restaurant that specializes in comfort foods made of rice and noodles. Our order of zaru soba ($9.95) features loose, springy buckwheat noodles presented on an open wicker tray with wasabi and finely sliced green onions. The starch is served with lightly battered tempura shrimp, green beans, sweet potato, zucchini and meaty kabocha; at midday, the dish is also sided with a half-dozen avocado maki. To eat the elementally simple dish, rub a little of the wasabi onto the cold noodles, drag the strands (along with a couple scallion slices) through the accompanying bowl of dashi, then slurp away between bites of crispy tempura.
The cost: $14.50 including tax, tip and a mug of hot green tea ($0.85).
The time: 32 minutes fending off neighbourhood wasps.
Konnichiwa, 31 Baldwin St., 416-593-8538, konnichiwa.ca