Hi Genki - Awesome Japanese food in a Seniors home!

Wait... a Japanese restaurant located in a Seniors home? Yes! And an awesome one at that! :D
Don't be turned off by it's unorthodox location, it's known to the locals as one of the best places to have an authentic home cooked Japanese meal in the Highgate area! This location has been open for decades now! My dad even ate here 20 years ago haha, but this was my first time here!

This place is a total hidden gem! It's run by real Japanese people, and the main focus is on Donburi (rice) dishes, not sushi! 

They have some pretty killer desserts as well! Deep fried ice cream or banana tempura anyone? :D
I love the unpretentious, homey, cafeteria type setting! Be sure to ask the lady at the counter for a number to be seated! 
They're rather busy during meal hours, so be prepared to wait! The food takes a while to come out, which I don't mind, because that means your food is being made to order!
Click on the pictures to enlarge it!

They serve roasted rice tea, which I love! It has a distinct roasted wheat flavour, which is really enjoyable and a nice change from green tea!
Spicy Chicken Kaarage
4/5 stars
This is their most popular dish, and it definitely lives up to the hype! Super large pieces of juicy, crispy chicken drizzled with a tantalizing blend of sweet sauces, are you drooling yet? The pieces are nicely battered, moist, and super flavourful! The rice on the bottom soaks up all the sauce that drizzles down from the chicken, making it even more delish!
Pork Katsu Curry
3.5/5 stars
This dish was huge! It's another one of their most popular dishes! The curry is Japanese style curry, which is more mild in flavour with less of a kick. The pork katsu was fragrant and nicely battered. The meat was rather substantial in size and rather lean. They also included some salad on the side, which was actually really fresh!
Aji Fry (Mackerel)
3/5 stars
My mom actually wanted to get one of their bento boxes, but they were already sold out for the day! So she settled for the Aji Fry instead! The dish came with 3 large pieces of Mackerel, which was covered with a crispy, flakey batter, different from the Katsu batter. The mackerel itself was rather moist, albeit rather bland tasting. It also came with some salad and rice on the side!
Miso Soup
4/5 stars
The chicken kaarage and aji fry both came with a side of miso soup! This was actually pretty good! It wasn't watered down, and wasn't excessively seasoned with MSG. The miso flavour was potent with a substantial amount of tofu and seaweed!
Banana Tempura
3/5 stars
I'm a huge sucker for deep fried things (who isn't?) so this was right up my alley haha! Tempura, in dessert form? Yes please! Strange as it may sound, this was actually really tasty! The mushiness of the banana complimented the crispness of the tempura batter very well. The strawberry sauce added an extra layer of sweetness, without distracting from the other components of the dish.
This dish actually comes with ice cream, but I asked for the ice cream on the side because I was suspecting the ice cream would contain modified milk ingredients, which I'm allergic to. My suspicions were confirmed when the ice cream arrived, as it had a chalky like texture, which is one of the telling signs of the presence of modified milk ingredients. 
The mint was a nice touch though haha! I also liked how they included some strawberry sauce on the side!

Overall, I definitely recommend Hi Genki for some delicious, authentic homemade goodness! If you're going to get anything, get the Chicken Kaarage haha! I've also heard their deep fried ice cream is awesome! Try it, you won't regret it! :D 

Hi Genki on Urbanspoon


  1. Hi Genki is definitely a unique place to eat. They are owned by the Fujiya folks. And IIRC, Hi Genki acts as a commissary for the Nikkei Centre seniors home (I guess the residents receive a monthly stipend or discount towards their meals there).

    The katsu curry is good, but after my first time I always asked for the curry to be served on the side as to not drown out the crunchy goodness of the katsu. Actually I do that at all places.

    IF you like katsu and katsu curry, try The Clubhouse Sushi on W. 2nd (near Olympic Village) and bring some Japanese friends. They too are a 'real' Japanese-owned & operated restaurant, which sadly is quite rare these days.

  2. Oh I never knew Hi Genki was owned by Fujiya or that the seniors get a stipend to eat there! Thanks for informing me haha!

    That's a good idea to ask for the curry on the side so the katsu retains its crispness! I do find that the katsu tends to get soggy from being drenched in the curry and I hate that haha.

    Oh I'll have to try that place out! Thanks for the rec! :)
    Yup, Japanese owned restaurants are becoming a rarity these days in the sea of Chinese/Vietnamese operated joints haha

  3. http://www.fujiya.ca/aboutFujiya/hiGenkiRestaurant.asp

    I *don't* know if the senior residents actually get a stipend. I just know that the restaurant is integrated with Sakura-so and Nikkei Home.

    BTW, every August for the past two years Nikkei Place hosted a summer festival at the end of summer, called Nikkei Matsuri. Lots of fun things for adults and kids (mostly kids), and they have a night market-like set up for food vendors inside. Bring some little kids of people you know, they'll have fun:


  4. The festival sounds like so much fun! Thanks for the link! Looks like there's going to be lots of food trucks at the event, now I really want to go haha! I'll definitely do a review on it :D Plus I'm a total kid at heart and technically still a kid :P

  5. Did you find out from somewhere else there'll be food trucks there ? If so that's great, because there weren't any food trucks there last year :-/

  6. It was on their website! Mogu, Japadog, and a lot of other vendors will be there! Not all of them are "food trucks" but Mogu is! :D

  7. I must be going blind, lol. Show me that link, s'il vous plait :-)

  8. It's under the food section haha here: http://nikkeimatsuri.nikkeiplace.org/food/
    Tons of good stuff! :D

    Gyoza King is also going to be there! I wonder if it's "the" gyoza king or another group? haha. And their "J-Pop" Japanese Popcorn sounds interesting! Looks like it's packaged in cute cartoon character popcorn bags haha! :)

  9. Thx Selina, I never actually clicked on the event's own link on the right which is why I didn't see a food section.

    Mmmm, Chicco: http://www.chiccocafe.com/menu.html

  10. :DD mmm the chicco looks delish! I want to try the black sesame, cheesecake, and ammitsu flavours!


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