Check out the Latest Posts:

I had purchased a coupon from one of those group-buy sites a while back for Raa Uptown Japanese, so I decided it was finally time to give it a try. The restaurant opened up recently, maybe a few months back and is located near Yonge and Sheppard. I think it used to occupy a previous Japanese restaurant, if I remember correctly.

Raa interior

We gave them a call before heading over to ensure we’d be able to get a seat, since it was a Friday night. We were told they had a lot of tables free and they were open until midnight. Sure enough, it was pretty empty except for two other groups; one which appeared to be friends with the servers. The interior was quite nice – reminded me of Guu, but nicer! Since I didn’t read any great reviews about this place, I was hoping the nice interior wasn’t the only thing this restaurant had going for it…

We had two people serving us and we could tell they weren’t very experienced. While ordering, I inquired about a few items, and three times in a row she had to go up to the sushi bar to inquire what they were. The first dish we ordered was the pork belly ($6.50), one of the dishes they listed on a separate piece of paper as one of the “specials” of the day (meaning they were all 15% off). When another server came by to drop off the dish, she placed it on our table, looked at for a few seconds and said “Sorry, I have no clue what this is.” I think she also mentioned that she just started here… but c’mon! Anyways, the pork belly wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. I expected the meat to be way fattier. Nonetheless, this was actually a decent dish. The sauce was quite tasty and went quite well with the pork.

Pork belly

Since I was in the mood for sushi, we ordered two pieces of spicy hotate (spicy scallops) for $5.50. This was just mediocre as the scallops weren’t the freshest. We also ordered the negi hamachi roll – chopped hamachi & green onions ($5) and the dragon roll – eel, crab, avocado and cucumber ($8.50). These rolls weren’t really anything to write home about. Not bad, but not great either.

We also ordered the gindara saikyo yaki – grilled black cod ($9.50). I think this was one of the first times I didn’t enjoy a black cod dish… and as you know, I eat a lot of black cod. There were just so many darned bones in it! When I first found a bone, I thought it was a one-off, but the whole piece of fish was just littered with bones. It just really ruined the experience. And taste-wise? Not terrible, but certainly not one of the better ones I’ve had.

Dragon roll, spicy hotate sushi and negi hamachi roll

Mike and I were debating between a noodle dish and rice dish and decided on some cold soba noodles since it was pretty warm out. We ordered the tempura soba ($12.50). The tempura came with two pieces of shrimp, one piece of zucchini, yam and red pepper. The soba noodles also came with a side of wasabi, green onions and a quail egg as garnishes. Although the tempura was decent and not overly greasy (like I often find at Japanese restaurants), I wasn’t a fan of the soba noodles. They were cooked a bit too much for my liking and the dipping sauce just didn’t do it for me. Mike actually thought this dish was okay though, but I certainly wouldn’t order it again.

Gindara saikyo yaki (black cod)

I also ordered an Eel Onigiri, a rice ball filled with eel for $1.80. They actually forgot about this and I had to ask about this at the end of our meal. Again, like the rest of the meal, it wasn’t anything special. I only had a few bites of this since I was way too full. I really didn’t need to order this. I think I was just too hungry while ordering.

Overall, my expectations were already pretty low since I didn’t ready too many great things about this place. So, I guess it was a bit better than I had expected, although I don’t think I’d ever be back. All the food was mediocre and the service wasn’t any better, so I could see why it was empty on a Friday night.

Tempura soba noodles

At a glance:

  • Located by Yonge and Sheppard
  • Izakaya style
  • Mediocre food
  • Inexperienced servers
  • Ratings (out of 5):

  • Food: 2 stars
  • Service: 2 stars
  • Atmosphere: 3 stars
  • Raa Uptown Japanese on Urbanspoon

    1. Karen (Reply) on Saturday 9, 2011

      omg i bought a voucher too thinkin wat the heck it’s closeby so give it a try despite the bad reviews

      they werent kidding at all

      i even spoke wit the owner and he claimed that his chefs were fresh off the plane from japan lol also his food is from one of the top suppliers…so full of sh*t wonder if he used to be a car salesperson or something just talked so much crap did he really think i wud fall for it

      the food speaks for itself…just such a waste of money even wit de voucher…NEVER AGAIN!!!

    2. Brandon (Reply) on Saturday 9, 2011


      Good review, too bad i didn’t read it until after I went. This place is horrible. I rather eat sushi from a cart in a mall like sushi-Q than from this place 🙂

      the owner was a bit of a tool too, all talk. My chicken was still bleeding and completely raw (raa? haha). The sushi wasn’t fresh and the other dishes were bland and the waiting staff had no clue what was happening. 2 other couples got in arguments with the waiting staff and ended up leaving before the dishes arrived. I have never been to place as bad as this.

      A new sushi place opened called Tokyo Sushi at Yonge and Finch, just east of yonge on finch south side. I tried this place a week after going to Raa and the food is 100% better, worth checking out!

    3. Jess (Reply) on Saturday 9, 2011

      I can’t imagine this place being around for much longer given everyone’s bad experiences. I still see these vouchers being sold on many of the group-buy websites which seems to me like they’re very desperate for customers.

      @ Karen – Just like you, I decided to buy a voucher given the poor reviews… lesson learned!
      @ Brandon – Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll definitely keep that place in mind.

      • bb (Reply) on Saturday 9, 2011

        You are just one horrible person. Talking crap about our restaurant Raa. “probably won’t be around long”

        “desperate for customers”

        “the owner is a tool”

        It goes on and one. I really wish I had never done the e coupons so the vultured would not have swarmed in and ruined a good rep. Prior to the coupons had a really solid urbanspoon rating. Well that doesn’t last long when the bottom feeders come out and pretend to be professionals who want to ruin hardworking peoples lives. I can see you writing a review. Howver being as crass and ignorant like many of you have been in unbelievable.
        I am the owner of Raa. Wow I decided sometime ago not to get involved in reading the blogs and the reviews, however today I am on a tear. You guys (bloggers/reviewers) come in typically on discounts to build and sharpen your blogging skills that ultimately harm certain businesses. You may have come in on a bad day, you may have come in when the masses did not read what it says on the coupon and make reservations so we try to accommodate them and we end up busy on a day when we did not have or need the extra staff.

        As for the sushi not being fresh, I buy fresh not frozen fish. Being also a restaurant supplier, I also know that most of the restaurants buy frozen or super frozen that are frozen on the ship. We buy fresh every two days. I will show you invoices. When we opened, we made sure that we were going to check out as many restaurants as possible to ensure we did things right. We spent over $15,000 in just meals. We wanted to use only the best ingredients; we had incredible experience in Japanese food. We get told by customers “ this is not Japanese style on a certain dish” My chef that made it is Japanese!!!! What is even worse then the recommendation comes “go try xyz sushi bar”. That is real authentic. Only to realize that xyz does not have one Japanese person employed!! Everyone is an expert. Wow.

        We use the best rice we can buy, we buy the best sushi vinegar, soya sauce, sea weed that any of our suppliers sell, and we also buy our fish every two days FRESH!!!!

        It’s too bad you guys go on your little day trips visiting restaurants on the cheap and then spreading misery. I have seen you guys bash restaurants that you do not have a clue what the food should taste or look like only to praise some shit hole that sells frozen food and slam down the dishes.

        I get some of the best designers to design and consult and I get you guys telling us the lights are not suitable, the decor is wannabe designer, the sushi bar is too high it is too low, it looks like a cafeteria. You know what 95% comes in from the coupon hunters. wow .Listen, spread your misery elsewhere. I only hope you have the same misfortune 10 times over that you shell out. No one asked you to come by. Save the reviews for a place that invited you.

        The fact is I spent thousands on research paid full pop on all my meals, ate shit many times, waited and waited for my food, had slimy sushi, had plates for $35 rolls, fingers in my food, food over the plate. Most of the stuff I would fire a server or chef over and it happens and happens at these restaurants, go find them and review those places. We care and try hard. If you don’t like a meal. Don’t leave a f’in tip. That is protocol. But to get a f’in discount meal and then try to ruin peoples lives. What are you some type of sicko??

        • Jess (Reply) on Saturday 9, 2011

          Hold on a second.

          A bottom feeder who comes out and pretends to be a professional? I have never represented myself as a professional food critic. If you read the “About” page, I specifically state that I am not a professional food critic or expert. The posts are based on my experiences and are my personal opinions.

          Sure, you say you buy the best rice you can buy, best vinegar, fish etc. But at the end of the day, you need to produce delicious food to keep customers coming back.

          Going on “little day trips visiting restaurants on the cheap and then spreading misery”? I go out to eat a lot and I’ve rarely used these coupons. This was certainly an exception.
          Your saying I complained about your décor? If you had bothered to read my post, you would have seen that I actually complimented the décor. So clearly, you’ve just been copying and pasting your rant at every blogger who hasn’t loved your restaurant. There will always be people who will like/dislike a restaurant. Isn’t that all just part of the restaurant business?

          I also would like to point out that if you had read my post, you would have also noted that I called ahead to see if the restaurant was busy before popping by. It wasn’t. And the entire evening I was there, it was pretty empty so I’m not quite sure why you would make reference to the restaurant being busy that day and needing extra staff as an excuse.

          Like I said, at the end of the day, if you produce delicious food, people will continue to come back and your restaurant will be fine. You’re slamming us for buying a coupon? Regardless of whether or not I am using a coupon, I expect the same level of service and food. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the purpose of these coupons to reel in customers for the first time and to get the coming back by showing them a good first experience? You really think that because we’re getting a discount, we should expect food and service of lesser quality? If so, no wonder there have been so many poor reviews which have caused your rant.

          This post was based on my personal experience and my own personal opinions. Never have I called myself a professional food critic. I’m sorry you had to go post your large rant here, but it looks like this isn’t the only place you’ve done so. Best of luck to you.

        • Trish (Reply) on Saturday 9, 2011

          This place is awful! I got take out and they said it would take 20 mins. I went after 30 mins and I still had to wait another 20 mins. Not only that, they keep saying that the supplies they order is fresh. That is bs or they must get it from a really cheap supplier. I agree, I much rather eat the sushi from the mall carts. This was seriously the worse sushi I ever had.

          The service is another thing altogether. The service is even worse than the food if possible. The staff have no clue what they are doing and they are rude! So rude! I will never come back and yes – even with the coupon, it’s still a waste of money!!!!

    4. MH (Reply) on Saturday 9, 2011

      FYI: RAA just got shut down a couple of months ago.
      Apparently the owner was a few months behind in rent and got evicted.
      That restaurant was doomed from the start because of all the negative reviews.

      I guess the owner went back to selling used cars…lol!