Have an udon noodle bowl craving? Hip + urban girl loves slurping up a comforting bowl of hot noodles in a yummy and savoury broth. We were recently directed to Manpuku, a 'modern Japanese eatery' located in a mall food court right across the street from OCAD. It's not a fancy restaurant or anything, but there is seating and service as well as a large counter where you can order take-out. The prices are definitely student-friendly with a Niku Udon Noodle Bowl (above) with beef and onions going for a mere $5.99.
The Kake Udon Bowl ($3.99) comes topped with a kamaboko fish cake, tenkasu and diced scallions. The thick noodles are filling and the broth is simple, you can't beat that price - literally the same as a Happy Meal. The Takoyaki ($4.99) are small octopus fritters topped with a creamy sauce, katsuo and aonori (below). They were a bit chewier than I imagined and took awhile to be prepared. We also tried the Yakionigiri ($3.49) which is like a fried rice patty grilled in a miso or soy sauce. Throw in a large side salad for your vegetable content at only ($2.49). We couldn't believe the prices.
We would say the stars of the show really are the Udon Noodle Bowls which are all under $6. The little Japanese snacks were good, but the bowls were the best and the portions generous. Perfect for a cheap and easy meal. The ambiance is incredibly laid-back and casual with a U-shaped kitchen counter and small dining area. Dinner for three only ran us $25 and we were all stuffed. Visit them online at www.manpuku.ca. 105 McCaul Street #29-31 inside the Village by the Grange.