Ajito: Calgary's first hidden Japanese izakayaka restaurant

Feb 24 2022, 6:45 pm

Ajito is one of the coolest restaurants in Calgary — if you can find it.

This Japanese izakaya restaurant on Macleod Trail is hidden behind a beautiful “ice cold”  vintage red Coca-Cola vending machine.

All you have to do is find it, open it up, and step through to transport yourself to a secret and delicious world of food and drinks.


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Ajito means the “secret base of operations” and izakaya means “stay-drink-place”, so once you’ve actually found a way in, settle in to comfortable enjoy a top-notch dining experience.

From the enormous menu here, all of the dishes served are elegant, authentic, and best of all, fun.

Tapas have modern twists on classics, like the corn and kale tempura with soy butter, or the oyster shooters that come with yuzu dash ponzu sauce and black tobiko.

There’s even poutine here, which is a showcase of the creativity and playfulness on this menu from a kitchen team still serving extremely high-quality food.

The Takoyaki Style Poutine is made with French fries, Japanese BBQ sauce, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese curds, octopus, green seaweed, bonito flakes, and topped with green onion.

Fresh sashimi options are available here, including hamachi, wild scallop, bluefin tuna, and the often hard to find uni sashimi.


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Raw seafood tapas are a popular choice here. Three different kinds of carpaccio –sockeye salmon, scallop, and yellowtail parmesan  — are all prepared in different ways with entirely new ingredients.

Ebi mayo, with fried tiger prawns and spicy aioli, is a classic dish done perfectly here. Dishes like the cast iron baked mussels or the Japanese calamari with egg tartare sauce, are not classic dishes but they definitely should be.

Meat-heavy dishes seem to cover it all, from deep-fried chicken karaage, to miso duck breast, to the melting charshu pork. There’s even a couple beef options that are served on sizzling hot stone plates.

Every single noodle and rice dish looks and tastes completely unique with vibrant flavours. There’s eel served on a hot stone with yuzu teriyaki sauce, slowly cooked Japanese beef curry, and even a stone bowl udon that’s prepared like a classic carbonara.


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The food is delicious, the cocktails are exciting, and the atmosphere of this hidden Japanese restaurant makes for a completely unique experience.

Half the fun is the dining experience, and the other half is finding out where to find it.


Address: 7212 Macleod Trail SE #110, Calgary


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