Big Tuna Poké Bar is a small space in The Annex with a deli-style counter where guests can customize their own poké bowl, or select from a list of signature bowls. The interior is simple, boasting simple colours like white and black, Sriracha-lined walls, wood accents and bar-style seating. Started by Anh, the brother of two of the employees, he got the idea for his poké bar from the lyrics of an underground NY rapper, Action Branson, who mentions poké in one of his popular songs. Anh became inspired and decided to make his dream a reality. With the help of friends and family, Anh opened Big Tuna on June 12, 2016.
Although the space is small, it’s inviting and welcoming, with some seating areas, a few framed pieces of artwork and a chalkboard menu. The employees (all friends and family of the owner) are extremely kind and offer you complimentary water – which you can grab from the fridge. There’s also beer and pop available for purchase.
The Poke Bowls
Choose from the four ‘signature’ bowls which feature ahi tuna, salmon or agedashi tofu; guests, however, are welcome to design a poké bowl of their own, selecting a ‘bed’, protein, sauce and toppings. The ‘bed’ is made from either white rice, brown rice, mixed greens or a combination of rice and greens; proteins include ahi tuna, salmon, agedashi tofu or shiitake mushrooms; and sauces include classic ponzu, spicy mayo, wasabi mayo or salsa verde. The toppings are (almost) endless with options like freshly cut veggies, roasted seaweed or seaweed salad, lotus or taro chips, macadamia nuts, salsa, corn and avocado; keep in mind that avocado is $1 extra, as expected. Bowls are available in two sizes, regular and large – yet, the large seems to be the best value for only $2 more.
The Culture Trip went with the ‘Big Katuna’, or ‘classic’ – the perfect combination of cubed ahi tuna tossed with ponzu and sesame oil, served on top of half brown rice, half mixed greens (by request), and garnished with cucumber, avocado, green onion, sweet onions, macadamia nuts, sesame seeds and lotus chips. The fish, delivered every day from City Fish, a local fish market, was fresh and of excellent quality; the veggies were crisp and tasted fresh – also delivered from local produce farmers.
Big Tuna Poké Bar, serving up a fresh and healthy lunch (or dinner) option, has rightfully earned a spot on Toronto’s buzzing hit list for new restaurants this year. It’s quick, easy and healthy – without sacrificing flavour. If you’re keen on trying new things and are a sushi lover, this is your jam. Plus –vegetarians are welcome.
|Overall stars (5/5): ★★★★★||Atmosphere: ★★★★★|
|Food: ★★★★★||Service: ★★★★★|
|Opening hours: Tues-Sun 12pm-10pm||Reservations: Walk-in|
|Address: 599 Bloor St W, Toronto||Sound: Low|
|Nearest TTC stop: Bathurst Station||Price: $10.95-12.95|
|Telephone number: +1 647 352 0599||Website: Big Tuna Poké Bar|