In the heart of Toronto’s bustling entertainment district, Minami Toronto is the newest Japanese restaurant from Aburi Restaurants Canada. The venue expands on their reputation for signature flame-seared Aburi sushi with a drinks-focused venue that offers one of the largest selections of Sake in Toronto in addition to original cocktails, beer and wine.

Our design team drew inspiration from Minami Toronto’s flame-seared sushi to infuse fire and warmth into the interior design. During the day, abundant natural light streams in from the large windows, highlighting the thematic colours of orange and red found throughout the elevated restaurant and bar environment.

The space offers guests a lounge area, dining banquettes and a main dining room. Lighting within the space plays a key role in defining the mood: as Minami Toronto shifts from daytime to evening dining, back-lit arches leading from the kitchen to the lounge cast a warm glow over diners.

Like all seven Aburi properties, Minami Toronto features stunning art pieces. DesignAgency collaborated with Toronto-based designers Moss and Lam to create a custom hanging fabric art installation in the bar, illuminated by the arches above the dining banquettes. The installations create a flickering embers effect, bringing the height of the ceiling down to provide a true sense of intimacy.

Famous Japanese artist Hideki Kimura was commissioned to create a giant mural for the restaurant. The mural is displayed as a feature wall in the main dining room and as a translucent glass application between the lounge and main entry. Known as ‘the rock star’ painter from Kyoto who earned prestige by organizing several legendary events such as Too Much, Japan’s first rock music festival, he turned to painting murals after retiring. Kimura’s dynamic art style is evocative and features symbols unique to East Asian art such as carp fish, lotus flowers, elephants, and peacocks all drawn in his inimitable style.

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