Dorinku Izakaya: Edmonton Restaurant Review

There are plenty of places to eat and drink on or near Whyte Avenue in Edmonton; there are few that stand out. Dorinku, a word that means ‘drink’ in Japanese is a new hotspot at the base of the Station Condos at 102 Street and Whyte Ave. Izakayas are all about good libations and small plates of delicious food, and on the night I visited, Dorinku didn’t disappoint.

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Get ready to be yelled at — in a good way.  When you enter, several smiling staff members stand at the ready and simultaneously yell “irasshaimase”, a welcoming greeting delivered with gusto. The room features whimsical items like anime figurines, a pachinko machine and a vending machine that dispenses Japanese drinks.

Dorinku interior This is a good place to go with a group. Try as many dishes as you can. Share everything. Have cocktails, they’re cheap at $6.50 to $8.00, or go for a zippy, full-bodied homemade ginger ale. There is also a very impressive sake and whiskey selection. Izakayas are where you go to let your hair down after work. Those cocktails and that whiskey selection should help accomplish that task.

Back: Ginger ale, Foreground: Yuzu mojito
Back: Ginger ale, Foreground: Yuzu mojito

The food offerings are plentiful and range from small plate snacks to full entrees. For only being open a short while, they’ve got their food fine-tuned.

Here’s what we ate:

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Pressed wild salmon sushi: salmon and avocado sushi with Japanese mint and creamy soy sauce
Tsukune Yakko: Deep-fried, minced chicken patty topped with white scallions, served on fresh tofu with teriyaki sauce and chili oil.
Tsukune Yakko: Deep-fried, minced chicken patty topped with white scallions, served on fresh tofu with teriyaki sauce and chili oil.
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Age Mochi Mapo: Fried rice cakes topped with spicy ground pork sauce.
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Pork Shabu Salad: cold, thinly sliced pork belly on top of organic spring mix dressed in creamy sesame and chili oil.

What Dorinku lacks are web and social media presence. They have a Facebook page, but not much is happening; same for Twitter, and zero presence on Instagram. Their website hasn’t been updated since they announced their opening. Hopefully, that will change soon.

For an in-depth review of my experience at Dorinku, click here to listen to my CBC Edmonton AM chat with Mark Connolly.

Dorinku is located at 10205 – 82 Avenue. Open every day from 5:30 until late. Call 780-988-9760 for information.