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Pia Mileaf-Patel

$30 a person

At 9:50 this morning a crowd of anxious foodies stood on the corner of Ainslie and Lorimer waiting for the pocket-sized Okonomi to open up for breakfast. There are 12 seats and we were a combination of proud and embarrassed to score two of them.

The traditional Japanese breakfast, our waitress explained, was created for welcoming monks. You pick a type of fish from the daily selection and it comes with miso soup, various sides, and rich, nutty rice. If you would like, you can add an "onsen egg" to your order, which comes in a small bowl on top of homemade soy sauce. You stir it into your rice and it is like the egg version of a blanket. I'm going to crave it all week!

Sitting there with our roasted tea in the natural light was beyond pleasant. The windows are decorated with cherry blossoms, branches, and translucent dried fish skins. And each bite of breakfast was to die for. Besides the perfectly salted, tender fish, there was a salad made with vegetables and almond pulp, some incredible pickles with a hint of yuzu, a creamy and not-too-sweet bite of tamago, steamed broccoli with sesame, and some tender pieces of roasted sweet potato. Each side felt perfectly crafted so that each bite was a balance of delicious and clean. We finished everything on the plate, proud that we had made it on time to beat the brunch rush.

Head to Okonomi before it opens if you can only make it on a Saturday or Sunday. And if there is a wait, it's worth it.