The hype: The long queues that form outside each Sushi Tei branch every lunch and dinner time is understandable—consistently good, quality Japanese cuisine at affordable prices is hard to resist. Hokkaido-Ya is a new concept established by the same folks using that same formula, but rather than being an izakaya concept, it focuses on single-serve offerings like donmono and ramen.

The vibe: It’s a 60-seater casual diner with wooden chairs and tables packed together. Bright, warm lights make it more inviting than say Sushi Tei, but is still cosy. Two state-of-the-art ordering kiosks with facial recognition features out front helps smoothen the ordering process along.

The food: Dive straight for the donburi items cause those are best sellers for good reason. You can’t go wrong with the Bara Chirashi Don ($13.90), but trust us, fork out a little more, and get the truffle version ($14.90) for added enjoyment—the truffle fragrance isn’t overpowering and complements the fresh fish well. Those who love mentaiko should get the aburi mentai ($14.90) one—a piquant bowl of torched mentai sauce on a soft bed of Japanese rice and seafood—instead.

There’s a selection of white curry (a mild, creamy Japanese-style curry famed in Hokkaido) items to choose from too, ranging from Shirobuta Pork Katsu ones served with rice ($12.90) or udon ($13.90), to one served with fried ebi, and also with rice ($11.90) or udon ($12.90) as carb options. For something hearty, get the Hokkaido Butter Corn Chasyu Ramen ($12.90), or opt for the hotate or beef versions, depending on your cravings. All ramen comes with a choice of paitan, miso or spicy soup bases.

An assortment of sides is also on the menu, with items like Chawanmushi ($3), Miso Soup ($2.50) or the more unique Hokkaido Corn Cream Croquette ($3.50) available. There’s the Bara Chirashi Salad ($14.90; that comes with either sesame or onion dressing) for the health conscious too, though Sushi Tei’s sashimi salad with their eponymous dressing is still tops. Be sure to get a dessert to go. The ice-creams ($3.50-3.90) here are all served still wrapped, and are deliciously creamy thanks to the use of Hokkaido milk.

The drinks: There’s not much to say. Choose from the usual soft drinks, Japanese beers like Asahi and Sapporo, or hot green tea to slake your thirst.

Why you’ll be back: For those working in the Harbourfront area, this is a no-brainer daily lunch spot, perfect for when you wanna eat a little better (because we deserve it) without going too luxe at the same time.