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Best Sushi in Toronto

  • m

I am in for a 2 day conference and would like to get a good Sushi dinner tomorrow night. Cost is no factor. What is the best sushi in Toronto? I am staying on Young Street downtown, but would cab it if it is worth the trip. Thanks for the help!

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  1. p

    I'm saying all of this from the perspective of an omakase dinner. If you have no qualms about price then that's definitely the way to go. Make sure you differentiate from a cooked and raw or pure raw omakase if you're only in the mood for fish. And as always, try to get a seat at the sushi bar, if they have one.

    Hiro - King st. and Jarvis, renowned but the atmosphere is a little stuffy. Makes his own soy sauce.

    Japango - Elizabeth and Dundas, small 20 seater with a casual laid back atmosphere but wonderful fish and sometimes really interesting combinations.

    Omi - Church and Carlton, small place yet again with a nice sake selection. Slightly worn location but they're about food rather than trendy styling.

    All of these places have significantly better than average quality fish and aim to please. I personally prefer Japango or Omi as I've found their meals more satisfactory according to my tastes. If you go to Japango the thing to request is the tuna tartare.

    I wrote up something on Omi just a day or two ago and there's a review for Japango on my blog.

    Link: http://tongueandcheek.ca

    5 Replies
    1. re: pinstripeprincess

      Sushi Kaji on the Queensway. Not cheap but it remains reasonably axiomatic that you get what you pay for.Excellent sake selection. Sushi at the Prince Hotel ain't bad, either.

      1. re: Ronin

        as a note: NOT near yonge st.... definitely not a cab ride away but possibly a cab ride away from a subway station.

        Link: http://tongueandcheek.ca

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          TTC+ a short cab ride. Friends from downtown do it regularly.

          1. re: Ronin

            Really not all that far and it's worth it!

      2. re: pinstripeprincess

        didn't really care for hiro when i went this past spring....i think i read on here that hiro is getting a lil tired

      3. I would agree that if cost is not an object, Kaji on the Queensway is your best bet. As Pinstripeprincess has indicated in her post, it is not close to downtown (a cab would be about $30 from downtown each way), but it is the best sushi that I have had in Toronto. You can get there on public transport, but it is not particularly convenient. I too am a big fan on Omi. John really takes care of his customers and is a great guy. Enjoy!

        1. downtown: Sushi on Bloor the place is packed during mealtime so call for reservations. If you go, gotta try the squid appetizer (bbq/fried) amazingly tender, it melts in your mouth - usually squid/octo are rubbery.

          3 Replies
          1. re: BlueGerbil

            SOB is good, solid, but definitely not the greatest. The squid is called Ikayaki. Also try the Nasu Dengaku.

            1. re: ondadl

              sushi on bloor would definitely NOT be classified anywhere near the best sushi in toronto....it's great for a quick, cheap meal. definitely not a visitor's stop...for the best sushi in downtown t.o..go for japango (definitely need a res.-tiny place) or omi (on church street).....it's worth the trip to etobicoke for sushi kaji or hashimotos....(those for sure are the best sushi places in the toronto area)

              1. re: todc1996

                have been to the Sushi on Queensway was not impressed and overpriced ... I still think Oshi Sushi at Queens Quay and Yonge is the best especially on Tuesday, Wednesday as they get their freshest fish in then ... the oro is amazing and if you need a chicken soup when sick instead try their oodon noodle soup (sp?) it will cure all

          2. SUSHI ISLAND on College has all-you-can-eat (for various prices from $13-$20 depending on when you're there and if you get maki, sashimi, etc) and they do very yummy brown/black rice rolls. a short streetcar ride form downtown, a fun hood with lots of places to catch a drink afterward, and generally decent service and nicer-than-SushiOnBloor atmosphere. not in the Sushi Kaji range in price or quality or whatever, but definately worth your dollar.

            Sushi Island
            571 College St, Toronto, ON M6G1B2, CA

            5 Replies
            1. re: LemonLauren

              Could we make a new rule to never, ever mention something like Sushi Island in the same thread as something as good as Hiro and Kaji. Not the same thing, not close to the same thing, not playing the same sport or even using the same playing field. Sushi Island is fine for what it is but in a thread discussing the BEST sushi in Toronto it just shouldn't make an appearance.

              1. re: Ender

                The principle behind a site like CH is that "best" is a subjective and relative term. If one is on a budget and/or enjoys a younger, busier vibe and/or wants value in a sushi experience while sitll enjoying a decent selection of typical and more adventurous options, Sushi Island might just be the best. Yes, the OP said cost is not a factor, but if somone got away with posting sushi on Bloor, then Sushi Island has place, albeit a unique one, in this thread. If only in the interest of democracy.

                1. re: LemonLauren

                  Agree 100%. Every time someone starts yet ANOTHER "best sushi" thread I just roll my eyes, yawn, and mumble "kaji, hiro, zen" (in any order) because that's going to be the answer, again...

                  Why we continue to waste bandwidth (and why I even bothered to read this thread) on "best sushi" when the answer can be given in those three words...

                  I think the problem is, the question was "best sushi" not "best AYCE sushi" which, as was pointed out by Ender, is a whole separate category.

                  1. re: TexSquared

                    Waste of bandwidth? This post is two years old, the thread older.

                    1. re: Dimbulb

                      I think the poster read several other "new" sushi threads posted today, which triggered these feelings.

                      He does have a point, people need to use the search engine more. Can't fight human nature though, we are lazy.

            2. I'm sure I'll be a minority, but Nami on King is one of my favourite sushi restaurants. Another excellent choice for a Japanese tasting menu (but not sushi) is Kaiseki-Sakura on Church, just north of Wellesely. Both are within walking distance from downtown. Oh darn - I just realized the OP was from April, 2006.... too late!

              1. I've always found the sushi at Toshi Sushi on King to be excellent. Their Omakase meal is $50pp.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dgrayca

                  We've only been twice but each time both my hubby and I quite enjoyed our meal at Nami. The suishi was fresh, the atmosphere was good - no complaints. In fact, we haven't yet but agreed it was worth a return visit.

                  1. re: millygirl

                    i've been to Nami a couple of time and was disappointed both times but that was years ago. Maybe it's worth another visit..
                    my favorite is Lily 86 on Danforth and Broadview. It's a bit expensive but the food, presentation and service is fantastic. They space out your order so you're eating at a nice pace and i love how they describe each dish to you when they serve it with a little bow.
                    It make me feel like a judge on Iron Chef. =)

                2. Best in Toronto? That has to go to Kaji, hands down. Hiro is pretty good - just not THE best.

                  I agree that Nami is a good bet for downtown, since it's close to Yonge. Toshi is decent as well.

                  1. I just recently ate at Shogun on Cumberland in Yorkville. It was really delicious and the creativity, variety and freshness of the rolls reminded me of sushi in San Francisco. I don't know if it's *the best* in Toronto but it was a real treat and if you're staying near Yonge street it will be easy to get to.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: cinnamon_girl

                      I second this recommendation. Good food at reasonable prices, especially considering the area. Until I find a place that comes even CLOSE to what Omi was (and thus worth the price), I'm sticking with cheaper and decent (versus expensive and good but not great - e.g., Japango)

                      1. re: dudebrah

                        Looked for a Shogun menu but found nothing. Can you tell me what prices are like there?

                    2. I ved enjoyed most of the places listed here, and strongly agree. I also have gotten AMAZING sushi at Mochizuki on Bay and Grenville. But Omi is great 2.. There a couple other places, that do a good job... I like Ho Su @ yonge/eg it's not in the same category as Hiro etc, but the fish is quite fresh, and it has some great Korean food as well. AND it's MUCH better than the low end places like SOB, or others like.

                      19 Replies
                      1. re: zed1984

                        Welcome zed1984....you will note after further perusal of this board that Omi is no longer the sushi place that it was due to a reorganization of its ownership. Could you elaborate further on a head to head sushi comparison of the Omi that you knew and Mochizuki (was your visit to Mochizuki a recent one?)....I'm interested in trying out Mochizuki and would like more info....thx.

                        1. re: T Long

                          kaji is in toronto? c'mon. anywho kaji is great but way out of the core but worth the trek if you wann get blown away. imho emi tai is the best little gem in the city. hiro is ok as is nami, toshi and take. zen in scarborough is probably the second best after kaji...easily.

                          1. re: T Long

                            going to Mochizuki tonight, there or Ichiriki, I'll post my findings tomorrow!

                            1. re: 50firstdatesguy

                              Haven't been to Mochizuki yet. On my 'to do' list.

                              If you end up at Ichiriki, mind the wasabi. He has a very heavy hand with it. You won't need to apply any more. While I found the sushi fresh, I had difficulty actually tasting it thanks to the wasabi.

                            2. re: T Long

                              Omi...well i haven't been since my pops took me when i was young. But from what i remember it was Van-city quality fresh. it may have declined in recent years though but i remember eating the best salmon i'd ever had. have read some bad reviews regarding mochi. however i have been quite a few times, it IS japanese owned and all the servers are japanese, i am not sure why people have mentioned it isn't? every female server i've had speaks ok english with a thick japanese accent. its pretty obvious unless korean/chinese and japanese inflection confuses certain people. That being said, the "regular" sushi i've had @ mochi, was average in taste but High in price, HOWEVER i have eaten incredible spanish mackeral prepared three ways... Sushi with gold leaf, sashimi, and then deep fried and salted with head still on. I have been eating sushi my entire life, but that fish was incredible. White tuna, (after we found out it was flown in that day) was also HIGHLY recomended and incredible. As with any sushi restaurant, i'd advise not eating sunday or monday, unless it's incredibly high end and get fish daily. It's a general rule. As well ask whats fresh, sometimes servers say, "everything" but then ask about specific fish and see their reaction. you can pretty much gage the freshness scale. also my partner and i love their beef sashimi. they used kobe beef when we had it last. they're grilled fish, (which i call "river style") is grilled and salted similar to old edo style, was really good. (we had spanish mackeral and a japanese river fish and eel). I hope that helps.

                              1. re: zed1984

                                Thx Zed1984 for the sushi clarification. Btw, while I could care less whether the owners and/or waiters are or are not ethnic-Japanese (and I think it makes not a bit of difference whatsoever), it's at least "interesting" that there could be that much confusion on this matter. All this talk had me going back to Aoyama on Saturday for my sushi fix and the food was excellent as always....Endo-san continues to update his menu...

                                1. re: T Long

                                  Kaji and Hiro can't be beat for freshness and quality. Both are pretty expensive but worth it. I used to eat at Ichiban (Wellington & Church location) years ago and it was very good sushi for a good price. Anyone know any good sushi locations in Bloor West Village area?

                                  1. re: TheGimp

                                    We can certainly recommend Zen, which is on a non-descript strip plaza, in Scarborough, and Mikado in Leaside., as we have been going there for the last 20 yrs There was a change of owners with Zen; but the quality of sushi has not changed. Both restaurants are frequented by tourists from Japan so it must tell us something.

                                    1. re: lchow4983

                                      Change of owners with Zen? When did that happen?

                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                        Long time ago. Used to by run by a Kendo Sensei before Sei san started making sushi there.

                                        1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                          Ohhh. I think that was before my time. How many years ago did it change hands?

                                          1. re: Full tummy

                                            Not sure. Can't give you an answer in years. I remember going there once as a kid and the food and sushi being just alright, then going back withing the last two or three years and the Sushi being what it is now. I know Sei San went there from Masa so maybe just after Masa closed? Again, not sure...

                                      2. re: lchow4983

                                        Hm...I wonder if tourists from Japan patronizing a Japanese restaurant in Canada really means that much. On a recent visit (cruise) to Europe this summer, most of the Chinese would seek out Chinese restaurants when they had a chance to eat out....

                                        1. re: T Long

                                          Sounds like my pops, he gets the itch if he doesn't get one Chinese meal in his system each day.

                                          Old habits die hard....

                                          1. re: aser

                                            Ichiriki on Bloor 1/2 block East of Yonge on the North side is good also. Very nice Japanese sushi chef, fish is very fresh and tasty!

                                            1. re: Nemesis

                                              Nemesis, are you sure japanese chef, not chinese or probably Korean. I went to KoKyo yesterday, was highly recommended on chowhound, but was very disappointed, threw away $100. IMHO, only Japanese sushi chefs make the best sushi, they know where to buy the fresh fish, and how to cut it, and how to season the rice. As soon as I walked in, I should have turned around and walked out, I broke my first rule of thumb. I didn't call before to check owners ethnicity. Kokyo is a japanese restaurant operated by chinese. As soon as I saw the the young kids behind the counter making sushi, I was pissed!, I knew I had wasted my time, money, and travel. Chowhounders, stick to these restaurants, in the downtown core, stick to Ematei, Mikado, Konichiwa, Takesushi ( free parking underground - have to get your ticket stamped by restaurant ). There is a nice japanese kitchen in north york called Taro's, they make sushi, and teriyaki's, tempura, etc... but no seating area, J-Town is also pretty good for udon, curry on rice, etc....
                                              Stay away from japanese restaurants in the Beaches, all chinese and Korean operated, terrible ... absolutely terrible. Alittle west towards leslieville, there is sushi marche run by johnny lee - who is well respected and makes ok sushi, but the prices are crazy, which puts him in the bracket of Hiro's and Kaji's. FYI chowhounders, 75% of japanese restaurants are operated by chinese, 20% by Korean, and only about 5% real japanese chefs. Don't waste your hard earned money.

                                              1. re: ramseywannabe

                                                Sushi Marche is not in Hiro's or Kaji's bracket (price or quality).

                                  2. re: zed1984

                                    Maybe this is old advice picked up from a book (its an old post) but fish gets delivered on sundays here in Toronto pretty regularly.

                              2. ramseywannabe - Absolutely agreed with you WRT japanese restaurants operated by Japanese folks! Went to J-Town recently on Woodbine/Steeles, where there is a small cafe which has a small menu for hot udon noodle soups , Japanense curries with rice. The cafe doesn't servce sushi; however, if desired, walk over to the Japanese grocery store, or fish market(s) where they sell prepared boxes of sushi, sashmi, and bento boxes and then pay for the item. Bring the food items back to the cafe to complement the meal ordered there. The sushi is fresh and good.

                                Try also the Japanese bakery. yummy pastries and traditional japanese cheesecake.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: lchow4983

                                  The sushi and sashimi at Sakana-Ya of J-Town is horrible, it is not even fresh. Try Taro instead if you want take-out. However, the Tonkatsu at the cafe is good.