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I am so tired of going to Japanese restaurants only to be served by Korean and Chinese. I don't think they do Japanese as well as actual Japanese people do - can anyone tell me of Japanese restaurants in Toronto that are owned/operated by Japanese people??

If so, are any of them large enough to allow a group to eat together? I'm trying to plan my friend's birthday and want to give her good Japanese food..

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  1. ematei off of st. patrick
    and
    japango on elizabeth street

    for more low key everyday kind of japanese eats.

    hiro sushi on king st w
    and
    kaji in etobicoke

    for your more high end needs ;)

    4 Replies
    1. re: pinstripeprincess

      I read rumours that Kaji is partner (working lunch) in a place in Scarborough. Cafe Michi on Pharmacy just south of Sheppard.

      1. re: kerwintoronto

        'tis no rumour, you will see him working there some days. i think the real rumour is that Kaji may be using Cafe Michi as a spring board for creating a mini-chain of high quality but informal small sushi joints.

        1. re: pinstripeprincess

          Kaji-san might be a partner at Cafe Michi but it is NOT a strictly Japanese Restaurant!

          1. re: LovelyAsia

            What do you mean by strictly Japanese restaurant ?

            FYI, Kaji is no longer involved in Cafe Michi for a few months.

    2. There is also Konnichiwa in Baldwin village. Nice homey place serving pretty good ramen and other japanese comfort food.

      1 Reply
      1. re: deabot

        Plus, lots of really good, fresh, cooked fish dishes at Kon-Nichi-Wa. Their grilled Flying Fish is great. If you go to Kon-Nichi-Wa you must also have the Unagi. Hands down the best eel I have had since Kaji. Their gyoza at top notch too. They also actually do Nigirzushi -- including one with Umeboshi in it. Fantastic (if you like Umeboshi).

      2. tokyo kitchen east of yonge on charles (ramen noodle soup is fantastic) and okonomi house (very authentic) both run by japanese

        4 Replies
        1. re: Apple

          Do you know the exact address of Tokyo Kitchen? Does it have a website? Or anything that has a menu of it?

          1. re: jennjen18

            I don't know the exact address... if you walk east on Charles, it is one of the restaurants in the parking garage building. It is not super sophisicated but Japanese ppl seem to find it pretty readily... it has ramen and tempuras and nice bento boxes for lunch. the sushi is not extensive but very japanese - small rolls with the right amt of fish & rice.

          2. re: Apple

            As well as Tokyo Grill on Yonge just a few stores north of Wellesley. Sushi there is an afterthought and extremely limited, as they focus on teriyaki kind of dishes. My fave there is tofu steak (a big hunk of grilled tofu wrapped with an omelette) - don't know if that's a Japanese dish or not, but the cooks and owners are Japanese (at least still were I was there a couple of months ago.)

            1. re: Teep

              Thanks for this tip. I live minutes from there, and will give it a try.

          3. Kumai sushi and Jimbay's (both in Mississauga) are also run by Japanese.

            1. Hamasushi at Market Village and the oft mentioned Hashimoto are 100% Japanese owned. Refer to this listing, most of these are Japanese owned. Notice the absence of Sushi on Bloor and such......

              http://www.japansocietycanada.com/inf...

              1 Reply
              1. re: aser

                I find Hamasushi over-priced for what it offers - quality of fish, presentation, menu breadth, ambience - although the fish portions are huge on the nigiris.

              2. And of course Tokyo Sushi at Bay and St. Joseph's is as authentic as a small suburban Japanese town. I emphasize "small".

                1. Toshi Sushi at King Street West and Portland..Reasonable prices

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: tasoid

                    Toshi is amazing. I've heard they put on a somewhat secret all you can eat every 6 months or so for valued customers for $25 each, would love to go then.

                  2. Decker-Ten on Burnhamthorpe, east of Creditview in Mississauga is run by Japanese.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: ersatz

                      Uncertain about Decker Ten theses days. Kimura, my old kendo sensei, opened the place but sold out several years ago for a new spot out on the airport strip.Not sure who runs it now, are you?

                    2. Does anyone know if Zen Japanese Restaurant (Danforth and Eglinton) is run by Japanese? I love that place.

                      1. Wondering... I enjoy the fabulous service and the wonderful food at Sakura on Jarvis and Adelaide. Does anyone know if the owners are Japanese?

                        1. Yep, Zen is run by Japanese. So as Mikado (114 Laird Drive) in East York.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: tangerine

                            Thanks for the confirmation. I tried Zen after reading the blogs here. It's a true gem. I'll try their cooked diskes next time.

                            1. re: tangerine

                              So what's MIkado like....any good? I've passed it a million times and it never looks open. Didn't think anyone ever went there? Should we try it?

                            2. I have never done an extensive survey of Japanese Restaurants in the city, and unfortunately usually can't afford to go to the places I'd always like to (still haven't been to Sushi Kaji).

                              Having said I would include many of the places mentioned above, and include Sakawaya and AjiSai, which are both near me, as well as Hashimoto. Of these I know that Sakawaya and Hashimoto are run by Japanese, but not sure about AjiSai. I was really impressed with the place last week, though, when they served me a raw quail egg with my Zaru-Soba. One of my favourite seasonal dishes.

                              I would definitely leave Izakaya off the list. Not sure what those guys are trying to achieve, but as far as noodles go I would SO much rather go to the R-Shop Cafe on King West, run by some very pleasant Japanese women. Not sublime food, but at least they seem to it.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: bluedog

                                Urp. My typing is awful...last phrase should be "at least they seem to get it"

                                1. re: bluedog

                                  Hmm, interesting. Where is this R-Shop Cafe exactly? I've never heard of it. You say they serve good noodles? By noodles do you mean ramen, or soba, or udon? And this would be in yummy soup, right?

                                  1. re: jennjen18

                                    You can find the R-Shop Cafe at 431 King West. The menu is posted here: www.rshop.ca, but not the daily specials.

                                    It was reviewed in Beyond Burgers last year, the review may be found here: http://www.cbc.ca/metromorning/beyond...

                                    It is a bit unusual as far as Japanese restaurants in TO go, and is more reminiscent of those high concept cafes they have in Tokyo. Not traditional in the least it's all clean formica surfaces and glass. There is a full range of soy based drinks and tea on the menu.

                                    As far as noodle soups, they serve mostly ramen with good fresh toppings, but they also have lots of other things including katsu don, Japanese curry etc. I think Catherine Jeong says it best in her review: "It's food that the owners grew up on and learned to cook from their mothers." So a lot of it has a homemade feel to it. Indeed in the review they owners describe the food as non-restaurant style home cooking. Its definitely worth a visit.

                                    I keep saying on this board that there is so much more to Japanese food than the usual sushi/tempura/teriyaki triumvurate that mostly rules this (and every other) town, and R-Shop is a good example of an alternative.

                                    1. re: bluedog

                                      Cannot agree more about the ramen at Izakaya - they use cantonese wonton noodles, not ramen - an abomination, sigh... Well, it was a very disappointing experience.
                                      I will certainly try the other places recommended above. Thanks for the info.

                                      1. re: jellyfish

                                        Izakaya is a fraud! It always has been. It is better named The Noodle Hut.

                                  2. re: bluedog

                                    Went to AjiSai tonight and discovered that that the management is not Japanese, though there is often wait staff that is (for some reason there are a lot of Japanese in my area: in fact I have been told that in the last few years there have been more people from Japan move into my area than elsewhere!). However, I would hold this restaurant up as an EXCELLENT example of a Japanese restaurant that is not run by Japanese, but that is consciously and successfully preparing food in the Japanese style, in my opinion.

                                    1. re: bluedog

                                      Gyoza King on Robson Street in Vancouver has achieved the same - Chinese owned but Japanese operated. The dining experience is pretty authentically Japanese.
                                      Incidentally, there's also an Aji Sai on W. 42nd in Vancouver (near Arbutus), also a great little sushi bar. This one's simply Japanese owned and operated though.

                                    2. re: bluedog

                                      AjiSai is actually run by Chinese, however really good food and good service. Everytime I've had the Zaru Soba it's always come with a raw quail egg - even at different restaurants, owned by Japanese. I thought that was normal?!?!

                                    3. The joints in "Sushi Gulch" along BloorW have done much to compel the curious and discerning to look elsewhere not just for "different" but "better." That, I think, is what we're really talking about here. I've had delightful and correct sushi, sashimi, yakitori and ramen served by Koreans who trained in Japan, along with crap food that happened to be served by Koreans or Chinese.Go into the kitchens of haute joints in any large US city and you'll Mexicans cranking out superb examples of nearly any national cuisine. Training and attitude matter far more than nationality.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Kagemusha

                                        Try Nami - Adelaide east of Yonge. Run by Japanese. Great sushi and Robata grill

                                      2. Rikishi on Bloor (near Ossington) is also Japanese owned and run (at least the last time I checked).

                                        1. I would suggest Benihana and Katsura if you're more interested in Tepanyaki than Sushi. However both place are owned by japanese but doesn't mean the cook will be japanese.
                                          For Sushi, Shogun in Yorkville area has a japanese chef. But don't expect a good dish from them as they are more value-centric than quality.
                                          For a good sushi I recommand Hiro Sushi as they are one of the very few japanese serving with real wasabi. A little bit pricy and might feel that the dish is too small.
                                          For a best sushi in town, go to Sushi Kaji. Expensive as hell
                                          but no comparison in taste wise.

                                          1. This thread is cool, I've been to several of the places mentioned here, I like Zen. Check out Mariko on the Danforth, they have an all you can eat menu most days for $24. If I'm in Miss, I like going to Jimbay, on Dixie near Eglinton.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: doubledown

                                              Mariko moved across the street and seems to have changed hands in the process. I never see the same chef, sushi chef, or head waitress as before and the service and food quality has plumitted. It used to be my fave -- no more. Now, I head to Baldiwn street.

                                            2. I recommend Zen (Danforth and Eglinton) and Nami (Adelaide near Yonge) too. Fantastic places and both are run by Japanese as far as I know.

                                              1. I always like New Generation Sushi in the Annex, I dont know if they have japanese chefs, but I havent been disappointed. Newly renovated bacause of a fire. Not the most chic places, but great prices, casual dining. Also, I know you dont want sushi made by Korean people, but the strip of Korean Restaurants around Christie and Bloor are fabulous.

                                                1. Kobo Sushi at 512 Kingston Rd. in Pickering is the only restaurant run by Japanese that I know of in Durham.
                                                  It is a small place, holding only about 20 people, but the food and service is excellent.

                                                  1. I have the impressio New Generation Sushi is Korean. I think Sushiman is Japanese too, by the way. Hiro is outstanding.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: SarahBHood

                                                      Last time I went to Sushiman, most of the staff, including sushi chef, spoke Mandarin.

                                                      The Okonomi House cook speaks Cantonese, but the Okonomi yaki is good nonetheless.

                                                      Many young Japanese people came to Toronto within the last few years, on "working holiday visa", to study English and work. Most of the girls work in restaurants. Some of my friends like going to Ematei because they have so many Japanese waitresses going through the door, but they always hire those with real restaurant experience in Japan.

                                                      Not to mention you see in the local Japanese news paper such as "Bits", you see Chinese owned restaurants such as Sushi xxxxx on Queen or Bloor looking for waitresses. Yes, they ignore local laws and specifically says "waitress" on their recruitment ads. Well, Japanese-owned restaurants do that too.

                                                    2. Miyabi at West Beaver Creek in Richmond Hill, among a sea of Chinese restaurants. All Japanese staff except 1 south Asian kitchen help. Chef has Japanese chef licence on display. They have a very diverse menu, including okonomi yaki. Also there are dishes only written in Japanese posted above the kichen counter, including omlette rice, bonito sashimi, deep fried anchovies...

                                                      I've been to all of those confirmed Japanese places posted above, except Kaji, Japango, Tokyo sushi, Zen.
                                                      I can confirm Ichiricki is all Japanese.

                                                      The only other place I saw Japanese licence displayed was Hashimoto - he has both chef and fugu licence. (Granted I didn't always have the opportunity to check every Japanese restaurant I went to, LOL.) The food is really authentic and they serve stuff not available elsewhere in Toronto, like live abalone flown in from Japan. But for $150/per head, taxes, tips, drinks not included, I don't like going to a Missisauga strip mall for that. The inside is nice and cozy, but again, not for $150. I had the $60 dinner a few years back and that was much better value for the money, obviously the ingredients were not as exotic.

                                                      Mikado: Food is good. But at those prices, at least they can afford to update the decoration (which I imagine they never did since opening).

                                                      Katsura, it's in a hotel, so service is typical lousy. Only 2 Japanese waitresses among the wait staff. Many of the dishes are so westernized. But I imagine their Sunday special might be good. I prefer Sagano at the Delta Hotel in Scarborough for hotel Japanese. More authentic. Rooftop view, abeit overlooking the 401 and malls. Better service than Katsura.

                                                      Hiroshushi - Sushi is good, but hardly any Japanese go there. And I don't like to sit beside the newly rich from Oakville talking about their South American trips, and don't know how to properly eat sushi. But hey, I don't need to spend that much for THAT ambiance :) So never went back.

                                                      Tokyo Grill, eat there every week. Their sushi - I make better maki myself. Their strength is the cooked food, and price.

                                                      1. J-Grill is good. The kitchen is japanese and they have really good tempura and curry. They even do Japanese rice burgers. Not sure if they have air-con, cuz the last time I went it was really hot.

                                                        If you want sushi, go to J-Town and swing by the bakery for green tea soft-serve ice cream.

                                                        1. Thank you to everyone for your wonderful suggestions. I have decided to eat at Konnichiwa, then head to XO Karaoke before taking my friend to the Dance Cave.

                                                          Sounds like a great evening!!

                                                          Anyone know of a good cocktail place near Konnichiwa? *LOL*

                                                          1. >>confirm Ichiricki is all Japanese

                                                            Oops.. actually that's a new entry in this thread... and should be spelled Ichiriki, at on Bloor just east of Yonge. They have occasional Jazz nights too.

                                                            Decker Ten is "Closed for 2 weeks for renovation". Usually that means change of ownership. Will see.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: beep1

                                                              Either that, or the LLBO suspended their license.

                                                              1. re: Blueicus

                                                                Decker Ten is no more. Phone disconnected. New Japanese restarant with a new name is now there. Didn't look that authentic from the outside.

                                                            2. Decker Ten in Mississauga was once owned by my old kendo teacher, Kimura Sensei, but that was quite a while ago. Most sushi joints in Miss. are Korean-owned with the exception of Kumai on Hurontario and Jimbay on Dixie.

                                                              1. Oh... the appearance of a restaurant in the Japan Society restaurant list doesn't mean it's Japanese owned/operated. I use a Toronto Japanese langauge telephone book "Town Pages" and it has the same problem.

                                                                Another nice (and pricey) place, out in Oakville, is Mye. This is the only place I've found around Toronto where at the sushi bar, the furnishing, lighting, chef's uniform are all very authentic, and made me feel I was in Japan. Hate those bathrobe/yukata style blue and white pattern outfits worn by many restaurant workers.

                                                                This place have very good and authentic food, and special about them is regular customers have their personalized sake cups. Hundreds of them, of different design, were kept in wall cabinets around the dining room, with name tags or initials. Saw a famous Canadian rock singer last time I went, and the matching initial tag where the cups were missing.

                                                                One thing I don't like is that they use those cheap stones you buy from aquarium store as chopstick rests - UNLESS you are Japanese AND speak Japanese(we experimented), when they will quickly replace them with real chopstick rests.

                                                                1. Toshi--a small gem in an unlikely setting near Hurontario and Hwy 7 in Brampton.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: Kagemusha

                                                                    Good point. I've been to Toshi several times and it's definitely authentic and has really good prices too!

                                                                  2. A new place, "Kaiseki Sakura" is opening downtown in the next few days. Saw their recruitment ad looking for Japanese speaking chef, dishwasher and bartender. I called yesterday to see if they're open, and seeked clarification of the word "Kaiseki", whether it's only part of their name, or they are actually serving Kaiseki. The lady is Japanese. They might serve mini kaiseki. We'll see.

                                                                    1. It's a nice place with new decoration, and a prominant bar up front. It's an all Japanese operation. They have 2 kaiseki style sets ($60 and 80 pp) and whole bunch of (~20?) izakaya style dishes, but they cost twice as much compared to other Japanese restuarants in Toronto, similar serving size.

                                                                      We had the $60 set (everyone in the party had to order the same set). It's a good attempt to do the kaiseki stuff. The food is a bit fusion, such as the groupa soup with winter melon, or the ox tongue in miso served with all-grain bread. Obviously you won't find ox tongue in real kaiseki.

                                                                      I guess it's a good experience for $60.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: beep1

                                                                        Yes, I would also like to know where this place is, and give it a try.

                                                                      2. where is this Sakura Kaiseki? The only other Kaiseki I know of is out by the airport and costs roughly 100/150 for the 6 and 8 course. I'm always willing to try new Kaiseki in Toronto, since I see it so rarely.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: jlunar

                                                                          Kaiseki-Sakura
                                                                          556 Church Street, Toronto, ON M4Y 2E3
                                                                          416-923-1010

                                                                          Just a little bit north of Wellesley, on the west side.

                                                                          1. re: Joobu

                                                                            If I'm on Church St craving Japanese, can someone tell me why I would go anywhere other than Omi? The new place can't be that good, can it?

                                                                        2. Beep 1. FYI, I was served ox tongue in a kaiseki dinner I had in Tokyo last winter.

                                                                          1. Sakawaya
                                                                            :) authentic japanese food, my friends and i always order catering trays from there

                                                                            http://sakawaya.redto.com/sakawaya/ab...

                                                                            1. Went to Japango the other day, lunch and then dinner same day. Had sushi for lunch, and cooked stuff for dinner. So the decoration is very Tokyo-like and I give them big credit for that. However I have trouble believing the place can fall under the title of this thread.
                                                                              - menu is too anglicised... "chicken don", "yellow tail roll" among other things
                                                                              - the Japanese waiter had a lengthy casual conversation with one of the sushi chefs in English...hmm
                                                                              - the 2 sushi chefs have hardly any Japanese mannerism, and they don't look like Japanese. My Japanese is not good enough to tell if the 2 Japanese phrases uttered by the other sushi chefs are accent-free
                                                                              - they are extra friendly and patronising with the guests like you're in a Chinese restaurant
                                                                              - no native Japanese customers I ran into
                                                                              - their "beef don", the way they do it, is not something you can find anywhere in Japan
                                                                              And finally, they serve butter fish/so-called "white tuna"/oil fish/escolar as sushi or sashimi

                                                                              BTW OMI also serves this white-fleshed fish. You often find this in AYCE sushi places, but rarely(if ever, as I've never seen it) by Japan-trained sushi chefs. You should know that some variety of this fish is banned from being imported, or for human consumption in Japan and some European countries. There is however no such restriction in US or Canada. Sometimes exporters/importers/wholesales mis-label, maybe unintentional. It's no big deal, just cleans your stomache.

                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                              1. re: beep1

                                                                                Japango dudes are from Osaka, I lived there and we talked for over 20 minutes about our favourite places there. I even tried out my Osaka-ben slang on them and cracked them up. That's some serious inside joke stuff that's hard to fake.

                                                                                1. re: childofthestorm

                                                                                  they're japanese, but doesn't matter, the last time i went it wasn't very good food wise
                                                                                  one of the sushi chef is chinese and another cook there is chinese also

                                                                                  1. re: j6p

                                                                                    people i've converted and myself have gone to japango and have hit off days once each so far. i'm highly forgiving as the experience immediately after was immaculate. think sublime raw scallops.

                                                                                    as far as japanese, i wouldn't argue that at some point they may have/had hired chinese people... but whenever i drop in at about 3pm (their lunch hour) i hear nothing but japanese chatter at their family style meal. they're utterly friendly, possibl unconventional, but they win me over each and everytime.

                                                                              2. Zen Sushi on Eglinton in Scarborough is owned and operated by the Japanese chef. This is a remarkable restaurant that will transport you to a different place. I have been here multiple times over several years and always leave feeling blessed. Sit at the sushi bar if possible. Also, order the foil-yaki for an unusual cooked dish. Everything is splendid here including their homemade-syle Japanese desserts.

                                                                                1. Katsura (Prince Hotel, Leslie and York Mills) is one of my favourites... but the secret is to go upstairs to the sushi bar and not hang out in the hotel restaurant. It is a different world up there. Quiet and bright, with an air of discipline as the sushi chefs (average age 50?) prepare brilliant sushi. The quality is right up there with Kaji and Hiro, but with less of a 'scene'. Price for Omakase (chef's choice) has varied wildly from $40 per person to $90.... depending on what they gave us and who was serving. The most entertaining of the chefs I have seen there is Endo. (they wear name tags) He must have absolute silence when composing a plate... fascinating to watch. A true artist.

                                                                                  There's my 2 cents.

                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                  1. re: shiro miso

                                                                                    I understand Endo-san is now the owner/chef at Aoyama Sushi on Victoria Park.

                                                                                  2. I feel compelled to jump in again, as a massive fan of the cuisine.... here goes - in no particular order....

                                                                                    Okanomi House (Charles west of Yonge)
                                                                                    Tokyo Kitchen (Charles east of Yonge)
                                                                                    Nami
                                                                                    Ema-tei
                                                                                    Hiro
                                                                                    Japango
                                                                                    Sakura (still not sure if it is Japanese...)
                                                                                    Sushiman - ate there yesterday - no idea if it's Japanese - but it is down right delicious - try the black cod

                                                                                    and at some pt, I will be making my way over to sushi kaiji

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: Apple

                                                                                      Sakura (on Adelaide) is part of the Ichiban franchise, all of them (that I've been to) are run by either Korean or Chinese. And, if recall, they serve see bulgogi, which is a sure sign of Korean operation.

                                                                                    2. has anyone been to YUMI or YAMA on bloor west (etobicoke)? is it authentic? we used to love sushi villa until this past weekend ... i guess management changed and the sushi was no longer as good as it used to be. in fact, the rice was still WARM. ick!!

                                                                                      1. Zen in scarborough so far the best place i have been in terms of japanese food in GTA. that said i haven't been to kaji yet. fyi, nami downtown was a disappointment service and food wise, but sure is trendy. i also liked benihana tapanayaki in royal york hotel.

                                                                                        1. Yes Sakawaya is run by Japanese but that doesn't automatically make them a good restaurant. I was there twice and both times the rice was soggy. I mean, so soggy that when you lift rice balls it left wet marks on the ojuu (bento box) that stayed wet for a while! (usually those 'marks' dry up shortly after).First time I was there the tempura was mushy, so the second time I didn't bother about tempura, ordered grilled fish or something which was okay but not spectacular.
                                                                                          Maybe I was just unlucky both times, but two bad experiences are enough for me.

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: lilith

                                                                                            OYSHI sushi
                                                                                            10-12 Weensquay W. unit 107
                                                                                            M5J 2R8
                                                                                            416-216 0709

                                                                                            Good fresh real japanease food by japanease people!!!
                                                                                            Its a small place but the food is really good.

                                                                                          2. Satsuki - how was your meal at Konnichiwa?

                                                                                            For the record, Okonomi House is owned by Japanese, but do employ non Japanese - however it is hardly high end Japanese food. It is more Japanese style street food!

                                                                                            Katsura will never be the same after the Prince Hotel was sold... and thus is not Japanese owned anymore.

                                                                                            Miyabi is one of my favourites but it is in Richmond Hill hidden in a sea of Chinese restaurants and stores.

                                                                                            Mikado on Laird is a prime example of why Japanese owned and run restaurants are not necessarily the most successful.

                                                                                            Sushi Kaji is a rare example of a true business success that is Japanese owned and run, but his prices are too high for the average person - especially those just trying sushi for the first time.

                                                                                            What is sad, is that for many, that first experience will be sushi from a grocery store, which is as far from authentic as you can get. Do they even put vinegar in the rice? Not to mention that prepared sushi is never to be refrigerated - it makes the rice hard.

                                                                                            For the most part, you can usually tell the quality of the Japanese food by the price you pay.

                                                                                            If it is "All you can eat", there is no way it is going to be authentic. They will have to cut corners somewhere and the quality and authenticity suffer.

                                                                                            I already ranted on about this in the AYCE sushi thread, but I just hope that the more sushi lovers become educated, the more they will demand the real thing - which includes top quality!

                                                                                            1. Lily (broadview and danforth) is my favorite japanese restaurant in toronto and it is owned and operated (chefs' waiters ect..) by japanese people. I always enejoy going to this spot, the food is amayzing the service is excellenet qand i love the atmosphere there. Last time i had a 5 course omakaseh for $35, which is very resonable. The meal consisted of:
                                                                                              -a really spicy soup with a side of okra
                                                                                              -a grilled cod
                                                                                              -assortied sushi and sashimi
                                                                                              -beutifully cut fruit

                                                                                              the meal was really excelent, not too much food not too little.

                                                                                              the reason i am writing this though is the last couple times I have gone I noticed that patronage has really gone down here. I have no idea why, it is a great place and i woudl hate to see it close.

                                                                                              If you are looking for a great authentic japanese restaurant then give it a shot.

                                                                                              Great date place also.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: Epicure3333

                                                                                                Does anyone know whether Ichiban Fish Market (steeles and kennedy in Markham) is run by Japanese?
                                                                                                Also, do Zen and Le Cafe Michi offer take out?

                                                                                              2. You guys would be surprised at how many of the japanese restaurants you've listed have chinese chefs. Don't want to bias anyone's opinion here so my lips remain closed but it also goes to show that chinese can do japanese cuisine well and that people couldn't tell the difference.

                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: Notorious P.I.G.

                                                                                                  I agree. While there is a marked difference in the range of quality that one sees in Toronto's sushi restaurants, it's not like being Japanese, Chinese, or Korean, for that matter, makes a restaurant's cuisine more authentic!
                                                                                                  For example...John Lee, Toronto Sushi God, of OMI, is Korean, raised in Canada, trained at George Brown!
                                                                                                  Apprenticeship is what matters-where a chef trains, and learns to love the art of sushi!

                                                                                                  1. re: unturtlesoup

                                                                                                    There's a really big difference between Kaji and John Lee, whose new Omi is not exactly my top pick for sushi even in his new price range. I'd hardly call him the "Toronto Sushi God." This isn't because Japanese and Koreans can't cook, or can't cook Japanese food, but because the restaurants popping up in Toronto don't seem to want to be the best Japanese restaurants in Toronto, as indicated by their ingredient choices, menu items, and price point.

                                                                                                    There are kitchens in Japan staffed by Chinese, or far more often, Koreans that produce excellent Japanese food. There are many excellent Korean or Chinese chefs who train in Japan and return, or stay in Japan, or go elsewhere in the world. One of these places does not seem to be Toronto, though. When your price point is roughly $10, and you're hiring Chinese students with no training as sushi chefs, obviously the quality of your food isn't going to be the same as someone who has the correct training.

                                                                                                    I personally don't care about the race, gender or nationality of the chef, all I care about is the food they produce. Take, for instance, Jeff Ramsey at the Tapas Molecular Bar at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Tokyo, who won the 2006 Seven Sushi Samurai competition. Not only is he an American, but he used pineapple (of all sacrilegious ingredients) on his winning item.

                                                                                                    If a Chinese or Korean sushi chef started making better sushi than Kaji, I'd go. If a kitchen staffed by Chinese or Koreans started doing better izakaya than Ematei, I'd go. If a Chinese or Korean started doing better pseudo-kaiseki than Hashimoto, I'd go. I'd go if it were a black guy, a white guy, an Indian guy, or anything else.

                                                                                                    On another note: Notorious P.I.G., if you're going to say something like that, you may as well name the restaurants involved. As far as I'm concerned, the only bias here is that, in general, the Chinese and Korean sushi places are garbage, employ untrained chefs, use low quality or mislabeled ingredients, and produce bad food at a low price point to satisfy the generic Torontonian consumer of teriyaki-tempura-sushi Japanese. This isn't because they aren't Japanese, this is because that's just what the restaurants are like here in general.

                                                                                                2. Toshi Japanese Restaurant (in Brampton) is owned by a Japanese person, and all those who work there are personally trained by him - www.toshi.ca

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                                                                                                  Toshi Japanese Restaurant
                                                                                                  10 Gillingham Dr, Brampton, ON L6X5A5, CA