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Authentic Sushi Place?

Anyone can recommend any AUTHENTIC sushi place, that is actually owned by a Japanese (rather than maybe Korean/Chinese/etc)? I cannot stand All-You-Can-Eat sushi place as the quality of sushi is not good. Many sushi places just serves the most common sushi - low quality Salmon, tuna, california rolls, etc. I am looking for REAL SUSHI, good quality ones.

Been to Japan and had their fresh and variety of sushi/sashimi at their fish market, and I really hope someone can recommended restaurants in Toronto that can serve similar quality sushi. I still remember how the fatty tuna in Japan melts in my mouth.. yum yum..

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    1. re: HarryLloyd

      Your first Toshi link appears to indicate a restaurant in Vancouver!

      Jimbay is okay but not as exciting as Kumai. Jimbay seemed mystified by my omakase request but they tried their best.

      1. re: HarryLloyd

        Have not tried all of these places, but I second Hiro. Excellent. Creative choices in both sushi and also other dishes (even the soups, I had a pumpkin miso soup there that was surprising, and delightful).

        1. re: HarryLloyd

          How does the quality of fish and the variety of items at Zen compare with those at Le Cafe Michi?

          1. re: HarryLloyd

            Had lunch at Aoyama recently and do not recommend it. The tea cups had a strong aroma of musty dishrag. Sushi was average.

            In contrast, a recent lunch at Kumai was virtually perfect. Even the miso soup there seems to have improved. However, the "new" server was really clueless. Thank goodness for the server who is there regularly and has a great memory.

          2. sushi threads come up nearly weekly and sometimes even more often than that. there's even a japanese by japanese thread out there!

            use the search and check the history.

            1. It may be too much to ask for quality similar to the Tsukiji fish market.

              However to get something reasonably good in comparison, Zen's sushi omakase is the closest similar in style to what you get in Tsukiji, and it usually contains a piece of o-toro sushi.

              1. Kaji. Most authentic of the authentics mentioned by others! A bit out of the way, but worth it.

                Sushi Kaji
                860 The Queensway, Toronto, ON M8Z1N7, CA

                2 Replies
                1. re: MyCrazyDawg

                  If one wants authentic sushi experience and price range like the Tokyo fish market, go to have the sushi omakase at Zen's sushi bar.

                  If one wants authentic expensive (double or more than the fish market) high end Japanese cuisine with both raw and cooked items(as there is no sushi a la carte), go to Sushi Kaji.

                  1. re: skylineR33

                    Dined at Zen yesterday. While the restaurant arguably servers "better" or "fresher" fish than Cafe Miche, personally I don't think it's better "value". I still think Aoyama is overrated.

                2. I like Ematei (St. Patrick slightly north of Queen).

                  It's not top-of-the-line, break-the-bank authentic, but Mr. Rabbit is snobby half-Japanese, and Ematei's offerings are enough to satisfy his cravings (and also, apparently, those of many Toronto-residing Japanese ex-pats) in a fiscally responsible way.

                  We really do need to try Japango (and Kaji).

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Rabbit

                    Ematei is only good (or ok) at cooked food, for sushi, it is nowhere close to Zen or Cafe Michi. Japango has been going downhill for a while in terms of sushi.

                    1. re: skylineR33

                      Michi is in Scarborough, right? Anything you'd recommend in the downtown core, skyline?

                      1. re: Rabbit

                        Yes, Michi is in Scarborough, it is superb in value with great quality as mentioned by others. I like going to Ichiriki if I am in downtown (order the items written on the blackboard). Also the chirashi sushi of Japango (mainly lunch) if in downtown core.

                  2. Definitely try out Shinobu by Tamio at the Makisushi location at Yonge & Lawrence:

                    3403 Yonge Street, North York, ON M4N 2M8

                    This place doesn't break the bank either, but the fish quality is VERY fresh, and the portions are cut properly, not like the cheap chinese places do it here. And you definitely get the melting in the mouth experience!

                    Note, he only does dinners (Tuesday - Sunday), as the day is still the regular Makisushi staff

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nonfob

                      A very reliable source just vouched for Shinobu at Makisushi. 416-830-0741. They had dinner for 2 for $100 on Wednesday night. Japanese by Japanese, very fresh and authentic. If anyone is up there, please check it out for dinner and report back!

                    2. Japango - as mentioned above, a great go-to place downtown for quick affordable decent sushi, especially at lunch. But be aware the place is tiny and very casual, you'll be elbow-to-elbow with your neighbours. But the staff is (mostly) Japanese and very friendly and knowledgeable.

                      Kaiseki Sakura - for upscale omakase featuring a very specific Japanese cuisine. Japanese chef with 15 years experience in Japan. My one meal here was incredible. This place flies under the radar but spoken of very highly whenever it is mentioned. http://kaisekisakura.com

                      15 Replies
                      1. re: Gary

                        You only have one course of raw food at Kaiseki Sakura's omakase with a few pieces of sashimi and OP is asking for a recommendation of sushi place ... and seriously I don't understand why Kaiseki Sakura is so highly praised here, except for beef tongue, I don't find the food all that good at Sakura.

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          I too agree with skylineR33 that Kaiseki Sakura is nothing to shout about except may be for their deliciously tender beef tongue.
                          Another pretty good Japanese owned sushi place that hasn't been mentioned to date is Solo-Sushi-Ya up in Newmarket. Their $50 Omakase is one the better deal in town!
                          I also know for a fact that Toshi san of Cafe Michi get a miscellaneous assortment of airfreight 'Japanese water fish/seafood' every week. Gampachi, Hokkaido scallops and Japan sea sea bream to name a few.

                          1. re: Charles Yu

                            I wish I have a chance to visit Solo-Sushi-Ya as it is so far away from me !

                            1. re: skylineR33

                              Jyo Gao says that he will open a Solo Sushi Ya catering and take-out location at Yonge and College to meet the demand for his catering services downtown. Guess there won't be omakase, but there may be a few seats to eat in. I can't remember if he said when it will open.

                              1. re: missmu

                                The new location is called Solo Sushi Bekkan - address is 3 Grosvenor St (just west of Yonge, between College and Wellesley). It opened a couple of weeks ago - haven't been yet.

                                1. re: czg

                                  Tried Solo Sushi Bekkan today for lunch. It's a small place, seating 18 people (three tables of 4, plus 3 at the bar and 3 facing the street). They replaced Sinai Sushi, which I thought I had heard good things about but was never open when I went around.

                                  Their lunch special is $8.95 (promotional price) which will net you 4 ordinary nigiri and 6 maki (nicely done, in this case salmon with airy tempura bits and delicate mayo). Better-than-average salad and average miso soup. I agree with Aser below that the sushi rice is mushy, even overseasoned. Needless to say, though, it's still head and shoulders above most Yonge Street sushi.

                                  Jyo was very friendly, he thinks they're doing well and seems to love the location. For those who are interested, there is a $65 omakase on the menu.

                                  1. re: Wench Foraday

                                    I've gone twice since my last post, in Aug and then again in Sept, both times omakase. He seems to have improved on the texture of his rice, it is no longer mushy. It is still strongly seasoned though, which has always been his style. I will have to visit the new location to see what the shari is like now.

                                    Both times he introduced new dishes and brought back old favs (chawanmushi). I highly suggest you pay him a visit now that he is conveniently located. No more excuses, go for the omakase.

                                    Keep in mind his omakase at Newmarket is $50 but I don't blame him for the price bump. Rent is night and day between the two locations. I have no idea who is manning the show up there now.

                                    1. re: aser

                                      Jyo said that he would be downtown Tuesday and Wednesday, though I did not ask him which days he is in Newmarket.

                                      1. re: aser

                                        is the $50 omakase at Solo Sushi-ya for sushi/sashimi or includes cooked items as well? I'm looking for a place to try just sashimi and/or sushi omakase. i've had the ones at Zen, which I quite enjoyed, but wouldn't mind trying other places. I wasn't that impressed with Aoyama, and haven't been to Le Cafe Michi.

                                2. re: skylineR33

                                  I've been to Solo-Sushi-Ya and find it over-rated. I enjoy it, but the rice seems too loose and the fish too warm. The Udon is really good though.

                                  I love Aoyama, though their scallop is lacking. So is their uni sometimes. I think the issue is that the turnover is not high enough for some of the less mainstream fish. What I really love about them is the miso soup (has anyone else noticed that their's is extra good?). I've asked about the soup before and was told that you have to use realy high-end miso and that miso has a lot of enzyme in it and when you heat it too long they all die and the flavour changes. What they do is keep the soup cold and heat it up when you order it. Their tea is also extra good. Still, I find if you pre-order, they make the extra effort to get fresh fish for the occasion and the quality is really good then....except for scallop...I never get good scallop any where in Toronto.

                                  I find Japango pretty good, though only a good value at lunch time. The salad is really bad though, as is the miso soup. And again, I had terrible scallop.

                                  Sushi Marche's rice is too sweet and too wet, though I enjoy the kamakazi roll (which I would think I wouldn't since the rice is meh, the tempura bits taste greasy and the lemon slices are pith on), it's a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. Fish is fresh (except for scallop), service is great and I really like the fruit salad and the dressing for the veg. salad.

                                  Lastly, I like taro's fish for fish. I hope one day I can try some of these other places that everyone else seems to enjoy so much. Or just move to Vancouver...

                                  1. re: eco987

                                    i'm not entirely sure where anyone is getting their scallop from in toronto but i fully agree that it's just absolutely awful with a few exceptions that seem to be random.

                                    it gives me pause to consider that they might be using previously frozen or packaged product (rather than shelling it themselves) that has been wet packed (yummy yummy nitrates, not!) or just plain old! it is refreshing and far and few between when my scallop doesn't taste like chemicals or plain old nothing!

                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                      eco987, that's correct, miso soup shouldn't be boiled, as it kills the biotics which make it healthful in the first place.

                                      When you are paying low prices for sushi, you can bet that the scallops are likely not going to be very fresh, as they're both expensive and less demanded than the typical fare.

                                      1. re: tjr

                                        perhaps, but i'm not eating scallop at cheap places.

                                        1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                          That's depressing, and yet another reason I generally avoid sushi in Toronto. I've been to mid-range joints like Japango quite a few times when dragged out by friends, and am usually never impressed, especially at that price point. The rare occasions I head to Kaji I am fairly impressed, and his food is the best Japanese I've found in Toronto, but still not comparable to home, especially at its price point (though I'd rather shell out the money and get quality food).

                                          I wish there were better options, as I crave it often, but I usually have to wait until I return home every couple of months to gorge on sushi.

                                          Thankfully I am quite competent at Japanese cooking, and can make mostly everything else I enjoy (especially when I bring back ingredients we can't get in Toronto), but my mother and grandmother never made sushi, so I never learned how to make it.

                                3. re: Charles Yu

                                  The guy who owns Solo Sushi Ya in Newmartket isn't Japanese. He is Chinese but spent a number of years in Japan.

                            2. My girlfriend and I have pretty much been to every "popular" and always mentioned Japanese restaurant mentioned on food boards and print articles. Including all the restaurants listed below. - Solo Sushi Ya, too far for me as well!

                              If we are talking just Sushi, after Kaji I would rank Take Sushi on Front a number 2. It's a little pricey, but the quality and freshness is up there.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: s0memale

                                Really, Kaji bills itself as "fine Japanese dining". If you are looking to splurge on fish, Kaji is not really the place to go.

                                (It's been about 5 years since I went to Take sushi, but I really liked it, and in terms of a downtown joint/theatre etc. hard to beat) -- So many of the places mentioned here are way out in the suburbs, including Kaji, Aoyama, Zen, etc.)

                              2. Zen Japanese Restaurant in Scarborough should fit the bill (2803 Eglinton Avenue East). The chef is Japanese, and most of the diners there are also Japanese. The sushi is of high quality and the atmosphere is relaxing and cozy. The strip mall it is located in is not, however. Not to knock all Chinese-owned sushi joints - Sushi Marche is owned by a Chef John Lee (and unless I am mistaken, he is of Chinese descent). Of my favourite 3 sushi joints (in a price range I can regularly frequent): Zen, TakeSushi on Front street, and Sushi Marche, I would have to say that Sushi Marche makes the best sushi and makis. I recently had take-out there (the only option) and have posted some photos. Great, playful presentation. I also received a free fruit accompaniment when I went. A great addition that makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I hope they keep this as a regular side dish. I would definitely return. Cheers and Happy Eating!

                                Sushi Dinner: http://www.flickr.com/photos/28531775...

                                18 Replies
                                1. re: BokChoi

                                  I just wonder how can a place with take-out only as good as others that you can eat in house. Having sushi is an experience, with take out, the interaction is totally missing. As the piece of sushi is left in the box longer, the content of the fish and rice changed, the essence is changed when they are mixed in your mouth, eventhough it is not "usually" noticeable. Takesushi may be good in Toronto core downtown, it is ok but it's quality is very very average with no excitement. I have been there many time mainly lunch.

                                  1. re: skylineR33

                                    sushi marche is nice but i'm hesitant to say if it's worth all the praise that it gets. i appreciate the lovely presentation, the appropriate fish proportions, the fresh fruit and creativeness, but i did find their rice lacking a bit (though cafe michi was only just a touch better) and some of the fish not as flavourful or fresh as i would have liked.

                                    notably scallop being quite disappointing along with a couple other bland bites of white fishes i can't recall. mind you, overall it was good but just not great in the end. his spicy crunchy maki of sorts (that seems to be in bokchoi's photo) was excellent as far as creative maki goes for me.

                                    1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                      second the maki roll PSP's talking about. It's called the 'Kamikaze' roll and it's pretty tasty.

                                      had my first visit last week and left with the sushi dinner. $18 and it was a decent portion. Fish was very fresh. i found the rice well-cooked but just slightly under-seasoned. i live in the 'hood and will definitely go back since it's much closer than tora's sushi in j-town (my other fave).

                                      1. re: yoyodyne

                                        I would agree that each resto has their purpose - and in no way can I compare a take out joint to some of the more highly recommended Japanaese restaurants out there. I was merely suggesting something that is more affordable to the general masses - a different price point if you will. The rice was well seasoned when I went last Saturday and well cooked. The fish I received was good, but I've only gone their once, so I cannot attest to their consistency. I would also agree that I love Tora's in J Town, but they've sadly moved a bit further away from me. I have always enjoyed Zen, as that is my staple, but perhaps because of that fact, it's lost a bit of that excitement for me. This was the first time I had tried Marche, so perhaps that has also taken it a bit out of context. TakeSushi I recommended partially because I work across the street from it. It's a nice joint to nosh at when one has to stay late at work and is subjected to fast food options as an alternative. I agree, it's not exciting as it's not an omakase - but it sure beats the alternatives in the area...
                                        Noted for next time that I will put a bit of context behind my posts to not infuriate the other CHs out there unintentionally. Cheers!

                                      2. re: pinstripeprincess

                                        People rave about marche because of the price range it's in. Everything else mentioned in this thread is more expensive than marche. Thus its popularity lies in the crowd that is seeking an introduction to real sushi as opposed to the AYCE they're accustomed to.

                                        My personal opinion, it's great as a take out option, certainly not a destination restaurant. Their shari is their strong point, the fish quality is decent, not spectacular. It has its place in Toronto, as a gateway to better sushi. It is by no way anywhere near Solo, Kaji, Hashimoto, Zen, Omi (whenever it resurrects), etc. At the end of the day, it's just a takeout spot. 930 falls into the same category as marche, but w/ better fish and poorer shari.

                                        1. re: aser

                                          i'm not sure what the price range was before, but i think i've been purchasing under newly inflated prices. the sushi and sashimi plates are $30-35! this is above japango (though i refuse to go there anymore for skimpy fish).

                                          we did get an omakase for two at about $50 but with only about 16 pieces of nigiri to share, i seriously felt that the maki (though tasty) was taking up most of the platter for filler.

                                          and i'm not sure if i'm convinced by their shari, it wasn't awful by any means but it still has a ways to go and definitely no better than what i make myself. i could be more critical as it's more of a destination for me with regards to its location.

                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                            Out of the 16 nigiri, any stand out or good one besides the brand taste white fish ?

                                            1. re: skylineR33

                                              I don't think I can say anything at marche "stands out", it's a good neighbourhood joint for takeout, functionary is the term I'm looking for. Perhaps it is being lavished w/ too much praise, due in my opinion to the dearth of options in Toronto.

                                              I really recommend you try Solo out, it is by far the best balance between price and quality in the GTA region. It is indeed a bit out of the way, but if you can get to richmond hill for Chinese food, an additional 20 mins on the 404 isn't much.

                                              Solo changes up his ingredients often, unlike michi or aoyama. Those two tend to serve the same omakase over and over...

                                              One caveat, I find solo's shari to be mushy. He makes up for it w/ his quality/varied fish and cooked dishes. He has the best chawanmushi I've tasted in the city.

                                              1. re: skylineR33

                                                i just don't recall enough... so i guess no. i was starved by the time it arrived and since someone else dropped it off for me we were entirely unaware as to what we were given exactly and i dug in.

                                                i was able to eke out a few of the fishes just because they were so obvious, but none of it really got me as being memorably tasty. all i can recall is from a visual in my head and i remember there was a good variety in colour but that's it.

                                                i may have it again sometime as my dining partner found it to suffice, but i'm just not convinced. it is likely as aser says, over-hyped but is a good neighbourhood joint. by all means it is likely the east end equivalent of 930 in some ways and i wouldn't suggest going there if you have the likes of zen or michi in your neighbourhood.

                                                1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                  I have had Marche a number of times (before and after the price hike) and it is more impressive than 930. I found portions at 930 quite tiny in comparison. The freshness at Marche stands out, as does the kumamoto oyster, scallop, etc.

                                                  As an aside, I had always been happy with food (though not with the slow service) at Rikishi, but on a recent visit would lump it in with Japango - never going back. Actually, a couple of fish at Rikishi even tasted previously frozen.

                                                  1. re: Food Tourist

                                                    930 does portion it out smaller and the rice is utter crap, but i wasn't impressed enough with marche to cross over to the area just for sushi again considering they are in a higher price point than 930.

                                                    plus, i've never received an oyster and my scallop wasn't good at all.

                                                    1. re: Food Tourist

                                                      I guess I'll weigh in on Marche. I too don't find it a destination take-out. Don't get me wrong. If it were in my neighbourhood I'd probably be a semi-regular. That said, I too find that they load up too much on the maki, not enough on the nigiri. This, even when I gave them a fairly large budget. As well, I know citrus fruit is used commonly, but I find in the case of Marche that the abundance of fruit is masking the flavours. I find that a little disturbing. That and seeing Marche's John Lee departing for a smoke break out the back... Well...

                                                      For goodness sake, psp, if you're going to make the trip to the east side for take-out give Daio a try. Not mind-blowing and no big shows at the sushi counter, but consistently good. Consistency counts.

                                                      1. re: Googs

                                                        I would agree that Marche isn't a destination take out joint. However, I would say that I enjoyed it and would go back if I were near the beaches. I would think they load up on the maki for cost savings as well, it appears to be their strong suit. I can get nigri at a closer location (Taro's/ Zen - esp the ebi, I have definitely had it better elsewhere), but if I get hit one night with a maki-craving, their unique take on makis might just seduce me enough to make the drive out a bit further.

                                                        1. re: BokChoi

                                                          It's a neighbourhood spot for sure, and a great one at that, I feel Marché is one of the nicest things about living in Leslieville. We are semi-regulars and always chat with John and his wife. My wife is pregnant right now and we get plenty of tips from them (ie. "get the epidural!"), plus a special omakase that is half-raw and half-cooked. Last time he even made some shrimp tempura tossed in spicy sauce for my wife. When she pops out this kid we are going to celebrate with a whole lot of raw fish for her.

                                                          You can certainly specify whether you prefer nigiri/maki/sashimi as part of your omakase, and it never hurts to ask if they have anything special. If John has something pricey flown in from Japan, I often order that separately in addition to my $50 omakase for two. Kind of a respect thing I guess, but my omakase will always be jammed full after that. We even got takeout there for New Year's and were given crab legs, oysters, fresh wasabi, etc.

                                                          So I love the place, love it. But I would agree that it is not the same thing as going for, say, an omakase at the sushi bar at Zen, and I bet John Lee would absolutely agree with that. I also really like 930, although their rice needs work. Still, if we move out of Leslieville I bet we'll still go a bit out of our way for an omakase platter from Marché now and then.

                                                        2. re: Googs

                                                          reading over childofthestorm's comments, i think that really proves how much of a neighbourhood joint this is. it's not in my neighbourhood and a bit of effort to get to considering i can't eat in (i mean 930 has a couple tables and they're 1/10 the size!) but i think you truly benefit by knowing them and what/how to order. i'm sure it's great for leslieville but it just doesn't quite cut it for a west-ender like me (who is also sans car, 30min old sushi just isn't the same) to travel out there and then have to bring it all the way back.

                                                          and googs, out of mutual respect on the matter of sushi i was hoping to reserve judgement on daio until potentially another visit... but i don't know if i will ever get myself back there nor if i really want to. i had an off chance of going there and after getting a few cheap substitutions for prime items in their sushi combo (say tilapia for hamachi and scallop) and not being told at all that they would do this, semi frozen slices of fish, and mostly tasteless fish... i'm torn as to if i should discount the meal because we weren't at the bar or if this was a random bad experience. i'm at a loss.

                                                          1. re: pinstripeprincess

                                                            psp, I'd chalk it up to a random bad experience. Mind you if that had happened to me I wouldn't return. I appreciate that we have mutual sushi respect. Please don't go again out of any sense of duty. My last experience, he simply wouldn't serve anything to me that was of a lesser quality. "Sold out" he said. Umm. I did get some pieces that were too cold. I was disappointed because I've relied on him to be consistent. I was thinking perhaps it was an off-night or maybe he just needs a vacation. I'll update if I see he's getting it back on track. With his record to date, I'd be surprised if he didn't.

                                                            Can't be too much longer to Omi...

                                                          2. re: Googs

                                                            I've only ordered the sashimi dinner (or lunch) at Marche and it's always been top-notch. Haven't tried or even considered doing omakase. She does recognize me when I arrive and usually throws in a free fruit salad. I don't find the citrus on the sashimi platter masks anything as I usually just pick it off with little residue. However, now that the price has shot up by $10, I am not sure the small slices of fish warrant regular visits in future. But quite frankly, what else IS there downtown? I can't make it out to Scarborough and I've given up on Japango and Rikishi. Hiro was my old favourite but the prices are quite high for a regular haunt as is Take. Toshi (downtown) and 930 are just okay. Honestly, if Kumai was closer, I'd recommend eating there regularly. Is Nami any good?

                                                            1. re: Food Tourist

                                                              I went to sushi marche yesterday and I got the sushi dinner w/ the kamikaze roll.. the fish was some of the tastiest fish i've had BUT the kamikaze roll was terrible.. and their menu is pretty limited price wise...

                                          2. Mikado on Laird is Owned and run by a personable and interesting Japanese chef who smokes his own salmon and has very fresh sushi.

                                            3 Replies
                                            1. re: saltymeat

                                              I haven't tried Mikado but the sushi chef at Zen recommends it...

                                              My personal faves in order:
                                              sushi 930

                                              the following are so-so (in order)
                                              sushi marche
                                              sushi time

                                              beyond these, i dont need to mention any others...Hopefully I can try hiro, hashimoto and kaji in the near futur.. :P

                                              1. re: papagorgio

                                                Regarding Shinobu at Yonge & Lawrence, can someone describe some of the meals they have had there? Is it Omakase? Is the dinner menu different from the regular makisushi menu? On average, how much is it per person?

                                                1. re: kassidyh

                                                  Tamio-san is the owner/chef of Shinobu and he only runs it at night time. Therefore the menu is different from Makisushi. I haven't gone there for over a year but it was good and have been trying to go for a while now. Sorry but can't remember the price points. Omakase in direct translation basically means " up to the discretion of the chef" in a restaurant . So, in any restaurant it can be done, theoritically. Tasting menu at a western restaurant would be one, IMO.. Omakase can be several dishes chosen from existing menu or somethings not on the menu. If the chef/cook knows the guests' preference it would be easier to accomodate. Otherwise it may be safer for the customer to chose his/her own choice from the menu until a relationship is built. Or get info from CH before going to a specific place:)