Toronto's best sushi places, from kaiseki to all-you-can-eat

From omakase to kaiseki, there are more kinds of sushi restaurant out there than you can shake a chopstick at — and we've tracked down Toronto's best.

The best sushi in Toronto | A platter of assorted maki rolls

Serious foodies and sushi lovers are usually synonymous.

When you think about it, this makes perfect sense — sushi, built on the foundations of the freshest, highest quality fish, rice and other ingredients, is all about using the very best produce and touching it as little as possible.

Instead, the dishes require exacting preparation from chefs that have been training for years. We mean it — it takes three years to even be allowed to prepare the seasoned sushi rice. It's no surprise that the delicacy is cultish, with an ardent following around the world, and Toronto is no exception.

Grab dinner at one of these sushi joints, then cap it off with a trip to one this brilliant places to get bubble tea, or if you want to know where's doing delivery during the lockdown, check out our guide to the best restaurants doing takeout

The city has hundreds of sushi restaurants that adhere to different styles, from omakase (where the chef is there making the dishes right in front of you) to kaiseki (a bit like prix fixe), all-you-can-eat and à la carte. 

Best sushi in Toronto: 14 places to visit right now

1. Aburi Hana

102 Yorkville Ave.

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'Omakase' literally translates to 'I'll leave it up to you'. When it comes to menus, this means you trust the chef to create the meal from start to finish. At Yorkville omakase spot Aburi Hana, floral arrangements, artwork and wooden interiors pale into insignificance next to the restaurant's 15-course tasting menus. And they also pale in insignificance to the bill. Plump for the high-end option and you'll pay an eye-wincing $350 a head — but it's worth every last cent.

2. Kibo Secret Garden Yorkville

154 Cumberland St., Upper Level

One of Toronto's best sushi purveyors is at it again with a luxe sister spot in the heart of Yorkville. Kibo, meaning 'hope' in Japanese, is aiming to solve all of our problems with an omakase menu, sake pairings and fresh, high-quality fish prepared lovingly for a sushi supper unlike any other.

3. Shoushin

3328 Yonge St.

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Shoushin's wooden tabletops are made out of hinoki, a wood usually reserved for shrines. But that indicates the reverence with which this restaurant and its chef-owner Jackie Lin treat the food. Widely regarded as one of Toronto's best omakase restaurants, Shoushin offers four different menus.

4. Tachi

Assembly Chef's Hall, 111 Richmond St. W.

Tell your friends you're going for a stand-up dinner, and they might think they're getting a knock-out meal. And they'd be right. But at Tachi, stand up also takes on another meaning, because you do actually stand up while you eat — recreating Japan's stand-up sushi shops and catering to time-poor Torontonians.

5. Yasu

81 Harbord St.

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Yasu has a sister restaurant in LA's super-swish Beverly Hills, which should tell you everything you need to know about its vibe. That being said, the Toronto site is the original (and dare we say it, best) from chef and owner Yasuhisa Ouchi. Order an omakase menu here and you get 20 'items' to see you all the way from appetizers to dessert to I'm-too-full-to-eat-any-more.

6. JaBistro

222 Richmond St. W.

Where many of the restaurants we've written about are super traditional in food and feel, JaBistro mixes things up. By which we mean it occupies a whitewashed exposed-brick space in the Entertainment District, and serves cocktails. Oh yes. And the man behind the cocktails is an alumnus of Parts & Labour, no less. A sashimi platter washed down with a serve of bourbon, shiso and lemon? Go on then.

7. Sushi Kaji

860 The Queensway, Etobicoke

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Chef Mitsuhiro Kaji has been making sushi since he was 13. We don't know how old he is now (and it would be rude to ask — didn't your mother ever tell you that?), but we can tell you that means he's an expert of the highest order. Kaji's fundamental philosophy is to handle the food — whether rice or fish — as little as possible, which means his sushi is as close to nature's delicious ingredients as it can possibly get.

8. Miku

10 Bay St. #105

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Miku pioneered aburi-style sushi in Canada — which, for the uninitiated, translates to 'flame-seared'. In practice, this means the fish is cooked over fire to create new textures and enhance flavour, searing it over binchotan (Japanese bamboo charcoal). The restaurant also has a signature secret sauce, known only by a handful of its chefs. Smoky fish, a pioneering approach to sushi and a secret recipe? We're sold.

9. Japango

122 Elizabeth St.

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Affordable, accessible and totally delicious: Japango ticks an awful lot of boxes, which it's done since it first opened all the way back in 2004. Sixteen years later, and this stamp-sized restaurant near City Hall, with dark-wood-panelled counters and a buzzy atmosphere, is a sure-fire winner for lunch or dinner. Sorry, not sorry. The omakase menu will set you back around $100, while a deluxe sushi dinner is $30. Very nice indeed.

10. Zen

7634 Woodbine Ave.

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At Zen, the chefs' aim is to preserve the traditional culture of Japanese cuisine. The cooking here is very much no fuss, no frills yet incredibly flavourful — think melt-in-the-mouth fillet of cod braised with miso paste, served on a single banana leaf. Hand rolls are laden with fresh fish, spider rolls are packed with soft-shell crab and the sake list is extensive. Tick, tick and tick.

11. Shunoko

1201 St Clair Ave. W.

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Shunoko is the second restaurant from the much-loved but sadly now-closed Sushi Nomi in Roncesvalles. This means it's bigger — both in terms of the space but also the menu, which goes beyond sushi to include lots of different dishes, including hot mains. That means you can expect plates of fish balls; coconut spicy tuna maki, which is rolled in crunchy popped rice and toasted coconut, to delicious effect; and the Can't Go Wrong roll, with shrimp tempura, cucumber and avocado and topped with blow-torched scallop. And don't even think about leaving without a few scoops of red bean, black sesame or ginger ice cream. Mmmmmmmm!

12. Minami

225 King St. W.

The latest concept from Aburi Restaurants Canada (Miku, TORA, Aburi Hana), Minami also specializes in their signature torched aburi sushi, flame-seared to perfection and dressed with specialty sauces, but this time in a stunning space on King West. The modern Japanese menu also features plenty of bentos and bowls, alongside flavourful small plates like crispy brussels sprouts with smoked bacon and the charcoal aburi chicken, citrus-glazed chicken thigh with truffle kimizu and kurozu vinaigrette.

13. Sushi Moto

4901 Yonge St.

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Family-owned sake and wine bar Sushi Moto offers a raucous atmosphere to knock back drinks and bites late into the night (in non-lockdown times). If you’re looking to venture into the world of sake, this is the place to do it. Along with more than two dozen different types of sake, they also offer a list of saketinis, sake sangria and sakelini, a prosecco and sake mixture.

14. Skippa

379 Harbord St.

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Inspired by the Fukuoka Prefecture on Japan’s Kyushu island, this seasonal Japanese restaurant sources its fish directly from the Fukuoka Fish Market. Their rotating tasting menu might include dishes like their signature sourdough with seaweed from Japan and house-made whipped miso butter, fresh scallops with Japanese bamboo shoots in a miso dressing, alongside maki and nigiri made with wild fish from Japan. Items are also available à la carte.