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10 great Toronto sushi restaurants north of the 401

Posted by Darren "DKLo" Susilo / April 30, 2012

Sushi ScarboroughSushi restaurants north of the 401 haven't always been given their proper dues on this site, with a great deal of coverage focusing on Toronto proper. I've been a fan of the Japanese delicacy since I first arrived in Toronto 15 years ago, and although sushi restaurants in North York, Scarborough, Markham and Richmond Hill are often undervalued and overlooked, I've found some favourites over the years.

Here is my list of 10 great sushi restaurants north of the 401.

Sagano Restaurant
This restaurant dubs itself Toronto's best kept secret, and in a way it is. Not clearly visible from the roads due to its location on the top floor of the Delta Toronto East Hotel, this spot offers an elegant Japanese dining experience with some of the freshest sushi I have ever tried. Top off your upscale experience with a side of their crunchy soft shell crab, and you have yourself an absolute winner. This is also a great place to take a date as the night view from corner tables of the restaurant is (somewhat surprisingly) quite beautiful.

Ten Ichi
One of the oldest sushi restaurants in Toronto, this place is practically an institution in the Scarborough region. Featuring fresh sushi that's comparatively quite large, this place also has a teppanyaki table and an AYCE menu. The interior decoration is quite dated and service can sometimes be hit-or-miss, but the fresh slices of sashimi and impressive portions are compelling reasons to return. This place gets very busy during dining times so plan accordingly.

Le Café Michi
Located in an obscure plaza and virtually invisible from the main roads, this place is a definite hidden gem. It's run by Japanese owners and they boast an assortment of delicious Japanese home-baked cakes (hence the café name). They don't offer too many elaborate maki/rolls, but the melt-in-your-mouth quality of the sushi slices is enough of a draw. It's priced slightly higher than what you may expect, but if you're craving an authentic Japanese sushi experience then this is the place to go.

Tekka Sushi
This place is located in an awkwardly shaped plaza directly across from Fairview Mall and offers AYCE sushi as well as a regular menu. Their a la carte items include some impressive maki choices (try their Smoke and Fire Roll for a fantastic contrast of texture and taste), but for me the highlight is the AYCE menu, as each dish is prepared with care and not with the reckless abandon often found in similar places. Even better, they offer two price levels for said menu--with and without sashimi, at around $20 and $15 respectively--so you can choose what suits you best.

Sushi Moto
If you ever wondered what would happen if you combine a sushi restaurant with a hip lounge environment, then this place is for you. The sleek interior decor, coupled with the young crowd and large bar, lends the space a vibe not unlike a downtown hot spot. The sushi is fresh if sometimes a bit small, but the highlight is their extensive and creative assortment of special house maki. Try their Tataki Attack, which combines so many seafood ingredients you'd think that the oceans are now empty as a result, and the Erotica roll because...come on, do I really need to give a reason?

Tomo Sushi
No, this place is not merely an anagram of Sushi Moto, despite their geographical proximity. Located in the frozen tundra north of Toronto--otherwise known as Richmond Hill--this restaurant offers a nice, quiet, and somewhat upscale sushi experience whereby you are always greeted with some Japanese greeting or another as you enter (and exit) the place. Consistently fresh and flavourful, the impressive thickness of the sashimi slices keeps me coming back for more. A must-try is the Sean Pong Roll, which is a very unique roll--it's served sans rice and packed with lovely ingredients like spicy tuna and bbq eel.

Sapporo Sushi
This place may not have extraordinary décor or especially creative dishes, but it will always provide you with quality sushi in considerable portions at very cheap prices. You can order bento box specials for around $10 and get way more food than most establishments. In fact, you can even satisfy a mild AYCE craving by going here: always a good indicator of serving size. Try their salmon specials, which serve up satisfying portions of this delectable fish for around $10 or so. There are some drawbacks--the restaurant is quite cramped and therefore gets loud and crowded during mealtimes.

Yoko Sushi (490 McNicoll Av, North York)
Yet another hidden gem, this sushi spot's strengths can be summed up in one word: care. This translates into smiling servers and the extra effort made to render each sushi roll beautifully, such as the Black Dragon Roll--you'd be hard-pressed to find a prettier one than this. Lunch service is always packed full of businesspeople from around the area, but in the evenings, the place is very quiet, resulting in a nice peaceful dinner within a quaint and stereotypically "Japanese" setting (read: a lot of wood paneling). Prices are a bit higher than many comparable restaurants, though.

Oshio Japanese Restaurant
Another Korean-owned and operated sushi joint, this place is unfortunately difficult for non-locals to locate due to its awkward positioning in a little-known mall (The Shops at Steeles and 404). This inconspicuous location belies a rather spacious interior, with friendly servers and fresh sushi at very reasonable prices. Also, in my opinion, this place serves one of the most underrated spicy salmon maki in the GTA, with a perfect blend of spice and smoothness in every bite. What may hold this place back is that, while most of the things you encounter here are very good--the service, the taste of the food, the physical layout of the restaurant--no single aspect of the restaurant can be considered a home run.

See also:

The best cheap sushi in Toronto
The best AYCE sushi in Toronto
The best splurge sushi in Toronto

Photo by JP Sebastien in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

38 Comments

NC / April 30, 2012 at 01:49 pm
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You're missing one of the very best, if not the best. Sushi Bong.
BM / April 30, 2012 at 01:49 pm
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Is north of the 401 even in Toronto?
Why would anyone go there?
I guess you could go on points.
NC / April 30, 2012 at 01:50 pm
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Some great restaurants here for certain however.
matts / April 30, 2012 at 01:57 pm
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Duuuude....Aoyama at Vic Park and Van Horne is missing from the list!
CityPlace / April 30, 2012 at 02:40 pm
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Wait, there's a NORTH of the 401 now?!
What will they think of next??
Jane / April 30, 2012 at 02:52 pm
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Aoyama is the Best and should be on this list!!
gee replying to a comment from matts / April 30, 2012 at 03:21 pm
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Mentioned above, Aoyama is QUALITY...needs to be added!
Pricier than most...but it's done right!
Darryl / April 30, 2012 at 03:53 pm
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Considering most of the citys non-caucasians live north the 401 yes this makes sense.
Tony Fung / April 30, 2012 at 05:01 pm
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For quality sushi, you must try Shanghai Sushi. They only use the best and freshest ingredients. It's like back home. So fresh it like come directly from sea.

You won't be disappointed in their luxury place. People nice. Smell so good!

Say it with me now...Shanghai Sushi. Where your dreams come true in every bite.


Rmund / April 30, 2012 at 05:53 pm
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You missed one, but I'm still not telling you where it is.
Tim / April 30, 2012 at 05:57 pm
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Which restaurant was the article's picture taken at? That looks great..
WW / April 30, 2012 at 06:30 pm
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I LOVE Sagano! My boyfriend took me there for one of our first dates and sooo glad to see it get the credit it deserves!
cd / April 30, 2012 at 07:49 pm
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its so sad to see such a divide in this city. yeah its just a sushi list, but it speaks largely of the split between our citizens. my goodness, who cares what side of the 401, or bloor you live on? make a sushi list representing all of toronto. from the north south east and west. people need to get over themselves.
Stacey replying to a comment from NC / April 30, 2012 at 08:07 pm
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you must be joking, that place is horrible
Jenny / April 30, 2012 at 08:55 pm
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You missed the best one. Mi-Ne sushi Yonge/Elgin Mills. Divine.
Jenny / April 30, 2012 at 08:57 pm
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and Kaori is awful.
Jessica W / April 30, 2012 at 09:12 pm
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Tomo's great! Prices are decent, but unfortunately, no AYCE. Same with Kaori, except I find it to be a bit more pricey.
Tim replying to a comment from Tim / April 30, 2012 at 09:28 pm
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The top photo is from Gal Sushi near Highway 7 and Warden.
SK / April 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm
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Sushi Moto gets my vote! The sushi is so fresh, and I'm all about the sake martinis. This is also a great place to go on a date from the decor and atmosphere.
K / April 30, 2012 at 11:30 pm
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Pleased to see Yoko made the list!
Kiji / May 1, 2012 at 12:11 am
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Heyyyy....what about Momiji at Sheppard & consumers?
Rick replying to a comment from NC / May 1, 2012 at 12:25 am
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I agree, sushi bong is win!
Emz / May 1, 2012 at 01:50 am
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Sushi Bong in North York (Willowdale) was actually captured in the Best of 2011 series. Darren "DKLo" Susilo has it in the 2nd link in the first paragraph.

I agree it's great little place with good sushi at an awesome value. Really reminds me of the quaint little sushi shops you find in Japan.

http://www.blogto.com/toronto/the_best_cheap_sushi_in_toronto/
BM replying to a comment from cd / May 1, 2012 at 07:33 am
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LOL! Why can't we all just get along. *tears*
SK / May 1, 2012 at 11:17 am
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Mi Ne Sushi at Yonge/Elgin Mills has some of the best sushi I have ever had. It is on the pricier side but is totally worth it. This place is packed on weekends, so I think other people would agree!

http://www.minesushi.net/
sushi fan / May 1, 2012 at 11:53 am
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BEST: Inakaya (Sheppard / Willowdale)
minimo replying to a comment from Tony Fung / May 1, 2012 at 02:41 pm
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The words "Shanghai" and "sushi" don't even remotely belong together. And where is "back home"? China? Sorry, but the land of making fake Louis Vuitton bags isn't best known for sushi.

For those of you who truly appreciate Japanese culture and sushi delicacies should watch the documentary "Jiro Dreams of Sushi". The dedication it takes to become a certified sushi chef in Japan takes a lifetime for some. It takes more than slapping rice and pieces of fish together to make good sushi. Pricier sushi restaurants are only worthwhile if the chef is actually Japanese, not some wannabe Chinese/Korean chef passing off as Japanese by saying the phrases "irashaimase" (welcome) and "arigatou" (thank you).

The title of the article says it all..."10 great...", but not to be mistaken for the "best" Japanese restaurants.
Rmund replying to a comment from sushi fan / May 1, 2012 at 08:40 pm
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Awww, sushi fan, why give away the goods?

Oh well, I guess it was about time.

I think I'm gonna go there just to get a good dose of sushi before the crowds form.
KT / May 2, 2012 at 06:29 am
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MINE sushi at Yonge & Elgin Mills in Richmond Hill is the best. Their new location in Aurora off Bayview south of St. John's Sideroad is consistent and the biggest pieces of sushi I've ever been served in the GTA! Friendly staff and amazing food. MINE is the best!
sushi fan replying to a comment from Rmund / May 2, 2012 at 02:01 pm
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i was skeptical about posting. now i regret it.. don't want to share!
Rmund replying to a comment from sushi fan / May 2, 2012 at 10:03 pm
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Let's go grab a table, quick!
Bobby replying to a comment from BM / May 3, 2012 at 12:53 am
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pfff, don't be so closed minded "Why would anyone go there?" very ignorant comment.
insurance comany online / June 8, 2012 at 03:49 pm
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North Yorker / September 29, 2014 at 10:19 pm
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Finally some attention to Toronto, north of the 401. There needs to be more attention to all parts of the GTA. There is so much going on outside of downtown and midtown.
North Yorker1 / September 30, 2014 at 09:10 am
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wow, there is a north of the 401. We have subways, sewers, and next week we're getting electricity! Besides some of the best restaurants in Toronto. Still, it is good to see a nod to north of the 401
jake replying to a comment from BM / September 30, 2014 at 11:16 am
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I'm sorry, I didn't realize the name of this blog as blogTO. I thought TO meant anything south of steeles. My bad, clearly I'm not informed of the geographic changes seen lately.

blarg / September 30, 2014 at 01:05 pm
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MI-NE is by far the best sushi restaurant i've ever been to. it's located @ elgin mills/yonge in da 'burbs.
Monique / October 5, 2014 at 08:14 pm
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You clearly have not been to Akasaka for sushi

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