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Best of Toronto

The Best Japanese Restaurants in Toronto

Posted by Erinn Beth Langille / August 29, 2014

japanese restaurants torontoThe best Japanese restaurants in Toronto offer the wide range of Japanese cooking styles and types of food, from cold and hot noodles, sashimi to grilled meats, street food to high-end, austere to boisterous and fun. Remember when Molly Ringwald brings sushi for lunch to detention in The Breakfast Club, and all the other kids are agog at the concept of raw fish? That scene just wouldn't fly in a movie anymore, as the Western world has embraced Japanese cuisine in all its incarnations - raw and cooked. It's come to signify the best of food, and Toronto is lucky to have so many wonderful Japanese restaurants to enjoy. Domo arigato, Japan, for all the great eats!

Here are the best Japanese restaurants in Toronto.

See also:

The best izakaya restaurants in Toronto
The best cheap sushi in Toronto
The best splurge sushi in Toronto
The best ramen in Toronto
The best Korean and Japanese fried chicken in Toronto
The best omakase in Toronto

Guu Izakaya

Guu Izakaya

From the very first shouting welcome when they opened their doors in 2009, Guu Izakaya on Church St. (and its Annex cousin Sakabar) have held the hearts of Torontonian diners. Udons, karaage, tataki, and those deep-fried brie cheese balls I dream about. Guu serves down and dirty Japanese food perfect for a party. More »

Kinton Ramen

Kinton Ramen

Considered by many as having the best ramen in the city, and always fronted with lineups despite three locations, Kinton Ramen has its game on lock. Pick your broth, your noodles, your meat and your toppings, and you've got a steaming bowl of the most delicious miracle elixir around. More »

Zakkushi

Zakkushi

This Cabbagetown spot is a lively, sociable place (typical of an izakaya environment), perfect for enjoying beers and their famous skewers with a bunch of friends. Pick from premium skewers like wagyu beef, duck breast or chicken thigh, and then move on to the sashimi, karaage and other bites. More »

Kingyo Izakaya

Kingyo Izakaya

I'm partial to the chicken at Kingyo (also in Cabbagetown), be it the karaage, the chicken wings, or the Kingyo Style Death Chicken (how can you refuse with a name like that? Poultry aside, there's lots of great sashimi, sushi, fish, rice, noodles and salad dishes to choose from. Make reservations and you are guaranteed a seat, with a side of friendly service. More »

Sushi Kaji

Sushi Kaji

Sushi Kaji is legendary - everything is straight from Japan. There are only 30 seats, but I urge you to get down to the Queensway for this very special experience. Chef Kaji gives you a choice of two tasting menus that move through appetizer, sashimi, dishes, assorted sushi, soup or noodle and dessert, all based on freshness and availability, beautifully presented and done with the utmost care, the dishes composed as if by magic. More »

Sansotei Ramen

Sansotei Ramen

This bustling ramen shop near Dundas and University (line-ups are a given) draws crowds for their Tonkotsu Ramen, a creamy broth with sliced pork belly, black fungus (otherwise known as wood ear mushrooms), marinated soft boiled egg and green onion. They now have a second location near Yonge and Wellesley. More »

Zen Japanese

Zen Japanese

This popular Scarborough Japanese restaurant might not be well known to downtowners but locals know there's a reasons it's been the go-to spot for sushi and other Japanese dare since it opened in 1983. Don't miss out on their reasonably priced omakase. More »

JaBistro

JaBistro

Suits in the Club District take clients and dates alike to Ja Bistro when they want to impress. The sophisticated feel and presentation of the modern Japanese cuisine is top-notch (with the prices to match). Splurge on the decadent sashimi platter or sit at the counter and watch the sushi chef blowtorch fresh salmon, shrimp and snow crab. More »

Santouka Ramen

Santouka Ramen

Along with Sansotei and Kinton, Santouka Ramen (near Dundas and Church) is the third wheel in the ramen troika of Toronto. Get in line for their speciality, the Toroniku Ramen, with its rarest-of-the-rare pork jowl, plus jelly ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots, green onion and tonkotsu broth. It makes an insufferable Toronto winter almost bearable. More »

Le Cafe Michi

Le Cafe Michi

This understated Scarborough spot on Pharmacy Avenue is no secret to the city's sushi fanatics when craving an authentic (if unconventional) Japanese experience outside of the downtown core. The omakase and sashimi are the big winners here but don't overlook the line-up of desserts as this place doubles as a Japanese bakery. More »

Manpuku

Manpuku

The area around OCAD is suddenly bursting with Japanese options but those looking to avoid a line-up would be best advised to head inside Village by the Grange and seek out this modest (and affordable) lunch and dinner fave. Menu highlights include udon noodle soups and street food items like takoyaki and takosen (takoyaki sandwiched between two Japanese crackers). More »

Cafe Green Tea

Cafe Green Tea

The only J-Town entry on this list, Cafe Green Tea sports a cafeteria-style setup where shoppers can take a break from buying groceries and baked goods next-door and dig in to large and affordable platters of curry chicken on rice, soba, udon noodles and tempura. Yum! More »

Discussion

32 Comments

bobo / August 29, 2014 at 12:48 pm
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IMO, Ramen Isshin is better than the other ramen place on this list. People should give it a try!
thats ok / August 29, 2014 at 01:04 pm
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You forgot Memories of Japan up Don Mills way
jojajo / August 29, 2014 at 01:08 pm
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2 that are missing and are less known, Teppan Kenta on Wellesley and newly opened Kobo Nobu Cookhouse across from Broadview station. Kenta is a former Guu manager who branched off to do his own Teppanyaki-style Japanese izakaya. Chef Nobu at Kobo Nobu is AMAZING. I have a feeling it will only be a "lesser known" place for short period of time.
Jane / August 29, 2014 at 01:23 pm
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Try Aoyama at 2766 Victoria Park Avenue in North York. The best in the city.
Brian Leung / August 29, 2014 at 01:30 pm
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You should definitely try out N. Ichiban at Kennedy and Steeles, behind the Petro Can. It's in the same area as Big Moe's.
A / August 29, 2014 at 01:31 pm
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SHIBUI ROBATA GRILL
Noodlie / August 29, 2014 at 01:34 pm
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Try Yoko's on McNicoll near Victoria Park. Very busy at lunchtime, but at dinner time they have an intimate atmosphere with nice music, traditional Japanese decor, and more private booths.
Anna / August 29, 2014 at 01:54 pm
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Ramen Rajin! Best spot in the city, hands down (I was born and raised in Japan). Also, $9.99 pitchers of Sapporo most days of the week? BONUS.
Kat / August 29, 2014 at 02:02 pm
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Ematei on St Patrick is as authentic as it gets. Definitely deserving of a best-of mention.
Tim / August 29, 2014 at 02:07 pm
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Kumo Sushi on Kipling/Evans!
Ash / August 29, 2014 at 02:09 pm
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What, no Okonomi House or Tokyo Grill!? GyuGyuYa??
gotoyoko / August 29, 2014 at 02:18 pm
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Seriously you all must go to YOKO on McNicoll (Finch and 404) I swear you will be blown away by the size of the rolls, the amazing taste (best spicy rolls hands down across Toronto), and the great service. Also, fair prices, cheap even.

This is a gem. It is a bit out of the way for downtown folk but seriously it is worth a drive up. For those on TTC take the Don Mills 25 bus from Pape Station all the way to McNicoll and take McNicoll East.

Seriously.

Awesome.

GO!

(I don't work for Yoko, but just want them to support them. I also want your tummies to be happy!)

gotoyoko replying to a comment from Noodlie / August 29, 2014 at 02:19 pm
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YES!

You said it!

Glad someone else knows!
gotoyoko replying to a comment from thats ok / August 29, 2014 at 02:22 pm
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You gotta be kidding me.

I was lectured by the Manager about not knowing what a spicy roll was when I went there. What kind of business comes out and infront of a birthday party berates someone because they said the food was not good quality and returned it. A simple we are sorry is standard. Less reasonable people may have given him a kick in the teeth.

The teppanyaki looked good but the customer service and attitude of staff was horrible and destroyed my desire to ever recommend this place to anyone.

I strongly would suggest you do not go there - the mogolian grill beside it is derricious.
Perry Como / August 29, 2014 at 02:59 pm
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This list should be called the cheapest Japanese in Toronto or I prefer to get my Sushi from Honest Eds
duder replying to a comment from gotoyoko / August 29, 2014 at 03:02 pm
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Spicy rolls are not Japanese. Spider, California, Dragon and all other bullshit rolls are not Japanese. A lot of people on here are recommending crap all-you-can-eat sushi joints in Scarborough / North York which don't even come close to comparing to Japanese food (nor are most of them even run by Japanese people).

BlogTO's list is pretty on point. I'd definitely recommend Ematei, as that is probably the most legit Japanese place in town (at least before Guu et all hit the scene). I'd also add Yasu, as bringing TO's sushi scene into the 21st century.
duder replying to a comment from Ash / August 29, 2014 at 03:10 pm
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Both examples of stupendously crappy Japanese food in T.O.
Emma / August 29, 2014 at 03:16 pm
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Solo Sushi Bekkhan dude
poh / August 29, 2014 at 03:27 pm
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Anyone try Yasu yet? Apparently it's even a step above Kaji, pretty impressive for Toronto.
jwood / August 29, 2014 at 06:47 pm
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Hiro Sushi
Billy / August 29, 2014 at 09:10 pm
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Crazy. Yasu #1 and Kaji #2. This list is nothing but. Popularity contest.
Billy / August 29, 2014 at 09:14 pm
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WTF - no Yuzu either? What about Jabistro sashimi platter?
Billy / August 29, 2014 at 09:15 pm
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So upset about this list. Comparing ramen to omakase menus???? Stupid list
Ya replying to a comment from poh / August 29, 2014 at 09:17 pm
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Yasu is incredible. Hiro sushi, here. Limited seating. Expensive but worth the price.
Alix F / August 29, 2014 at 09:46 pm
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You forgot "SUSHI BAR" at 3365 Yonge Street :).
Jake / August 30, 2014 at 06:04 pm
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Seriously who writes these things?? Everything you get at guu comes out of a frozen package. If you think re heating it and throwing on another packaged sauce is cooking you definitely don't know what good food is!
Soph / August 30, 2014 at 06:26 pm
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How could you leave out Japango? Best sushi I've had outside Japan.
Prince de Sushi / September 2, 2014 at 02:53 pm
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Katsura still rules.
Junkudo / September 3, 2014 at 04:08 am
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what about Toshi Sushi on King st west ?
or Asakusa in Yorkville?
foodiemama / September 3, 2014 at 09:30 am
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I don't think this list is legit because izakaya is a different class than sushi house. Love Ryus' Noodles, Ramen Isshin, Teppan Kenta and Hiro Sushi. And don't forget Japanese Street Food - Gushi for their best karaage chicken!
hair salon toronto / September 10, 2014 at 09:22 am
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Went to Guu Izakaya a couple of times: love it!
mmmmm curry rice / September 17, 2014 at 10:44 am
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Konichiwa in Baldwin Village for anyone looking for real home cooked Japanese Food made by a real Japanese chef. Should be on this list! It ain't all Ramen and Maki.....

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