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Ryu Sushi
Photograph: Ryu Sushi / ryusushi.ca

Here's where the best sushi in Montreal is at

These omakase masters, delivery champs and all-you-can-eat addresses all made the cut for the best sushi in Montreal

By Amie Watson and JP Karwacki
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UPDATE, November 30 2020: With one hell of a year coming to a close, we wanted to take stock of what we could be thankful for. Strangely enough, the question of who was making the best sushi in Montreal came to our minds. We've tracked a wealth of great spots, but the best part is that a few more have joined the ranks and won us over, all of which have been added below.

Like Jiro, we too dream of sushi, but seeing as we're in Canada, we'll settle for the best sushi in Montreal. This city's Japanese dining options range widely, from the soul-satisfying best ramen in Montreal to our booming izakaya scene which make up a solid portion of the city’s best bars and restaurants, but we've all got a special place in our hearts for some choice sushi, and we've got variety in spades: Options here range from the inexpensive and casual to the high-end and posh, traditional and skillful cuts to the innovative and unconventional. Whether you’re looking for an elaborate omakase, sake for two with some rolls or just some good cheap eats, here’s where you can find the absolute best sushi in Montreal.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Best sushi in Montreal

Jun I
Photograph: Courtesy Jun I

1. Jun I

Take a seat at Kyoto-born chef Junichi Ikematsu’s eponymous sushi bar on Laurier Avenue and it won’t take long to become accustomed to locals’ admiration for the way he handcrafts every yellowtail, botan shrimp and organic salmon nigiri. There’s plenty for non-sushi purists, too, including Cajun-spiced softshell crab, avocado, cucumber and soy caramel maki and plates of green tea-smoked Arctic char with shiso, apples and matcha cream.

Ôkini
Photograph: Elliot Légaré

2. Ôkini

For a more intimate experience, Ikematsu’s next-door Japanese grocery store, Ôkini (a fish counter, pastry counter, prepared foods and home-fermented soy sauce make for a unique olfactory experience), occasionally hosts super high-end omakase sushi dinners at its eight seat bar as well as the odd sake 5à7 and cooking workshop next to Jun I—something to look forward to when gathering in restaurants can be permitted. Don't skip on ordering pastry chef Tomoko Watanabe's delightful desserts as well.

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Park
Photograph: Courtesy Restaurant Park

3. Park

Wouldn’t it be nice to have access to the best fish in Japan? Much of chef Antonio Park’s fish, like his acupunctured kaimin tai snapper, comes directly from Tokyo’s Tsukiji Market. Luxuries like that help to make a meal at his sushi bar the most high-end and varied omakase option in Quebec. For something more low-key (and easier on the pocketbook), don’t miss the lunchtime bento boxes or hand-made noodle soup for brunches.

Fleurs et Cadeaux
Photograph: Fleurs et Cadeaux

4. Fleurs et Cadeaux

Chinatown got another trendy notch in its belt with the arrival of this Japanese snack bar, and while we normally need time to see if a new name's on par with the city's best, the work of chef Tetsuya Shimizu shouldn't need an introduction. His kaiseki skills are on full display here, creating ornate bento that are more edible jewelry boxes than anything. Choice natural sakes and wines are available here as well, so grab a bottle to enjoy with your meal when you're dropping in.

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Kazu
Photograph: Jonathan Patt

5. Kazu

When this formerly shoebox-sized restaurant expanded to a larger location down the street, lovers of its homestyle Japanese eats rejoiced. No longer do they have to wait in an ever-present outdoor line for the 48-hour pork bowl or sliced tuna sashimi plate. Now, the line is slightly shorter and at least out of the cold in winter. But either way, chef Kazuo Akutsu’s affordable dishes are worth the wait. From the flimsy yellow papers slapped up on walls listing the special, don’t miss the scallop sashimi and homemade pickles.

Ryu
Photograph: Courtesy Ryu

6. Ryu

What’s that? Certified sustainable sushi in Montreal? Now you can feel good about ordering platters of King salmon, wild striped bass, yellowtail, albacore, scallop sea bream, cho-toro, o-toro and red snapper. With five locations, you’ll have your choice of ambiance or convenience, from the lofty stone-metal-wood combination in Westmount to the airport’s departure areas.

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Le Blossom
Photograph: Courtesy Le Blossom

7. Le Blossom

Sit under the silk petals of their giant cherry blossom tree for simple hosomaki, or something more gussied up like the Bubba shrimp roll (tempura shrimp, scallop, avocado, cucumber, shiso, jalapeño, yuzu and unagi sauce) or the Fancy as Hell roll (tuna, mango, avocado, fried onions and foie gras). Whatever your choice, class it up with cocktails or the best by-the-glass saké selection in the city; servers are good about not making you feel like an idiot if you don’t know your honjozos from your Genshus. For an affordable education, come Sunday when bottles are 50% off.

Otto Bistro
Photograph: Courtesy Otto Bistro

8. Otto Bistro

Co-owners Hanhak Kim and Hiroshi Kitano add a dash of French to their homestyle Japanese cuisine at Otto Bistro. The menu regular menu’s filled with options like roasted duck salads, bone marrow with whipped soy butter or sake-steamed seafood sakamushi with white miso, sweet soy balsamic vinegar and cashews. The real off-menu secret, however, is sitting at the counter and letting Chef Kitano create your omakase meal in front of you with whatever’s fresh that night, from katsuo bonito to Hokkaido uni.

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Sakura Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Charles N.

9. Sakura Gardens

This longstanding restaurant is the only place in Montreal offering a by-reservation-only kaiseki experience: A meal of up to 15 courses with sake, where the sequence of dishes and choice of dinnerware are as important as the quality and seasonality of the ingredients. If you don’t remember to book it a week in advance, you’ll still be able to order from one the city’s most extensive nigiri and sashimi menus.

Maiko Sushi
Photograph: Courtesy Maiko Sushi

10. Maiko Sushi

Maiko is the West Island destination of choice for upscale nigiri, sashimi and maki fusion. The restaurant has been making artfully plated dishes that are heavy on umami for more than 20 years, including torched royal scallops draped across avocado maki with truffled mayo and sea urchin sauce; lobster sashimi with jalapeño, yuzu, pomelo, tobiko, raspberries and crispy rice; and pan-seared foie gras maki wrapped in soy paper rolls with grapes and crispy greens.

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Tri Express
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Liz L.

11. Tri Express

Chef Trì Dư's much-loved fusion maki wouldn’t exist if in 1979 the chef and four friends hadn’t stolen a military boat in Vietnam and escaped to Canada via the Philippines. Dư then worked his way up the Montreal sushi restaurant ladder, eventually launching this eponymous upscale restaurant on Laurier Avenue. It’s a vibrant interior heavy on wood elements and doubly beautiful food. Now his son has continued in the business with takeout-centric Le P’Tit Tri further north in La Petite Patrie.

Mikado
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Mary V.

12. Mikado

First opened in 1987, Mikado was one of the original sushi restaurants in Montreal. Since then, it’s expanded to three locations, each with its own perks: The Laurier spot has a tatami room, the Saint-Denis location has two private rooms and the Monkland outpost has a 12-seat summer patio. No matter which you pick, each of worth visiting to enjoy chef and owner Kimio Nguyen’s six course omakase and sushi platters.

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Saint Sushi
Photograph: Courtesy Saint Sushi

13. Saint Sushi

Ask most Plateau dwellers where they go for affordable sushi, and they’ll say Saint Sushi. That’s because since 2013, former Tri Express sous chef Saeng Outhipvongxay has been at its helm offering a more casual experience with the same focus on fusion rolls. He even honours his former teacher with a maki roll called the Sensei. Fun fact: It’s the only roll not named after musicians. The other menu quirk? There’s a whole lot of yogurt sauce involved. Don’t knock it ‘til you try it.

Café Jones
Photograph: Café Jones / clubvegangels.com

14. Café Jones

Stealing the show in the east end of the city, owner MJ Guertin’s restaurant went from serving both vegetarian and pescatarian sushi to offering a all-vegan menu thanks to popular demand. And the best part is that it’s just as formidable as the fish-laden one. Going beyond the usual cucumber and avocado rolls, the range of veggie ingredients extend as far as mock chicken and jerk beef poké bowls. Even without the fish, there’s something for everyone here. If you were an in-the-know fan about Sata Sushi but you're finding a place called Jones Café in its stead at the usual Hochelaga address? Don't worry, they simply shifted the concept back in Ocotober 2020, but the same great sushi's on the menu. 

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Sushi Momo
Photograph: Courtesy Sushi Momo

15. Sushi Momo

Who says vegan sushi is less exciting than its aquatic counterpart? Definitely not Sushi Momo owner Christian Ventura, who proves that maki rolls stuffed with sweet potato, mango, avocado, maple and yuzu can be just as delectable as fishier fare, especially when it comes in such pretty wrapping—both in terms of a zen brick and wood décor and the sushi itself—and with lists of natural wines, cocktails and sakés to boot.

Le Kioko
Photograph: Le Kioko / @restaurantlekioko / Facebook

16. Le Kioko

Opening in Saint-Henri at the beginning of December 2018, Le Kioko's gained a considerable amount of attention for its get-it-before-it's-gone fresh sushi. In the Before Times, the restaurant set itself apart for its range of traditional maki that were served alongside poke bowls, tartares and specialties like seal and skate. Now, the focus falls on sushi for the time being, but an increase in focus only means an increase in quality. 

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Kyo
Photograph: Courtesy Kyo Bar Japonais

17. Kyo

Come for the sushi, stay for the saké. That should be the motto of Kyo, where you can get everything from by-the-glass Toji No Banshaku honjozo (what the brewmasters of this Niigata brewery like to drink at the end of the day) to affordable bottles of Dassai 50 nigori (a high quality, cloudy sake) and Konteki “Pearls of Simplicity” Junmai Dai Ginjo. Whatever your poison, it all gets paired perfectly with a plate of their house specialty of fried maki.

Restaurant Kyoto
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ivy L.

18. Restaurant Kyoto

Located at one of the far ends of the orange line, this neighbourhood sushi restaurant fits right in with the motley crew of restaurants on Decarie Boulevard. There’s tons of options around here, but this is where you go in the area for quality sushi at a fraction of the cost you’ll find elsewhere. Make a reservation or plan to take your order of thick cut chu-toro, kamikaze rolls and tamago omelette nigiri to go.

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Bloom Sushi
Photograph: Bloom Sushi / @Bloomsushi

19. Bloom Sushi

This gorgeous vegan sushi restaurant in the Old Port is the brainchild of Sushi Momo owner Christian Ventura and Dominic Bujold of Sushi Shop and vegetarian restaurants LOV. The zen-inspired design courtesy of Jacinthe Piotte makes Bloom Sushi the most romantic vegetarian restaurant in the city, thanks to wood and foliage adorning the wraparound bar and adjacent dining room. The menu is an extensive list of creative appetizers, maki, cocktails and sake, from the Kamikaze roll with heart of palm and avocado to the Bollywood with vegan shrimp, sweet potato and curry aioli. There’s even marinated enoki mushroom nigiri and a trademarked tomato “Tunato” nigiri with green onion garnish and balsamic glaze.

Aikawa
Photograph: Courtesy Aikawa

20. Aikawa

This restaurant is the brainchild of owner Madonna Bailey and her friends from downtown restaurant Shô-Dan, who figured that the West Island needed its first upscale sushi restaurant back in 2003. Ever since, people have been travelling for the ambiance—wood-panelled walls lined with art and a sushi counter coloured royal blue by the lights above—as much as they have for fusion rolls.

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Tora Sushi
Photograph: Courtesy Tora Sushi Bar

21. Tora Sushi

This 15-seater is BYOB, but most opt for delivery and take-out anyway, which is really still BYOB since the owner encourages you to bring-your-own-bag. Besides, you can have whatever beer, wine or sake you want at home, but are you really going to make your own deep-fried smoked meat roll (pickles included)?

Sushi Dépanneur
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Ran L.

22. Sushi Dépanneur

It’s all the usual suspects at this tiny sushi shop and Asian convenience store; California rolls, sushi pizzas and some of the cheapest nigiri around make up the eat-in menu. For better ambiance, though, join the line for takeout and don’t forget to grab some pocky and mochi ice cream on your way out.

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Marusan
Photograph: Courtesy Marusan

23. Marusan

Note: This restaurant is currently shifting addresses, but if you can't wait to get a taste, check out its chef's work at Fleurs et Cadeaux.

Old Montreal lunch-goers love this place for its affordable fried chicken karaage bowls and beef gyudon with poached egg on rice, but sushi-lovers come back later for the daily omakase: $78 for seven courses that include sashimi and pressed and torched aburi sushi, as well as things like fried Japanese chicken wings, truffled tamago omelette onsen, hanger steak, beef tongue curry and albacore tataki with wasabi chimichurri. Cross your fingers that the fatty tuna is in, which goes down easy with a yuzu sour or glass of the private import Masumi sake on tap. Those in the know stick around for the occasional Thursday night Sake & Vinyl event, where local sake importers strut their bottles and a DJ spins soulful late-night grooves behind the bar.

More of the best seafood in Montreal

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