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Ryu Sushi
Photograph: Ryu Sushi / ryusushi.ca

27 restaurants serving the best and freshest sushi in Montreal

This is the best sushi in Montreal, from omakase services to casual spots and every delivery and all-you-can-eat option in between

Written by
JP Karwacki
&
Amie Watson
Contributor
Tommy Dion
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UPDATE, December 2021: Even as the restaurant world in Montreal was rocked by a pandemic, our list of names for the best sushi in Montreal has only increased to include five more great addresses, and that includes a new place for lavish omakase services with all the theatrics you could want. Dig in and tip generously, and remember to be patient with service as the hospitality industry regains its footing.

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 tasting menus, sake for two with some rolls or just some good cheap eats, you'll find it here.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Montreal

Time Out Market Montreal
  • Restaurants

It’s all about the flash of a knife, a steady hand and the heat of an open flame that’s on Le Blossom’s menu for Time Out Market. Expect a greatest-hits selection from this local favourite in the city’s Village, including platters of pressed and torched oshizushi, fresh sashimi and savory maki, loaded-to-burst poke bowls and endless plates of Japanese yatai-style street food with Montreal twists. Whether it’s their plating or their palate, everything pops with colour here and has the taste to match.

 

Best sushi in Montreal

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.

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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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.

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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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.

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 multiple 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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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.

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.

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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.

Located on de la Montagne street in downtown Montreal, Okeya is the theatrical omakase offering of its kind in Montreal. It is around a counter of about fifteen seats that you will be able to taste some quintessential sushi, nigiri, sashimi and other Japanese specialties, all prepared and served in front of you one after another through a choreography like no other. An experience to live only once in a lifetime!

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Saiko Bistrot is definitely among the most underrated sushi restaurants in town. Not only does the chef Shin Ichi-san have incredible know-how, but he uses only the cream of the crop of fish and seafood for his dishes. You can order them or take them to go, but that would be missing the show that the chef offers every night of activity. Our advice: Take the Omakaze menu!

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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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.

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.

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Powered by two young twin brothers who are both tireless and proactive in their project, Boîte Geisha is one of the best value sushi places in town. A sign that we haven't heard the last of the Viet and Nam brothers, who also work on the menu of the nightclub La Voûte, they've opened a second Boîte Geisha in Laval. From sushi pizzas to Geisha Boxes, there is something to satisfy every sushi craving here.

Officially opened in the spring of 2021, Sushi Dept. is the little brother of Ryu, which is also well known for its sushi, sashimi and other Japanese specialties. Even if the brand image is more "young and trendy", this does not prevent the team from following in the footsteps of its predecessor by offering only sustainably caught fish in fully recyclable and compostable packaging. Last but not least, Sushi Dept. is a take-out or delivery only counter.

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Before opening Ohana Sushi Vegan on Mont-Royal Avenue, chef Minh Tran worked for several years with Tri Du of the popular Tri Express restaurant. If the know-how remains (almost) the same, she had to work very hard to come up with a (delicious) entirely vegan menu, which will confuse and satisfy the most skeptical of diners. We love the Black Angel, the Sunrise, or the fake tuna tataki. Also note that several options are gluten-free.

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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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.

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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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.

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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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.

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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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)?

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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