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3
  • Food3.5
  • Service3
  • Value3.5
  • Ambiance2.5
  • Reviews83

Toshi Sushi

181 E 16th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5T4R2
Tel: (604) 874-5173
Neighbourhood: East Side
  • Cuisine: Japanese, Sushi
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Not accepted
  • Service: Takeout
  • Meals: Dinner
  • Features: Wheelchair accessible
  • Hours: Mon: Closed, Tue - Sat: 5PM - 9:30PM, Sun: Closed
  • Toshi Sushi is a popular sushi house off Main Street ran by proprietors Toshiyuki Saito and Tomoko Saito. Get there early as there usually is a line up out the door.

Reviews

Displaying 41 - 60 of 83 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
The price is RIGHT!
By H.Anne of Vancouver (downtown) (11 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 26, 2010 - 8:39am [Dine in]

For the past year I have been going to Toshi's once a week, sometimes twice. I have never been disappointed with my choices. The staff is very friendly and always remember me and my favourite dishes. The spicy agedashi tofu is amazing...and the house roll is a must. Be ready to wait for a table...and try to keep your group small. The larger the group the longer the wait for you and the other guests waiting to dine. The food is definitely above average...and the price is very affordable

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Yummy sushi
By hhvan of Vancouver (downtown) (13 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, June 9, 2010 - 3:02pm [Dine in]

I love this place even I dont like the line up. The sushi is just perfect. Not so much rice and the rice was soft exactly how its supposed to be.The avocado was perfect ripe and fresh. I tried their eggplant too but it was ok to my taste because I felt it was a bit oily. But they do have very good sushi. Service is good and efficient.

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Great Food, Long Waits
By huhu of Vancouver (13 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, April 19, 2010 - 11:11pm [Dine in]

Toshi's doesn't take reservations and is only open from 5 to 10PM, we had to wait for around 45 minutes to get a seat on a Thursday. In my opinion, it was worth the wait.

We were seated at a small table for 2 people and could barely squeeze between our table and the one next to us. Things could have been worse however, we could have been sharing tables with strangers. The restaurant can be noisy and the service is curt, so if those things are very important to you, you're probably at the wrong place. Try paying an extra $10-$20 at one of the more expensive sushi joints in the city.

The food itself is excellent and justifies the frequent line-ups that form outside this restaurant. We ordered a sashimi bowl, a tofu dish, and several of their rolls, including their chef's special that night. All of it was delicious, especially the sashimi. Good salmon is easy to come by in Vancouver, but good tuna is not. The tuna at Toshi's is excellent and on par with what I tried in Japan (though Japan is cheaper believe it or not). If you don't know what to order, look at what other people are eating and pick what interests you (it's so tightly packed so you should be able to get a good look at the people seated next to you).

Having been to many sushi restaurants around Vancouver, I would say Toshi has some of the best sushi at its price; around $20 a person if you don't order drinks. The waits are long and the tables are cramped, but it is what it is.

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Great couple of times
By goingdutch of Vancouver (16 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, March 17, 2010 - 12:53pm [Dine in]

Went to Toshi's on feb 13th for the first time and again last weekend (due to an intense craving!). The place is small and we had to wait both times for quite some time to be seated but did no in anyway affect our night. The food was great in my opinion. The veggie gyozas were something different and really tasty. The tempura was great and the various rolls/nigiris we ordered were solid. On both occasions we were seated at the bar. This was okay, not so private or intimate for a dinner date but the food was good :) Never had a problem with service. Always attentive, quick, nice and willing to offer suggestions. Overall, no big complaints. It is what it is! Will definitely be back!

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Worth the wait?
By juston_cha of Vancouver West (16 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 30, 2009 - 9:33pm [Dine in]

I'm a regular here and come at least once a month.
But every time expect to wait at least half an hour.
I love the box sushi, philadelphia, and a number of other rolls.
Prices are reasonable but not outstanding value.
Deserts are a no no however, green tea cheese cake was bland.
Lineups are uncomfortably long and cramped. Hate the feeling of being watched while you eat.
So as good as the food goes, this restaurant will never get a 5 star rating from me.

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Packed!
By genux of Vancouver (16 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, July 11, 2007 - 10:53pm [Dine in]

This place is always packed, regardless of when you go. Definitely not a good place if you're in a large group (5+ people) unless waiting a long time is something you don't mind.

Their rolls are very good. Perhaps not incredible, but better than your average fair. The usual spider roll, house roll (avocado on top), dynamite roll, and others come in ample servings for their price. The donburi dishes are pretty much what you'd expect.

Because the place is small, you won't have a hard time getting the servers' attention. Conversing with the chefs on the bar is always a fun experience if you're the type of person who likes doing that.

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Best sushi value in town, well worth the wait...
By guitarpj of Dunbar (5 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, July 16, 2013 - 9:53am [Dine in]

First off, I want to say that this place is hands-down the best sushi place in Vancouver for the price. I find it shocking, and kind of sad, that this place only has 3 stars on Dinehere...I guess it's indicative of the poor sushi culture in Vancouver (quantity is not quality, and I'm referring the number of restaurants in the city here).

I am a sushi purist, I lived a ten minute walk from Tsukiji market in Tokyo for over three years, and I consider myself to have a relatively refined palate when it comes to fish. Needless to say, when I come to Toshi, I order nigiri. The fish here is of superb quality. The ika is crisp (never chewy), the saba is rich (never too salty), the uni and ikura are fresh, the aji is impeccable, and the hamachi will blow your mind. Sure, you may not get a scallop quite as incredible as you would at "Dan" on Broadway, but the quality is there and the prices are shockingly low. For those looking for value, I highly recommend the nigiri combo...10 pieces for 13 dollars! You won't even get that at the crappiest Chinese-owned dive in the city!

I've read a lot of complaints about the line...all I can say is that it is worth it. Go there expecting to wait 20-45 mins...if you don't want stand there, put your name down and go have a drink at the Five Point across the street! Your spot on the list will be saved when you get back.

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Just a great little place
By datsui of Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, January 4, 2011 - 11:31pm [Dine in]

You'll have to line-up before they're open, but it's worth it. Great Japanese for the price. The scallop sushi is awesome and so is the grilled cod. There are better in the city, but you'll pay at least twice as much. Just make sure your full party is present, or they won't seat you and you'll be stuck waiting.

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Reputation no longer deserved
By positivelyme of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, November 30, 2010 - 9:45pm [Dine in]

Coming back to Toshi's after a long 'layoff. Still line-ups but it has been very disappointing as the standards have gone down considerably. The Aji Tataki was not fresh and on the borderline to be fishy; and the deep fried body seemed rushed as it was not crunchy enough. The red tuna and hamachi was disappointing as they tended to be the soggy side - not as fresh as it should have been. The only saving grace was the tuna which was excellent. The house roll on the next table looked scrumptious so we ordered one. But when ours arrived, the avocado covering looked dried out so was the rainbow roll. I have had far better at lesser known locations in Vancouver region. All in all disapointed that the reputation is no longer deserved, Would not go back again as it was a serious letdown for a sashimi lover who was originally a fan.

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Great food, sucks to wait though
By ES of Vancouver (6 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, April 9, 2010 - 6:35pm [Dine in]

This place doesn't take reservations so what you have to do is go there, line up and wait until they call your name. I've been here a couple times and the first time I waited less than 1/2 an hour and the second time, I am too embarrassed to say how long it was. The food is extremely good though, but I don't know if I can handle the wait times!

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Popular East Vancouver Restaurant with Poor Food
By legourmand of Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 21, 2010 - 7:49pm [Dine in]

We would sometimes see lineups for this restaurant in the summer. We decided to give it a try.

The restaurant was tiny and that explained why the lineups spilled outside into the sidewalk.

Food was quite disappointing. The worse part was the fish was not fresh. We complained about our grilled black cod only to have the staff tell us the fish was fresh. We did not eat the rest of the black cod because of the rotten fish taste and smell. The service was poor. They did not reduce the price or offer a substitute.

The prices did not reflect a neighbourhood Japanese restaurant. The prices were quite high relative to other local Japanese restaurants.

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2 thumbs up for Mr. Toshi
By p.g of Richmond, BC (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, December 28, 2009 - 7:00am [Dine in]

Well it happened! I have finally registered on dinehere.ca to post a review.

After reading 7 pages of both good and bad reviews for this "hole in the wall" sushi restaurant named Toshi Sushi, I wish to dedicate my first ever review to what has been my favorite "little" restaurant for the last 4 years now.

I promise to keep this review as unbiased as possible. I notice that dinehere.ca asks for a 4 tier rating, so I will start there including an explanation of my rating.

My position: I have been visiting Toshi Sushi for 4 years now and fully understand how one could love this place, and at the same time hate it. As promised I will keep this unbiased.

FOOD (5 - Incredible):
As with any restaurant there are some variations in taste, texture and enjoyment from week to week or month to month. I have come to learn my "favorite" dishes at Toshi seem to revolve with the seasons, and even then I might bite into a piece of tuna that just wasn't as delicious as it was the week prior. I do pride myself in being a weekly regular, and if there is one thing I have learned it's that the quality of the fish relies on factors outside the control of most restaurant owners. It's impossible to be the restaurant owner as well as the fisherman! On an average of visiting Toshi 5 times a month since I have found this place, I must say 90% or every 9 out of 10 times I leave Toshi Sushi with an INCREDIBLE desire to return the following week. This roughly equates to 160 incredible experiences over the years and 40 below incredible due to the food being not as great as the weeks prior.

Service (3 - Solid):
A smile goes a long way at Toshi Sushi! Do not expect to be served by a waiter whose job description includes mingling and "earning your business". There have been times where I have been less that satisfied with the service but this was a rare occasion. There is one FUNDAMENTAL significance you must be aware of when expecting good service at Toshi and this is to be aware of WHO your dedicated server is. If you are asking various servers that pass by for this and that, it is easy to lose track and or confuse customer request, thus they "forget" your glass of water or your chopstick if you dropped one. If you wait to speak with the server that takes your order, you will 98% of the time have a great experience as far as "service" is concerned. If you can't see her, then ask for her!

Value (4 - Outstanding):
The Value Mr & Mrs Toshi deliver to us sushi lovers is what has been bringing me back here year after year. For $20 - $40, two people can be reasonably satisfied or outright stuffed. Drinks are also priced well. Fresh green tea is FREE! Hard to say about all places these days... There is also something on the menu for everybody. The tuna nigiri at $1.25/piece is something I always order, not only because it is priced well, it's some of the best tuna I can find in the lower mainland. A piece of Tuna Nigiri has become my standard of testing any new sushi restaurant I visit. If they can give me a piece of Tuna Nigiri for close to $1.25/piece and fresh enough to melt in my mouth, then I will consider them for a re-visit. Other regular must haves I order are house roll, spicy scallop cone(my mouth is watering), spicy tofu, uni(if you dare, a bit of an acquired taste is needed), hamachi, the list goes on. During the summer the house roll and mango rolls are to die for as well as Mrs. Saito Toshi's home made green tea cheese cake

Ambience (2 - Mediocre):
It's true, I have been hearing the same songs on repeat at Toshi since I first came here, but I always get happy hearing the pink panther tune for some odd reason. If you are taking friends or family out and expect to entertain or be entertained, Toshi Sushi is not at the top of my list. If you are going out for a delicious meal of sushi and are expecting to leave with your belly full at a reasonable price then this is the place to go.

Some other notes:
The wait: Yes, 30+ minutes is a common. Tuesday - Thursday: Very busy until 7PM. Friday/Saturday: Very busy until 8PM. If you don't want to wait 5-15 minutes, outside of these hours is the time to go. Don't show up past 9:30pm though!

Stern faced chefs:
:> did you come to eat, or did you come to be entertained? If you came to eat, smile and eat, if you came to be entertained, go to the bar down the block...

"Hype":
I agree, Toshi sushi received lots of hype over the years, but up until now I have failed to find a value conscious sushi restaurant that consistently delivers delicious eats, week in and week out like Toshi Sushi does. I have tried most of the recommended places to go to. Yes, Tojo sushi is great, but Tojo is an "experience", you go here to entertain or be entertained. Plus, $20 rolls are hard to order on a weekly basis. Seto Sushi in Richmond? Similar quality to Toshi, about 35% more expensive though.

Do us regulars all wish Mr. Toshi would have a larger capacity restaurant so the wait time could be shorter? Sure we do. At the same time we understand Mr. Toshi operates this restaurant out of his passion for, excellent sushi for the budget conscience consumer. If he had a bigger restaurant he would have to hire more chefs, more servers and ultimately the overall package experience of visiting Mr. Toshi for his creations could be negatively impacted.

If anybody feels they know of a sushi restaurant better than Toshi, I challenge them to message me with the name and I will be the first to compare it to Toshi with an unbiased opinion for everyone!

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Biggest Disappointment
By Perfectionist of Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, August 23, 2009 - 4:12pm [Dine in]

I used to go to this place all the time. Long line ups, fine. But now, every single little aspect of this restaurant dropped. The food - do not expect a whole lot out of it. A time I ordered their salmon sashimi, they gave me tuna. When the server brought back the right dish, I found tons of weird sauce on it, which was not supposed to be there. The service was horrible. In fact, none of the servers asked me to refill my tea when they had nothing in hand. They just stood there staring into space. Big shock. Price is okay. But I don't think it's worth it. The restaurant itself... kind of messy. I saw a piece of sushi on the ground and no one ever bothered with it. Which kind of killed my appetite.

If you want to eat at somerwhere even better, I'd recommend Sushi Town in North Burnaby.

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What once was good...
By timnlay of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, August 5, 2009 - 11:25am [Dine in]

Toshi was at one time the best sushi I had ever had, hands down.
Once the newspaper wrote it up and it got busy it lost some of it's luster..
Service is poor. Food quality has dipped.
Up to 30 people waiting in line before the doors open. Sad what it has become. Even take out is a min 50 minute wait.
Parking?? Oh my, that in itself is an issue. They do not have a lot for customer parking so it is either 16th Ave or Main and with the amount of people living in the area it can be hard to find a spot. Expect a block or two walk....

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Sad
By secretservice13 of New West (1 Review)
Submitted Monday, August 3, 2009 - 9:34pm [Dine in]

I have been to Asian Restaurants before due to the fact that they are so close to my works. Still, on this occasion, I had to put up with some of the worst service and attention to detail that I have experienced. Ask for water, soya sauce or more tea and expect 20 minute waits. More than that, they brought out food which we didn't order and instead of apologizing, abruptly pull the food off the table as if we were part of a conspiracy. They are completely under-staffed and pretentious in attitude.
To put this in context, I’ve had Dim Sum in Hong Kong, Mainland China as well as in California and more usually in Richmond and Vancouver. I have had Kimchi in Calgary and sushi in Vancouver.

For those in the mood for this type of experience, let me recommend you have Toshi represent Asia.

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Very poor value
By matasman of BC (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, July 11, 2009 - 5:47pm [Dine in]

I was dragged here on a week night by friend who "craved" asian food. I was hungry + in a hurry and knew that this 'sushi' place might not be the ticket. In all respects I was right. We were given weak service and speaking for myself left hungry after dropping $60 for 2 people including wine for 2. The salad was delicious but how could you screw that one up? Otherwise, poor value for money if we weren't going to have desert later

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Defenitely overrated
By BigBossTong of vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, June 14, 2009 - 4:18pm [Dine in]

My friends had told me great things about Toshi, so I was very excited to go. Above all, everyone kept mentioning how we'd have to arrive early because they have line ups out the door.

I was extremely disappointed with the entire dinner experience. We had to wait 45 minutes for our table of four. The servers were friendly enough, but they were unable to answer my questions in any detail.

That being said, our party ordered an assortment of sashimi, including the tuna otoro, or the belly of the tuna which is supposed to be extremely delicate and flavorful. Toshi's excuse for tuna otoro was embaarrassing. It smelled vinegary, and tasted like leather. The rest of the sashimi was flavorless and tough. The salmon in particular was absolutely putrid. My tofu appetizer was decent, but not excellent. I did like the presentation of it, however.

My white friends seemed to enjoy it, which leads me to believe that they really have no idea what good sushi is, and they certainly aren't aware of the fact that they are being overcharged for it. A glance around the room confirmed my suspicions, as most of the customers were caucasian. This restaurant is simply not what it is made to be.

Don't waste your time here, this isn't real sushi - it's not even close.

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Delicious
By Tara99 of Burnaby (1 Review)
Submitted Friday, June 12, 2009 - 12:36am [Dine in]

I went to Toshi tonight for the first time with a couple friends who have been telling me about it for ages. WOW! It was soooo delicious! First, we had to wait over half an hour, on a Thursday night, because the place is so small. I have been to a LOT of mediocre sushi places in Vancouver, there are 2 or 3 on every block. So I was not expecting too much. First we got the seafood gyoza, which was basically all lobster. It was hot and delicious, total comfort food! Then the spicy agasdashi tofu arrived, it was really tasty, usually it's a little too bland for me, but here it's wonderful. Then came the tuna tataki. That was when I really thought I was going to faint. It was delicious! We actually kept the plate afterwards to dip our future rolls in the vinigarette. Then we had 4 rolls, the spicy tuna roll, spicy scallop roll, the Alaska roll, and the house roll. The best was the tuna and the house roll. All in all, the 3 of us were full, and the whole bill came up to $42.00! With tip, we each paid about $16.50 for the most delicious sushi experience ever. I'm going back tomorrow, and so excited to have my husband try the seafood gyoza and tuna tataki!

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Impressive
By spheric of New West (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, May 28, 2009 - 4:23am [Dine in]

Here is the summary: Aample parking, good location, good Japanese food like back home. They also do genuine homestyle cooking like my mom's and they have a sign about catering food.
My meal came to $40 and there was no attitude.
Best little secret in Vancouver for sure and no red meat that clogs the heart.

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Good for the ignorant
By Steven_Cherry of Richmond (5 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 15, 2009 - 4:17pm [Dine in]

If you aren't used to sushi, and if you haven't tried a lot of other sushi places in town, and you don't mind a 45 minute wait, then Toshi is the restaurant for you

I find that the majority of the crowd here is Caucasian, like my self, and as such I'm not surprised that they find the food here good - it isn't. It's not bad, but it doesn't come close to some places like Sushi town or Sushi garden. First of all, it is more expensive than the average sushi bar or restaurant. The salmon was decent, but the piece was small and a bit on the bland side, though the texture was nice. my wife had the tuna, and was not impressed. We waited over 20 minutes for our food - although the place was packed, there were enough sushi chefs to handle the load - I've seen smaller places do a faster and better job - the chefs here are just slow.

The food looks absolutely delicious though - its apparent they take care to present the food properly, however the taste simply does not meet its presentation. Don't expect to leave Toshi with a great experience..it simply isn't worth your time unless you happen to be in the area.

For good sushi, I recommend Sushi-town in burnaby or Sushi garden in vancouver - the rolls are bigger, tastier, and cheaper. If you are in the downtown area, try Aki sushi - great value for downtown prices, and good flavor

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