Best Restaurants: Best Sushi
First Place >> MIKADO
Mikado has saved landlocked Edmontonians from a life without fresh fish since 1972, making it one of the first Japanese restaurants to open in Alberta. Since then, the number of sushi restaurants has grown considerably, but the pioneer has still left its mark with its array of rolls, maki, sushi, sashimi and bento boxes. It even imported a robata grill from Japan, so that chicken, beef and fish can be cooked at a really high temperature, while retaining their flavours. And when it comes to the classics, Mikado does them right. The dragon eyes roll, with salmon, green onions and tobiko, is expertly deep fried and paired with a creamy, fiery sauce. The massive avocado roll consists of several layers of creamy avocado wrapped around a mound of slightly sweet rice, with more fruit tucked within. Deep fried soft shell crab and avocado make up the spider roll, resulting in a unique flavour and crunchy texture. And its sashimi is some of the freshest in the city, ranging from thick hunks of salmon to slices of rich toro (tuna belly). (10350 109 St., 780-425-8096, mikadorestaurant.com) —Sydnee Bryant
Runner-Up >> KYOTO
It’s easy to feel relaxed at Kyoto — no one is going to judge you for holding your chopsticks the wrong way in this informal atmosphere. Grab a booth, intimate table or even one of several private rooms to enjoy a well-rounded feast, starting with a large bowl of chuka salad. This light-tasting seaweed salad adds balance to your meal without spoiling your appetite for the main attraction — fish. Nibble on the salmon sampler, a popular mix of Atlantic, king, sockeye, steelhead, spring and Arctic char. If raw fish isn’t your preference, there’s always the zesty yuzu duck breast — thinly sliced duck topped with scallions and tart yuzu sauce. (10128 109 St., 780-420-1750) —S.B.
Honourable Mention >> SUSHI WASABI
Living out in the prairies, it’s difficult to come by the kind of fresh fish needed for delectable sushi. Some sushi restaurants, or sushiya, make up for this by either introducing nontraditional ingredients or by cooking their sushi, but Sushi Wasabi delivers its fish as originally intended: clean, simple and tasting like the sea. Owned and operated by the Yoshida family, each member was born and raised in Japan, meaning what you’re noshing at Sushi Wasabi is authentic nihonjin tradition with every piece of salmon that melts in your mouth. (5714 111 St., 780-433-0533) —Caleb Caswell