I grew up in British Columbia, so I had access to some of the freshest sushi in Canada for a good portion of my life, and I've been missing it ever since I moved to Toronto.
Throughout the years, I've tried countless sushi restaurants, hunting for an all-you-can-eat sushi spot that matches B.C.'s quality, and while I've managed to find a few gems, I wanted to find the best AYCE sushi in Toronto, according to locals.
So I posted on Narcity Toronto's Instagram account asking for local suggestions and narrowed it down to three spots with the highest ratings and most reviews in Toronto.
To put these spots to the ultimate test, I decided to visit each one and rank them on a score out of 15 based on taste, price and ambiance to find the best all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant in Toronto.
Kaka is a classic all-you-can-eat sushi spot in the heart of downtown Toronto, located at 655 Bay Street, and I actually used to come here when I was a student at Toronto Metropolitan University years ago. So, I was more than happy to try it again for the first time after many locals recommended it.
Kaka has one all-day all-you-can-eat menu, and the price varies depending on what day of the week you go. For an adult, Monday to Thursday costs $41.99, but Friday to Sunday costs $43.99.
I went on a weekday, so it was $41.99, and the restaurant offers seating times of two hours for all-you-can-eat customers.
Kaka's food is quality, and the menu is ridiculously long, so you may be overwhelmed at first glance.
I ordered salmon nigiri, salmon sashimi, a spicy tuna roll, torch flame sushi, beef tataki, and desserts.
A spicy tuna roll from Kaka.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
The roll was just okay, but the salmon sashimi was super fresh and delicious. It was thinly cut, and the ten pieces I ordered felt more like five, but considering it is all-you-can-eat, I let it slide.
Salmon nigiri and salmon sashimi from Kaka.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
The torch flame sushi was an excellent touch and perfectly cooked. I got to watch the chefs torch it from the open kitchen, which made it all the more enticing.
A piece of sushi from Kaka Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
My server recommended I try the beef tataki in between my rounds of food, and while it is not something I would typically order for myself, it ended up being one of my favourite items.
Beef tataki from Kaka Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
It had a sweet maple soy dressing, and the raw meat was so tender it was melt-in-your-mouth good.
Although, I have to say the desserts at Kaka stole the show.
Green tea creme brulee from Kaka Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
I tried the Green Tea Creme Brulee and the Earl Grey Creme Brulee, and both were absolutely fantastic. The hard sugar coating was delicious, and the flavoured custard was creamy and so unique.
For flavour, I give Kaka a 4.5/5 because the menu just has so much to offer, and the quality is definitely there.
Anything under $50 for an all-you-can-eat restaurant is reasonable to me, and considering just how much food you can pick from Kaka's menu, I think $41.99 is a fair price, although it is on the higher end.
The bill at Kaka Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
So for that reason, I'd give Kaka a 4/5 for the price.
Kaka is a gorgeous restaurant.
It's modern and updated, with sleek furniture, murals and plenty of open seating.
The entrance at Kaka Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
On warmer days, you can visit their patio and relax outside or take a seat in their dining room, where you can watch the chefs prepare your food at the sushi bar.
The sushi bar at Kaka Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
The service is super fast, and the food comes out quickly, so you don't have to worry about any long wait times in between orders.
For ambiance, I'd give Kaka a 4/5 because it's stylish, well kept and has great service.
August 8: 13.5/15
August 8 is my go-to all-you-can-eat sushi spot in Toronto, so I was thrilled when our readers recommended it.
This chain has several locations in Ontario, but I visited the one in Chinatown, located at 331 Spadina Avenue.
One of my favourite things about this gem is that along with sushi, the restaurant also serves all-you-can-eat dim sum, so you're really getting two AYCE options rolled into one.
August 8 has two all-you-can-eat menus – a lunch option for $27.99 Monday to Thursday and $29.99 Friday to Sunday, and a dinner option for $38.99 Monday to Thursday and $40.00 Friday to Sunday.
I opted for the dinner menu on a weekday for $38.99, and the restaurant gave me an hour-and-a-half seating window.
August 8 has some of the best sashimi I've had in Toronto, and it never disappoints.
Salmon sashimi at August 8.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
I ordered ten pieces of salmon sashimi, shrimp dumplings, seaweed salad, miso soup and sponge cake for dessert.
Shrimp dumplings at August 8.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
Usually, I can eat a lot more, but the sashimi was so thickly cut that halfway through my plate, I was fighting for my life to take another bite.
The dim sum was delicious and steamy, and the seaweed salad and miso soup were great classics that never fail.
The sponge cake was tasty, but the dessert menu did feel a bit bare-bones compared to Kaka's, which had a lot more inventive menu items.
For taste, I'd give August 8 a 4.5/5 because the main menu does have a great selection, and everything I ordered was delicious.
$38.99 for all-you-can-eat is a pretty reasonable price, and considering how large the portions are here, you'll definitely be able to eat your money's worth within the hour-and-half time limit. Maybe just don't fill up on sashimi like I did.
The bill at August 8.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
For the price, I'd give August 8 a 4/5 because I think the value of what you get aligns fairly with the price.
August 8 is probably the nicest all-you-can-eat restaurant I've seen in Toronto.
The bar at August 8.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
Inside, the gorgeous Chinatown location has midnight blue walls, murals, and plenty of seating, from booths to sleek wood tables.
The dinning room at August 8.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
The service here is great, and each table comes with a tablet you can order your food from, so you don't have to wait for a server to take your order.
You simply select your items and wait for them to be brought out to your table, speeding up the process.
I'd give August 8 a rare 5/5 for ambiance because I've yet to find better in the all-you-can-eat atmosphere.
Echo Sushi: 13/15
Echo Sushi is a hidden gem in Midtown Toronto that I had never been to or even heard of before.
The restaurant is located at 2036 Yonge Street, and from the outside, the shop looks quiet and unassuming, but inside holds one of the best salmon avocado rolls I've ever tasted.
Echo Sushi has an all-you-can-eat lunch and dinner menu. The lunch menu is $27.99, Tuesday to Friday, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. and $29.99 on Saturdays and holidays.
The dinner menu is available from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. and costs $37.99 Tuesday to Thursday and $39.99 Friday to Sunday.
There isn't a time limit for how long you can stay and eat, which makes this price very reasonable.
The menu was decently large, so I had plenty of items to choose from, and everything tasted pretty incredible.
I ordered a salmon avocado roll, salmon sashimi, a hand roll, beef teriyaki ribs, salmon flame torch sushi and a scoop of green tea ice cream to finish off my meal.
A salmon avocado roll and sashimi from Echo Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
The salmon avocado roll was perfection and rivalled some of the rolls I've tasted back in B.C., with fresh salmon, ripe avocado and the perfect amount of sticky rice.
The salmon sashimi was supple and generously portioned, and the hand roll was delicious and didn't fall apart the minute I bit into it — which happens a lot of the time.
A hand roll from Eco Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
The beef teriyaki ribs were one of my favourite dishes. The meat peeled off the bone and was sweet, juicy, and tender.
Beef teriyaki ribs from Echo Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
The only item I didn't love was the salmon flame torch sushi because it tasted a bit too much like cooked salmon on rice for me, but I really just shouldn't have ordered it since I do have a preference for raw fish.
Salmon flame torch sushi from Echo Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
Overall, I'd give Echo Sushi a 4.5/5 for taste.
Echo Sushi was the cheapest option I visited and the only location that didn't have a time limit.
The bill at Echo Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
So realistically, you could eat from 5 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. for just $37.99, which is ridiculously affordable, so I'd give Echo Sushi a 5/5 for price.
This spot is a classic no-fuss sushi restaurant with great food.
The bathroom doubles as a cleaning supply closet, and the decor is simple and a bit outdated.
Inside Echo Sushi.Brooke Houghton | Narcity
However, the restaurant is clean and has an open sushi bar where you can watch the chefs prepare your dishes from the comfort of your booth or table.
The service is quick and friendly, and for the price and quality of food, I think it's a pretty fantastic spot – just not as upscale as Kaka or August 8, so I'd give them a 3.5/ 5 for ambiance.
All three of these locally recommended spots are definitely worth a visit, but there was a clear winner.
August 8 took first place with a score of 13.5/15, followed closely by Echo Sushi with a score of 13/15, and Kaka came last with a score of 12.5/15.
Each restaurant ranked highly, but overall I think August 8 was the most well-rounded option. It had the second most affordable dinner menu, the nicest interior, great service and quality food.
Although, if you're not someone who cares about eating in a picturesque dining room, I'd recommend checking out Echo Sushi, which had delicious food, no seating times and was by far the most affordable option.
Now, don't get me wrong, I had a great experience at Kaka, but I think this option just fell short in comparison to August 8 or Echo Sushi, as it was the most expensive option and pretty much on par with the cheaper restaurants in terms of food quality – with the exception of their desserts.
All that being said, I would go back to all three of these restaurants.