Foodie Review: Sushi 88 (Ottawa)

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Sushi Platter at Sushi 88

Ottawa finally caught up with the sushi craze and sushi joints have been popping up all over the town. But we are not Vancouver, and here there are mostly two ways to satisfy your sushi cravings: picking up a box of assorted sushi at SushiGo, Go For Sushi or whatever combination of these keywords; or hitting one of the more or less “authentic” all-you-can-eat sushi buffets.

But recently, I found a good compromise between the to-go bento box and the “stuff-yourself-silly” buffets: Sushi 88.

The restaurant is located in Somerset, right past Bronson and the Chinatown Arch. It’s pretty small but very cozy inside, with a sushi preparation area at the back, two comfy booths by the window and tables and chairs in the middle.

I was pleasantly surprised by the prices. Sushi isn’t that cheap and bento boxes are often around $10, while Japanese restaurants charge much more. At sushi 88, you can have a complete meal for around $15, and trust me, you’ll be full!

I chose the Veggie Delight (18 pieces) that came with a miso soup for only $13.95—not bad for a sit-down restaurant. The sushis were very tasty and inventive: sweet potato, red pepper, cucumber… There were also very well rolled, i.e. tight and they didn’t fall apart when picked with chopsticks. The food was beautifully presented, a nice change from sushi in a plastic box. Watch out though, the wasabi is strong!

On my second visit, the three of us opted to share a “party central”, 48 assorted pieces of sushi, some cooked, some raw and some vegetarian. The ones topped with kiwi with sweet potato inside were delicious!

This is one of the few sushi restaurants where I wouldn’t mind eating raw fish: the place is spotless and the ingredients are consistently fresh. I like the fact the menu clearly describes the sushi, and even offers a “newbie special” or a “I like my sushi cooked”.

The Good

  • Great view on the Chinatown Arch.
  • Comfy atmosphere, very cozy place and friendly service.
  • Excellent sushi and great presentation.
  • Their “party” deals are great when you are three or more.

The Bad

  • Can get pretty packed. The nicest spots are the two booths by the window, the rest of the tables are kind of squeezed together.
  • Service can be slow.
  • If you are really into true Japanese food, you may not like the somewhat “Westernized” sushi.

At a glance

690B Somerset St W (Chinatown)
(613) 233-3288
www.sushi88.ca

Mon-Sat 4:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Tue-Sat 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Sun 4:30 p.m.  – 9 p.m.

Sushi Platter at Sushi 88

Sushi 88 on Urbanspoon

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

21 Comments

  1. most of the restaurants that people go for sushi are a twisted version of japanese sushi restaurants(where the chef is japanese and the ingredients are the right ones).
    And of course these fake sushi restaurants are run by chinese cheap workforce, who by no mean have any idea about sushi. reason being is because no chinese will be let to cook sushi in japan, given the super strong nationalistic atmosphere that exist there especially towards chinese/other asian immigrants that live in japan.
    and therefore one can find a lot of of sushi variations but, never the real sushi.

    I lived for 10 years in japan and to a certain extend can distinguish a chinese behind the counter, and that spells ANYTHING BUT SUSHI 🙂
    variations of some sort might be interesting, but I miss the real sushi even here in NYC, where going to a real japanese restaurant is pretty expensive and eating chinese sushi is a perverse way of satisfying sushi craving.
    and for the record: since sushi quality fish in the eastern coast isnt the same as western coast, definitely there is a big gap in the quality.
    so maybe now you know why your sushi is so cheap while seeing your pics, I think it is true what i said above.
    but then again, if you like what you eat, maybe thats the sushi definition for you, and you should stick with it.
    taste is in the mouth of the beholder 🙂

    • Well, I kind of disagree. Basically, you seem to say that 1) Sushi we have here aren’t good quality 2) People don’t know what they are eating.

      I tend to stay away from that kind of reasoning because I believe food evolves and there are no “true” way of doing one dish. I personally don’t like Chinese-Canadian cuisine much because I was used to Northern China cuisine, but it doesn’t mean the quality isn’t good or the chef sucks. It’s just a matter of taste.

      I know sushi here (and I believe outside of Japan in general) aren’t authentic, but I like the Western twist.

    • So if a nationality other than japanese spends their years learning and knows the cuisine just as good as any other japanese chef, orders in a fish from Japan, cuts it traditionally and serves it to you as lets say sashimi, you’re telling me you’re gonna spit it back in his face and tell him it’s disgusting because he’s not japanese??
      I’m sorry, I suppose your 10 years is supposed to give you the undisputed authority to claim that your tiny sample of a decade equates to 100% certainty that every japanese person is a closed minded individual.

      Well lets go by your logic then. So you say ONLY Japanese people can make sushi well? Then does that mean only a caucasian person can flip a burger well? And that every caucasian person is good at flipping burgers? And if someone other than a caucasian flips my burger at Harveys am i supposed to whip out my authenticity card and be upset?
      Well truth is I am a caucasian and i suck at flipping burgers (oh for shame, i’ve shamed my race) and i admit, i am a horrible cook and if someone from i don’t know, Alaska??? can cook an awesome burger for me, i’d be more than happy to eat it.
      I don’t see what the big deal is if a different nationality makes your food. If the chef has the heart, passion and palette to make something tasty why not just enjoy it?

      I’ve eaten both traditional and westernized from both coasts, they’re both good in their own respect and i like the variety.

      • Amen! (even though I’m an atheist!)

        I couldn’t agree more with you. And even though I was born in France, don’t count on me for a true French meal… 😆

        It seems like it was a small case of food snobbery, which I dislike. Of course, everyone is entitled to his opinion but like you I believe in variety and I don’t think there a “true” way to cook. And while sushi is a Japanese specialty, I don’t see why people of other nationalities couldn’t prepare it well, sometimes with a twist.

  2. We’re going to try itn thanks for the tip!

    Did you try the Naked Fish in Westboro, near the intersection of Richmond and Churchill? It is absolutely not traditionnal japonese sushi, but it’s a really good “westernized” sushi / makis restaurant. The place is pretty small, but the food is very good.
    They make some very interesting sweet makis with chocolate and fruit (yeah I know, you have to try it before you can believe me!).

    • Cool, I’ll give it a shot! Maybe we can meet there when I come back? I haven’t been to Westboro in a while, although I used to love Café Mio. Great place, I recommend it!

  3. Tightly-packed sushi and strong wasabi? Sounds like a good sushi experience – these little details count. And $13.95 for an 18-piece-sushi-and-soup combo? It doesn’t get any better than that. Even with the mostly westernized menu (well, this is Canada, after all) and the usual crowd, this is still worth checking – at the very least, no one’s leaving half-full here.

  4. Next time, you might want to try the one called “Genji Japanese Restaurant”. It’s my favourite Japanese restaurant.

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