Towa proves that bigger is not better

Towa Sushi
2116 – 4 Street SW
Calgary, Alberta T2S 1W7
(403) 245-8585


This place was supposed to be my beacon of hope for Calgary sushi, after much online and word of mouth research I thought I had found a Montreal style sushi place in cow town. I have long given up on the hope of finding Vancouver quality sushi here. But Towa did not deliver, instead it was expensive, the service was slow, the pieces were way too big (pet peeve of mine), and flavour…not there either. The sushi does look pretty though, but beauty isn’t high on my sushi priority list. I understand this rating will not be popular in the Calgary crowd, because it does come highly recommended around the city, but Calgary is landlocked, and Towa gets a just ok borderline not ok from me.


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Contact the New York Times Crossword Department…we have found a four letter word for heaven!

1133 West Broadway, Vancouver


And the word is…Tojo. To kick-off holiday dinners in Vancouver one of my closest foodie companions and I ventured out in a blizzard to Tojo’s. Dining at Tojo’s is an experience, and if you can, and the evening suits it, make a reservation for the bar so as to watch the master at work. While you can order your meal al la carte the ideal way to order at Tojo’s is – Omakase. Omakase is Japanese for “entrust” and is a meal where the chef creates a custom menu of both hot and cold Japanese dishes. They will ask if you have any dietary restrictions for which the servers will likely make funny sarcastic jokes throughout the meal (this has happened to me on more than one occasion), but they will definitely accommodate you and make a wonderful meal that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations. For those of you who have been dawdling around only ordering sushi rolls in Japanese restaurants, venturing sometimes into sashimi territory thinking that is adventurous, Omakase is a perfect way to break the cycle and enjoy other types of Japanese food, as only one of the courses is sushi. There are three set Omakase options varying in price from $60-110$ per person and in courses from four to five.

For 80$ each we enjoyed five scrumptious courses, and I will humbly only note the remarkable as best I can. The second course for me was a house smoked salmon, with a peanut sauce, served over mixed greens. I am quite particular about smoked salmon, there have only ever been three that I have loved, the first is candied and sold in Granville Island (of which I can only have petite nibbles because it is so rich), the second caught and smoked in the Queen Charlotte Islands I enjoyed many times, and the third, here, was spectacular. The most delightful course, was the third – seared white snapper served on a bed of mushrooms topped with broiled roe was a frenzy of flavour and texture that tantalized my palate. As I have a particular love of mushrooms and the chefs who prepare them well I will take a moment to note that of the fourth course I can’t remember anything except the sweet flavour and firm texture of the mushrooms. If you enjoy mushrooms you will be enchanted by the magic Tojo works with mushrooms throughout the courses. The fifth course, the sushi course was very good, and each piece was uniquely, thoughtfully, and elegantly prepared. The most interesting sushi to don our table was a scallop wrapped in thin egg paper instead of the traditional seaweed. To me the most delicious was then spicy tuna, and lastly the most beautiful was a masterpiece of colour that was wrapped in bbq salmon skin. In reflecting back on the meal it was best to have entrusted the chef, because he took me on a journey I would not have chosen for myself, but one that I am grateful for having explored.

If you love Japanese food you must try Tojo’s, you can save it for a special occasion and be sure to take with you friends and family who will appreciate the experience. Reservations recommended!

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