It makes perfect sense that you would find a spectacular sushi restaurant on the East Coast of Canada in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Award Winning Minato Sushi restaurant has been operating in Halifax since 2002 giving the residents over a decade of fine Japanese cuisine with a splash of Korean added in. Urbanspoon has labelled Minato Sushi as “Best Halifax Restaurant” in 2014.
Located at 1520 Queen Street in downtown Halifax in a quaint old house, you can sit in comfort as you watch master sushi chef Chung Young Ko (James) and head chef In Suk Lee work their magic.
After practicing his art in Korea, then Toronto, and now relocated to Halifax, master sushi chef Chung Young Ko (James) has finally pursued his dream of owning his own Japanese restaurant. James has been a sushi chef over 28 years and his specialties include salmon sashimi, minato roll and his very own unique blend of soy sauce. Working alongside James is head chef In Suk Lee (Leah) who brings an additional 17 years of Japanese and Korean cuisine to the restaurant. Leah is best known for not overpowering her sauces and spices.
The staff at Minato Sushi are very honored to be able to serve the people of Halifax and have spent a great deal of time perfecting their arts, getting their ingredients right and providing an exceptional dining experience. Decades of hard work have finally paid off and Minato Sushi would like to thank everyone who helped make their dream a reality.
This was hands-down the best sushi experience I’ve ever had. I’ve been to basically all the local sushi restaurants (save a few) and although most were great, none compared to Minato.
My favorite before Minato was of course Hamachi House on Morris St. But my opinion was quickly swayed.
To comment on some of the things mentioned below. My boy and I have gone a few times, and it was during slow hours, so we did not sit upstairs, so I have no experience with the cold there haha. We also only ordered Japanese dishes (Miso soup, tempura and mostly sashimi or nigiri instead of maki rolls)
Each time we went I was thoroughly impressed with the freshness and quality of the fish, it was fantastic.
The most amazing thing about this place is the service. Now this may only be because we got the same lovely waitress each time we were there, but she was beyond words. She was just the sweetest thing I’ve never met, she lit the room with her smile and was the perfect server overall. I wish I had gotten her name so I could give her the mention she deserves.
I would definitely recommend this place to all sushi lovers in the halifax area. Just make sure you go during the slower hours and you should be good as gold. I also hope for your sake that you get the same marvelous lady that we did.
I hear this a lot from people complaining here and there. The water is supposed to be served warm as cold water hinders digestion, so if you want iced water, ask for it.
Traditionally, meals are served with either hot tea or a fermented beverage which aid digestion. So try for a pot of tea or a beer (can’t really complain about that right?)
It took Halifax a long time to embrace Japanese cuisine, but I think we’ve done it! At last count, there were nine restaurants, plus a few food-court vendors in malls. The grocery chains have also caught on to one of North America’s most popular food trends, offering fresh sushi at their deli counters.
The simplicity and freshnees of a Japanese meal is unique. Afterwards, you’re full, but your body is thankful you’ve treated it so well.
1520 Queen St. has have various lives, as a Caribbean restaurant, and as a fabulous fish & chips joint. Now it is mostly Japanese, thought Korean, too. You can sit at the bar and watch chef Chung Young Ko (or James, as he is known) in action. We choose a table instead, but within chatting distance of the chef. Having been employed in restaurants in his homeland of Korea, and in Toronto, he has been in Halifax for six months, happily operating his own place.
We visit on a Friday evening – it is very quiet downstairs with people at only two other tables, while in the upstairs dinning room a large group of tae kwon do enthusiasts seem to be having fun.
The extensive menu is almost overwhelming. For appetizers, we choose the Kushi Yaki, two tasty skewers of broiled beef, chicken, carrot, onion and zucchini, as well as an order of tempura, fried shrimp and vegetables. The Tempura batter is light and the shrimp and vegetables are cooked perfectly. We share a seafood salad, a generous serving of crisp greens, loaded with fresh – and raw – seafood: salmon, surf clam, and tuna. I don’t often have raw fish in my salad and I don’t know if I’d try it at home, but it’s a fun treat.
For the main course, my pal chooses what we are told is the most popular Korean dish on the menu: Bulkokee, sliced sirloin marinated in a sesame, soy and garlic sauce with steamed rice and miso soup. Miso, a traditional Japanese soup made from a soybean paste, as usual has a very delicate favour. The sirloin is tender and its sauce subtle but a tad oily. We also share some sushi, all fresh and delicious. Negihamachi Maki, is yellowtail tuna with green onion wrapped in nori, paper-thin sheets of dried seaweed. Salmon Maki, has a spicy sauce on top, Futo Maki is a large, stunningly arranged roll of – get ready for this… picked radish, cucumber, cooked mushroom, squash, friend egg, crab cake and, naturally, bbq eel. Yum.
What makes sushi fun, of course, is dipping it in soy sauce and wasabi, Japanese horseradish. A hit of fiery wasabi is unlike anything else – directly up your nose, it is highly recommended to clear sinuses!
Much to full to try the tempting ice cream with bean paste for dessert, I settled on a relaxing cup of Genmai made from green tea and roasted rice, with an almost nutty flavour.
It, like the restaurant, is a good choice.
Review by: Valerie Mansour
Dinner for two with drinks: $50
Signature Dish: Sashimi Dinner
Signature Drink: Green Tea
There’s something especially satisfying about Japanese cuisine. And where better to get a fine feast than at Minato Sushi in downtown Halifax? It is a comfortable restaurant in a neat old house where you can watch the chef in action. The extensive menu also includes Korean dishes.
We start our meal with Gyoza ($5.95 for five) – delicious and light vegetable dumplings with a tempura sauce. Our entrées come with Akadashi Soup, made of red soybean paste, bonito broth, tofu and seaweed. It is delicate and soothing.
My pal has the Sashimi Dinner ($19.50), a large assortment of raw fish on a salad. This stunning arrangement of fresh tuna, salmon, surf clam, octopus and yellowtail is excellent.
My Yokohama Dinner ($19.50) is equally beautiful and fresh with10 pieces of nigiri – seafood on rice – including barbecued eel, tuna, salmon, surf clam, red snapper and shrimp. There are also six salmon rolls. What a treat.
Our servers are personable and prompt. They seem as happy to be here as we are.
The Coast: Minato is cozy but there’s enough space to put down your shopping bags and enjoy some good sushi. Maki, sashimi and other Japanese treats are well represented, but leave room for their spicy Korean dishes, including bee-bim-bap and noodles.
Ben B: So if you’re looking for the best vegetable dragon maki in town, it’s right here.
Sarah H: The Spider Roll is great, and they have a great selection of unique rolls to choose from, along with all of your other Japanese fair.
Laura P: Minato may close its doors for the month of October, but with a sudden rebirth of sushi desire– I’ll sweat out the wait.
Tyler Childs: This is very food. It’s a lot of food and sometimes I can’t always finish it all. 5/5 would food again.
Andres Flores: Overall Excellent
Steven Verbeek: I live this place, I go there at least a month and get vegetable dragon roll. I just love the sauce they put on it.
Marie: BEST sushi and Ginger salad in the city!!!! Try the veg dragon roll too!
My passion is sushi/sashimi but my partner is what I'd call a 'tonkatsu tourist'. Minato has hands down the best tonkatsu we've ever had, and I'm surprised more people aren't singing its praises. Perfect, big juicy cutlets and delicious sides for a great price. Also, don't sleep on the sashimi salad (Hae dup bap), it's excellent and the spicy sauce is delicious, so refreshing in the summer.
A lovely off street family restaurant, excellent Japanese cuisine. Charming space too.
The best sushi in Halfax--bar none. James and his wife run the entire show and are bith sweet/shy but talented. The place isn't fancy but we don't care. It is clean and the food is the best!!
A quaint mom n pop operation with an authentic feel. I was really pleased with the polite service, delicious sushi and it was great to watch the sushi being crafted right in front of me. Definitely the best no-fuss sushi in Halifax.
This restaurant was recommended to us by Japanese friend of ours. We love it and I think it's definitely the best bang for your buck.
Love the rolls and nigiri here. As an unfortunate person with sesame and peanut allergy, and a boyfriend with celiac, I can say minato is great at safely handling allergens. Never had a problem there, very genuine staff and always go when in town.
Very fresh, very reasonably priced. Simple sushi done very well. Best sushi and Korean food in Halifax imo.
One of my favorites for years. A special place.
James made our sushi and the sushi was unique and felt very comfortable and cozy. Wasn't rushed and enjoyed eating. Would definitely come back for the ramen as well.
Absolutly my favourite sushi restaurant. The menu is not crowded and portions are so worth the price!
Minato Sushi Japanese Restaurant
Monday11:30am - 9:00pm
Tuesday11:30am - 9:00pm
Wednesday11:30am - 9:00pm
Thursday11:30am - 9:00pm
Friday11:30am - 9:00pm
Saturday11:30am - 9:00pm