UPDATE: Skippa closed in December 2021
I don’t know about you but I just love sushi! I can often be found enjoying a meal at one of Toronto’s many delicious sushi spots. Over the years I’ve frequented Sushi Kaji, which sits among our city’s top sushi restaurants, a place where fresh fish and inventive dishes where always on the menu. This is where I first met Ian Robinson, the head chef at Skippa.
Skippa is a casual sushi and sake bar on Harbord Street that blends a rustic-chic interior, an open kitchen to watch the magic happen, and a menu that changes daily, featuring Ocean Wise fish and produce sourced from small-scale Ontario farms like organic farm Kuramoto, near Leamington, which specializes in Japanese vegetables. In addition to sustainable and locally-sourced ingredients, sous-chef Dylan Vickers grows organic herbs and turnips in a garden right nearby the restaurant – it doesn’t get more local than that!
When Skippa opened in 2017, I, being the sushi lover I am, made a reservation right away but due to its popularity still had to wait a few days to get in. As soon as I walked through the door and saw my Sushi Kaji acquaintance working in the open kitchen, I knew Ian had taken what he learned working under Sushi Kaji’s Mitsuhiro Kaji for four years and made it his own.
The 30-seat indoor space and most of its furniture, including a harvest table custom-made from a fallen sugar maple trunk, were built by Ian and his sister Kati, who is also Skippa’s general manager. For a more intimate experience there are booths and my favorite place to sit, the L-shaped bar that looks right into the kitchen. There is also a 20-seat patio for enjoying nice weather while dining on fresh sushi. The menu changes daily so there’s always new delicious options to try! In addition to amazing food there is also large format and single-serving sake, shochu, plum wine, draft and bottled beers, and a few organic biodynamic wines.
The moment I walked into Skippa I was greeted by Ian, Kati and the eager wait staff. The space is quaint and intimate in a welcoming and comforting way. When it came time to order, the server explained the day’s menu. Returning guests often find their server remembers their name and previous order. As I mentioned, the L-shaped bar looking into the kitchen is my preferred spot. From there I can watch Ian create masterful pieces of sushi while effortlessly conversing with patrons.
If you’re a sushi lover, Skippa is a must! The combination of amazing food, great sake, impeccable service, and the rustic-chic décor create an all-around enjoyable experience you’ll want again and again. Maybe you’ll even see me there!