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In a residential neighbourhood in Toronto’s Harbord Village sits a modest Japanese restaurant with some of the best sushi and Japanese plates in the country. Go to Skippa for seasonal omakase menus featuring the freshest of fish—much of it sourced from the Fukuoka Fish Market, alongside produce from small local farms. Think southern Japanese cherry blossom sea trout, abalone, yellowfin tuna and Spanish mackerel with local springtime white asparagus, ramps and morels, and summer’s shishito, daikon and maitake. Service is warm but brisk, as nigiri set upon exquisite ceramics are placed on the table with the briefest of explanations, including instructions to “dip” or “no dip” in the accompanying soy sauce. You can dine well on a sushi tasting but better still on a full omakase menu of seasonal dishes, nigiri, a crisp nori-wrapped hand roll and dessert (omakase menus range from $100-$150 depending on the changing offerings). Of all the things that set this thriving sushi bar apart, perhaps the most surprising is that the itamae is called Robinson-san. But never mind that. Robinson apprenticed for years under one of Toronto’s sushi masters, Matsuhiro Kaji (Sushi Kaji), and he’s committed to his craft. Skippa has but 30- odd seats: a half-dozen at a communal table on a polished cross-sectional slice of tree by the entranceway, and a dozen at the bar.

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