Hello again, this is Gazel from J’adore la Bouffe and this week I am writing about all-you-can-eat (AYCE) sushi restaurants in Winnipeg. This particular post will be highlighting the only three AYCE restaurants, to make up for my lack-of-update last two weeks.
I love sushi. I go at least a few times a month to my favourite sushi establishments. Unfortunately, I am merely a student and cannot always afford as much trips as I like to my favourite sushi places. However, if you feel like stuffing yourself with sushi, and want quantity more than quality, an AYCE place may be good for you. Unlike other places in Canada, Winnipeg is only has Miso, Mooshiro and Magic Sushi and Wok.
First of all, I would like to emphasize: do not go to an all-you-can-eat restaurant expecting 3 star Michelin quality. IT WILL NOT HAPPEN. People go to these places to gorge themselves for a slightly lower price and not really care—so sushi snobs, you have been warned!
I recommend when you go to an AYCE place, you bring many friends with you because going by yourself—you will get stuffed easily and won’t get to sample as much as you want.
MISO – 677 Stafford Street
[flickr style=”border:none; padding:4px; border:1px solid #BDBDBD; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:3729614924[/flickr]My first ever Winnipeg AYCE experience was at Miso, a sushi restaurant that is well-known around locals. It is known for being quantity over quality, and I usually read reviews of how people are disgusted by the restaurant and such. I usually tend to not be bias against a restaurant based on reviews, and strongly believe in trying things myself before making a final judgement.
Miso is located on Stafford Street. You could either access it around Pembina highway or through Grant Avenue. When you get there, you are greeted with a staircase and a fairly small-seating area and an ok decor. Like most AYCE sushi restaurants, you have a menu, a pencil and a little paper brochure and you can check off what you want. There are over 100 items on the menu, ranging from sushi, to rolls, to hot dishes. Drinks are not free here, unless you order water.
[flickr style=”border:none; padding:4px; border:1px solid #BDBDBD; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:3729615068[/flickr]What I can tell you about Miso is that the service is slow, all the times I’ve been there; and not only that, but when I go there, they usually mess up my order. It may not have been the case for other people, but it was such for me. The food was OK, and it is hit and miss. There is sometimes too much rice in some dishes, or not enough of whatever in another. These were some of the comments as well written on online reviews, and I felt the same experience. It could’ve been another off-day, but go see for yourself.
What I recommend from Miso is their nigiri sushi and hot foods. They do their hot foods very well; but for sushi rolls, there is just too much rice. Sometimes I question the fact whether or not they even put fish in their sushi rolls at all. Besides the main dishes, there is dessert—ice cream. You are welcome to pick out your own scoops of strawberry, chocolate or vanilla ice cream.
[flickr style=”border:none; padding:4px; border:1px solid #BDBDBD; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:3729615172[/flickr]In my point of view, the best hours to come here are during lunch. They offer everything except the sashimi for dinner, which in my opinion, the sashimi during dinner does not warrant an extra 8 dollars. At lunch it is $15.99 and at dinner it is $22.95 … as I said, come with buddies to sample all—because like most AYCE places, they try to stuff you silly to make some extra money. Plus, if you are dining at Miso, make sure you’re not looking for a quick meal. It is very slow service there.
MAGIC SUSHI & WOK – 272 McPhillips Street
[flickr style=”border:none; padding:4px; border:1px solid #BDBDBD; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:3729615242[/flickr]Another place that is dirt cheap for all-you-can-eat sushi is Magic Sushi and Wok. I’ve been an avid customer of this place because it is cheap, and if I am having a big sushi craving, but not really looking for quality, I go here. It’s situated on McPhillips Street on the North End side of the city; but don’t let that stop you from coming here!
A forewarning, though, the menu is really limited. For example, sashimi comes to about 1 dollar per piece, and is not included in the AYCE meal, and is in fact, separate. There are only about maybe 20 rolls in total, or a bit more, and all taste similar. My partner and I remarked that the rolls are all complimented with fish eggs and teriyaki sauce, thus the taste of the rolls are uniform, no matter which fillings were “different”. They overuse rice too much, so to make you full. To be quite frank, there are not a lot of fillings to begin with. Like the other AYCE restaurants, the service can be slow on busy days.
[flickr style=”border:none; padding:4px; border:1px solid #BDBDBD; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:3728814043[/flickr]With the negative things aside, they have good hot dishes. Their miso soup isn’t anything to rave about, but it isn’t horrid and I would consume lots of it. I also love their sushi pizza, order it if you have the opportunity to dine here! It’s a deep fried rice patty with salmon sashimi on top, hot sauce, Japanese mayonnaise and fish eggs. The textures are wonderful and you will not be disappointed with it. There is also a roll that is called “Totally Crazy” that I would recommend if you like sushi pizza. It is essentially a deep fried sushi roll with unagi (eel) and vegetables in it, and of course, the teriyaki and hot sauces on top.
I also recommend their mushroom tempura, green salad (with orange sesame sauce) and if you do stop by dinner time, their nigiri sushi.
The service here is quick and attentive, always filling water and asking if you want anything else. The prices here are great—at lunch, it’s only $10.95 and for dinner, it’s $14.95.
MOOSHIRO – 708 Portage Avenue
[flickr style=”border:none; padding:4px; border:1px solid #BDBDBD; float:right; margin-left:5px;”]photo:3729615480[/flickr]Mooshiro is a lot similar to the both restaurants featured above—think of the two restaurants combined, they make Mooshiro. This restaurant is located in Downtown Winnipeg, and within mere walking distance from University of Winnipeg. The restaurant itself is small and modest, but offers a much more extensive menu than Miso and Magic & Wok. For example, Mooshiro has sushi pizza and a totally crazy roll. They also have an extensive nigiri sushi selection, such as scallop, spicy scallop, butterfish and salmon belly just to name a few. They have a wide selection of rolls, and my only complaint is that they are mostly filled with rice.
Not only do they have that, but they have so many hot food selections to choose from: rice bowls, noodle bowls, stir fries… the selection is endless with over 130 items to choose from. They also offer ice cream for the end of your meal. The service is VERY quick and from the times my friend and I have been there, they have NEVER messed up our order, not even once. The waitress is very kind and always fills our water when it’s not even empty yet. Overall, our experience in Mooshiro is the best amongst these three restaurants: ambiance, food and service, it was delightful and I recommend going here—but as usual, don’t expect 5 star quality for a “buffet style”.
The price is just like Miso’s, with a $15.95 fee at lunch time, and $22.95 fee for dinner. The dinner fee isn’t worth it, because the sashimi is limited AND it’s such small portions, it’s not worth it.
677 Stafford Street
Winnipeg, MB, r3m 2×7
Magic Sushi & Wok
272 McPhillips Street
Winnipeg, MB R3E 2K6
708 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R3G 0M6
All photographs taken by Gazel Ma, and the images are products of the respective restaurants featured in this article.