Jun I restaurant: Some of Montreal’s best sushi

Located in the vibrant Mile-End district of Montreal, Jun I is not just another Japanese restaurant. It’s a true institution that has captivated the city’s gourmet enthusiasts for nearly twenty years. Upon entering Jun I, one is immediately struck by a warm and inviting atmosphere, where a passion for Japanese cuisine feels like a gastronomic vibration that seems to animate everyone.

The name “Jun I” stems from the pure passion of its founding chef, Junichi Ikematsu. Having arrived in Quebec in 1989, he partnered with Ped Phimphrakeo and Jonathan Daunais to bring this iconic place to life. On Laurier Avenue West, this visionary trio established a venue that combines heart, conviviality, and gastronomic excellence. Their goal: to offer Montrealers an authentic culinary experience that respects Japanese traditions.

The decor, designed by Jean Pierre Viau, perfectly reflects the restaurant’s soul. Over time, Pascale Girardin added some modern touches, elegantly blending tradition with contemporaneity. However, beyond aesthetics, it’s the content of the plates that has earned Jun I its reputation. Despite challenges related to rising product prices, the team remains committed to offering exceptional cuisine at accessible prices. For instance, the tasting menu, priced at $110 per person, is a true gastronomic journey, highlighting expertly prepared various proteins, not to mention an outstanding assortment of sushi, sashimi, and maki.

The pandemic saw Jun I reinvent itself. In addition to its dine-in service, the restaurant now offers a take-out format via Okini, a gourmet shop where carefully selected products can be found, from privately imported sake to homemade sauces and ready-to-eat dishes.

This adaptability, coupled with unwavering determination, has earned Jun I numerous accolades, including a prestigious spot on the list of Canada’s top 100 restaurants in 2022. But beyond honors and awards, what truly makes Jun I stand out is its commitment to its clientele. “People come to Jun I for its consistency, for its stability,” notes Ped. After 18 years in existence, Jun I is more than just a restaurant: it’s a symbol, a landmark, an integral part of Montreal’s culinary landscape. And for its owners, the goal is clear: to continue offering this unique experience while remaining true to the values that have made Jun I an institution

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