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Jul 23, 2008 02:58 PM

WHERE EXACTLY is the "Cheap Sushi" in Vancouver?

I can't even number how my posts I read on this board where it says something like "there are cheap sushi places everywhere" ... Well, that is great news since I love sushi and I love cheap! But since I won't have a car and I will only be visiting, I don't have the time to walk or take a bus/taxi etc. down every street to find these places. (I am assuming "everywhere" is just an expression.)

I have been to Vancouver twice before and am planning on returning the first 2 weeks in October (I am planning now.) I have only had sushi once there though - I met some people who took me to Tsunami ... I liked it a lot. As much as I love sushi, I don't know why I haven't had it in Vancouver more often. (But I have been really craving it lately!)

So where should I go?

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  1. If you are staying downtown, you can't swing a salmon without hitting a sushi place. So it really isn't an exaggeration. Most of it is completely forgettable but serviceable. eg: Ichibankan, the Kishu chain, Tsunami, etc.

    If you want to pay slightly more (but still be in the "inexpensive" category) then you can go to places like Miko, Shiro, Okada, Yoshi, Ajisai, Dan, etc.

    If you want to pay even less - Fujiya has bento boxes and sushi to go (eg $2.75 California Rolls).

    If you go up to "expensive, but special" - then you can go to Tojo's, Octopus' Garden (a forum favourite), Lime (my new favourite), etc.

    7 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      What fmed said... if you let us know where you'll be staying specifically, I imagine you will get even more precise recs. As an example, for what I call cheap and cheerful sushi, my go-to spot in my neighbourhood is Jun Sushi. For $10 (or less) a head you can stuff yourself silly (and I like to eat) on tasty, nicely prepared maki of various descriptions. We're not talking gourmet here, but I liken it to a good solid takeout pizza joint (which BTW are sadly lacking in Vancouver). There are places like this all over the city.

      1. re: grayelf

        1st week I will be staying at Maple House B&B (Maple and Comwall near 4th Ave) My 2nd week I will be at West End Guest House (Haro and Broughton right by Listel Hotel on Robson)


        1. re: grayelf

          1 week I will be right near the beach in Kits and the 2nd week I will be right in downtown in the West End (Haro and Broughton)


          1. re: boisenewbie

            <<I will be staying at Maple House B&B (Maple and Cornwal)>>

            Walk one block east to Cypress St then south up the hill to Broadway look for Sushi Aoki 1888 W. Broadway.

            A real Japanese run hole-in-the-all with three seats @ the Sushi bar under 30 in total, an often chaotic atmosphere with the phone ringing and since it attracts primarily locals kids enjoying themselves.

            Closed Sundays & holidays.

            That B&B is also just across the street from Octopus Garden-one of Vancouver's best Sushi Bars-quite expensive these days.

        2. re: fmed

          Tojo is awful, crazy expensive, a total waste of money. $110 per person for sushi made with cold rice is inexcusable. Skip it.

          1. re: rsm25

            Agreed. Tojo has his fans though. Personally, I would rather go to Octopus' Garden and more recently - Lime.

        3. If you want sushi rolls, there are cheap places everywhere. But I won't recommend any.

          If you want cheap sashimi/nigiri, then hop on the skytrain to Metrotown. Right across Kingsway is Sushi Garden, a Korean run sushi joint that gets packed. You can easily get your fill on sashimi, nigiri, and hand rolls for like $10-15 per person. None of that fake crab salad and excessive rice filler either.

          Salmon nigiri are like a dollar each. Toro are like $1.30 each. Hamachi is $2 each. And the cuts of sashimi are obscenely huge, and very fresh.

          This place isn't at all fancy, but they do turn over their inventory quickly resulting in very fresh product. And the service isn't the friendliest either. Back in San Francisco, I would easily pay double at a comparable non-Japanese run cheap sushi place, for inferior sashimi.

          There might be better cheap places, but I haven't really explored the sushi scene here much. I just often end eating at Sushi Garden when I'm out that way around dinner time, and I'm never disappointed with the bang for buck I get there (I've been there 5 times since January, and first visited on someone's recommendation for cheap sushi). And I can't comment on the rolls, as the only roll I've had there was the negitoro (which was quite good).

          Just don't expect good service.

          1. I'll be there next weekend. staying near GM place. Would like good places near there. Thanks Rich

            5 Replies
            1. re: ibew292

              Walk west on Robson St. Then right on Nelson to a place called Okada. It is mediocre at lunch but very good in the evenings. There are a few others in the area that are "OK".

              Okada Sushi Japanese Restaurant
              888 Nelson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z2H1, CA

              1. re: ibew292

                ibew, you mean cheap, right?

                From GM/BC Place, along Robson St, there is a japanese fast food across from the library called Ebi-Ten. Further down west, there is one of those Kishu chains. On the next block (I think at Seymour), there is a sushi place in the food court of H-Mart, a Korean supermarket.

                If you go north along Seymour for a few blocks, there are a few Japanese places catering primarily to the international students.

                The above places are cheap, but nowhere great. Personally, I like the one in the H-Mart food court best, but it is probably the most expensive of the lot.

                1. re: kwailan4

                  Actually looking for value. That to me is good-great sushi at a price comparable to quality. Sometimes I'm happy to pay $7/serving and sometimes I'm upset about paying $2/ serving. I'm looking for good sushi at a reasonable price/ greatest value. I can get mediocure sushi in MPLS. I won't have a car or alot of time so distance from The Georgian Court Hotel is a facture. 773 Beatty St
                  Vancouver BC V6B2M4 CA. Thanks

                  1. re: ibew292

                    The ones I can recommend are:
                    Alpha - more of an izakaya, but does serve sushi (dinner)
                    Okada around Nelson and Robson (better for dinner than lunch)
                    Blue Water Cafe's Raw Bar (dinner)

                    Blue Water is the priciest of the bunch. Okada has nicely prepared, traditional fare. They both have properly trained and experienced itamae. There are quite a number of sushi places there I haven't tried, so others may have better recs.

                    Off-topic - but you are very close to one of the best restaurants in town - Chambar.

                    1. re: ibew292

                      Ok. Then, the only place worth visiting in my list is the outlet in the food court.

                      I used to visit Alpha Global Sushi (in fmed's list) on a somewhat regular basis. They do not have a lot of sushi choices, but the few items that they do, they do them pretty well.

                2. Sorry for getting off the main track here - but boisenewbie seeing as you say your visits to Vancouver have been limited thus far and haven't had sushi often here, why not avoid all the "cheap" stuff and go for more moderate, better quality offerings - like some of the ones mentioned by others here already (though there are probably varying opinions on that range as well). Just figured since you will be back in the fall, perhaps its better to find out what's really good, to perhaps get the chance to eat again when you come back again, because shooting in that barrel of fish called "cheap sushi" can be hazardous - as aburitoro says, cheap rolls can be had just about anywhere, and perhaps you really want to make sure you'll enjoy what you're getting on this trip :) Just my two cents...

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: shoku_tsu

                    Good point shoku_tsu...

                    My reccs for great sushi in Vancouver are: Lime, Blue Water's Raw Bar, and Octopus' Garden.

                    1. re: fmed

                      For the OP, if you decide to go for moderate but tasty, I'd reiterate Sam Salmon's rec of Sushi Aoki. We used to live a block from it and it was our go-to moderate option both for dinein and takeout. I understand they now have a liquor licence which is a bonus. You might want to check with them re A/C though as many places here don't have it and can be uncomfortable for dining in when the weather is warm.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Funny...I edited my post above yours and I added Aoki, et al. I guess the forum software ate it.

                        1. re: fmed

                          I've had no end of problems posting today, fmed. BTW, I'm going to hit Sushi Aoki for a quick bite with the parentals today before an early movie so will report back. I stopped in on my way to work and they don't have AC but it wasn't too bad in there as it's on the south side of the road.

                          1. re: grayelf

                            Okay, so I'd say Sushi Aoki is definitely worth a stop for the OP, especially as it is walking distance from the B&B. We had some nigiri (massive slabs, super inexpensive), some rolls (okra and asparagus, oh yeah), some goma-ae (nice sauce), edamame (hot and fresh) and some kakuni (nice marinade, a mite chewy in certain bites but worth the $5 price); oto-san had the wakame sunomono and pronounced it worthy. The menu is tome-like, there are lots of veg friendly options, and the prices are not rock bottom but really reasonable. The itamae are characters (both Japanese, as are the rest of the staff). It's definitely back on the list to try when we're hungrier -- all three of us had coincidentally but separately had large late lunches so couldn't do it justice.

                  2. Samurai Sushi across from Oakridge Mall