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Oct 10, 2008 03:45 PM

The Eatery's sushi (Vancouver)

I have the opportunity to spend one evening in Vancouver and plan to eat as much good sushi as I can. My dining companion is a non-sushi lover who otherwise enjoys Japanese food and has suggested The Eatery as a compromise. I've had a look at the menu and they seem to specialize in inventive rolls. What I am wondering is how it stacks up to Vancouver sushi in general. Alternative restuarant suggestions for restaurants that serve great sushi and non-sushi are welcome, ideally located somewhere in the vicinity of the Vancouver Rowing Club. Though I love my dinner companion, this is my one shot at Vancouver sushi!

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  1. For a one shot visit somewhere like The Eatery is the last place I'd recommend, reviews on the place are generally lukewarm

    A few more upscale/cleaner places in the 'hood

    3116 W Broadway

    Yuji's Japanese Tapas
    2059 W. Fourth Ave

    Octopus Garden
    1995 Cornwall Ave

    Temaki Sushi
    2156 W. Broadway

    2511 West Broadway, Vancouver
    Tel: 604-730-0306

    2 Replies
    1. re: Sam Salmon

      Like Sam indicated - The Eatery isn't exemplary. Of his recs above, I can personally vouch for the superb quality of Octupus' Garden's and Dan's offerings. Fairly near the rowing club is Okada (888 Nelson St). Many of the izakaya on Robson and Denman St serve sushi and sashimi as well (Hapa, Kingyo, etc.)

      1. re: fmed

        Go to Kingyo!! Check out Chow's izakaya crawl. So conveniently close to the rowing club.

        And I would agree, def skip the Eatery. It's more for fun than for food. Also more for college kids than for anyone else, I've found. (I would be one of those college kids.) I'm sure some would disagree. But the Eatery is a place students go to get trashed and feel classy with their comic book sushi.

    2. I think the eatery is pretty fun and the food is good. Since you are willing to compromise I think it's a good call. Because Sushi in Vancouver is so good you will be happy with the Eatery even if it is average for Vancouver. It's a fun spot and usually busy.

      1. I'm not sure about Octopus Garden for the non Sushi friend...I think Yuji's would be a great choice if you want to stay with Japanese but the Blue Water Cafe would be a good option... great Sushi but lots of wonderful choices for the non sushi lover.

        7 Replies
        1. re: balini

          Although *the food* is of course of paramount concern, the atmosphere in the places listed oscillates wildly. I will try to give you an indication if that is of use to you:

          Eatery: super casual, often full of UBC students

          SaiZ: relatively upscale but not snooty

          Yuji's Japanese Tapas: modern, bright but elegant, not snooty

          Octopus Garden: eclectic but upscale

          Temaki Sushi: tidy and understated, but not particularly polished

          Dan: warm (I think that's what "dan" means, and cozy, a bit upscale but not at all stuffy

          Okada: haven't been but I think a bit more upscale

          izakayas: these vary from rowdy and casual (Guu with Garlic) to quite upscale but still pretty relaxed (Kingyo)

          Blue Water: the full bhoona -- if you're trying to impress your dining companion, go here

          The Eatery and Temaki are the only ones I'd characterize as moderate, though you can eat fairly reasonably at some of the izakayas if that is a concern.

          Also note that the places Sam mentioned are all in Kits (as is The Eatery) whereas the others are either West End or Yaletown, which are both somewhat closer to the Rowing club.

          Good luck and let us know where you go and what you eat.

          PS FWIW I think I'd pick either Yuji's or SaiZ if you want a nice balance of raw fish and more creative kitchen items without breaking the bank.

          1. re: grayelf

            Thanks everyone for the suggestions and the information on atmosphere.
            I have compiled the information and sent it to my friend so he can choose from all the places suggested; seemed the least I could do since I vetoed The Eatery.
            The dinner is next Friday. I will report back!

            1. re: amhaffen

              Not to throw a last minute curve-ball - Lime on Commercial Drive I believe has an excellent balance between sushi/sashimi (some of the very best in town) and kitchen dishes (excellent non-sushi). The menu is very focused. It is a bit of a distance from the Rowing Club - but not really that far relative to some of the suggestions).

              1. re: amhaffen

                I wish you could eat at the Eatery and report back. The sushi is north american style (or 'inventive'), but it's not as bad as some people say. The Japanese food is not good there, but there is a difference between Japanese food in general and sushi. The sushi is not all that bad- especially if you are coming from out of town. Lime will be less fun but better food (and a little more expensive). Nowhere near the rowing club though. Hapa in kits has some sushi and is near the rowing club and not bad- but its more general Japanese food than sushi (it is sometimes called an izakaya (Japanese food pub)- it reminds me of an Earls but with better food).

                1. re: Mawson Plan

                  <<Sam mentioned are all in Kits (as is The Eatery) whereas the others are either West End or Yaletown, which are both somewhat closer to the Rowing club.>>


                  I had the Rowing Club and the Yacht Club mixed up-blame a long early morning and a longer afternoon(!)

                  1. re: Mawson Plan

                    I walked past the Eatery this evening, and it was very packed. I had my friend who I was walking with guess at what kind of restaurant it was. He had no clue. And was completely surprised when I told him it served Japanese food.

                    1. re: shoku_tsu

                      I think it is the closest thing in Vancouver to an izakaya in atmosphere.

            2. If the rowing club you're referring to is the one in Stanley Park, then that's located close to all the izakayas (most of which don't serve much sushi, but delicious tapas offerings instead) - I would suggest Kingyo or Hapa.
              Also, for more traditional Japanese fare, Yoshi (Denman/Georgia) would be good. They have a lot of cooked, non-sushi items as well.

              5 Replies
              1. re: twinkienic

                Yes, I believe the Vancouver Rowing Club is in Stanley Park. Given that the Eatery is in the vicinity of the places suggested I assume this is not an issue for my friend who is driving. I have had sushi in Japan and I am looking for an authentic food experience Vancouver-style more so than a fun and lively atmosphere (the dinner companions will make up for this).

                1. re: amhaffen

                  Don't go to the Eatery if you want to experience good Japanese food in Vancouver. You might as well go to Earls and get their rolls or even better, their Sushi Tacos! YUMMY!!!!??!!

                  If budget isn't a huge concern, go to Blue Water. The Sushi is outstanding and the rest of their food, is also, outstanding.

                  1. re: Cancuk

                    The Eatery is fun, yes... but "good" and "authentic" are not really words I would use to descibe it. Maybe it has somewhat of an izakaya atmosphere... but the closest is, I think, the original Guu at Thurlow and Robson.

                    For excellent "Vancouver-style" Japanese, I would pick Octopus Garden.

                    1. re: twinkienic

                      The atmosphere at the Eatery is a hybrid of student union pub with a bit of izakaya thrown in. The food is decent enough, but I wouldn't consider it if it is the one chance you might get to eat sushi in Vancouver.

                      Blue Water is a great rec - they have the Raw Bar where some of Vancouver's top itamae work. It is a show in itself. The seafood menu is also somewhat Japanese influenced, but not in a self-consciously "fusiony" sort of way. Blue Water is not a cheap place to eat, but it is worth it considering the absolutely top-notch quality of the ingredients (and service). They also have one of the best wine and sake lists in Vancouver.

                      If you are looking for more traditional Japanese fare, however, I would recommend going elsewhere (review recs above - OG, Dan, Okada, Lime, etc.)

                      1. re: fmed

                        Yikes. I can see that defending the Eatery is going to be a bit of a battle. For atmosphere what I liked about izakayas in Japan was that they were often full of young people listening to good music, drinking beer and having good conversations- kind of like student union pubs. For food Guu is more authentic, but the atmosphere is less fun (I like Guu a lot though). I like that the Eatery isn't pretentious. I'll go back and pay more attention to what I have to eat- but from my memory the sushi rolls were interesting and the more straight ahead sushi was made with good rice and fish fresh. Anyways- amhaffen seems to want food over atmosphere so my defence of the Eatery isn't really relevant to this thread anymore. Have some good sushi amhaffen! You have lots of great suggestions here.

              2. In the end my friend got a reservation at Tojo's and we all (even the non-sushi lover) enjoyed omakase. HIghlights were a sashimi tuna dish with a vinegar sauce, an "egg custard" (as described by the server) with fantastic flavour and grilled fish in broth below the custard, and the sushi itself. The combinations of flavours in the sushi rolls were delicious. I have read both good and bad reports of Tojo's on the board, but aside from one dish consisting of halibut coated in cracker crumbs (server's description) with extremely tough shrimp (took me awhile to even fgure out what they were), everything was excellent both from a food and a service perspective. Definately the evening of Vancouver sushi I was looking for, though I must return and try the other places suggested!