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May 14, 2010 03:30 PM

Opinion: Best Sushi In Vancouver List..

Not Izakaya or Robata Japanese restaurant. Rate perhaps your top 3 in the last 12 months.

I'll list some of the contenders:

Tojo's, on Broadway
Octopus Garden, Kits
Dan's, on Broadway
Bistro Sakana, Yaletown
Blue Water Cafe Raw Bar, Yaletown
Juno Sushi Bistro, Davie St
Miku, West Hastings
Ajisai Sushi Bar, Kerisdale
Lime, Commercial Drive, (fmed how was your recent meal here? is it sushi orientated?)

Takumi Sushi, West Vancouver

Sushi Hachi, Richmond
Maruwa Sushi, Steveston
Seto Sushi, Richmond

What did i leave out or what should i remove from the list?
Love to hear your opinions and feelings regarding sushi in the city and beyond.

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  1. I had the Omakase at Lime, so it was a mix of sushi and kitchen items. The sushi was great, the kitchen items were mixed - some items were great, but some others fell a little flat. I think that kitchen chef Kayo Uki (formerly of Yoshi) is no longer with Lime. (I could be wrong, I should ask...I don't see her signature hand-made soba noodles on the menu).

    I do like the raw stuff at Lime - very good sushi here. Is it the best? It's the best in my neighbourhood for sure and literally around the corner from where I live. I think it has some of the best sashimi in town.

    Vancouver has many many mediocre sushi places. I'm also a bit off sushi these days - only eating it once every couple of months (instead of my former 3 times a week).

    My "favourites" (rather than "best") are:

    Lime (mostly modern - Atsu Inomata was known for his traditional sushi when he was the itamae at Sushi Sakae, and Masa Kudo was at Tojo's and Blue Water)
    Sushi Hachi (Haruo Kojima - mostly traditional - lots of unusual fish and grilled/fried items)
    Blue Water's raw bar (Yoshi Tabo who used to own Yoshi - mostly traditional)
    Octopus' Garden (Sada Hoshika - more modern)

    I need to try Maruwa (Steveston) and Kimura (Renfrew). Seto is good, but it's been a while.

    3 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Quick report on Sushi Kimura (Itsoroku Kimura - itamae). (Thanks for the lead Kentan):

      The shari (rice) is well prepared - not too loose - not too compressed...and well balanced (subtle vinegar). He uses Yamagata Haenuki rice. I don't know if I can detect the nuances in flavour between that and regular sushi rice (eg Calrose). I think it is longer, less glutinous, less sweet, less glossy and has a resilient "tooth".

      I sat at the bar and had a near-omakase experience. He served me the nigiri one or two pieces at a time.

      The Neta (toppings) are outstanding. The only fish that he uses that has been previously flash-frozen is the salmon (for hygenic reasons) - everything else is flown in fresh - including the tunas. He preps the fish himself (eg salting, marinating, brining for some types) and has his own blast freezer.

      I sampled the Horse Mackarel, Spanish Mackarel, the Uni, Amberjack (listed by its latin name Seriola Dumerili), Squid, Striped Bass, Yellowtail, Amaebi, and a few others. He offered me small tastes of various fish that he had as proof of their quality.

      All very traditional Nigiri (he does do the more familiar rolls if asked). I do note that he brushes his own soy-based sauce on nearly every piece - no need to dip. The gari (ginger) is also excellent.

      Kimura-san tells me that this is his "retirement" from the business. He doesn't want to run a large sushi restaurant like he had in Santa Monica, CA, and he isn't interested in playing golf he makes sushi.

      I also noted the the yoshoku menu with some of the usual items and two types of ramen (miso and shoyu - $7.25?). I may partake in the ramen one day.

      1. re: fmed

        I got that near-omakase experience too. Kimura-san was busy at the helm, but he knew when I was ready for the next piece of nigiri. Did you notice if a take-out menu ready yet?

        1. re: el_lobo_solo

          It was ready. I saw a number of chalkboards with the takeout items listed. One person was waiting at a nearby table for take out. (California know...)

    2. Agree with fmed that it's very easy to get mediocre sushi around here, which is why I don't go for sushi very often (probably once in 3 months, maybe more during the summer or when it's warm). We usually go to Ajisai in Kerrisdale because it's in the neighbourhood. Seto in Richmond once in a while.

      4 Replies
      1. re: _js_

        For me it's Lime (though I haven't been recently enough to note the changes), Kibune and now Dan. I'm kinda backlogged on posts but had a recent meal there that was pretty outstanding, for sushi, sashimi and kitchen stuff. Also loved Sushi Hachi when we went in the fall but haven't made it back. Intrigued by Juno which I've been eyeing as I walk to and from screenings.

        1. re: grayelf

          I believe you missed out on Samurai Sushi House or Sushi King House on your list up there as the best sushi in Vancouver. Year after year, they serve delicate yet large portions of sushi........

          OKAY, jokes aside,
          It's hard to list a top 3, but my top choice would be Sushi Hachi. Not only is their fish fresh and unique (madai, shimajji etc, from Japan), but also I find their rice to always be consistently good. Very flavorful and not mushy. Oh my, the rice is heavenly. I could eat a bowl of just the rice any day :P

          1. re: mh0408

            hehe... yes can also add Sushi Garden to your list. yes these places serve really good sushi. also like that you can soak up the soya sauce(with wasabi of course) on your rice before consuming it. :-D
            seriously though, sushi chef should prepare the rice and season each individual sushi based on the item appropriately.
            seems like in richmond sushi hachi is the fav for many here.

        2. re: _js_

          yes agree on the mediocre sushi around. guess we are conditioned now to love our locally acclimatised Japanese food. where does one find a 'Canuck Roll' in Tokyo?

        3. I remain a devotee of Honjin in Yaletown. Blue Water is tops for me though -- except for the hit to the wallet.

          3 Replies
          1. re: JEheartbreak

            HonJin is impeccable. I don't know how they do it, but a simple piece of sashimi at Honjin puts everyone else to shame. If they happen to have live uni on the menu (they only have it in season), order it no matter how much they are charging.

            1. re: mshumi

              I used to eat at Honjin at least once a week...agreed it is good.

              1. re: fmed

                I used to go to Honjin regularly until both their restaurants were caught up in that tax evasion software scandal that hit several Asian restaurants a few yearss back...just couldn't forgive them...

          2. It's been quite awhile since I've been, but KURA on Kingsway in Burnaby (between Wilson & Olive) was very good the times I was there.

            I concur with Ajisai. Glad to see them still garnering favorable reviews.

            1. added:
              Sushi Kimura, Renfrew
              Kibune Sushi, Yew(Kits)
              Honjin, Yaletown
              Kura, Kingsway(Burnaby)

              to the list based on the responses

              based on Fmeds report, I am interested in trying Sushi Kimura.
              I will add Lime and Dan on my list as well. Thanks Grayelf!
              My one experience at Kibune and several at Honjin didnt 'wow' me enough for more visits. Seeing there are other options and choices. Though both were solid experience in the food department.
              Thanks LotusRapper for suggesting Kura. I think I've been to Sushi Garden enough times when I am in the metrotown area.

              Just curious, when they say they import the fish themselves, how does that work? Do they order from a supplier from (i.e.Japan) and that particular cut gets flown in directly to the store?

              4 Replies
              1. re: betterthanbourdain

                I've enjoyed Kibune, but actually disliked Honjin.

                To your original list, Blue Water (my favourite), Tojo's and Octopus Garden have all treated me well. Miku I really want to like, and have had some good sushi there, but have also had some lackluster sushi. Lime I enjoyed, but I had more kitchen items there.

                Not in the same league, but I like Temaki on Broadway as a reasonably priced neighbourhood joint. Sitting at the bar and either just ordering piece by piece or having the chef/owner do an omakase-like experience has usually left me pretty satisfied. I just find that the quality of the fish is better than most neighbourhood joints (ie, much nicer than what I've had at Honjin).

                Miku Restaurant
                1055 West Hastings, Vancouver, BC V6E 2E9, CA

                1. re: farman

                  It's has been a few years since I have been to Honjin (I used to work in Yaletown). Back then it was recent experiences to compare, however.

                  1. re: farman

                    Ditto on Temaki. Big fan of the Chef’s Roll and Banzai Roll. Remarkably fresh every time I eat there. Thoughtful presentation of the dishes.

                  2. re: betterthanbourdain

                    >> "Just curious, when they say they import the fish themselves, how does that work? Do they order from a supplier from (i.e.Japan) and that particular cut gets flown in directly to the store?"

                    Sushi restaurants would go through a broker/wholesaler who would handle all the paperwork and shipping and even purchasing at Tsukiji. Some fish come to Vancouver fresh (eg Yellowfin, Bigeye, etc.) regularly. Most sashimi fish is flash frozen - "local" Albacore, etc....but it is possible to get it fresh too.

                    Higher-end sushi restaurants often get the fish fresh...then they actually age it for a while...then sometimes it is brined or salted depending on the fish.

                    90% of the sushi in Vancouver is flash-frozen however. This type fish is readily available at places like Angel Seafoods where many if not most of the middle-grade sushi bars get their frozen fish. Angel does source good fresh stuff like uni, etc. (You have to ask at the front counter for the fresh list.)