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Dec 3, 2010 07:17 AM

Omakase in Vancouver, or, The Tojo Conundrum

Hi everyone,

My wife and I are visiting her family in Vancouver for the holidays. We were planning on taking her immediate family to a really nice omakase dinner as a gift and thanks for putting us up for a week.

Now, the first thing you find when you look for good omakase is Tojo. Then, you read the rather mixed reviews of the place. Aji Sai and Octopus Garden also come up, but all the discussion I found when searching the board seemed to be at least a year or two old.

Any new spots, or updates for a really great omakase? Any advice or recent experiences are very much appreciated!

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  1. I had a lunchtime omakase at Shiro on Cambie St. once. It was extremely affordable and very fresh and tasty!

    3 Replies
    1. re: flowbee

      Sherman at Sherman's Food Adventures did a recent post on omakase at Octopus Garden.

      We did omakase at Tojo's last year and found while the food was good, it was not worth the price. Our pick for best sushi in BC is Sushi Hachi in Richmond which was as good if not better than Tojo's at about 1/4 of the price. We spent about $175 each at Tojo's not including drinks, tax or tips. There are 2 Sushi Hachi's in YVR the one in Richmond is the one I'm refering to. Their chu-toro is amazing. Reservations are essential as this place is small and packs up.

      1. re: oiboy

        Hi oiboy I am interested in an Omakase meal as well. Do you mind sharing how much you paid and how many courses you had? I want to have nice Japanese meal before I head back to TO. Like you I wasn't too happy with the money I spent at Tojo's I also tried Blue Water Cafe and Raw Bar and had em prepare a tasting menu with wine and that was disappointing as well. Also which location would you recommend and whats the address?

        1. re: elvisahmed

          I never had the omakase at octopus garden or sushi hachi. Last time I was there it ran to about $75.00 per person. They do have omakase at sushi hachi which starts at $100 per person. Sushi Hachi is on Odlin Cresent. In Richmond. They are open only 3 hours between 6-9pm 5 days a week. Reservations are a necessity as they are always full. Sadly they still have endangered blue fin tuna still on their menu.

    2. Any updates on this post?

      I've eaten at Tojo's through the years and now wondering if there are other places that excel the way Tojo does.

      2 Replies
        1. re: JayDK

          Kinome does omakase as well and is top notch. It's not a sushi joint however, more refined izakaya-style.

        2. Bumping this thread cuz Zest just won Gold for Best Japanese Upscale 2015 in the VanMag awards:

          Sez they do a $90 omakase with 24 hours notice. Anyone tried? My birthday is coming up ;)

          6 Replies
          1. re: dennisthefoodie

            I'm also interested in what waylman and justxpete think, now that Zest won a major award. I don't totally agree with all VanMag award picks, but it's way better than Georgia Straight awards...

            1. re: dennisthefoodie

              I've only eaten at Zest once so I hesitate to comment. I will say my experience was very average. For that much money, you're in much better hands at Octopus Garden.

              1. re: waylman

                I had the same experience as you. But everyone swears by it that we know, so we're going to return at some point. Will report back.

              2. re: dennisthefoodie

                Zest won the award last year this year it is tied with Tojo I believe?

                I have yet to try Octopus Garden, I felt Zest was better than Tojo though.

                I was recommended on here Hamaei in North Vancouver and (close to home) and have been really enjoyed it, not significantly worse than Tojo for example (obviously a fair bit more casual)

                1. re: tdiddy23

                  Ps. If you're going for Omakase, they ask you to give them 24 hours notice. They have a standard, mixed omakase, but you can also ask for a nigiri omakase if that's your preference.

              3. re: dennisthefoodie

                Not omakase but we had another great meal at Zest three weeks ago. They were featuring fiddleheads which didn't hurt my feelings :-). I will say I've never been impressed with their rolls and prefer the cooked items, especially the fresh sheet. Like Kinome, in a way. Some different things.

              4. May 2015

                Just had omakase at Octopus Garden and Tojo.
                OG was 100, Tojo was 150

                First time at OG. Would I go back? Not for the menu they served. A mix of traditional and foie gras and raw quail egg. In fact we had 2 different preparations of foie gras. Not saying it was bad at all but I wasn't expecting it and it really didn't fit the theme.


                Have been going to Tojo since before the move.
                Love it and was not let down this time.
                Tojo is tops by far.
                I don't read reviews much but have never been disappointed myself.

                The sake selection is broad at both places however Tojos was much more helpful as they have a dedicated bartender with years on the job.

                Price? IMO if you are going to spend your hard earned money on a great experience then Tojo is the master.