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Best Nigiri in Vancouver?

My husband and I are heading to Vancouver for a week on Wednesday to celebrate our last few months as a couple before our first child arrives in October. We want to find the very best nigiri in Vancouver and avoid those over-mayonnaised concoctions many Japanase restaurants offer Westerners. Any particular suggestions? From my initial research, it seems like Ajisai and Octopus Garden may be good options. We're open to a a variety of experiences - from holes in the wall to the best service available. Thanks!

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  1. Where you from and what qualities of sushi & nigiri are you accustomed to ?

    I've never been, but Miku is highly regarded:

    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/134970...

    And Aki, a long-time institution that I've not personally been for a long time even before their recent re-location:

    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/762765...

    Some may suggest you avoid well-known places like Tojo's. I'm not one to enter into debate there ;-

    )

    As to Ajisai and Octopus Garden, they are extremely consistent, in a good way.

    1. Congrats on the imminent arrival! If you're really seeking nigiri, may I suggest Miko (not Miku, where to me the only real standout is the salmon aburi)? They really know their fish at Miko and the wait staff will steer you toward the especially good cuts if you act reasonably serious. I've never had mayonnaise on nigiri (only temaki, gunkan or maki) so I'm not certain what you're after, but Miko kicks it old school and doesn't do any "weird" stuff. Book a cozy two top on the east side of the resto, be sure to order a la carte (not the set lunches/dinners) and bring money. Good sushi is not cheap even here in Sushilandia :-). No need to sit at the bar here as the itamae are working hair straight back and don't interact much. I also like Ajisai a bunch but I find their table seating uncomfortable so if you do try it, go early and get seats at the bar. Haven't been to the new Aki but I never found them strong on sushi, more on the robata stuff, previously. OG is a good bet too.

      1 Reply
      1. re: grayelf

        Thank you, Grayself! This is so helpful! Miko is now at the top of the list. And good to know that OG and Ajisai are good options, too. We'll be sushi hopping in just a few days!

      2. Ajisai and Octopus Garden are great choices!
        A cheaper alternative is Shiro on Cambie & 15th. Little hole in the wall but they deliver the goods!

        1. Dan on Broadway is a good option as well.

          1. In addition to the above suggestions, if you're looking for an option on the east side, Kishimoto (2054 Commercial Drive) has great sushi, nicely presented. And Sushi Hachi is in Richmond (8888 Odlin Crescent) but I'll mention it just in case -- it's definitely an "over-mayonnaised concoctions"-free zone (I think the Califiornia roll is about as non-traditional as they get). Their nigiri comes with very small pieces of rice so you can fill up on plenty of neta instead. Slow service, as it's a two-person operation (no kitchen, just sushi), but good quality.

            11 Replies
            1. re: queueueuq

              Has Sushi Hachi extended their hours? If no, may be too late for OP to get a reso (no walk ins). Glad to hear their quality is still there, I thought I read a downward report a while back.
              Kishimoto does lovely, delicious rolls (IMO the most beautiful in town) but they are pretty out there with unusual combos, though mayo is not a problem. Had one experience with still-frozen tuna in the sashimi there, and all deepfried items should be avoided, but their salmon aburi is nearly as good as Miku's and is about a third less cost-wise. Cute room too but small so OP should get resos. Don't miss the housemade yuzu ice cream for dessert.

              1. re: grayelf

                Yes, Kishimoto has creative rolls, but I thought it'd be ok since the OP is focussing on nigiri. (Btw, their toro tataki might be my favourite tataki in the city.) Yes on the yuzu ice cream!

                1. re: queueueuq

                  Come to think of it, I don't recall ever getting mayo on any nigiris I've eaten. Actually I never understood why mayo is even introduced in rolls in the first place.

                  1. re: LotusRapper

                    As I mentioned, I've never had mayo on nigiri (gunkan, yes) either. I will admit that I enjoy a shot of Kewpie on certain rolls, particularly ones that have a tempura component. But a judicious hand, please, and not on everything :-).

                2. re: grayelf

                  According to Yelp, it's possible to just walk in to Sushi Hachi. It sounds like a fabulous place! It's definitely on our list, so hopefully we'll be able to get in there without a problem.

                  And yes, I haven't had mayo on my nigiri, either, but sometimes when you ask for sushi recommendations people point you to the popular Western joints, which my husband and I really don't care for anymore. After a trip to San Francisco truly educated our palates, we started up the hunt for the best sushi we can get our hands on whenever we travel.

                  Oh, and we're definitely open to rolls as long as the fish is the focus, so sounds like Kishimoto is up our alley, too. Thanks!

                  1. re: makinitgreen

                    There's also Kura in Burnaby, on Kingsway. Avoid lunch ..... too busy due to office lunch crowd. Dinner is when you get the full staff attention and quality eats. They are Japanese-owned & operated.

                    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181027...

                    Ichiro in Steveston Village of Richmond is good too:

                    http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/180867...

                    1. re: LotusRapper

                      I think last time I walked past Kura there was a sign saying they were closed; hearsay suggests they are converting it to an izakaya, but I have no confirmation of this.

                      In addition I was very jet lagged and exhausted when this all went down so take this entire post with a grain of salt, my memory is a bit fuzzy.

                      1. re: jerkstore

                        Interesting, maybe jumping on the izakaya bandwagon. Hope the rest of their operation remains as core. Been awhile since I ventured out thataways for meals.

                        1. re: LotusRapper

                          I will keep an eye out and report back if there are any developments...I live nearby and walk past relatively frequently on the way to Pho 24 Express.

                    2. re: makinitgreen

                      I hope SH works for you but bear in mind they are only open for three hours a night Tues-Sat and they only seat about 20 people so your trip may be in vain without a reso. The guy on Yelp appears to have been a solo dinner. See May 25 entry here for a recent take on the no-reso approach: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/14/181736...

                      If you do get in be sure to order the three-line grunt if it's available. Their fish menu is limited.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Excellent! I will definitely take all of this into consideration!