10 Best Sushi Restaurants You Must Visit In Vancouver For 2019
Some cities have pizza joints or coffee shops on every corner. Vancouver has sushi restaurants.
With over 600 sushi restaurants and counting, Vancouver may very well be the sushi capital of North America. The combination of a solid Asian population and easy access to the Pacific Ocean, it’s no wonder that this cuisine dominates the Vancouver food scene. From traditional to fusion, it’s hard not to feel overwhelmed by all of the possibilities.
With a focus on the freshness and authentic Japanese food, here are the ten best sushi in Vancouver to put on your local food bucket list.
1. Miku Japanese Restaurant
If you’re ever talking about where to get the best sushi in Vancouver, you bet Miku will always be mentioned. And it’s for a good reason.
With a beautiful location right on the Downtown Vancouver waterfront, you get a jaw-dropping picturesque view of the snow capped mountains whether you sit inside or on the patio. Upscale and modern with a buzzing bar and lounge, this is a great spot for business lunches and special occasions.
Executive Corporate Chef Kazuya Matsuoka and Executive Chef Kazuhiro Hayashi combines traditional Japanese flavours with fresh west coast ingredients to create a dining experience that showcases the best of Vancouver.
Miku is known for introducing Aburi (flame-seared) sushi in Canada. The unique preparation enhances the natural flavours of the sushi and features a signature Miku sauce created from a secret recipe. Try the salmon oshi sushi, premium nigiri sampler or any of the aburi. Tuna with foie gras, wagyu beef with uni, albacore with miso sauce are all popular options.
Fun fact: When Queen Beyonce and Jay Z were in town for their concert, they dined at Miku.
Location: 70-200 Granville Street, Granville Square (Canada Place Way and Howe Street) Vancouver, BC Canada V6C 1S4
No list of best sushi in Vancouver would be complete without Kishimoto. This authentic, welcoming and lively restaurant focuses on fresh, seasonal and local ingredients, when available. Imported fish comes directly from Tsukiji Market in Tokyo, and the chef often uses fresh flowers and garnishes from the restaurant’s garden. Chef Akira Kishimoto trained in his hometown of Osaka at the age of 18 and later in Kyoto before moving to Vancouver to follow his dream of opening his own restaurant.
The restaurant is a bit hidden, but that doesn’t stop the crowds from lining up for his salmon oshi, OMG rolls, tamari-dipped sushi and seasonal tempura topped with edible flowers. Their house-made, special tamari sauce may make you want to give up traditional soy sauce forever.
*Note that they are closed Monday and Tuesdays and are only available for dinner
Location: 2054 Commercial Drive, Vancouver, BC Canada, V5N 4A9
For a more casual scene, dine with Chef Yuji Nagaya at this small restaurant that seats around 20 people. The hole-in-the-wall place eschews fancy décor but still celebrates high-quality ingredients you’d expect from an authentic Japanese restaurant in Vancouver. It is known for sashimi, nigiri and traditional gunkan (rice and nori seaweed with salmon, fish roe or sea urchin) types of sushi, but, as with many sushi restaurants in Vancouver, check out the specials board for the freshest options. The toro nigiri and Yuji roll are crowd pleasers, as are the negitoro, tobiko and ikura with quail egg (you can also order without quail egg).
Location: 2252 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC Canada, V5N2T7
At first impression, you may think you’ve accidentally stepped into a hipster café when you dine at Sushi Itoga. This minimally decorated restaurant down Robson Street features two communal tables and a bright, airy atmosphere. They serve fresh, no-frills sushi and are committed to sourcing sustainable seafood as a member of Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise program. Prices tend to be a bit more affordable and portions more generous than other sushi joints in the city.
Try the futomaki or BC maki for a different take on the traditional rolls. Select pieces a la carte or go with one of the sets to make ordering easier. The Deluxe Sushi Set which comes with a selection of the chef’s daily favourites is highly recommended. Be forewarned, they don’t take reservations and they close early when they sell out.
Location: 1668 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC Canada, V6G 1C7
Take a trip to Japan without leaving Canada at this elegant 10 seat omakase restaurant. Set up in the traditional style, with all seats facing the chef, this intimate spot serves some of the best sushi in Vancouver. They only offer two services a night and you may need to make reservations weeks in advance for the opportunity to try the Chef’s omakase – 11 pieces specially selected by Chef Maumi Ozaki and prepared in front of you. After omakase, you can order okonomi (your choice). No rolls here, only nigiri sushi. They get their fish imported fresh from Japan five days a week, so you can expect delights such as toro, bafan uni, tamago, prawn, aji and flying squid.
Before your trip to Maumi, make sure to be aware of their house rules: ”…we ask our customers to turn off their phones, talk quietly, avoid wearing strong perfume or cologne and be respectful of the environment and the people around them for a richer and more enjoyable experience.” Maumi also only services adults 18+.
Location: 1226 Bute St, Vancouver, BC Canada, V6E 1Z8
Kaide boasts the bold claim of “Best Sushi in Vancouver” on its website, so it’s worth visiting and deciding for yourself. But those who have already been there know that Kaide is considered one of Yaletown’s hidden gems. With a simple interior, the focus is all on the fresh and finely-prepared Japanese food.
The intimate eatery and sushi bar emphasizes local ingredients and uses only wild sockeye salmon and wild albacore tuna. Its butterfish, when available, is otherworldly, but you can’t go wrong with the assorted sushi set, hamachi, toro nigiri, unagi nigiri, uni or the tofino roll either. With rolls, sashimi, nigiri, hasomaki, donburi and even a vegetarian menu, there’s something for everyone.
Pro-tip: Make sure you order something off their special board as well.
Location: 1375 Richards Street, Vancouver BC Canada, V6Z 2X6
If you’re looking to get your aburi fix, Miku’s sister restaurant has also got you covered. Minami combines Japanese and West Coast cuisine in a comfortable, intimate atmosphere. At Minami, its Aburi sushi is made to be paired with their seafood dishes and your choice of sake, wine, or specialty cocktail. A restaurant that manages to be upscale and friendly, this is an ideal spot for a Downtown business lunch, gathering of friends or even a date night.
This Yaletown spot features a full bar and lounge area, two private dining rooms, and a hidden secluded garden patio. They are known for unique items like the aburi chirashi tart, red wave roll and “new style gyoza”. Aburi salmon oshi and ebi fritters are also top orders. With friendly service, this Downtown Vancouver sushi restaurant truly lives up to the company philosophy of ningenmi, or “finding happiness in bringing joy to others.”
Fun fact: Miku and Minami are named after the President & Owner Seigo Nakamura’s daughters.
Location: 1118 Mainland Street Vancouver, BC Canada, V6B 2T9
Don’t let Toshi Sushi’s small and unassuming location put you off. The sushi here has the same fresh, melt-in-your-mouth quality that you’ll find at higher-end Japanese restaurants in Vancouver. The delicious food and reasonable prices mean there is often a line to get in. The wait is manageable, or you can order take away if you prefer.
Loyal customers highly recommend their box roll, sakura scallop or spicy agedashi tofu. For something a bit different, order the nasu dengaku (baked eggplant) or gin tara saikyo yaki (miso-marinated grilled cod). Be sure to check out the specials menu as it changes frequently and often features standouts such as saba sushi.
Location: 181 E 16th Ave, Vancouver, BC Canada V5T 4R2
A spot like this deserves that overused qualification of “hidden gem.” With only seven tables and a sushi bar, this authentic Japanese restaurant fills up quickly. When other Japanese chefs recommend it, you know it’s going to be good. The fresh, high-quality and reasonably priced sushi is worth the wait.
The saba nigiri, unagi battera, futomaki and ume sisho roll are some of the best sushi Vancouver has to offer. Their special assorted sushi set and lunch specials are always a good bet for fresh fish that won’t break the bank. Also, unlike some other restaurants, this locale serves decent sized portions that won’t leave you wanting to stop for a second lunch or dinner on the way home.
Location: 2081 W 42nd Ave, Vancouver, BC Canada, V6M 3V3
If you want to treat yourself to a nice meal, the omakase menu at Tojo’s is hard to beat. It is one of Vancouver’s oldest sushi restaurants and has aged well. Elegant yet friendly, this is a great spot to celebrate a special occasion. Chef Hidekazu Tojo, who still works at the restaurant even though he’s in his 60s, has a legacy of combining techniques from his native Japan with the North American palette. He began his culinary journey by working in a Ryotei, a high-class traditional Japanese restaurant in Osaka during his early 20s. After honing his skills, he moved Canada in 1971 to branch away from the restrictions traditional Japanese culinary culture possessed. At the time, North Americans were not receptive of seaweed or eating raw fish. Chef Tojo had an idea of hiding them by making the roll inside out, creating the Inside Out Tojo Roll (now called California Roll). Although this was against sushi purists, people loved the roll. A true culinary innovator, Chef Tojo is credited with creating the now ubiquitous California, BC rolls, and the first to use smoked salmon with sushi.
It is thanks to his pioneering efforts that sushi’s North American popularity is where it is now. To this day, Chef Tojo continues to use his creativity to produce new dishes from local ingredients. His newer creations include specialty rolls like the Golden Roll and Great Pacific Roll. Get your reservation today for a taste of Vancouver’s sushi history.
Location: 1133 West Broadway, Vancouver BC Canada, V6H 1G1
It’s a near-impossible task to select just ten in the thriving and evolving Vancouver sushi landscape. You could easily create separate lists for best nigiri, best omakase or best aburi, and there are sure to be newcomers that will emerge and disrupt the Vancouver food scene. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, grab a fellow sushi lover and enjoy eating some of the freshest fish Japan and the Pacific Ocean have to offer.