The raw goods: Vancouver's best sushi restaurants

To list every remarkable sushi restaurant in Vancouver would be a feat that would seem daunting even to a fearless samurai. And while food-court and grocery-store sushi suggest this is now a commonplace cuisine, these renowned restaurants are a cut above. Below, a small bento box of offerings. [Photo courtesy of Miku]

Miku Japanese Restaurant

1
70-200 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4

A scenic dining room situated on the water at Canada Place, Miku tops the “best of” sushi lists around town. Innovative Japanese dishes combining European flavours and cooking techniques are prepared under the knife of Chef Matsuoka. He also applies the aburi technique — providing a light sear to raw fish. The bright white room with fish murals dazzles, as do the impeccable dishes coming from the highly calibrated kitchen team. Enjoy that waterfront view with patio seating in warmer weather.

Akira Sushi Ltd

2
4219 Hastings St, Burnaby, BC V5C 2J5

Don’t let the hole-in-the-wall vibe of this Denman sushi joint deter you from the fresh selection within. Known for its maki rolls made with black rice, Akira is some of the best sushi in the cheap-eats category. The menu choices are wallpapered across the interior and endless, expertly steeped green tea is delivered in large plastic cups by attentive servers. They offer all the usual suspects plus “Chef’s Recommendations” — more creative and unusual rolls. But it’s the black rice that sets them apart.

Monster Sushi

3
202-1184 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2M9

Sushi Nami on Denman Street is an excellent option for fresh, affordable sushi in ginormous portions. You just know you’re getting your daily protein intake with their thick slices of wild salmon and tuna sashimi. Custom rolls like the Stanley Park with yam and unagi tempura or the Volcano with spicy scallop and black sesame sauce are also generous, making this the perfect place for a crowd or party. The view over English Bay is an added bonus.

Blue Water Cafe & Raw Bar

4
1095 Hamilton St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5T4

A dinner at Yaletown’s award-winning Blue Water Café may be highly anticipated, but if the yen for sushi hits and you’re feeling a bit fancy, sidle up to their raw bar where chef Maruyama’s knife skills are on full display. They pride themselves on their selection of “Unsung Heroes,” less obvious choices when it comes to seafood, and sourcing only the most sustainable product. The Raw Bar is the perfect way to get the fine-dining experience without much pain to your wallet.

Kishimoto Japanese Restaurant

5
2054 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A9

By far the Drive’s favourite place for sushi, you can tell Kishimoto from a few blocks away by its line out the door. Try their okonomiyaki — Japanese pancakes that come either plain, with shrimp or with pork. Or any one of their lunch combos if you’re dining solo midday. Otherwise, brave the line-up with a friend or a group and order as much as you can to share. Lively, fresh, experimental yet traditional, Kishimoto is your best bet in East Van.

Toshi Sushi

6
181 16th Ave E, Vancouver, BC V5T 4R2

Also known for their epic line-ups, Toshi’s, which opens at 5 pm and has a line-up down the street by 4:30, is a tiny restaurant on 16th serving up fantastic sushi and Japanese cuisine. There’s nothing overly distinguishing about their offerings — though their fried eggplant is a revelation; this is just good, fresh sushi in a fun atmosphere. One visit and you’ll be joining its legions of loyal fans.

Tojo's Restaurant

7
1133 Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6H 1G1

The man who introduced sushi to Vancouver and made it normal to eat raw fish for take-out (and the inventor of the California Roll), Tojo is the pioneering chef behind this eponymous restaurant on Broadway, going strong since 1988. Classically trained in Japan, Tojo’s restaurant is fine-dining with prices to match. But the impeccable service you’re treated to and the ever-inventive, evolving creations from the team of expert chefs make this a destination worthy of its high praise and haute cuisine.

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