If you think Japanese cuisine is just maki rolls and a variety of ramen, then you’re missing out on a lot of amazing Japanese dishes.
Lucky for you, in this article, we’ll talk about the best Japanese restaurants in Vancouver where you can get a variety of Japanese dishes. From familiar ones like ramen to more unique ones such as unagi sushi, you’ll discover a plethora of Japanese delights at these establishments.
How much does eating in a Japanese restaurant cost?
Before we head to the list, let’s talk about the price range of each restaurant so you know how much to bring when going to Vancouver’s leading Japanese restaurants.
|Miku||Lunch: $5 – $41|
Dinner: $5 – $40
Kaiseki: $98 – $150
|Kishimoto Japanese Restaurant||$4 – $30|
|Kingyo Izakaya||Lunch: $3.80 – $30|
Dinner: $2.80 – $38
|Saku||$6.50 – $32|
|Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ||$5 – $240|
|Bistro Sakana||$3 – $380|
The prices listed here are just their current ranges, so if you want to know the price of a specific dish, it’s best to check out the restaurant’s website. Supply issues and other factors can change prices.
The Best Japanese Restaurants in Vancouver
Now that you know the price range, let’s talk about the best Japanese restaurants in Vancouver and the dishes we recommend from each restaurant.
Read the whole menu here
|ADDRESS||200 Granville St #70, Vancouver, BC V6C 1S4, Canada|
|CONTACT NUMBER||(604) 568-3900|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Friday: 11:30 AM – 10 PM|
It’s not surprising that this restaurant won The Georgia Straight’s Golden Plate Award in 2020: it’s why it deserves to be on the list of Vancouver’s leading Japanese restaurants. Their aburi sushi is honestly one of the best in the area.
The combination of their flame-seared seafood with the restaurant’s secret sauce will totally make your mouth water. And even flame-seared, you can just taste and feel the freshness of the fish and other seafood in their sushi.
What adds more to your eating experience at Miku is not just the food but also the staff. The wait staff is nice and friendly, making this a fun time.
And based on the reviews from others who’ve come here, this isn’t a one-time thing. Many previous customers have praised their staff for their friendliness.
That says, what we don’t like about this restaurant is that they have a vastly different lunch and dinner menu. If you want something from their lunch menu and eat there during dinner, you won’t be able to order it.
|What we recommend: Miku Kaiseki Course – If you don’t want to limit yourself to just one dish from this restaurant, their kaiseki course allows you to try the very best they can offer.|
Don’t think for once that they’re only great at making sushi either as this Kaiseki Course also offers amazing wagyu that will really make you drool all night long. The last dish for this course, the chocolate earl grey choux, is also a great way to finish off the night.
Just be aware that the Miku Kaiseki Course is only available at dinner and you have to order it 30 minutes before their last call order.
The previous customers of Miku have written praise for this restaurant and their great sushi:
“Best sushi in Vancouver! I’d heard a lot about Miku and had high expectations going in, and it still managed to exceed them. The Salmon Oshi is a must try. The flavour and texture were incredible, and the pieces melt in your mouth. The fish was fresh, and recipes unique. Servers were very friendly and helpful with recommendations. Overall amazing experience!” – Brendan Li
“We went to Miku for a Friday dinner and chose the 6 course kaiseki menu. Each course was delicious and beautifully presented and explained by the staff. The waitress was very attentive.
No need to worry about leaving hungry – it was a very generous amount of food.
The dessert was outstanding – a green tea opera cake. Very, very delicious.
We had been told good things about this restaurant and we were not disappointed. You definitely need to make a reservation – we saw a few people being turned away because they were completed booked up.” – llccCanada
2. Kishimoto Japanese Restaurant
Read the whole menu here
|ADDRESS||2054 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4A9, Canada|
|CONTACT NUMBER||(604) 255-5550|
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday – Sunday: 5:00 PM – 9:45 PM|
When you enter Kishimoto, you might think it’s just another casual Japanese restaurant. But don’t let that laid-back look fool you: there’s a reason Kishimoto is considered one of Vancouver’s top Japanese restaurants.
For one thing, it has a pretty good range of options in its menu. More than sushi, for example, this restaurant also serves great Japanese dishes such as gyoza and karaage.
If you’re a vegan and don’t want to miss out on Japanese food, Kishimoto also serves cauliflower karaage and nasu dengaku or miso-glazed eggplant, so you can still try out the fantastic food here.
Kishimoto also serves a feast for the eyes. Their plating is some of the most beautiful we’ve seen.
If you’re dining alone, you can sit at the bar and watch their chefs do their thing too. We swear, watching their chef prepare sushi is a performance on its own.
So, if you ever visit Commercial Drive, don’t skip this unassuming restaurant as it is one of the best we’ve visited.
Now, if there’s one thing we don’t like about this restaurant, it’s that it’s only open from Tuesday to Friday. If you want to kick your Monday blues away and treat yourself, you won’t be able to as this restaurant is closed on Mondays.
Aside from that, another issue we have here is that they’re only open between 5:00 PM to 9:45 PM. Sadly, we can’t go here during lunch breaks even if we want to.
|What we recommend: Smoked oshi – This is encased in a glass dome when delivered to your table. Others might think this is just a gimmick but the way it’s presented makes you anticipate the sushi more.|
Besides, there’s a point to the presentation. It’s done this way to smoke the protein.
While this dish has mayonnaise on top of the salmon, it still feels light. The taste of the salmon is also improved by the smoking done as it’s very intense and savoury.
Although you’ll only get one piece of sushi per order, this dish is very much worth its price, in our opinion.
Based on the reviews alone, Kishimoto Japanese Restaurant is something you shouldn’t miss out on:
“LOVE THIS PLACE! I really like the Smoked Oshi (I call it Campfire sushi). It is really Good!! If you ever get a chance to try Ebi Okonomiyaki , you should! It’s the perfect comfort food! The service is awesome, they always check my water if its full or not, and also to see if I need anything.” – griffin graphicarts
“Worth it for the unagi oshi, Saba ume roll, duck matcha soba! All very unique and delicious. Smoked oshi was really underwhelming and overpriced. The rice used for the unagi bowl and sushi was ok, I like Kingyo/Toshiba or other sushi places rice better. Ambience really nice for a special night, it was intimate. If you’re going here get the stuff you normally can’t get at a sushi place or I think you’ll be disappointed for the price :)” – Nazly A.
3. Kingyo Izakaya
Read the whole menu here
|ADDRESS||871 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L|
|CONTACT NUMBER||(604) 608-1677|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Sunday: 12:00 PM – 2:30 PM; 4:30 PM – 10:00 PM |
Closed on Tuesdays
An Izakaya is a casual Japanese pub and Kingyo managed to get that vibe just right. With its relaxed and friendly atmosphere, this restaurant welcomes you just right off the bat.
At the center of this restaurant is a communal table that already shows you the atmosphere they want. To say that it’s lively here is an understatement as people here get to talking and drinking with each other almost a minute in.
Besides the atmosphere of this restaurant, what makes this izakaya stand out is that it has outstanding and unique dishes without being too expensive. They have sashimi, udon, and some cooked meals such as chicken karaage.
Aside from the delicious food here, the drink selection here is also divine. From sake to their own cocktails, this izakaya really stands by its pub origins – you will have a lot to choose from.
However, if there’s one issue we have about this restaurant, it would be that it’s crazy popular. This means that it can quickly get crowded as the restaurant is kinda small too.
If you want to eat here, make sure to go early or at least have a reservation.
|What we recommend: Stone-grilled kobe beef. For this dish, the servers bring out a hot stone and 6 slices of kobe beef.|
You won’t need to cook your kobe beef long as the stone is hot enough to cook it in just a few seconds.
Now, as for its taste, the Kobe beef they use here is obviously high quality as it is soft and melts in your mouth.
As this is an izakaya, we also recommend that you pair kobe beef with sake or Sapporo to give you that authentic Japanese izakaya experience.
Here are testimonials from patrons:
“delightful dinner I had there.
the eel,beef, pitantofu, sashimi,sushi, and mushrooms soupy thing were great.
every the ending cut fruits were a different level!
Attentive staff, would return soon!
do reserve before coming” – Jieli Aw
“10% off for take out, so call in and walk there if you can!
We got the couple value set split between two and it was honestly super well portioned! Way bigger than I expected and tasted amazing too.
It came with so much variety – salad with rare beef, raw fish, sushi (of your choosing with possible additional fee – base price is for tamago), pork cutlet I think, croquette, shrimp, fried chicken… Everything was in a perfectly splittable portion too. Oh yah and came with nori!
Well packed too for takeoit. Would definitely return.” – Helen H,
Read the whole menu here
|ADDRESS||Robson: 1588 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2G5, Canada|
|CONTACT NUMBER||Robson: (778) 379-5872|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Thursday: 11:30 AM – 3:00 PM; 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM |
Friday – Sunday: 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM
Had too much sushi? Well, if you wanna move away from seafood, then we’ll definitely recommend Saku.
Saku serves katsu of all kinds. They have pork, shrimp, chicken, and vegetables on their menu.
With so many options, it’s tough to pick just one. Still, no matter what you choose, it will have Saku’s signature crispy and light breadcrumb crust.
So, there are no wrong choices here.
Besides that, you shouldn’t miss out on their katsu sauce. It really is the perfect pair for their katsu and adds another layer of flavor that makes their katsu taste better.
You also know you won’t leave hungry when you eat at Saku, as they offer unlimited refills for their rice, soup, and cabbage salad.
Yes, that means if you really can’t get enough of their side dishes, you can just ask for more without extra charges. Talk about bang for your buck, right?
As for negatives, there’s not much to say but we do hope that Saku starts accepting reservations soon. Right now, they only have a virtual waiting list and if the restaurant is full, you might wait for a while just for a table to open up.
|What we recommend: Cheese katsina. Cheese katsu is not just deep-fried cheese but cheese wrapped in pork meat and fried.|
Saku doesn’t just use any cheese for their cheese katsina either. As they use aged mozzarella, this cheese katsu has that melty-stretchy goodness when cut in half.
Be careful though – as delicious as it is, it can be pretty heavy. But if you’ve been feeling hungry the whole day, then just go ahead and indulge yourself with Saku’s cheese katsu.
A lot of other people love their food, as you’ll see here:
“Do you love Katsu?
How about variety of sauces, and unlimited soup, rice, and cabbage?
I was honestly blown away by the food quality, service, and presentation of the meal. You will not go away hungry, you may not even be able to go for a dessert after (I couldn’t, and I was not upset about that).
There are lots of good places on Robson, skip those to come to Saku” – Noah O.
“The cheese Katsu in Saku is so delicious that I keep coming back for more. It’s just like the cutlets I get in Japan, so I can enjoy it without feeling uncomfortable. Other than the cheese Katsu, the menu is also very tasty and I recommend it. I also appreciate the free refills of cabbage, miso soup, and rice.” – Yuka T.
5. Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Read the whole menu here
|ADDRESS||888 Nelson St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2H1, Canada 950 W Broadway #201, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1K7, Canada|
|CONTACT NUMBER||(604) 558-3885|
|OPERATING HOURS||Monday – Sunday: 11:30 AM – 9:00 PM|
This restaurant has different locations around the world and consistently serves great Japanese barbecue in all of them.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ is a more laid-back restaurant that offers meat that you barbecue for yourself. If you eat inside the restaurant, they have a smokeless grill so you won’t end up smelling like barbecue once you leave the restaurant.
What if dining inside’s just not for you, though? Well, they also have a patio area with their electric grill, so you can enjoy the weather and just cook barbecue with family and friends.
As for the food, the meat comes marinated and the only thing you have to do is grill it.
What we love the most about this restaurant is the grilling aspect as we can control the doneness of the meat and can just stop cooking anytime.
And if you don’t want to grill, Gyu-Kaku also offers some dishes on their menu that are already cooked. Their cooked food, such as the fried pork gyoza, may not be the star dishes, but they’re also pretty good.
So, if you want to eat something while waiting for your food to be cooked, order a cooked dish from their menu.
However, we do have a minor issue with this restaurant. As good as the food is here, it’s never enough: the serving is a bit on the smaller side.
And looking at other reviews, other people also have this problem so it’s not just us being gluttons!
|What we recommend: Yakiniku Course. It’s pretty hard to find what to recommend in a Japanese barbecue as they pretty much have a lot of different dishes available. So, we’ll just suggest a barbecue course they offer.|
The Yakiniku course is great for 4 people. It has many starter meals included already, such as, gyu-sushi, chicken karaage, and beef garlic noodle.
It also offers a lot of items for barbecuing, some of them being filet mignon, New York steak, and Umakara ribeye. So, you won’t miss out by ordering this course.
Here’s what some of their customers have to say:
“This was my first time doing J/K-BBQ and Gyu-Kaku has certainly set the bar high. Not only was the service extremely attentive and kind but they were fantastic in providing recommendations and advice for first timers like me! The food itself was phenomenal and my partner and I just barely were able to finish the $60 happy hour meal for two. Not to mention the value for $60 is astronomical, with a large selection of delicious marinated meats and plenty of appetizers. We will definitely return!” – Emily Quinn
“Honestly, nothing beats grilling meat at a restaurant! Easily made a reservation for 5 people over the phone for dinner. They take your temperature before entering and there is also plenty of hand sanitizer. You order via a piece of paper and we usually like to order a la carte. The food came very quick and the servers were attentive. We enjoyed an assortment of grilled meats, veggies, rice and noodle dishes and dessert!” – Audrey T.
6. Bistro Sakana
Read the whole menu here
|ADDRESS||1123 Mainland St, Vancouver, BC V6B 5P2|
|CONTACT NUMBER||+1 604-633-1280|
|OPERATING HOURS||Tuesday: 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM|
Wednesday: 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Thursday: 11:30 AM – 9:30 PM
Friday: 11:30 AM – 10:30 PM
Saturday: 5:00 PM – 10:30 PM
Sunday: 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Bistro Sakana is a restaurant that capitalizes on the Japanese culinary tradition as they try to fuse modern innovations of food today with traditional Japanese dishes along with combining the said cuisine with Italian and French touches. They are also known in Vancouver for their wide selection of wines and beers – most especially sake along with high-end sipping bar.
They offer a lively yet intimate dining experience due to their urban chic style of interior design with their brushed stainless, gallery lighting, high ceilings, fir beams, and heritage bricks among others. Customers may also choose to enjoy watching the world by dining in their lush garden patio which is stylishly placed on an old railcar loading dock.
Customers acclaim their food to be cooked to perfection with both the aesthetic appeal and the quality of the fish and seafood that they served as well. Furthermore, they have a specific menu that will help customers in looking for the perfect dish for them to try and declare as a favorite.
We recommend this restaurant for customers looking for a Japanese cuisine restaurant along with a touch of modern and western taste as well. They now accommodate dine-in and reservations for interested customers.
|What we recommend: Capresé Roll. It is one of the specialty rolls offered by the Japanese Bistro and is also one of the recommended signature dishes by the Vancouver Aquarium as an ocean-friendly seafood choice.|
The said roll contains hotaté scallops, fresh shiso-basil pesto, fresh tomato, and bocconcini mozzarella. This is then topped off with lightly sauteéd and plated with an extra virgin olive oil and an aged modena balsamic reduction rim to give it that burst of flavor.
Here are some reviews from their customers:
Really tasty food, attentive service and great location! They to an excellent job with their scallop motoyaki, and the sushi’s are a great to and brown rice option available!We will be back again!”
“I came here with my partner for Dineout 2018. The food was tasty and lots of care was taken in the presentation of the food. This place has a casual atmosphere.
The starters were burdock salad and sashimi. The salad had way too much dressing and the burdock was just swimming in it. I wish the dressing was served on the side because the flavours were fresh and bright otherwise and the burdock had a nice crunch to it. On the other hand, the sashimi was served with a tangy vinaigrette and was very enjoyable.
Next came the aburi sushi platter. The protein was fresh although the texture of the rice seemed slightly off. My partner thinks it tasted like old rice. Overall, it was enjoyable but we did feel that the wagyu aburi didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the flavours.
The box set that came after was lovely to look at and had some wonderful elements to it. We were instructed to eat it in a specific order. The white fish tempura was lightly battered and crispy, the steamed seafood was served with a tasty, umami-filled broth and the mixed vegetables had great texture though a bit bland. Ending it all off was a very rich dish of pork belly. The meat was very soft and almost melted in my mouth although I did find the strong flavours to be a bit jarring against the lightness of the dishes that preceded it.
Next was thinly sliced beef served in a sweet miso sauce. Rice is not served with this although I would highly recommend asking for it because the dish is very saucy and salty. On its own it would have been too overwhelming, but I enjoyed it very much on rice.
Our favourite part was the matcha and roasted green tea Panna Cotta. It was mildly sweetened and very creamy with a wonderfully fragrant tea flavour. I would go back to Bistro Sakana just for this dessert. The service was great overall. The staff were friendly, attentive and explained the dishes very well.”
FAQs about Japanese Restaurants
Now that you know Vancouver’s best Japanese restaurants, it’s your turn to try them out and order a plate of sushi or karaage.
Did we miss your favorite Japanese restaurant? Message us so we can check them out!
And if you want to make your own Japanese food at home, try taking a cooking class. Check out the best cooking classes in Vancouver and who knows, maybe you’ll become one of the best-known sushi chefs in the world soon!