18 Best Japanese Restaurants In Vancouver That Will Transport You To Japan
There is without a doubt that Vancouver is a hot spot for Japanese food. In fact, many people call Vancouver the sushi capital of North America, with its 600+ sushi joints. And whether you’re looking for authentic sushi, ramen, izakayas or a modern twist of the sorts, well there’s plenty in the city.
But with so many spots to choose from, we’ve made your life easier by compiling the 18 best Japanese restaurants Vancouver has to offer and will surely give you that feeling of being in Japan.
Vancouver has some incredible sushi spots, and the one place that has managed to reach the no. 1 spot on our Best Sushi Restaurants in Vancouver list is West End’s Tom Sushi. Having won the hearts of Vancouverites within a short period, this place is where traditional Japanese flavours meet local, west coast elements, leading to a unique dining experience.
Whenever we have visitors to the city, Tom Sushi is the spot we always recommend!
Tom Sushi has quickly carved a name for itself as the sushi bar that carefully considers texture, nuance, and flair in fresh ingredients. And best of all – they offer it all without really breaking the bank.
We recommend for nirigi: tokiko w/quail egg, shima-aji, hotate, and toro. And if you’re one of the lucky people to get your hands on their daily limited donburis – go for the bluefin or uni ones.
What to order: tokiko w/quail egg, shima-aji, hotate, toro nirigi, bluefin, uni donburi
Marutama Ra-men is must-visit for those craving a bowl of noodles that could’ve very well come straight out of the streets of Tokyo. They specialize in a simple and light-tasting ramen, that uses a chicken broth base and ingredients that are all house-made or imported from Japan.
Every morning at 6:00 AM, their team prepares the soup and makes their chewy ramen noodles from scratch. Each day they make 1500 batches of noodles and still sell out before closing.
Their Tamago Ramen is a crowd favourite, which is topped with sliced cha-shu, seaweed, green onions and the most delicious semi-runny soft-boiled soy sauce eggs. With three locations spread throughout Vancouver, they serve tried-and-true ramen bowls, ones that are never too far away from where you might be.
They are one of our personal favourite when looking to get the best ramen in town and one we recommend to all our relatives and friends visiting from out of town.
Pro tip: When you receive your bowl of ramen, always add the garlic chips. You will never be the same again after trying it.
Want to see how Marutama Ramen Vancouver makes their ramen? Watch our feature below:
Locations: – 780 Bidwell St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2J6 – Near Central Library – 270 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6B 0E7 – 2858 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 0C1 – 5278 Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 2E9
Raisu’s name mimics a Japanese pronunciation of “rice,” fittingly so as it prides itself in sake, or Japanese rice wine. If you are looking for a place in Kitsilano that has an extensive sake menu and knowledgable staff, Raisu is the place to go. Boasting a sake menu of nearly 50 different kinds, you can be sure to find a sake that matches your preference.
But they aren’t just a sake spot, their food menu holds its own, complete with Bento, Tapas, Udon, Sushi, and Teishoku. Teishoku is a type of Japanese set meal, “derived from humble fare served at Zen temples,” as described in their website. It include a main dish, rice, miso soup, and pickled dishes. Their Bento boxes, such as the Sho Ka Do and the Zen, come in limited quantity daily, and can be ordered ahead of time on the phone.
One of their most popular dishes is their Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu Udon – the broth is poured into the noodles as it is served, allowing you to watch as the thinly-sliced wagyu beef cook.
From the meticulous décor consisting of art pieces made from teacups and chopsticks to the careful garnish on each dish, Raisu can be described as nothing less than elegant.
What to order: Sho Ka Do, Wagyu Beef Shabu Shabu Udon
Ramen Danbo’s bowls and plates traditional Fukuoka-style Tonkotsu ramen, a rarity even in the Vancouver food scene. Ramen Danbo even goes the extra mile, allowing diners to customize their ramen orders. Should you wish, you can build an entire ramen bowl from the bottom-up by choosing the doneness of the noodle type you choose, the thickness of the broth, types of cooked meats and vegetables, and a range of toppings to garnish your creation with after all is said and done.
However, you can never go wrong with their simple, traditional and wholesome Shio ramen.
Expect a long queue at their Robson Street location as they do serve some of the best ramen in Downtown Vancouver and a must have if you’re needing to fill up your Vancouver Food Bucket List. It’s well worth the wait though.
Address: – 1833 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC Canada, V6J 1M4 – 1333 Robson Street, Vancouver, BC Canada, V6E 1C6
Kingyo means “goldfish” in Japanese and their artistic bowl of live goldfish as decor may suggest, their commitment to originality is impressive. Kingyo is one of the more well-known Izakayas in downtown Vancouver, with a prime location in the West End. The interior exudes authenticity from its Kirizuma (gabled roof) décor, mid-table bamboo panel, historical photographs, and wood carving art pieces throughout the restaurant.
Order the Stone-Grilled Kobe Beef and you can have fun cooking the most exclusive beef yourself on the hot stone. What elevates the experience is the melt-in-the-mouth tender beef, which goes well with the Kingyo original sauces but also tastes incredible on its own.
When their menu says “Our Famous Invincible & Undefeated Tan-Tan Noodle”, how can you go without trying the dish?! The pork bone and shrimp broth is the mesmerizing element of this dish – rich, spicy, and so flavorful that it is reminiscent of Japan. The noodles are perfectly chewy, and one bowl of the Tan-Tan Noodle will make you full.
What to order: Tan-Tan Noodles, Stone-Grilled Kobe Beef
Tucked neatly beside the loud signage next door of gyro wraps and blinking corner store signage, Sushi Jin is a small, intimate restaurant that no omakase lovers in Vancouver do not know. As they only have 6 seats around the bar, you must make a reservation and get ready to have a conversation with Chef Jin about your course!
People love coming here for their Premium Omakase Course, which includes 18 dishes of Otzumami, Nigiri Zushi, Temaki, Tamago, and dessert. Every piece of fish is so fresh, prepared with great care, and plated nicely. An indulgent dinner that you would love to have again and again! You can ask the chef for the toro neck that offers the best mix of texture and fat for a next-level taste!
They also have Premium Omakase Course with Snow Crab for all the crab addicts. While feasting your palate with the chef’s choice, you will also experience your favorite crab in a totally new way!
What to order: Premium Omakase Course, Sashimi Platter, Premium Omakase Course with Snow Crab
Menya Itto has always been in our top of mind whenever we think of an impeccable ramen bowl or tsukemen. Dubbed the ‘King of Tsukemen’ by its loyal fans in Japan, Menya Itto was awarded the Tabelog awards for best ramen in Japan since 2010. Drop a visit to this place and get seduced by the chewy, slippery noodles, flavorful broth, and a modern, cozy ambiance. You will never leave this place with an empty stomach!
Their Chashu Noko Gyokai Ramen has a thick and creamy chicken, seafood soup with scallop oil, and house-made thin noodles, which is light yet tasty and impressive in every bite!
The main attraction is definitely the Menya Itto Classic Tsukemen. It is what people line up for and is an absolute must-order if you love Tsukemen. This hard-hitter has thicker noodles, served with Menya Itto’s Signature broth with crunchy-textured chicken balls. Soft, chewy, crispy at the same time!
What to order: Chashu Noko Gyokai Ramen, Menya Itto Classic Tsukemen, Tori Dango, Tori Chasu
Ah it’s just another Japanese restaurant in Vancouver, right? Wrong! The food served at Dosanko tastes like your Japanese grandmother (the one you never had!) made it – authentically Japanese, comforting, and delicious. More than that, what makes it a lot more special is that it is accessible for West Coast palates.
Share the Beef Belly Katsu Sandwich as an appy with a friend and you will both love it. The panko crusted beef belly is first sous vide cooked, which makes it juicy and tender, and you definitely get big, satisfying chunks. The house-made milk bread is nice and soft, and the tonkatsu sauce and koji mayo add layers of flavor to the sandwich.
Omu-Rice is one simple-looking but a technically difficult dish that not many restaurants can execute well. Dosanko brings to the table a perfectly executed plate of Omu-Rice that makes people visit again for more.
It is a Japanese-style omelet, with fried rice, and tomato sauce as other layers. The eggs are fluffy and luscious, and the rice is buttery. You can also add pork curry sauce or beef Hayashi sauce to your Omu-Rice for an extra cost.
What to order: Beef Belly Katsu Sandwich, Omu-Rice, Matcha Milcrepe
Known as Vancouver’s most exclusive omakase sushi bar by offering some of the freshest selection of seafood and masterful Japanese cuisine, Sushi Bar Shu is an incredible place to satisfy your omakase cravings. You will have an unforgettable omakase experience here when being able to chat with the chef, and be sure to book in advance as they don’t accept walk-ins.
They have 2 different choices of Omakase: the basic Omakase Sushi comes with miso soup, 12 pieces of nigiri, and a handroll to finish. The more advanced Omakase Sushi Course is way more interesting! With an appetizer platter, sashimi tasting course, miso soup, 12 pieces of nigiri, a handroll, and dessert, we bet your taste buds will be thanking you for this!
Besides omakase, there is a highlight that you might want to consider – the famous Akami, which has the most umami tuna flavor of all other fattier cuts. Once you get a bite, it’s hard to stop!
What to order: Omakase Sushi, Omakase Sushi Course, Akami
Kamome is a small authentic mom & pop Japanese spot that is easy to miss when walking down to Joyce Station, but it is a hidden gem that everyone should try once. Similar to Shibuyatei in Richmond, the minimal seating, 90s decor, and that slow-calm peaceful ambiance makes you feel like you’re Japan.
And with that unique homecooked style for imbued into their onigiri, bentos, and soba, that transportation is complete!
If it is your first time, start off with their onigiri. It is handmade with love and there’s plenty of options to choose from. Our favs? The Spicy Masago and good ol’ salmon.
Next up, go for their Ten Zaru Soba combo. It is what they are most known for and refreshing. It comes with miso soup and two adorably fried Shrimp Tempuras. You’ll know what we mean by adorable when you get it.
And because usually there is only one or two staff working, be prepared for a wait!
If “the funkiest Izakaya in Vancouver” does not go to Rajio, Suika will rightfully grab this title. It has a retro Japanese casino machine upon the first steps into the restaurant, and a chandelier made from sake bottles emanating colourful lighting across the restaurant, fittingly encapsulating its ambience in two words: hip and vibrant. Its menu only furthers this identity through innovative fusion items such as its Unagi Pizza and Truffle Chawan-Mushi (Japanese egg pudding).
A great option for first-timers is its Suika Deluxe Box, which samples nine of its appetizers. Also popular at Suika is its Sashimi options, which has daily specials based on the Chef’s choice.
If you’re looking for some Izakaya dishes you haven’t heard of before, Suika is the place to try!
What to order: Unagi Pizza, Truffle Chawan-Mushi, Suika Deluxe Box
Named Canada100 Best’s No. 10 restaurant in 2018 and receiving a glowing review in the New York Times, this beautiful Italian-Japanese fusion restaurant in Chinatown is not your typical dining experience. This dimly lit restaurant with interior inspired by the 1960’s exudes sophisticated vibes, from the decor to the staff’s careful dress and attentive manner.
Kissa Tanto’s executive Chef Joel Watanabe has French, Italian, and Japanese classic training in dining. This Italian-Japanese restaurant is not the first of his inter-cuisine visions. He is also known for Bao Bei, a Shanghainese-Taiwanese brasserie in Chinatown, which is also a fusion of ideas and cultures because of its modern take on traditional Chinese food with French influences. As a result of his unconventional creations, he has been called a “risk taker” and was named Chef of the Year by Vancouver Magazine in 2017.
You might be wondering how Italian and Japanese cuisine could intertwine at all, but as Kissa Tanto perfectly describes it, “Soul mates are they not, with their mutual love of noodles, rice, and proteins in their pure, delicious, uncooked form?” From the Pizzoccheri (buckwheat & nori pasta) to the Octopus Salad to the Whole Fried Fish, Kissa Tanto sets itself apart from other Japanese restaurants by offering unique, daring dishes. Though not a traditionally Japanese experience, it certainly welcomes a new way of understanding and experiencing Japanese flavours.
Address: 263 East Pender St.Vancouver B.C. V6A 1T8
Yamato Takahashi, the owner of this unassuming-looking restaurant in Marpole may have originated from Japan, but his training is in French cuisine. Looking over the menu, you can immediately identify the French influence in his Japanese fusion dishes, such as their popular Masago de Creamy Spaghetti, a creamy pasta dish with squid, asparagus, roe, and mushroom.
Their other unique Japanese-style dishes include Doria, “A rich, oven-based rice dish mixed with a cream sauce, vegetables and topped with mozzarella cheese”, Chicken Nanban, and Hayashi (Beef Stew) Rice. They even serve their own twists on poutine, opting to top their fries with beef stew (Orangerie Style Poutine) or Curry (Curry Style Poutine).
Don’t forget dessert! The restaurant offers homemade cakes, a matcha green tea pudding parfait, a unique Zunda Dango Parfait (glutinous rice balls, sweet edamame bean paste, red bean paste, ice cream and black sugar syrup) among other sweets. They also create made-to-order cakes, a great birthday cake idea for any Japanese sweets lover.
What to order: Masago de Creamy Spaghetti, Chicken Nanban, Masago With Hamburger Pasta, Doria
Address: 1320 West 73rd Avenue, Vancouver, BC V6P 3E7
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.
Address: 1133 West Broadway, Vancouver BC Canada, V6H 1G1
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.
Address: 70-200 Granville Street, Granville Square (Canada Place Way and Howe Street) Vancouver, BC Canada V6C 1S4
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).
What to order: Negitoro with Egg Gunkan, Tobiko with Egg Gunkan, Hamachi
Address: 2252 Kingsway, Vancouver, BC Canada, V5N2T7
For the real deal in tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet,) Saku is where you go! This spot cannot be missed, and is well worth a visit for experience, great taste, and friendly service. A perfect place to hit up for an evening out with friends.
Each katsu set is accompanied by unlimited rice, tonjiru and shredded cabbage, so get ready to chow down! Our absolute fav and recommendation is to go for the cheese katsu. You’ll be singing in joy when you take a bite when it is piping hot.
What to order: cheese katsu
Address: -1588 Robson St, Vancouver, British Columbia V6G 1C9 -548 W Broadway, Vancouver British Columbia
Vancouver is matcha crazy. We’re matcha crazy. And if you’re looking to satisfy your craving, Popular Japanese Matcha brand, Nana’s Green Tea in Kerrisdale will have that deep green tea flavour that will make your heart sing.
Get the Matcha Soft Serve with Shiratama (mochi balls) and you won’t be disappointed. Or if you fancy an ice cream float, try their Matcha Shiratama Float or towering Signature Matcha Parfait with Shiratama.
You can opt to dine-in or grab the soft serve to go on a stroll around the relaxed and carefree Kerrisdale neighbourhood.
What to order: Matcha Soft Serve with Shiratama, Matcha Shiratama Float, Signature Matcha Parfait with Shiratama
There you have it – the best Japanese restaurants Vancouver has to offer. No doubt these will do the trick and satisfy your tastebuds and Japanese food cravings. And if you’re looking for most amazing spots in the city, try these 37 best restaurants in Vancouver!