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Hot food from Sushi Aji

Agadashi Tofu from Sushi Aji in Vancouver

Agedashi Tofu from Sushi Aji

As I mentioned in my last post, I visited Sushi Aji twice during my visit to Vancouver last weekend. My first visit was wonderful, with delicious sushi and sashimi. This time around though I decided I wanted some of their cooked food, and decided to take advantage of their all-day meal deal – three items plus soup for under 11$. (Oh Vancouver… how you torment me with your affordable sushi…)

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Posted by on October 1, 2017 in Gyoza (Dumplings), Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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Sushi Aji Vancouver

Ikura (salmon roe) from Sushi Aji in Vancouver

Ikura from Sushi Aji in Vancouver

While I was in Vancouver in late September I popped into a sushi place close to my hotel that was celebrating it’s grand opening.

I ordered a half-order of tuna sashimi, two ikura (salmon roe) and two chopped scallop rolls. They were all pretty much perfect! The meal also comes with free green tea, like most places in Vancouver seem to… different from Calgary restaurants.

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Posted by on September 28, 2017 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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Are you a culinary traveler?

Juno Sushi in Vancouver   (iPhone photo) Vancouver made #8 in Travelocity's top-ten list of top destinations for foodies

Juno Sushi in Vancouver (iPhone photo) Vancouver made #8 in Travelocity’s top-ten list of top destinations for foodies

Are you a culinary traveler? Do you explore exciting destinations with all of your senses – including your tastebuds?

Travelocity just published a top 10 list of amazing places to visit – based largely on the cuisine they’re known for!

So… who made the list?

Top 10 travel destinations for amazing food: (According to Travelocity)

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Posted by on October 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Vancouver: Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts

Looking at Downtown Vancouver from on Granville Island

Looking at Downtown Vancouver from on Granville Island

While in Vancouver I had to grab a quick lunch, so stopped at the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts’s bakery and cafe, Bistro 101 near Granville Island. They advertised a $7.95 soup and sandwich deal. Although they were all out of sandwiches when I went in, so instead I got a couple of bacon and onion (which weren’t very onion-y, thank goodness) mini quiches instead.

Mini quiche, coffee and soup for lunch

Mini quiche, coffee and soup for lunch

The soup was minestrone, and I got a cup of coffee (oh Vancouver, you do love your coffee!) as well. All in all, a good lunch for under $10.00!

Bistro 101 on Urbanspoon

Tea shop in Vancouver

Tea shop in Vancouver

Before heading down to Granville Island I also stopped into a tea shop to meet up with a friend for a cup of tea. I didn’t have a chance to make any notes or take any photos though I’m afraid – my company was just too charming & distracted me!

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Tea & Beverages

 

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Another meal at Vancouver’s Sushi Star

Another meal at Vancouver’s Sushi Star

After visiting the Vancouver Aquarium, I headed back to my hotel and was quite tired after a long day of walking around. Although I kept my eyes open for sushi dinner options, I opted to go for the close-to-my-hotel Sushi Star once more. Scroll back to see my recent post about my visit to Sushi Star, as well as some of my other experiences in Vancouver.

Tuna Sashimi - part two - from Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

Tuna Sashimi – part two – from Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

This time around because timing just didn’t work out, I ended up dining at Sushi Star solo.  The space was still super cold, but I was really tired after a long day of walking around (and taking a few dozen photographs!) so I opted for a familiar place rather than look for something new. Knowing that Sushi Star was only across the street from my hotel was a big incentive!

I started out with more of that delicious Tuna Sashimi that I mentioned in my previous post.  This was so good! So tender, fleshy, flavourful and delicious. It took nothing to cut the generous slices in half with my chopsticks – I even could cut two at a time!

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver  (iPhone photo)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver (iPhone photo)

Next I tried out their Butterfly Roll.  I had to take a few photos of this one to show off how pretty the presentation is! It’s a chopped scallop and fake crab roll, topped off with sockeye salmon and avocado, plus two different sauces – I couldn’t identify either one, but they were delicious! (I think one might have been a pureed mango?)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver  (iPhone photo)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver (iPhone photo)

A different shot of the roll above – plus in the background is my super-cute skull and roses Betsey Johnson purse!

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver  (iPhone photo)

Totally delicious Butterfly roll from Sushi Star in Vancouver (iPhone photo)

A different shot of the “Butterfly” above – so cute!

Vancouver Aquarium

I don’t want to leave you with a post about the Vancouver Aquarium without showing you some adorable photos as well, so check out the photos below.

If you’ve been to Sushi Star in Vancouver before – let us know what you thought in the comments below! If you want to see some of the other places we visited in Vancouver, make sure you follow Happy Sushi Belly on Facebook!

Sushi Star on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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Vancouver: Sushi Star

Vancouver: Sushi Star

The last time I was in Vancouver, I visited Sushi Star – and with good luck, I stayed close to there again – right across the street in fact! This meant that good sushi wasn’t far away, and I visited twice while in the city. (I also checked out Juno Japanese Sushi Bistro – click the link to read my review!)

On my first visit, my companion and I had a few different things at Sushi Star, including Agedashi Tofu (a battered and fried tofu in a fish-based sauce), Tuna sashimi, Salmon Sashimi, and then two rolls. We split both of the sashimi orders and the tofu, and then had the chance to try one another’s roll as well.  My companion and I also ordered a piece of Saba (Mackerel).

Salmon sashimi in Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

Salmon sashimi in Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

We started off with the Agedashi Tofu, though the sashimi came shortly after.

The bowl of tofu was piled high – which was a great sign of quantity to come.  The tofu pieces were a good size – not too big (which made them easier to grab and eat rather than when the pieces are too big) but the tall pile meant that the tofu pieces at the top never got to sit in that delicious fish-based sauce, but the ones at the bottom were soaking in it. We quickly rotated things through, setting the top tofu on our sashimi plate to make sure each piece got to sit in a bit of sauce – but not long enough to get super soggy.

The (sockeye) salmon sashimi (pictured above as well) was good, but honestly wasn’t anything special for me. It had a decent flavour, but really didn’t stand out.  I haven’t been having ‘good salmon luck’ lately though – each time I’ve had it lately, it really seems to be unimpressive. This is the sockeye salmon that seems to be more common here on the west coast, and although it might have other benefits, I think for sushi I really do prefer the salmon that I usually have here in Calgary.

Delicious tuna sashimi from Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

Delicious tuna sashimi from Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

The tuna on the other hand, was amazing! It was flavourful, super tender, fleshy, and delicious! I really enjoyed it, and when I returned to Sushi Star for a second time during my all-too-short visit to Vancouver, I made sure to have it again! Highly recommended!

Both of the sashimi dishes were served garnished with a large quantity of grated daikon, lemon slices, and a few slivers of cucumber – which I figure is the most vegetables I’m going to get when sushi is on my mind…

scallop-topped roll at Sushi Star  (iPhone photo)

scallop-topped roll at Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

My companion had been craving a baked scallop roll for a while, and ordered one of the rolls topped with baked scallop. However she hadn’t read the menu’s top comment, where it said that all of the rolls were topped with sauce, so when it came with spicy sauce (just sniffing it was super-spicy) she had to send it back – but quickly had the above roll which was really good!

A mouth-watering mango and avocado-topped scallop roll from Sushi Star   (iPhone photo)

A mouth-watering mango and avocado-topped scallop roll from Sushi Star (iPhone photo)

I enjoyed the Tropical Roll though (and shared a piece with my companion of course!) which is a scallop roll (with fake crab too.. see more about that below) covered with avocado and mango and a really delicious (though not identified on their menu) sauce that I really liked.

The upsides and downsides

While I really enjoyed my meal, my companion was a little less impressed I think, largely because of the mix up with her roll.  I was happy with the prices and with the food, as well as the service, but I didn’t like two things…

1) The temperature

It was super-cold inside of Sushi Star! With no double-door system, and not even a bend to break up the incoming cold winter winds, it was mighty cold inside.  This wouldn’t be nearly so much of a problem in nicer weather, but we visited during a chilly patch in mid-December, so it was pretty uncomfortable at times.

2) Pollock filler

I understand that pollock (or that fake crab stuff..) is an inexpensive fish, but I really didn’t like that they used pollock as ‘filler’ in what was advertised as a ‘scallop roll’. I would have at least expected the roll to be advertised as a ‘scallop and fake crab’ roll instead of being advertised as a scallop roll – where I expect just scallops!

Our receipt from Sushi Star

Our receipt from Sushi Star

One of the sights I went to see while in Vancouver was the Bright Nights light display on Stanley Park. So pretty!

Bright Nights light display in Stanley Park

Bright Nights light display in Stanley Park

If you’ve been to Sushi Star in Vancouver before – let us know what you thought in the comments below! If you want to see some of the other places we visited in Vancouver, make sure you follow Happy Sushi Belly on Facebook!

Sushi Star on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Sushi, Uncategorized

 

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Vancouver: The Elbow Room

Vancouver: The Elbow Room
BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

Years ago a friend took me to The Elbow Room for a late lunch, and during our visit to Vancouver in December, I added it to my ‘must visit’ list to show Connie as well. (Especially since it was just a few blocks from our hotel!)

The food at The Elbow Room is good, with a varied menu, but it’s really the atmosphere or attitude that makes the diner stand out. With a list of ‘common sense’ rules listed on the blackboard (as well as the menu) it’s good for a chuckle when you are picking out what to order or standing in line to get in.

(Luckily, due to an unanticipated bit of snow, The Elbow Room wasn’t terribly busy while we were there, so we didn’t have to wait at all!)

BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

BC Benny from The Elbow Room in Vancouver, BC.

At The Elbow Room they have assortment of “rules” (including one that insists that quick service is important, and as long as they’re finished chatting they’ll be quick to take your order…) which make for a funny, different experience. The staff are chatty and opinionated, but it’s all in good fun – go with an upbeat and easy-going attitude and you’ll have a good time. If you’re in a hurry, feeling irritated, sensitive, easily offended, or are having a bad day, skip the Elbow Room and check out one of the dozen other places to eat within spitting distance.

I had the BC Benny – “Two large poached eggs, smoked salmon, cream cheese and fresh chives on an everything bagel and smothered in hollandaise.” Though of course I had to pick off the chives. (No substitutions is one of their rules too…)

Have you been to The Elbow Room? What do you think? Let us know in the comments below, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter! 

The Elbow Room
560 Davie St (Yaletown)
Vancouver, BC

The Elbow Room Cafe on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 14, 2014 in Out of town - BC

 

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Vancouver: Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro

Vancouver: Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro
Ikura from Juno in Vancouver (with a chopped scallop roll behind)

Ikura from Juno in Vancouver (with a chopped scallop roll behind)

As loyal Happy Sushi Belly readers probably know, Connie and I recently took a trip to Vancouver, and amoung other things, enjoyed some delicious (and much less expensive than Calgary!) sushi!

Juno was just one of the many places we visited, and I thought I’d share with you some of our experiences.

Located on Davie Street in Yaletown, Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro (let’s just call it Juno for short…) is a tiny little sliver of a restaurant in a neighbourhood filled with coffee shops, a lovely little park, and towering apartments. Not far from our hotel, it was a great stop as I was heading back from Granville Island and Connie was heading out to meet up with friends.

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

I’ve loaded up photos of the menu below, but when I entered I slid into a tiny, tight-fitting booth to be joined by Connie a bit later. I ordered an order of tuna sashimi (lately I’ve been much more fond of tuna than salmon) which came with a bit of green decoration – including the seaweed salad at the bottom of the plate. I’ve had this once that I enjoyed, and every other time I’ve hated it… this was one of those later times so although I nibbled on the grated daikon, I had one bite of the seaweed and skipped the rest. Ew.  (Does anyone like seaweed salad? Let us know in the comments below – what’s the trick to this?)

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

Tuna sashimi from Juno in Vancouver, BC.

Although the seaweed didn’t appeal to me, the tuna was delicious. It tasted fresh and fleshy, but super tender and flavourful too. Fantastic!

On the menu was also “live uni” (sea urchin).  I was curious – but almost every time I’ve had sea urchin I’ve been discussed by it (not just the flavour but more so the after-taste) so I wasn’t willing to wreck an otherwise wonderful meal just to satisfy curiosity…

Ikura from Juno in Vancouver

Ikura from Juno in Vancouver

I also ordered two pieces of Ikura (my beloved salmon roe) which was firm and tasty, though honestly it wasn’t anything super special. On the other hand.. the scallop roll was fantastic – so good that when I still had a sushi-shaped hole left to fill (oh sure, I could have looked for a dessert place, but what would be the fun in that?) I opted for a second!

Juno's chopped scallop roll (I asked them to hold the cucumber though!)

Juno’s chopped scallop roll (I asked them to hold the cucumber though!)

I asked for no cucumber in my scallop roll (I find it overpowers the delicate flavour of the scallop) and it was perfect – with lovely tasting scallop and perfectly sized sushi bites. I’m getting hungry for good Vancouver sushi just writing about it!

Other thoughts

If you haven’t already picked up the impression, Juno is a super-tiny spot. It’s a squeeze to get into a seat, and an even tighter squeeze to use the restroom. If you have mobility challenges or just are feeling a little bit claustrophobic, you might want to opt for take-out or another local sushi place instead of taking a seat.

The service was prompt and efficient, but not super friendly. The reviews on Urban Spoon seem to be mixed, but we had a good time and enjoyed the food; just not the cramped-feeling atmosphere.

A few more photos
I took a few more photos with my iPhone – take a look! You can see any of the photos larger by clicking them.

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Not far from Juno is The Elbow Room, a neat diner that I’ll be blogging about in a week or so… stay tuned, or click the Vancouver Tag to see all of our posts from our favorite (and forgetable) places to eat in Vancouver.

Have your own thoughts about Juno? Add them to the comments below!
Juno Vancouver Sushi Bistro on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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We’re heading to Vancouver!

Later next month, Connie and I will be heading to Vancouver for a little trip and we’re looking for hints, suggestions, and tips on where we should eat!

Send us your ideas, and if we visit – we’ll share your recommendation on Happy Sushi Belly!

Tasty sushi from Yamoto

Tasty sushi from Yamoto

We’ll be staying in Downtown Vancouver in the West End close to Yaletown, and last time I was in Vancouver I stayed in around-about the same area.  There are some great places to eat – and last time I visited Yamoto on Davie Street, and Sushi Star on Nelson. Click the BC tag for all of the posts we’ve done in the past few years from British Columbia.

We’ll also be looking out for great places for loose leaf tea – so if you have recommendations for either sushi or tea in Vancouver (especially downtown Vancouver) let us know in the comments below!

 
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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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Sushi: Yamoto

While in Vancouver, I was set on having sushi as often as possible, and one of the places I tried was Yamoto on Davie Street.

Inside

Like Sushi Star not far away (which I reviewed earlier), Yamoto is exceptionally small, and located downtown – within walking distance of probably a dozen other sushi places.  (And even more coffee shops!) In fact, I had originally looked at a sushi place only a few doors down, but when it started to pour rain (and me without an umbrella…) I popped into the closer one instead.

Menu

Yamoto was incredibly busy – so much so that there was a bit of a dance at the doorway as I tried to get in. Throughout my wait between ordering and getting my food, there was a constant flow of take out orders picking up their food, (those who had the foresight to order in advance and then just come in to pick up) and the sit-down diners were packed in tight too. There was only one waitress who seemed exceptionally busy, one cashier handling most of the take out orders, and two chefs in the kitchen.

Menu

Despite the considerable turn over in clients, I would say that the time it took between ordering and getting my food was very reasonable – though if I were to go back (and it wasn’t pouring) I’d definitely call ahead with my order instead. There really is no standing-around room in Yamoto.

So, my order…

I started out with a chopped scallop roll (with my delightful favorite, chopped scallops, along with cucumber, a little bit of mayonaise, and tobiko.

There were sesame seeds on the roll which kind of reduced the appeal for me – it was good, but I always find that sesame seeds have so much flavour, that they sort of take over the flavour of whatever dish they are in.  I’d rather taste the scallop!

Next up, an order of tuna & salmon sashimi – five pieces of each, and each was delicious and delightful!

Tasty sushi from Yamoto

I also had two pieces of Ikura – perfect!  So delicious!

Finally, two pieces of chopped scallop battleship-style sushi. Yum yum yum!  I’d say the Ikura was a little bit better, but I’m not at all complaining – it was all so good.

Take out from Yamoto

Places like this are the reason why I try to have sushi every day I’m in Vancouver.  Great taste, great value.  Even the tiny hole-in-the-wall sushi places in Vancouver seem to surpass some of the best places in Calgary…. if only I could get there more often!

Yamato Sushi
616 Davie St
Vancouver, BC (604) 682-5494

Yamato Sushi on Urbanspoon

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in Out of town - BC, Sushi

 

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