The best sushi in Vancouver


Hidekazu Tojo invented the California Roll — one reason he’s a sushi legend in Vancouver and beyond.

Story by Katie Marti Writer

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — When friends and family come to visit in Vancouver, one of the first things they tend to want to do is eat sushi. With what feels like an infinite number of sushi spots in the city, it takes time and a lot of trial-and-error to wade through the options and find a few favourites worthy of recommendation. As a resident and sushi lover, however, it’s been my delicious pleasure to develop the following short-list of go-to spots and safe bets.

Shota Sushi in the Kerrisdale neighbourhood, southwest of the city’s downtown, is a sure thing. The atmosphere is warm and the restaurant is more spacious than many, with several large tables perfect for family dinners or an evening with friends. Prices are reasonable and the menu offers a wide variety of Japanese cuisine, including lunch-box options and party-tray combos. How I roll: Original Mango Roll (shrimp tempura, cucumber and mango for $11.95) and Rainbow Roll (crab, cucumber, avocado and assorted sashimi for $12.95). Telephone: 604-263-8068; email:

The Eatery on West Broadway in Kitsilano is an experience all on its own. The massive menu covers every inch of typical Asian cuisine from  curry bowls to donburi, but the big draw is the sushi with a twist. The Eatery has got a fun, funky vibe that tends to attract a younger crowd and if you go on the weekend, expect to wait for a table. Although, I assure you, the Eatery is worth the wait. Roll with this: The Figa Roll (fig, blue cheese and prosciutto ham for $6.50), The Red Sanja (spicy tuna with salmon tempura and avocado for $6.95) and the Fat Elvis (avocado tempura topped with tomatoes and unagi mayo for $7.50). Telephone: 604-738-5298; email:

Sushi Lano on West 4th is a small, family-run sushi bar with fresh rolls and very friendly service.  The owner, Hans, works behind the bar and has spent decades perfecting his craft. He and his wife are happy to chat while you wait and are a large part of the reason why I keep going back. Given the limited seating, Sushi Lano is ideal for take-out or dining in small groups. Rock these rolls: The Happy Roll (smoked salmon, crab, tobiko, avocado, cucumber and asparagus for $5.95) and the Honeymoon Roll (prawn and yam tempura, avocado, cucumber, topped with spicy tuna and hot sauce for $7.45). Telephone: 604-739-4660; no email.

Sushi Maro in Yaletown is another small sushi bar with great food and a warm, inviting atmosphere. It’s location just across from the Yaletown-Roundhouse Skytrain station makes it a quick and easy option for dinner before a game or show downtown, and all rolls can be made with brown rice at no additional charge, which is a healthy bonus. Honour rolls: California Flower Roll (spicy tuna on top of a deep-fried California Roll for $8.95) and Cherry Blossom Roll (salmon and avocado with red tuna on top for $10.95). Telephone: 778-371-8332; no email.

And, finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without mention of Tojo’s on West Broadway. Owner and head chef Hidekazu Tojo came to Vancouver in 1971 when the city had but four Japanese restaurants and is credited with inventing the California Roll now found on virtually every sushi menu in North America. He is world renowned for his culinary ingenuity behind the bar and, thus, Tojo’s is a sushi experience in a league of its own. To make the most of your experience, go for one of the famous omakase options where Tojo-san creates a unique multi-course meal tailored to your tastes for $80 and up. Reservations are recommended. Telephone: 604-872-8050; email:



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Note: Photo courtesy of Tojo’s.

One Comment

  • Gar33

    August 5, 2012 at 2:51 am

    Hideaki Tojo continues to make absurd claims knowing full well that nobody is likely to challenge them. He also says that he was the first sushi chef in North America, even though he did not arrive until 1971. See below for the real story on the California roll.

    In the 1960s, Los Angeles, California became the entry point for sushi chefs from Japan seeking to make their fortune in the United States.
    The Tokyo Kaikan restaurant then featured one of the first sushi bars
    in Los Angeles. Ichiro Mashita, a sushi chef at the Kaikan, began
    substituting avocado for toro (fatty tuna), and after further experimentation, the California roll was born.[2] (The date is often given as the early 1970s in other sources.)[3][4][5] Mashita realized the oily texture of avocado was a perfect substitute for toro.[3] Traditionally sushi rolls are wrapped with nori on the outside. But Mashita also eventually made the roll “inside-out”, i.e. uramaki, because Americans did not like seeing and chewing the nori on the outside of the roll.[3]


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