Ford Canada Presents: Our Favourite Japanese Restaurants in Vancouver – #FocusOnMyTown

Last week, we got to take out the 2014 Ford Focus Titanium for a week for an extended test drive. Having already driven several Ford models recently (see Ford Escape post), and visited their factory and headquarters in Michigan (see Ford factory tour post), I was already quite familiar with their lineup of vehicles and innovative technologies. As a small but sporty hatchback, the 2014 Focus was definitely fun to boot around in, and its GPS navigation (which came in handy in getting us to the UBC farm-to-table dinner) and Active Park Assist (yes, it actually parallel parks itself) makes it a very practical car for city slickers like us. It 2.0L Ti-VCT direct-injection flex-fuel I-4 engine also boasts great fuel economy, rated at 27 MPG in the city and 37 MPG on the highway. Starting from $15,999 MSRP, the Focus Titanium that we tested has a sticker price of $25,899 (MSRP). Other competitors in the same segment include the MINI Cooper Paceman (less power) and the Volvo C30 (more expensive).
2014 Ford Focus Titanium Exterior2014 Ford Focus Titanium Interior
Watch as the Focus magically parallel parks itself. Amazing!

We also made use of the large trunk space and hit up the recycling depot to return all our bottles and cans. 2014 Ford Focus Titanium trunk space

Pros Cons
  • exterior styling, it’s a nice looking car
  • Active Park Assist is a great feature
  • ample interior (legroom and headroom)
  • adequate trunk space
  • well-equipped stereo (Sony 10-speaker system, with Sirius XM)
  • dash layout and intrumentation panel is intuitive and well thought out
  • steering wheel is sporty and responsive, but not comfortable to hold
  • GPS – some areas in Vancouver require updating (UBC), and unable to enter data while car is in motion (even with passenger in the car)
  • trunk cover is awkward to handle, need to fold down the backseats to remove
  • no central interior dome light in the front
  • sport-tuned suspension (available on this Titanium trim) makes the ride a bit rough

Since we both love Japanese food and we commonly get asked for recommendations on where to go, we decided to visit a few and compile a list of our favourite Japanese restaurants in the Lower Mainland. Of course, with so much diversity in Japanese food, we had to break this up into a few different categories.

Best Sushi in Vancouver

1. Ajisai Sushi Bar

Chirashi don (assorted sashimi on sushi rice)
Ajisai Sushi Bar 味彩 on Urbanspoon

2. Toshi Sushi

TOP: Hamachi (yellowtail) sashimi, spot prawn, big eye red tuna, and uni (sea urchin) nigiri; MIDDLE: Gin tara saikyo yaki (baked black cod, miso sauce); Soft-shell crab karaage; BOTTOM: Deep fried spot prawn heads, Ikura (salmon roe) with quail egg sushi.

Toshi Sushi on Urbanspoon

3. Sushi Hachi

Had some ankimo (monkfish liver), tako wasabi (octopus), BBQ medai (butterfish) skin, toro sashimi, ikura & scallop sushi, chef’s selection sushi.
Sushi Hachi 鮨八 on Urbanspoon

Best Cheapo Sushi

1. Sushi Nanaimo

Sashimi, yakiudon, chopped scallop roll, tobiko & quail egg nigiri.
Sushi Nanaimo on Urbanspoon

2. Sushi Garden

Hamachi, salmon, & tuna sashimi.
Sushi Garden on Urbanspoon

3. Momo Sushi

Assorted sashimi platter
MoMo Sushi on Urbanspoon

Best high-end Japanese

1. Miku Restaurant

Aburi Salmon Oshi Sushi – Pressed BC wild Sockeye salmon, jalapeño, Miku sauce.
Miku Restaurant on Urbanspoon

2. Minami

Assorted sashimi
Minami 炙 on Urbanspoon

3. Tojo’s

Tojo's on Urbanspoon

Best Izakaya

1. Rajio Japanese Public House

[Top left] Tuna, yellowtail, & sockeye salmon carpaccio (with sesame soy dressing, yuzu zest, tobiko, garlic chips, wasabi mayo); [Top right] Kushikatsu Set (deep fried chicken, scallop, & lotus root skewers); [Bottom left] various tapas (edamame marinated with garlic, sesame oil, anchovy); [Bottom right] half rack of stewed pork ribs with balsamic vinegar, sweet & sour sauce; [Centre (not included)] Mentaiko kimchi udon mixed with spicy cod roe topped with scallions & nori; Aburi shime-saba sushi (seared cured mackerel press sushi with mustard soy dressing).
Rajio Japanese Public House on Urbanspoon

2. Suika

Braised oxtail & ramen in soy broth topped with dried fish powder & scallions
Suika on Urbanspoon

3. Guu (various)

Tuna, salmon, amaebi, amber jacket, red snapper, and squid sashimi.
Guu Original on Urbanspoon

Best Ramen

1. Motomachi Shokudo

New generation miso ramen with soft-boiled egg. Perfect for a rainy day. Love this place.
Motomachi Shokudo 元町食堂 on Urbanspoon

2. Marutama Ramen

Spicy Marutama Tamago ramen.
Marutama Ramen on Urbanspoon

3. Hokkaido Ramen Santouka

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka on Urbanspoon

Other notable mentions

Zakkushi Charcoal Grill

Bacon-wrapped garlic stem skewers (Memaki)
Zakkushi Charcoal Grill on Urbanspoon


Great value and presentation. There’s always a lineup, but it’s worth the wait.
Left: Caterpillar roll – unagi, unagi sauce, wrapped in avocado with mayo & ikura on top; chopped scallop roll; Top: Ebi okonomiyaki – Japanese cabbage pancake with shrimp; Middle: Toro & ikura nigiri; Bottom: Salmon oishisushi
Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 岸本 on Urbanspoon


Misoyaki black cod
Kishimoto Japanese Kitchen 岸本 on Urbanspoon

There’s no question that Vancouver boasts a great selection of Japanese restaurants. This is just a list of our personal favourites. What are some of yours? Feel free to comment below.

Disclaimer: Although some of these meals were paid for by Ford Canada, the views and opinions reflected in this blog post are those of our own.

Written by

I am the CEO & Marketing Strategist for Motive8 Media Inc. and Popcorn. This is my personal blog, which contains highlights of my personal life. I’m into all things food, wine, and travel related.

2 Comments to “Ford Canada Presents: Our Favourite Japanese Restaurants in Vancouver – #FocusOnMyTown”

  1. Pangus K says:

    I’m surprised I haven’t run into more often at these places! Our usual staples are Sushi Nanaimo and Sushi Garden and our favourite place for amazing sushi is Ajisai. You’re spot on with these 🙂 By the way what are your thoughts on Santouka for ramen?

    • pangcouver says:

      Thanks! Well, maybe we’ll run into you one of these days! A lot of people don’t know that ramen is region-specific and there are many different recipes and variations. IMO Santouka is okay, and I would rank it the same as Kintaro.

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