Songoku Hibachi and Sushi Japanese
134 W Front St
Port Angeles, WA
Hours: 11:00 am to 9:00 pm (daily)
Phone: (360) 477-4315
In a small town like Port Angeles, the primary industry is fishing and tourism. In October, it’s the 21st Annual Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival. For the adventurous hiker, there’s Hurricane Ridge and the Olympic Mountains, but they are typically closed when the seasons change. Because there’s plenty of rainforests nearby, harvesting mushrooms (as my review from a few weeks ago explored) is no doubt next.
But instead of local delights, I had to see how Japanese food and the Pacific Northwest can be fused up. Fusion food is a big thing and can be a selling point for some operations, and Songoku has crawfish! I don’t think I’ve seen it offered in sushi before! Out of all the places I’ve visited in the past, I don’t think I’ve ever seen it offered in the menu.
1001 Douglas G12
Hours: 11:30 am to 10pm
Phone: (604) 782-8592
Sadly, La Fiesta Café, the Mexican diner at the corner of Douglas and Broughton, is no more. In its place is Smile Chicken. I think the fact we have two new Korean Fried operations (one still coming) downtown is amusing when considering there was a chicken shortage in 2021. One year is more than enough to regrow a population, but are the hens happy? It’s safe to say most likely not.
I’ve been here three times now, and when this operation has corn dogs on the menu, why not? When I’m craving this carnival food staple, it certainly satisfies.
1165 Robson St
Hours: Sun to Sat 11a.m.–11p.m.
Phone: (604) 564-9595
Hello Nori is a relatively new operation that opened in Vancouver’s Robson Street strip during the pandemic, and since they’re both dine-in and takeout, the difference is in whether or not the rolls are cut up for you. However, the taste will be slightly different based on how fast you eat them. The selling point is in how crunchy the sheets of seaweed are. I spotted a butane torch in the preparation area and it’s used for their aburi dishes rather than standard rolls. There are also daily sashimi offerings to which I shouldn’t have passed on. After seeing how they looked at a few bar seats away, I knew I’d have regrets.
However, in the back of my mind, I wondered if the fish were caught Ikejime style or West coast. I suspect it’s the latter (this is BC after all), so what’s offered isn’t necessarily ‘authentic’ Japanese and more designer style to convince patrons in.
871 Denman St
Hours: Mon to Sun 12–2:30pm, and 4:30–10pm
Phone: (604) 608-1677
On my latest trip to the mainland for Fan Expo Vancouver, I explored the West End and visited Kingyo. Getting here isn’t that bad at night, but I’d still recommend taking a cab or Uber if safety is a concern. The stroll back along Robson Street to your hotel will help burn the calories.
This smaller sized operation is like Maneki Restaurant in Seattle’s International District; the external decor hides a warm and welcoming interior. Their daily specials have a wider variety of seafood and protein offerings than the usual fixings. It’s rare to see any place offer truffle in this style of cuisine. Next time, I’ll be back for their Pork Miso Carbonara–a pasta dish that uses the black fungi as a garnish.
1646 McKenzie Ave
Hours: 11:00 am to 10:00pm, daily
Phone: (778) 265-6599
It seems nearly every fried chicken junkie in Victoria, BC is in love with Popeye’s. Ever since it opened mid December, there have been regular lineups throughout the day. I considered joining that but ultimately, it’s not worth the wait to get inside. A few months in, those lines are almost gone but it’s not enough to get me standing outside in the cold. Until more operations open up around town to reduce the wait time to get in, when the snack food craving hits, I’m only touching the chicken.
2950 Douglas St Unit 222
Hours: Tues to Sun 11:30am to 8:30pm
Phone: (778) 922-2950
Sugoi! Victoria ni atarashī totemo oishii rāmen-ya ga arimasu yo. As for whether that’s grammatically correct, I think I got my statement right and insert a pun for good measure.
Ramen Arashi is a diner that opened over the holidays. I’ve been keeping tabs on when they’d open since they’ve been making noise mid last year on the social media front. They’re not competing in the busy downtown area, and I think they’re likely to carve a niche in Burnside. They’re located a few blocks south of Mayfair Mall and I’d visit this operation in a heartbeat. Their bone broth has a nice additional peppercorn flavour.