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.
Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake
1151 Robson St
Hours: Open every day from 10am to 8pm
Phone: (604) 265-4087
The best time to ensure the best selection of Uncle Tetsu’s Japanese Cheesecake is to stop by late morning, as they are fresh from the oven. This franchise operation makes a surprisingly fluffy and delectable cake to which I finished two successive days. I doubt it could keep its texture beyond that, but after tasting this delight, it’s a stop I’ll have to make every time I’m in Downtown Vancouver. Sorry Cartems, but I think you’ve been beat out for which sweet cake I like to partake in. Even the various Beard Papa operations are out as I’ve found the quality inconsistent.
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.
200 Granville St #70
Hours: 11am to 10pm
Phone: (604) 568-3900
During the pandemic, Miku Restaurant really scaled back. They limited the amount of items available to order, and depending on what the latest regulations entail, this can mean them becoming a mostly take-out operation or closing their doors. The plan is to offer a wider variety of choices as patrons become comfortable dining out again. The present menu is scant; not even three dishes out of the twelve or so item list is enough to fill me up.
I finally ventured off the rock because it was needed. When A Filthy Lot, a film studio, invited me over to see what they’re all about, I was excited. They’re an online streaming content creation entertainment company with an immense love for Dungeons and Dragons and pop culture. They have three different channels to distinguish their material. The main one focuses on nerd culture, second on gaming and third on comedy. Some talents are from Victoria too!
Kokoro Tokyo Mazesoba
551 Seymour St
Phone: (604) 559-8872
When Japanese tradition gets nouveau, it’s time to hit the Kokomo! Japanese Chef Takuma Ishikawa invented the mazesoba dish and has expanded the franchise out to Vancouver. I’ve been busy of late with my other preoccupation (fandom/comic conventions) and when hunger strikes, I still pay attention to my foodie desires. This large diner has been the talk of the town since it opened two years ago. When I heard fellow Fan Expo Vancouver attendees talking about where to go for ramen, my ears perked. A hop, skip and jump of about four blocks had me faced with the difficult choice of which one of the three dishes should I have? Should I have ramen, a don or mazesoba?
2706 Government St
Mon.-Tue., Thu. 11:30a.m.–2:30p.m.
and 4:30–9:30p.m. (Sat & Sun only)
Phone: (250) 383-9886
ES: For most of my life when challenging Victoria, BC’s crazy 7 point intersection and figuring out which way am I going, I always see Chiba Sushi. The thought of going into this operation crossed my mind and at least that decision is easier to make. This restaurant is cozy and blends a bit of the traditional–dining in a booth (shoes are taken off before entering)–with the modern. The atmosphere is better than that of a wayfarer station. This place is almost overlooked because of its location. It’s been around for as long as I can remember. It may be older than me!
DK: I was 19 the last time I went to Chiba Sushi. New to town, and a tad naïve. I brought along a co-worker. I hoped it might be a date. She forgot her wallet. Her boyfriend picked her up. It was not a date. Ed, however, showed up with a cash card in hand and promised me his popcorn refill at a movie later. True love comes to those who wait, or popcorn and a friend at least.
Let’s continue to focus on the positive: Chiba makes a number of unique special rolls that are surprisingly satisfying. We sampled four rolls; the Mango and the Phoenix being clear winners. Both options are constructed similarly: something sweet, something tempura, something from the sea and some avocado. A winning flavour combo in both instances.