Best Cheap Sushi in Vancouver? You Make the Call!

Photo credit: awhiskandaspoon | Flickr

Photo credit: awhiskandaspoon | Flickr

It’s no secret that Vancouver is a sushi paradise.  With plenty of fresh fish just off the coast and a health-conscious population that just can’t get enough sashimi, the city supports hundreds (if not thousands) of sushi restaurants.

Real sushi connoisseurs have no shortage of high-end options to get their fix.  Tojo’s on Broadway is widely regarded as one of the best Japanese restaurants in Canada. (In fact, the Emperor and Empress of Japan have eaten there.)  Meanwhile, Yaletown’s Blue Water Cafe puts a trendy, modern spin on things with its swanky sushi bar.

But, as bargain lovers know, the real challenge is finding a great cheap sushi joint.  So I’d like to hear from you:

Do you have a favourite cheap sushi restaurant in Vancouver?  Share your bargain secrets by leaving a comment below.  

Finding fantastic cheap sushi, of course, requires walking a fine line.  There are plenty of places in Vancouver offering 18-piece specials for $5.95.  But I wouldn’t suggest eating at just any of these.  I like to use the smell test: If a cheap sushi restaurant smells fishy when I walk through the door, I turn around and leave.

There are a few other important criteria to keep in mind.  When you walk in, take note of whether the place looks clean.  The old adage is true: If a restaurant washroom is dirty, you don’t want to know what the kitchen looks like.  Then, look around: Are there plenty of customers coming in and out? High turnover at least guarantees that your sushi hasn’t been sitting around for hours.

And it’s always important to pay close attention to the sushi bar itself and the sushi chef. Presentation is critical in Japanese dining. A sloppy sushi bar spells trouble. Is the bar kept immaculately clean at all times?  Does the chef look clean and well groomed? (Don’t laugh: This guy is going to be handling raw meat that goes directly into your mouth). Take a close look at how the chef handles his knives. These are the sacred instruments of sushi. If they’re not wielded skillfully, it’s a good sign to go elsewhere.

Finally, it’s time for the taste test. Now, it’s very easy to hide inferior fish inside fancy rolls or maki covered with lots of sauces. From my experience, I’ve found that the real barometer is a simple negitoro maki (the basic tuna and scallion roll). If this tastes clean, crisp and refreshing, you’re in luck. But if it has a fishy smell or aftertaste, it’s a good bet that the rest of the dishes feature subpar fish, as well.

Now, meeting all of these criteria in a fancy or even mid-range sushi restaurant should be a breeze. It’s finding the cheap sushi joint with fresh fish, clean digs and a skilled chef that’s the challenge.  Any suggestions?

Do you have a favourite cheap sushi joint in Vancouver? Share your picks below. 

For more updates on sushi and more in Vancouver and beyond, follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

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40 Responses to Best Cheap Sushi in Vancouver? You Make the Call!

  1. I think you should go out and try Samurai Sushi House on Cambie ST , right across from Oakridge Centre. You will always get huge chunks of fish, good quality and a tidy surrounding!

    • chan

      I totally agree! I go to the Samurai sushi on Davie and it is definitely the best bang for your buck!

      • Eric

        Whenever we get downtown we always head to Samurai on Davie. Delicious and inexpensive. Sushi Bay on Kingsway is also great. Around the corner on Knight the Nippon Deli is good too.

  2. My wife and I have been frequenting Tokyo Joes in Richmond right across the street from the Price Smart on Ackroyd and No. 3 Road. It’s never let us down in the 10+ years we have been going there.

    • Erin

      Tokyo Joes is great! Always one of the must visit places on my list when I visit from the East Coast. :)

  3. Linda

    Sushi Nanaimo, at the corner of Nanaimo & Hastings. Good, cheap and so fast! I love how the servers yell out the orders to the cooks in Japanese.

  4. J

    I loved Ro Sushi near Broadway/Cambie until it was bought out last year by condo developers… it’s taken a long time to find a new favourite, but lately Naruto Sushi by Commercial/12th has been my go-to for cheap and delicious sushi.

  5. Karla J

    Sushi Aioki on Broadway…fantastic sushi…free small appie and oranges when you are done…and the sushi chef wears funny masks!

  6. T

    Saki Maki on Commercial!

  7. I love The Sushi Bar on 4th at Burrard! Great prices, fresh fish and yummy special rolls. Delish!

  8. Hands down – Yamato Sushi on Davie. $5.95 for a 22-piece sushi special? Get outta town!

    Also, if your pockets are feeling extra-deep, the $6.95 Box specials are equally as off-the-proverbial-chain, and are often too MUCH food. It’s not Blue Water Calibre, but I’m picking about my fish-quality, and their tuna especially is often tops for a 6-buck-chuck dinner.

    And PS: Having it tonight! #Yamato

    • Monique

      Yamato… We live right the street across from there so we went there at least once to twice a week for the last couple years with great recommendations. That is until two weeks ago we went there and just before my daughter ate her last roll we saw a maggot sitting next to her roll!!!
      NEVER again will I eat there!! Considering the high turn over there I was shocked to see that in the food.

  9. Andrea

    Sushi Bay on kingsway has the best spicy tuna! So cheap yet unbelievably delicious!

  10. Grace

    Definitely Sushi Nanaimo on Nanaimo and Hastings. Love their rolls and Yaki Udons!

  11. Leigh

    Umeda on Granville and Davie is the best value hands down. You get your choice of three rolls (can be all rolls, no maki), and miso soup for 7 bucks. Where else can you get three spicy salmon rolls + miso for 7 bucks!

  12. Lloyd

    Four places top the list for me, depending on where I find myself! These places are so good I almost don’t want to add to the lineups by telling you.

    1. Sushi California at Yukon and Broadway
    2. Sushiyama at Brunswick and Broadway (just east of Main)
    3. Sushi Garden on Kingsway right across from Metrotown
    4. Sushi House in Richmond in the big Chinese strip mall on Cambie between Garden City and 3 Road

  13. Dee

    Nanaimo Sushi! On Hastings and Nanaimo! Cheap, and really good portions too!! Great selection as well.

    and Samarai Sushi

  14. beclim

    I like sushiholic by rupert and broadway for their awesome roll (which really is awesome), for most of their special rolls beings under $10, and for their sushiholic party tray which gives you 8 full rolls for <$25.

  15. Nicole

    Its a little hole in the wall place, but totally awesome. Risty’s in Marpole. granville & 70th.

  16. kfong

    Seriously, Freshness & quality is the key to sushi.

    Many places I had been to and I would say
    Zeroonesushi is the best. specially with their seasonal 9.99 uni don. What else can you say.

    My first pick!

  17. The best place I have tried is Sushi Mart on Robson. They have the fresh fish and the best rice around.

  18. I would say one of my fav cheap sushi places in Vancouver is QQ Sushi on W Broadway and Fir street. Their sushi special is $5.95, and it is delicious!

  19. Representing North Vancouver: I’d say Sushi Town for best value, freshness and succulent sashimi and sushi. They don’t get great rep in their Vancouver downtown branch but the one in North Van is seriously decent.

  20. Jane

    I go to Sushi Gallery on Alma & West 10th, very good sushi, many different types of rolls, they also do gluten-free and use different types of rice. Love the flavours of their specialty sushi rolls. They give you free edamame when you sit in, and free miso soup!

  21. mary

    Samurai is NOT good! It is cheap but not good. The sashimi is a very good deal though! big chunks! but sashimi is the only good thing they have.

    Yamato is AWESOME! amazing food decoration, great taste and decent prices! Each roll have its own sauce, and the sauce it SO tasty you don’t even need to add soy sauce to it!

    Yamato is at Seymour and Davie I think.

  22. Terry

    Tamaki on broadway.. not cheap.. but the best

  23. Denise

    Fujiya supermarket at Clark and Venables. Their take out sushi is of great quality and there’s a little corner where you can chow down your food right away!

  24. Jason

    Rolls Kitchen on 380 Robson Street, right by the library. It offers fresh brown rice sushi roll from 4 to 5 dollars, depending on what ingredients or roll you choose!

  25. J C

    $2.95 california rolls at Fujiya!

  26. Sawa

    “Fujiya” is the best for Cheap sushi

  27. Danielle

    Sushi Bella is excellent. They have the classic rolls but also offer a great variety of creative/special rolls. The prices are very reasonable. They have several locations but I frequent their new Davie Street location.

  28. Kev

    Zero One Sushi downtown is excellent. I lived in Japan for many years. Their sushi is always fresh and very authentic. Great owners too!!

  29. Borgie

    Shi zen ya on broadway at spruce is my new favourite ! They also have great brown rice rolls and quinoa rolls!

  30. Laura Lewko

    I tryed most famous places in Vancouver for sushi but I still like a very simple place: Kaide at Richard street where the owner Tom control in person the quality and knows where his fish come from etc. even pregnant I ate there with no worries.

  31. Lydia

    DreamSushi on Main st and 28th is one of the best sushi places I’ve tried.
    Their rolls are very fresh and it’s well made compared to other places.
    It’s always clean and the service is very good.
    I highly recommend this restaurant.

  32. martin

    Bella Sushi in North Vancouver is by far the best sushi in the city ! Taste , freshness and presentation all 10/10

  33. Chloe

    I am very picky about the quality of rice, wasabi and of course the fish (and the quality of tea).I recommend Sushi Mart on Robson and Hitoe sushi on w. 4th, which is owned by a Japanese chef. If you just want good tasting cheap sushi without considering the above factors, Sushi California on west broadway is a great choice.

  34. I love sushi. I just can’t get enough of it. The flavours and the texture are amazing. I would love to find a great cheap suchi place.

  35. Sushi can either be really good or really bad. It’s a risk you take, but I think Vancouver is safe. You’re so lucky to have all the fresh fish you could wish for.