A friend of mine happens to live in the neighborhood known as Hastings-Sunrise and he let me know about this relatively small sushi restaurant. It’s located on Nanaimo Street (hence its name), just north of Hastings Street. This is in the same part of Vancouver as Red Wagon Cafe, but this is an entirely different kind of restaurant.
Given the neighborhood, the proprietors of Sushi Nanaimo had to know that they could set up a posh eatery with high prices. So, what you get instead is a reasonably priced menu that happens to have some great quality food.
In many ways, you could say that my experience with Sushi Nanaimo is quite like my experience with Sushiholic on East Broadway. If I was not recommended to this place by a friend, I may not have even noticed its existence. But I am so thankful that I have noticed.
The portions are good: not too small, but not gigantic. The fish is fresh, as is the case with the toro that you see above. I would have preferred if the fish was just a touch chillier, but it was still quite nice.
As with most other sushi restaurants in town, Sushi Nanaimo does dive into the “fancy maki” end of the equation, as you can see with the presentation of the rolls above. The spider roll had plenty of crunchy soft shell crab and the sprinkling of bonito flakes on the other roll reminded me a little of Sushi Oyama.
There were about eight of us at the table, so we were able to order quite the variety of food. We had a great assorted sashimi boat, plenty of maki, some chopped scallop temaki (cones), assorted tempura, a yakiudon, and more. Some dishes were better than others, but I would say that they were all pretty good.
In the Vancouver area, you can oftentimes find two distinct categories of sushi restaurants. There are the places that aim to be cheap, sacrificing quality to achieve greater quantity and lower prices. There are places that aim to be stellar, charging higher prices to its more posh clientele.
But then, there’s a third category: the reasonably-priced, modest sushi restaurant that actually serves good food. And Sushi Nanaimo is one of these places. Be prepared to wait during busy times, as there aren’t too many tables… but it’s worth the wait.