Here’s the reasoning behind us putting out a guide to the best hearty Japanese restaurants in Vancouver. First off, if we had to pick a cuisine to eat for the rest of our lives, it would be Japanese, no contest. Second, we think that izakaya and yoshoku style cuisine is a little bit slept on in the city, especially when compared to ramen and sushi.
So, here is our guide to the best hearty Japanese restaurants in Vancouver.
Rather than list each of their 5 Vancouver locations individually, we thought it would be smarter to just put them all together because they’re all worth checking out. Don’t pass on their oden selection, which is a variety of snacks cooked in a special broth. Special shoutout to the Guu on Davie for specializing in nabemono hot pots.
Hours: Vary per location
Where: Locations around Vancouver
The flagship restaurant of the Tamaru Shoten Group, these guys do fantastic Japanese fusion cuisine, with an emphasis on Japanese and not fusion. We really enjoy their udon dishes, but you need to try their hot stone wagyu beef at least once in your lifetime. Cooking meat on a rock? It’s our childhood dream.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 5:30PM-11:30PM and Friday/Saturday, 5:30PM-12AM
Where: 871 Denman Street
Probably the most slept-on restaurant in the Kingyo grouping but for sure our favourite. They share a couple of dishes with Kingyo, but they specialize in kushikatsu, which we are now addicted to. Basically, these guys bread and deep fry just about everything, then they put it on a skewer, and then you put that in your mouth. So simple, so beautiful.
Hours: Sunday to Thursday, 5PM-11PM and Friday/Saturday, 5PM-11:30PM
Where: 3763 W 10th Avenue
This is our sleeper pick, so don’t make us regret telling you about it. Hachibei sits in the sleepy area of Mount Pleasant, churning classic dishes day in and day out. Their tonkatsu meal is absolutely fire, as is whatever fish they’re putting on the grill that day. It’s your next comfort food staple.
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 5PM-9:30PM
Where: 778 W 16th Avenue
Located inside the food court at H-Mart downtown, this unassuming spot serves up some of the best curry in the city. If you’re even a little bit cold during your day, just swing by here and order their tonkatsu curry dish. It is truly a thing of simple beauty.
Hours: Daily, 11AM-8PM
Where: 590 Robson Street (Second Floor)
This lunch spot specializes in serving up delicious, homemade bento boxes. We’ve got friends that have been going here for lunch for like 2 months straight and swear by it. That’s a good enough vouch-system for us, and it should be for you too.
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 11AM-8PM, Closed Sunday
Where: 288 E Pender Street
Dosanko specializes in yoshoku cuisine, which is essentially the Japanese equivalent to down-home country cooking in Canada. Except like 10 times better. In fact, we included their omurice dish in our guide to the best comfort food for fall.
And there you have it, folks! The guide we least wanted to do. Not because we don’t think these places are amazing. Oh no, it’s the opposite- we don’t need them getting any busier than they already are.