Ajisai – Vancouver, BC


Ajisai Sushi Bar
2081 W 42nd Ave
Vancouver, BC
(604) 266-1428

Consistency of quality is an aspect of restaurants that I hold in high regard. When it comes to serving raw food, this perhaps becomes even more relevant and all the more important. Case in point, my somewhat regular routine of having sushi perhaps a few times a month. I suppose I have a couple of standbys that I patronize most often now in the greater Vancouver area.

However among them, Ajisai in the Kerrisdale neighborhood remains tops when it comes to plating things in a very predictable manner – by that I mean the quality of the ingredients, the quality of the knife work, and maybe most importantly, the quality of the rice – all come through as exactly the same as the previous times I’ve eaten here.

Unlike some other places that have fallen on my ladder of favorites with their decreased portion sizes, knock down in product quality, etc., Ajisai remains solid and has for me for years now. Status quo is sometimes a good thing.

In addition to the expected level of food here, the crowds at this popular sushi bar remain consistent – meaning always present. Despite that, you will often find me here on a Friday evening, maybe the busiest night of the week. And with my impatience when it comes to lineups, that probably tells you something that I of all people, will put up with a wait.

With the inclusion of some ingredients that you don’t often find at other places around town – the fresh sourced-from-Japan octopus for example – on their sushi menu, I’m at a loss when I see so many customers though go for the dreaded California Roll. Seeing plate after plate of them (or the other pet peeve of mine, the spicy tuna roll) circulate past me on the arms of the wait staff in the rather cozy confines of this place, I wonder if the people know what they are missing out on when they could instead go for the excellent straight up nigiri.

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11 thoughts on “Ajisai – Vancouver, BC

  1. Totally agree re the consistency here. Though the prices are high, the value is there. We tend to get our orders to go, being possibly even more lineup-averse than you :-). Ajisai is also the first place I ever tried my beloved yamaimo and has my second favourite sunomomo in town (Kishimoto has my top one, and that may be no coincidence). They also do really well with veg nigiri and rolls here — check out their kaiware or red pepper nigiri, or the avo-para roll. The seafood salad is also a winner. Ajisai on Dec 24 has become a Christmas tradition!

    • True on the price point here, a bit higher than other places, but I accept it based on the quality I always get here. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the other items – none of those I’ve ever tried! My own impression is that places like this get really busy after Christmas, when everyone is sick of eating turkey and potatoes, and crave something different. :)

    • Oh it was disappointing :-( Portions felt ultra-small (unagi roll was the diameter of a nickel), spicy tuna & scallop rolls had no discernible hotness, their unique tempura roll (with cornflakes) had the cornflakes somewhat soggy and even stale in texture. The bright spot was the grilled black cod fillet, amazingly tender and flavourful, but at $10 for a piece the size of my notebook mouse, the value simply wasn’t there.

      My friend and I left with an $80 tab, still hungry …..

      • Guess you didn’t fully read my post LR. :) Why you’d want to blast your taste buds with the scraps of tuna that won’t make the cut for nigiri and then further murder it all with a dousing of spicy sauce and expect something delicious is beyond me. Better off going to one of those AYCE sushi places that abound if that’s what you’re seeking. At Ajisai, stick to the nigiri. No issues there on freshness and quality.

  2. Always, if available, the monkfish liver. Amazing, and not sure of any other resto that serves this. And yes, spicy tuna roll just fine, but take a walk to the wild side.

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