Rikka Japanese Kitchen – New Westminster, BC

Rikka Japanese Kitchen
28 – 8th Street
New Westminster, BC
(604) 521-3391

Oozing simplicity from its pores, beginning with the subdued decor and partitioned dining space, Rikka Japanese Kitchen is situated not far from the entrance to the New Westminster SkyTrain station.   As a result, the characters outside the restaurant are on the doggy side, and its clear some of those scraggly folks are trying to treat the nearby businesses are their own personal washrooms (signage in place telling them its just for customers) and kitchens (e.g. while I was waiting for my meal to be brought to my table, a strung out woman came bursting in and started aggressively shuffling around the sushi bar counter and then loudly demanded “where’s your plastic forks!?”).

With the lunchtime business seemingly one of their major draws, given the dozen or so price friendly ($8~$9) options, I had made my way there for a sit down meal.  Parking is a bit iffy, so if you drive, I suggest you try to find one on the road a block or two along 8th where they have yet to install parking meters.  A sandwich board outside on the sidewalk is their main promotional tool for these lunch deals, so don’t be surprised if you’re not the only one drawn in.

Staffed by what appears to be only two people at lunch (a lady who handles the kitchen/serving and a man who is stationed at the sushi counter) I was directed by the woman to one of the side booths and given a menu and a cup of hot tea.  Not surprisingly, the menu featured a lot of teriyaki-flavoured specialties on the menu, perhaps catering to the local crowd still working up the courage to partake in Japanese cuisine.

Putting most of the early menu listings for lunch aside, I opted for the pork shogayaki.  In fact, this was more bento-style with the other quadrants of the set comprised of some lettuce salad, assorted tempura and a skinny California roll.  And a side serving of miso soup to complete the meal.

The shogayaki was unlike what I expected (just thin slices of cooked marinated meat), as it had some julienned slices of red bell peppers, thin slivers of nori, and some onions.  Decorative, yes.  Traditional, no.  I think it was just to add some different texture as well and to make it appear more “filling”.  But again, not what I was hoping to get when it came to my table.  The flavoring was heavily skewed on the ginger side, which is what you’d expected from this dish, but perhaps a touch overwhelming despite the additional flavors coming off the veg.

Among the other items, I did enjoy the tempura – lightly battered and not too pipping hot.  Crispy yet not overly so and the color just right.  The salad was fresh with a light tasting vinaigrette.  The California roll, not something I usually enjoy, but when its a skinnier version and just a few pieces, I can handle it if its fresh.  This also wasn’t overloaded with mayonnaise, much to my liking.

A value, freshly-made and attractive combination of varied ingredients to form a complete meal.  This bento-box was just what I needed as a fairly quick and easy eat-in meal on a short break in the area.

Rikka Japanese Kitchen on Urbanspoon

13 thoughts on “Rikka Japanese Kitchen – New Westminster, BC

  1. Rikka has excellent food. There are some very nice elements of Japanese food mixed with a modern twist. The chef is a Korean that worked in Japan for many years. His Japanese langauge ability and the quality of his food is a testament to that.

    I recommend the salmon teriyaki at Rikka. It not something that most restaurants can do well, and I normally wouldn’t order something like that, but it is really good there.

    • Thanks for leaving your thoughts Tanuki.

      I’ve only made one stop over so can’t fully comment on the grading of “excellent”, but my solo meal was good. Perhaps I’ll try some more on the menu. Are your experiences here more for lunch or dinner?

      I did over hear the woman speaking to the man so can confirm the Korean connection here.

  2. haha, I should qualify my comment of ‘excellent’ with the note that it is excellent food for the price, neighbourhood, etc. I would put it in my top 5 favorite restaurants in New West.

    At least it’s not the boring, conventional “Japanese food converted for Canadians” that is so overdone in the GVRD. (poor tempura, oversized california rolls, and fried dumplings from a chinese wholesale shop) That is of course available across the street. 🙂

  3. I actually haven’t tried that many places in New West recently, but I do have a few favorites:

    1) Paradise Sushi – good quality sushi and rolls, with some nice lunch specials. The ‘spicy tuna roll’ is fantastic, it is a ‘mild’ spicy and includes a peice of green bean and tenkasu (tempura crumbs) in the roll which is the only time I’ve ever come across the flavour combo. Very good. The restaurant gets packed at lunch by local high school students, but otherwise a very nice place. (I usually just call ahead for take-out which simplifies everything)

    2) Tamarind Hill – the ‘mee goreng’ here is fantastic. Perhaps better than Banana Leaf.

    3) Highrise Pizza – it’s now run by mexicans that make a good torta ($5) for a quick meal / snack. The tacos are okay, but I go downtown for La Taqueria if I’m in that mood.

  4. Thanks for the highrise pizza tip who would have known? Also for Rikka be sure to try the tuna tempura appetizer, it’s soo tasty!!! Something very different than other restaurants as well.

  5. Hey.. I used to eat here after school.. I like their beef teriyaki, yakiudon, and the salad dressing.. 😀

    Today, I went here to eat, but they’re closed. Just wondering are they closed forever and moved somewhere? Or they just closed temporarily? Anyone knows?

    • Hey krz. I’m assuming by ‘today’ you meant Monday. I’m not sure if they follow the same system, but you’ll find many places that serve sushi to be closed on Mondays, given the delivery of frozen fish ingredients rarely happens on the weekends from suppliers, and they need time to thaw and be broken down. So my guess is that they keep the doors closed on Mondays. I’ll have a check to see if they are still operating in that spot the next time I’m in that area…

  6. I got info from google that they has moved to this address:

    2607 E 49 Ave, Unit 106
    Vancouver, BC V5S1J9
    (604) 569-1630

    “Rikka serves home-cooked style authentic Japanese food. Includes sushi, bento’s, rice and sushi bowls, teriyaki’s, noodles, katsu’s, party trays. Japanese-owned, Japanese-run. Used to be in New Westminster; restaurant has relocated to Vancouver location in Fraserview, in the same plaza as Killarney Market.”

    • Thanks for the extra legwork on finding the latest on Rikka. I guess the old location wasn’t so appealing, not in the most foot traffic friendly location, so close to that Skytrain station with a lot of dodgy characters.

  7. I hate this hate this place i got food poisoning three time – i thought the first time maybe it was something else- the second time i tried it i was like its winter maybe i caught a cold – but the third time i know they had rotten fish!!!

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