Friday, May 13, 2011

The Best Sushi in the Mount Pleasant Area, Watami Sushi!

I love sushi. If I could eat only one type of food for every meal, every day, for the rest of my life, it would be sushi without a doubt. In fact, if anyone knows how to arrange for that, please let me know. Vancouver is the best place in the world to live if you are a sushi enthusiast; according to the all-knowing Internet, there are over 250 sushi restaurants in Vancouver! Because there are so many sushi places around here, the competition is high, and this is reflected in both the quality and price. You can get a pretty decent sushi meal around here for very little money, or if you want you can head down Robson and get an extravagant sushi meal at a higher price. I prefer to stick to the more affordable sushi, and around these parts you definitely don't have to sacrifice great quality for a great price. Case in point: Watami Sushi.

Watami Sushi popped up at the intersection of Cambie and Broadway at some point last year, and it couldn't have come at a better time. At this point our favorite sushi restaurant of all time was (and still is) Tanpopo on Denman Street, but that place is impractical for us when it comes to everyday sushi eating, mostly because of it's location but also because it's probably not wise to eat All-You-Can-Eat sushi multiple times in a week. While I was working I would visit The Bay Sushi Cafe (another awesome place) a few days a week for lunch, but since I'd been on mat leave I hadn't been spending much time downtown. Before Watami opened up, our day-to-day sushi adventures were mostly happening at Sushiyama, but Aias had his first restaurant meltdown ever at Sushiyama when he was a few months old so we were only comfortable getting takeout from there. Now, not to take a big e-poop on Sushiyama here, but the thing with Sushiyama takeout is that you only sometimes get what you ordered, but more often than not you get something different. The miso soup tastes sort of like alcohol in their plastic take out containers, and they don't let you order bento boxes for takeout. Finally, they don't sell Wild Salmon and they don't have an option for brown rice. On days where we really didn't want to deal with Sushiyama, we'd go to Toyo at the foot of the Cambie bridge, but then it shut down. We'd also sometimes go to Kishu Island, but then it BURNED down. Out of nowhere, quality local sushi (within walking distance) became slim pickings, and then rising out of the ashes of our crushed local sushi dreams came Watami Sushi. It was love at first taste.

There are a few factors I require of a sushi place to make me fall in love with it, and here they are:

The first factor is wild salmon. Wild salmon is not only delicious, but it's a far more ethical choice. Some places like Tanpopo only offer Wild Salmon. At Watami, they offer both wild salmon and regular farmed salmon. We don't mind paying an extra $1 for the Wild Salmon.

The second factor is availability of brown rice in the rolls, so that we can feel good about Aias eating them. Watami offers this for an additional 40 cents per roll - another 40 cents well spent, in our opinion. It must be a pain in the butt to make sushi with brown rice. You can also get brown rice if you get a rice bowl.

The third factor is OPTIONS. I'm a combo fetishist because I love to eat a variety of things at every meal, and Watami has a combo that blows my mind: any 3 rolls and a miso soup for $5.95 at any time of day!

The fourth factor is portion size, particularly the rice to fish ratio of the rolls. Little known fact: when we get takeout sushi, Morgan takes apart a roll and measures the fish and rice on our food scale. The vast majority of the time, the rice weighs more than the fish. In the case of Watami it's the fish that weighs more than the rice.

The fifth and final factor is consistency. Watami always has delicious food, and it's always the same, every single time. You always know exactly what you are ordering and that it's going to be the same as the previous time you ordered it.

As for the prices, Watami's prices are more than fair, especially for the quality of the food. As far as their service, they sure don't say much, but they are super friendly and happy to accommodate. The ambiance of the restaurant is quite nice; nothing fancy but always clean. They have two high chairs available and are incredibly friendly to Aias.

I honestly love this place so much, I had to put an effort into NOT going there 3-5 times a week for the sushi special, which comes to around $7 after upgrading a roll to brown rice for Aias and tax. This delicious meal is more than enough food for an adult and toddler. In case anyone is curious, we always get spicy salmon, spicy tuna, and spicy dynamite ;)

Now onto some delicious pictures!

The sign outside that inspired me to try it out!
The menu and branding...

My beloved sushi special.  Pictured is spicy dynamite, spicy tuna and spicy salmon.

The White Dragon Roll, seriously the best roll ever!  It's basically negitoro rolls with more tuna on top.

The seafood udon, Morgan's delicious choice!

The house green salad with delicious home made orange dressing.

Nabeyaki udon: spinach, egg, chicken, and tempura in chicken broth. NOM NOM!

Spicy tuna sashimi.  Best spicy tuna sashimi we have ever had!  The spicy sauce has the taste of sesame, and I would love to drizzle it on every meal I eat for the rest of my life.  

Finally, Aias eating some bits and pieces of our food after he woke up (sometimes he falls asleep on the way there so we just let him sleep).

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  1. I love sushi! thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. You have a very nice blog. I love the lay out.

  2. Oh, that sushi looks delicious! lol
    I'm a new follower from the blog hop. Hope you have a geat weekend!

  3. Okay, I'm sold. We should go here next time I come see you.

  4. 3 rolls + miso for $5.95? We WOULD go there every day. No doubt about it. Cory loves sushi.

    I think, if we lived anywhere within driving distance of each other, you'd be my best friend.


I've adopted the same commenting policy as seen here at Off Beat Mama ( I won't post comments if they strike me as attacking, judgmental, rude, or unproductive. In general if you are willing to put your name to something, I'll post it, but remember to keep your words sweet, because someday you may have to eat them.