Cities all over the world wish they had sushi like Vancouver has sushi! With over 600 restaurants offering sushi as their main fare, the question for plant-based people is where to find the best? Every sushi restaurant has the usual maki with cucumber, avocado, and oshinko, but finding genuinely creative and being ‘worth the visit’ is definitely another story.
In 2022, we visited and enjoyed a wide range of delectable bites from all the newcomers to the culinary scene and a few established restaurants that have been keeping the city satisfied for years. Here are our five recommendations – in no particular order – for dine-in or delivery. Enjoy!
COFU Pressed Sushi – Fairview Slopes
COFU is the first specialty pressed sushi and sober bar-restaurant in North America! We love how Vancouver restauranteurs take risks and show their ingenuity when it comes to dining. They offer pressed sushi that allows customers to customize the type of rice and the combination of ingredients and sauces, and a wide variety of gluten-free options. Ingredients are far from the usual and offer a vivid experience utilizing beets, carrots, asparagus, pumpkin, cilantro, raspberry, and more.
M!la Plant-based – Chinatown
M!LA Plant-based in Chinatown is a fancy yet casual dining experience. We love the whole vibe, the patio, the warmth of the guests, and their signature sushi. The Mila Roll, Aburi Lox Oshi, and the Ocean Roll (watermelon tuna!) may be the only sushi on the menu, but it is enough to entice us to visit repeatedly. Impeccable in appearance and consistent texture and flavour, these three dishes are a meal worth having, especially when followed by the Peanut Butter Cup Pie for dessert!
Nightshade – Yaletown
Nightshade is an all plant-based restaurant building a strong culture through elevated dining experiences and hand-crafted cocktails that are influenced by world travels. With a menu designed by Chef Chanthy Yen, the team strives to utilize local resources to create a variety of house-made products, with thoughtful and creative techniques and provide allowances for dietary restrictions. Their sushi dishes have been described as divine by those who have visited since their launch and we love the Mista Lava Lava – clever name and literally melts in your mouth!
Ogenki Fusion Sushi – Main Street
Ogenki Fusion is the plant-based side of the Ogenki Restaurants – there are two, side-by-side on Main Street – and it is their spectacular and incredibly photogenic plant-based sushi that everyone is raving about. (Have you seen the infamous ‘baby corn’ aburi?) A full vegan menu with appetizers, tempura, nigiri, maki & cones, Chef Special Rolls, oshizushi, donburi, noodles, combo’s, bento boxes, and even ice creams for those who are eating to save the planet. Don’t be shy – try the selections with unique ingredients like okra, mango, beet, and potato sticks!
Shizen Ya – Downtown
Shizen Ya was the first Japanese restaurant in Vancouver to serve organic brown rice sushi, organic greens, and a vegetarian-friendly menu. So it is no surprise that they have a delicious selection of plant-based sushi to satisfy their growing clientele. Recommended are any of the five vegan rolls. Shizen Ya does not serve delicate elegant sushi, their sushi is hearty, filling, and generous. If you are looking for one roll to satisfy, we recommend the Geisha Girls roll with the homemade sweet soy black sesame sauce!
Sushi Maro – Yaletown
Home of the filling plant-based Vento Box, Sushi Maro has a stand-alone vegan menu with over 40 delicious items from nigiri to rolls, noodles to tempura, and desserts. Using Save ‘Da Sea smoked salmon and The Modern Meat‘s Crab-less Cakes, the Chef’s Special Rolls offer creative and satisfying flavours for everyone to enjoy. Owner Sarah Bu is a firm believer in inclusive dining and ensures her restaurant makes everyone feel welcome with their diverse menu.
Many restaurants – Japanese and non-Japanese – were recommended by our team from all across the Lower Mainland. Still, to be included, we needed to try them first and include only those which we would highly recommend leaving the house to pursue.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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