Cafe de Waraku 和樂屋

When I first found out about this place I was super excited. Because finally you can get Japanese style pasta in Vancouver, they were the first one to open in Richmond (even though they are not opened by Japanese). This restaurant has been here for almost 4 to 5 years as I remember correctly, they used to only sell Japanese style pasta but later become a dessert café as well.

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They have special lunch/dinner combos where you can get a toast, salad/soup, pasta for around $12-16 dollars depending on which pasta you select.

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Their pasta is always cooked to al dente (perfect chewiness). I especially like their light/clear sauce. Usually toss lightly in a frying pan, great alternative to traditional Italian pasta.

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I always get a matcha latte from them because they are never sweetened. (Usually how I like my drinks, you can adjust your own liking.)

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This is a durian cheesecake. It is something that I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS get when I come here. I would not suggest it if you do not like durian (an exotic and strong aroma fruit from Thailand). But being a durian lover, I simply cannot resist it. Smooth, rich in durian flavour. There is nothing not to love about this cake.

I love this cozy quiet family run business, which I always get great service here. Never too too busy, great chat spot if you need to catch up lots.

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Basho Cafe

It was one heavy rain afternoon, my girlfriends and I came out to meet for a Saturday afternoon catch up. This place gets pretty packed on weekend afternoon, so we had to come back later (an hour before they close up). Then I return for a early brunch visit with my family.

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This is such an adorable restaurant, every corner of this place shouts cute. This cafe is ran by a friendly Japanese family. Their decor reminds me greatly of Cafe de L’Organerie near Granville. 🙂

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Pot of loose leaf tea, they only have small collection of tea (I would say around 5-7 types). Served with black sesame butter cookies. They have a variety of cookies, small cakes, scones and other baked goods displayed.

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Tuna Tataki (seared tuna) lunch set – similar to the grilled vegetables lunch sets comes with salad, baked good, soup and tea. Delicious tuna tataki with yuzu(?), which brought the flavour of the tuna out lightly without overpowering it.

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Soy milk matcha latte – for almost any drink you order I notice they always give you a small piece of cookie. This matcha latte is smooth and not too sweet, very delicious.Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

Eat-In Lunch Set – comes with a few cookies as sweets, grilled vegetables on rice, salad, soup and a cup of tea. The colourful vegetables presented on a tray along with other colourful small cups and bowls. The vegetables were fresh and I especially loved the pumpkin mash – oh so tasty.

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For the baked goods, we got matcha cranberry cookie, mochi brownie. I LOVED the mochi brownie, I don’t know if this already existed long time ago but it was my first time discovering it. It was rich in chocolate but with a mochi texture, very chewy and bouncy. I am in love, it even made me attempt to make it at home later too! So much fun. 🙂Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
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Black sesame cookie and miso madeleine – the miso madeleine was very strong in miso flavour therefore is salty. It was very interesting, I wouldn’t say I love or hate it. Though I think many will find this kind of odd. Black sesame cookies were delicious, I had to order another piece. :pExif_JPEG_PICTURE

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Breakfast Scone Sandwich – basically what it looks like. A scone cut open with an egg and a slice of tomatoe (similar to the BLT concept.)


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Another thing that I have noticed is that there are lot of home made textile pieces in this restaurant, from coaster to pot warmer all either knitted or stitch patches. Gives you the feeling of grandma’s place. :3

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Overall I really like this place, although I think might be a tad bit (tad bit) hyped. It is cute and cozy with friendly staff service and great place to sit and chat with some friends. (Hard to get to without a vehicle in my opinion.) Everything they serve are done with delicacy and care which I really give props for that. I would revisit for sure!

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Marutama Ramen

Now I know this place is already being hyped up and I just keep forgetting to write the review for it since I visited it when it first opened in the summer. After which I have been there at least three to four times I cannot recall. But every time I go I was not disappointed.

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On the Bidwell off Robson (relatively close to McDonald’s), it might take a bit to find. Just look for McDonalds and park you’ll see a bright door front shinning out form the dark. The entrance shouts Come In! It’s beautiful, made of wood and full of Japan. 🙂

As I enter, I notice how the whole store is just plain wood. Lots of wood everywhere, gave it a nice pleasant feeling. Service is really good; staffs are very friendly and tentative. They often make sure that you have tea or water in your cup.

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The first thing I noticed is that their noodles are not the typical ramen noodle you see everywhere in Vancouver. They are thinner, and softer I would say. They sort of remind me of Chinese egg noodle in wonton soup. It’s different; I’ve never eaten ramen with this type of noodle before. They are softer and less chewy.

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Definitely their broth is much lighter than most ramen store. I actually quite like it because they are lighter and soup base is made with chicken instead of pork so it went great with their thin noodle. Because of the chicken broth, you don’t feel the pork oil staying on your lips from eating the noodle.

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I know they make their noodle in-house, they have a noodle machine at the corner of the restaurant. You can hear them make their noodles when they operate the machine when you are dining.

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Overall I really liked this ramen place but if you into traditional kind of ramen noodle then this is not the place for you. But if you want to try something different then go and check this place out.

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Yuu Japanese Tapas 優

I was here, a long time ago (like couple years ago) when it first opened. I remember long long time ago it was Chinese sweet soup place, then when it first got switched over to Yuu I gave it a try. Food was good and it was the first place I would say during that time with wide variety of Japanese dessert. After couple years I came here with lunch with a friend.

The place has changed, renovated and furnished. I also believe the owner is different? Though that I cannot be sure.

When I got the menu I noticed right away a lot of their items have changed. But they still have matcha latte with black sugar! So of course I ordered it. :3

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It was tad sweet, but just a little bit. I believe for most people it will be just right. Smooth and hot, I find this one hotter than most places I have been to. Which means it will stay warm while I am enjoying it through the meal. *happy* Because just like coffee, who likes it cooled? 😐

My friend ordered burger patty in curry sauce with rice. If you haven’t tried a dish like this, you should. This is not regular patty since it is usually hand made by the restaurant, therefore the meat tend to be looser and more tender and more juice. It also is a very popular home made dish in Japan, lots of Japanese moms would know how to make this and children usually loves it. I tried a small bit, it is similar to the one I have tried to downtown two years ago. (The restaurant is now gone and was owned by authentic Japanese.) I missed this! It was tasty, I almost wanted to trade my friend for it. 😛

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For myself I ordered teppanyaki chicken with vegetables, I didn’t feel like carb so I just had chicken and vegetables. I would say other than the chicken the vegetables are quite bland. Now as I recall eating teppankyaki in Japan there should be some sauce (or at least soy sauce) fried with ingredients first. But don’t get me wrong, it is fine cooked just right but just lack flavour.

I wouldn’t mind returning.
Yuu Japanese Tapas 優 on Urbanspoon

Cafe L’Organerie

A Japanese café ran by Japanese, used to be on Grandville but now they have moved in just a little bit away from the big street. I have been to the old location, which you always see if you drive down Grandville. This time my friend suggested couple of us going and I was delighted to visit again at their new location (because I tried to visit last time for dessert but they were closed already).

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Rustic is the decoration theme, everything looks and feel like children and things were simple. Wood, handmade, cozy are the feelings that I got when I stepped in. The restaurant gave out a warming home feeling, which is just so adorable.
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They have lots of typical Japanese home style dishes such as Japanese style spaghetti, Japanese curry rice, Japanese rice bowls and lots of Japanese desserts such as parfaits and puddings.
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Wafu Spaghetti – this is the most Japanese style spaghetti in the menu, I remember eating something similar in Japan and just thought I would try it here again.
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Indeed, it was delicious; served in a clean clear sauce (most likely soy sauce) base with bonito and mushrooms, vegetables. I fell in love with this style in Japan and I am so glad I found the flavour again here in Vancouver so I can have it again! :9

Japanese Style Neapolitan Spaghetti– made with ketchup and tomatoe sauce. But unlike other Italian restaurant it is lighter in flavour with less cheese.
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Masago de Creamy Spaghetti – creamy tomato sauce with a little bits of masago that gave it a little ‘pop’ to the texture and other seafood.
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Curry with Fried Prawn served with Rice
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Matcha Greentea Pudding Parfait – my friend thought it’ll be a parfait, but it turned out to be a house made green tea pudding with some mocha and ice cream. But nevertheless it is still very good! The matcha pudding is so rich and smooth!
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Black sesame dango parfait – black sesame with chewy mocha and soft café pieces topped with whipping cream. Greatest thing? Not too sweet, my kind of dessert. :3 But mind you the mocha does fill you up, so many save some stomach space during entrée.
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Should really try this place out, it was good then and is still good now. You won’t be disappointed and it is definitively something different!

Cafe de l'Orangerie on Urbanspoon

Sushi by Yuji

I saw this new sushi place that popped by on Kingsway and Nanaimo, oh new sushi place! But at a glance it looks like a very quiet place not many people. Then later I saw photos of my friends visiting this sushi place and they recommended it so I decided to really try it out myself.

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It’s very quiet, there were only one extra table there with my friends and I. It is also a very clean place, ran by Japanese – their whole staff crew speaks Japanese to each other.

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Wild Salmon Sashimi – fresh and tenderExif_JPEG_PICTURE

Yuji’s Roll – shrimp, ika, cucumber, salmon. I really like how the ika (squid) played in this roll, gave chewy texture and light sweetness to the roll. Then there are these very bouncy shrimps and velvet like salmon. Mmm, I high recommend this.

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Negi Shio Saba Roll with  Ginger – do you like ginger? IF you do you will like this one. It also tasted real great with saba, I have never eaten saba with ginger (mostly just onion) but it is great to balance out the over powering saba flavour.

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Ika Mentaiko (Gunkan) – fresh chewy squid sashimi with mentaiko (marinated roe of pollock). These mentaiko which you can find in many Japanese udon. They are extra delicious with squid and seaweed.

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Hamachi Avocado Roll – I never thought of the combination of hamachi of avocado would be perfect harmony. The nice creamy avocado adds to the smooth rich hamachi, they really do work great together.

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And I have to say, even with different types and new creative combinations of sushi the sushi chef still roll his perfect Japanese sushi rolls. (You should notice in my other posts how important it is for me for sushi to roll in the perfect firmness.)

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With great sushi this place comes with great service and friendly staff. I would revisit for sure, It is at a very awkward location that most people would probably not notice. So if you go, open your eyes and look hard for their sign! Enjoy everyone. 🙂

Sushi by Yuji on Urbanspoon

Kamamarui Ramen Sushi

My brother took me to this new ramen place in Burnaby. He told me three times that I should try, so I did. As I came to the place, it has a very cute entrance with a lantern outside with RAMEN (in Japanese) written on it. As I entered the restaurant the first thing I noticed is, there are only tables enough to seat 10 people in the restaurant. But don’t get me wrong because there are room, just not enough seats. Rustic and raw decor.

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Then the second thing I noticed is the very happy staff/store owner. His smile is just unforgettable. I cannot remember the last time I saw such a happy genuine smile in the customer service industry. This, I cannot take a photo and you need to go see for yourself. But his service will be something that you will tell your friends about this place. Trust me. 🙂

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So from the recommendations from my brother we order a ramen + bomb combo and a sushi roll combo.

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You need to try the BOMB – seasoned seaweed with rice teriyaki sauce nigiri. These are so delicious!!! Even though you can really get full, and we ordered two orders. But they are so tasty I had to eat two pieces! 😛 Chewy rice with seaweed flavour! :9Kamamrui

When you order spicy ramen or the regular, essentially it is the same ramen but the spicy sauce comes on the side.

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Let’s talk about the ramen, the broth is not overly creamy and not too salty. Nice chewy noodle but one thing I noticed is also what my brother mentioned is that they do not use fatty meat for their cha-shu. Yes, that’s right. Even from the photo you can see that there is no fatty meat. But without fatty meat, the cha-shui is still quite tender. But I think it’s hard to control that for every single piece. I noticed certain pieces are more tender some are tougher. But I quite like the non-fat cha-shu.

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Soft Eggs – these are delicious eggs topped with sweet soysauce/teriyaki sauce. I recommended these to an egg lover and he absolutely loved it. 😛

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I ordered the chopped scallop and the cheese dynamite roll. You know they are decent sushi – but I tend to notice this with lots of Korean own sushi places is that the rice is rolled not tight enough. Sushi rices tend to fall off before I can pick up the piece with my chopsticks. But aside from that the sushi are good tasting.

But afterall I love their BOMB. :9 I just can’t get enough. 😉

Kamamarui Ramen & Sushi on Urbanspoon

Hitoe Sushi

Oh it’s been a while since I made an update. Sorry! I had been very busy with starting many new things in life. Even with the little time I have, I try my best to venture out and find out great food for everyone! 🙂

So here we go!

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I landed on this sushi place accidentally on the internet. Even though it is quite far from where I live, I still went to try out after seeing all the great reviews. When I entered, I noticed how quite the place is. I am not sure if it is because I went quite early on a Thursday night, but I notice how many people do take outs instead of sitting in.

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Chopped scallop delicious with bits of cucumber strips, which gave the chopped scallop roll more crunch. Also love the tobikos on top! 🙂

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Dinner box set served with miso soup, rice, salmon sashimi, seaweed salad and mackerel. The mackerel was grilled I believe, with a little bit of soy sauce/miso?? Which was very tasty! The fish stayed very smooth and tender. :9Exif_JPEG_PICTURE

 

I am sorry but I cannot remember the name of this dish, it was on the feature menu. But the outside is a rice paper and ginger instead of seaweed. But I really liked this one. It’s spicy, sweet, fresh with a a hint of yuzu sauce. Made this a very refreshing roll, if only I can remember what this is called… 😦 If I recall I will edit this post!!!

But this place is a must try!

Hitoe Sushi on Urbanspoon

Sushi Nanaimo

Wow, the review for this resturant had scored so high! But I felt tricked. Because the food was very disappointing. Let me tell you my experience, when we first got in we were greeted right away by the waitress. However she doesn’t seems like she cares for our business and just stretched her arm out to gesture we can sit at this empty spot.

Okay, so I saw down with my friend and we waited for a while before we got our menu. I don’t understand what took so long because she saw us and gestured us to sit down already.

To start I have ordered the chopped scallop roll with salmon bits on top mixed with spicy sauce. The moment I took a bite, I realized right away why is everything so loose?? Everything fell apart. Like seriously fell apart. I couldn’t understand why because this is such a small sushi roll.R0023940 R0023941

Frozen salmon?? Yup, that’s what this is. Very cold and frozen and bland. There is no flavour to the salmon. I am not sure where did they get their salmon from, It almost felt like I was eaten ice, no flavour and cold.R0023942 R0023943

Tempura Udon – Udon soup is alright, but the tempura were soooo oily. 😦 And so much batter, I understand they are trying to fluff it up. (I used to work in a Japanese fast food place, so I know that’s what we do.) But that’s too much and too oily, I think the oil had been used for a few days already.R0023946

And this is the Hawaii roll I believe, california roll with mango and prawn. This is probably the most horrific Hawaii roll I ever had. The prawns were cooked but with absolutely no flavour of prawn, I don’t know what intimation prawn I am eating. Then it’s the mango, it was so raw and so sour!

I probably would never return.

Sushi Nanaimo on Urbanspoon

Koi Japanese Tapas Bar

I noticed this place every time driving by Kingsway, and every single time I would slow down to see what is this place about. Usually later (around 11pm) this places get very packed – almost made me think that there is a lounge in the suburbs area of Burnaby. I got there around 5pm, I guess it is a little early for dinner. But there is no one in the restaurant.

I lied, there is someone sitting by the bar. But I believe it is a friend of the owner. They were having so much fun drinking on their own.

Since I was there for dinner, I have ordered a few things to share between the two of us.
Salmon SashimiFresh salmon sashimi – for us small eater, I asked them to make a half size portion, and it was just the perfect size!

deep fried yam, cucumber topped with avocado and sesame sauce
This one had an interesting name, so I ordered it. Black Forest Roll, though there is nothing black about this sushi roll. 😛 This is quite a normal sushi roll but what made it different was the sesame sauce. I really like sesame myself and the sauce was great subtly bringing out the flavours of cucumber which gave it crunch and freshness.

Harumaki Salad Roll

Bang Bang Ji

We didn’t feel too much like sushi rolls, because the person I was sharing sushi with doesn’t like tuna. And LOTS of rolls contains tuna. So we got this BangBangJi Salad Roll – if you had bang bang ji salad, this is pretty much the salad wrapped in a thin rice paper (those used in Vietnamese spring rolls). I think was quite good, helped the salad kept its shape without interrupting too much of the original salad flavour.

Japanese Poutine
I can’t remember if this was on the menu… but it’s fries served with gravy and Japanese curry and nori. Oh I loved this one. Such a good combination of fries and curry (Japanese curry tends to be sweeter.) This would have been perfect if you are drinking.

I would like to revisit when it is busy to see what the vibe is suppose to be.

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