With so many Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, sometimes it’s difficult weeding out the bad ones. On my most recent visit to Vancouver, I finally dropped by the popular Octopus’ Garden located in Kitsilano. I didn’t leave disappointed!
The space is quite small so I’d recommend making a reservation before dropping by. We didn’t have much trouble getting a reservation for 3 on a Saturday evening a few days prior to our meal.
While the prices aren’t exactly cheap (if you’re looking for something with lower prices, check out Toshi Sushi), their ingredients are top notch. Worth it, if you ask me!
We started with the Spinach Gomae – marinated in sesame sauce ($5). The one at Octopus’ Garden was actually marinated in black sesame which I’ve never seen before. I was a little skeptical but it was surprisingly appetizing!
Up next was one of my favourite dishes of the evening, the Nomu Uni Shooter – sea urchin, dashi, grated Japanese yam, quail egg & wasabi ($7 each).
It was a little taste of the sea packed into one delicious bite! Some of you might find it a touch slimy for your liking but I absolutely loved it. Worth every penny!
The next dish that arrived, the Namero – freshly chopped seafood of the chef’s choice in miso tartar sauce ($12), was a last minute addition. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with the “miso tartar sauce” but it was delightful!
It was salty, creamy and tasted amazing with the fresh fish and rice found underneath the pyramid of fish. It tasted like a bite of sushi with a higher filling-to-rice ratio. I’d order this again in a heartbeat!
We couldn’t leave Octopus’ Garden without ordering some sashimi! We took the easy way out and ordered the Chef’s Special Assorted Sashimi – for two ($26). Our sashimi was served over ice and consisted of albacore tuna, salmon, yellowtail, octopus, mackerel and bluefin tuna. So fresh. So delicious. Loved it all!
We also ordered a few pieces of nigiri (a la carte): Saba Nigiri – mackerel ($5), Albacore Toro Nigiri ($6) and Chop Chop Nigiri – chopped scallop with Tobiko ($6). Each order came with two pieces of nigiri and like the sashimi, each slice of fish was incredibly fresh. Packed on top of a perfect piece of rice, each bite left me wanting more.
Our last dish was something from the kitchen, the Black Cod – grilled and marinated in home blended premium miso ($15). As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I feel it’s tough to go wrong with black cod since it has a naturally smooth and buttery texture. Octopus’ Garden was no exception – the fish was well cooked and seasoned.
When our bill arrived, it was accompanied by some tasty octopus gummies. A pleasant surprise to end off a great meal. I’d be back in a heartbeat!
At a glance:
• Located in Kitsilano, near the beach
• Small space so reservations are recommended
• Not exactly cheap but they use high quality ingredients
Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 4.5 stars
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 4 stars