Bistro Sakana is located in the heart of Yaletown on their “food street.” Personally, I haven’t heard of them until I was browsing the Dineout Vancouver menu a while back, and JL and I decided to head out there for a nice dinner date. The restaurant is owned and run by Peter and Etsuko Needham. We were lucky enough to sit at the bar right in front of Etsuko so we could witness the incredible work she was doing behind the sushi bar. Also, we were very enthralled about the unique dishes that Bistro Sakana offered, and opted to try most of their signature dishes.
They also boast their sake collection as one of the largest in Vancouver. The restaurant is quite a small space, but they manage to fit a fair amount of people. On the wall, they project old Japanese silent films for all you avid Japanese film goers out there.
Chicken Tenderloin Wasabi Tempura – $9.00
tenderloin chicken tempura flavoured with green seaweed and wasabi
This was an interesting menu that definitely got my foodie eye. The dish is served quite plainly with a side of lemon and a small dish of salt. Indeed, it was a very unique dish but the texture of the chicken was a bit too try. Also, the wasabi flavour was not very prominent. I also imagined the dish being a bit crunchier. All in all, it was a nice change-up of dishes but the flavour did not last long enough to embed a lasting memory. 3/5
Unagi Tempura Roll – $6.50
lettuce, cucumber, avocado, & eel tempura.
This dish wasn’t listed as a signature dish, but both JL and I really enjoyed this dish. The texture of the unagi was amazingly soft and just melted in your mouth upon the first bite. To add to the flavour, it also has a nice crunch to it. It’s unfortunate that there is only 5 pieces to the dish and the size of the sushi is fairly small itself. If you really like this dish, you may want to order one for yourself! 4/5
Chicken Karaage – $7.75
tender chunks of boneless chicken marinated in garlic and ginger and deep fried in a crispy batter until golden brown.
You can definitely experience the effects of marinating meat with ginger. The ginger is able to break down the meat and make it very juicy. The batter was also was very light and quite different than other restaurants. The size of the pieces were not as big as other restaurants (considering the price) but it was a fairly good dish that’s ideal for sharing. 3.5/5
Tuna and Avocado Crepe – $12
fresh avocado, blended with minced albacore sashimi and spicy wasabi mayo sauce, wrapped in a delicate homemade crepe, and drizzled with a sweet & spicy sauce.
Out of all the tapas/sashimi dishes we tried at Bistro Sakana, this was definitely the winner. Listed as a signature dish, this would definitely be a menu item I would return to Bistro Sakana for. The tuna and avocado complemented each other so well to create a texture that melted in your mouth. The crepe was fairly thin and accompanied the tuna and avocado well. The sauces doused on top (see description above) made it not too overwhemingly wet or spicy . It was an amazing dish. I truly recommend this dish!! 5/5
Beef Teriyaki Roll – $7
I would have to apologize in advance for only picturing two pieces above. There was actually 5 pictures originally, it just looked so yummy and I dove into it without taking the picture beforehand! Anyway, like I said, I got lost in the moment because of how good it was. This was probably the best beef teriyaki roll I have ever had. The beef was really tender and the sauce and rice ratio to the beef made it so delicious! My only complaint is again, the portions with the heavy price mark. Other than that, I recommend this dish as well. 4.5/5
Tuna & Salmon Isobé Age – $12
fresh wild sockeye salmon & albacore tuna wrapped in “nori” seaweed and lightly deep fried with a rare centre. drizzled with teriyaki sauce and wasabi mayo sauce.
After the rolls are lightly fried, Chef Estuko cuts and plates the dish herself. In my opinion, the tuna isobe age was much better than the salmon because the tuna was a lot more tender than the salmon. I also enjoyed the fact that it was not very oily either (which was my initial fear) because of the deep frying. If I were to order this dish again, I would probably request to have all tuna instead of the salmon. Even this dish was listed as a signature, it lacked that punch that the Tuna + Avocado Crepe managed to achieve. 3.5/5
Creme Brulee Trio – $6.50
A three part sampler of Creme Brulee flavours, featuring Macha (green tea), Hojicha (roasted green tea), and Black Sesame.
This brilliiant trio was a decadent way to end the meal. It was the first time I’ve seen such an amazing trio (black sesame!!) and this was a dessert I simply had to order! It’s hard to pick my favourite because they were all very good! Hojicha is a roasted matcha with a more earthy and potent flavour. This is an also “must try” on my list. Truly recommend this dish! If I had to pick one as my fave, the macha one was the best, followed closely by the black sesame flavour! 5/5
Macha (Green Tea)
Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea)
- friendly staff
- authentic Japanese
- convenient location
- bar seating
- romantic ambience
- bathroom is located in another building (you have to request for the key)
- some dishes are overpriced
Will I return?
I believe so! I would probably make the trip back to Bistro Sakana again to try some of the other dishes when I feel like splurging and treating myself! I recommend that you should definitely come here at least once though.