Hi Genki Japanese Restaurant is located in Burnaby next door to the National Nikkei Heritage Centre and open for lunch and dinner to the public.
This place isn't my cup of tea, but it's unique and original and worth a visit at least once. Underneath it all this place is an old person's home and I wouldn't recommend visiting just as it opens as the food smells haven't had a chance to overtake the institutional smell. I think I didn't like this place as much because it reminded me of when my grandmother lived in a seniors home... and I associate the smell with that. Anyhow the food was decent and a good value but then it is a cafeteria and not a proper restaurant. The best part is that it is all Japanese run so it's fairly authentic. Just be aware that it's not really homecooked food though as some of their items are cooked from frozen like the korroke. If you ask them they will let you know what those frozen items are. They serve huge portions of rice, the salmon misoyaki I had was tasty. I like that they serve their foods with spring mix lettuce.
There may be no Japanese restaurant like Hi Genki anywhere in North America, maybe the world? It's in a seniors home. The elderly people eat over there, and the customers eat over here. There's a Japanese-Canadian museum and cultural centre next door. The key to the washroom is attached to a giant wrench. Plain old utilitarian tables and chairs in cafeteria-style environment, a few Japanese decorations here and there - but nothing fancy - simple but decent Japanese food. Line ups to get in. Lots of parties ordering food both to eat there and to go. The most popular dishes as I gleaned from looking around - fish on the bone, which people were picking up and eating with their hands, and huge bowls of Japanese-style curry. Very nice servers. Inexpensive. Unique experience.
I had a little bit of a hard time finding this place but when I finally did, it was well worth it. There is very little signage and it is located inside a retirement home so it seems out of place. The food is pretty good though and reasonably priced as well. I wasn't feeling very imaginitive so I ordered the chicken donburi with a mixed tempura to start. It was tasty, simple and had fresh ingredients. All told with another karrage donburi the bill was $21 + tip. I would return for lunch if I was in the area but due to the lack of ambiance, probably wouldn't make it a dinner destination unless the budget was tight.
Mrs. C and I were cruising in BBY and we decided to make a return trip to HG. The place hadn't changed much since last visit. It was pretty basic in the dining hall, but everything was clean including the nearby w/c. Service was great, and they had lots of daily specials to choose from. I was tempted to get the famous 2 mackerels with rice and salad, but instead I went for the deep fried breaded salmon (also with salad) with a couple of potato croquets on the side instead of rice. My beloved dining companion had the tempura cod and prawns with rice and salad. All the food was terrific, except that my salmon was a little overdone. As for value it was cheap and we both ate well for 20 bucks. In Japanese, "genki" means (among other things) "strong". I would say this place is still going genki.
Based on reviews here, The Other Half and I searched out this place for lunch a while ago. Finding it to start with is an adventure itself...! But worth it, keep looking until you find it.
Once there and seated, the menu had many, many options. Set lunches vary from day to day. Their bento lunches sell out (we missed them, we were later in the lunchtime) Anything to do with raw fish goes very quickly, apparently.
No problem. I had spicy kaarage chicken on rice with miso soup, the OH had a teriyaki-chicken-don on rice with miso soup. I think, as far as I can recall, the total bill for two was under $20. Rice was perfect, of course, and refills of the tea could be had if you flagged someone down. Miso soup was OK, teriyaki-don was excellent, spicy kaarage was awesome!
Washrooms are down the hall, and very clean. Ambiance, as noted in previous reviews, is cafeteria-style. Service is very perfunctory, but quite adequate. They are always busy, so this is understandable.
Cafeteria like setting in a sterile enviroment. I did not see any value in the foods. When an unspectacular California roll cost $4.95 I deducted a value point. Free underground parking was a big bonus with all the snow on the ground. But then again there is no above ground parking. Restroom very clean.
Food is very well-prepared and presented. We ordered a hot pot and a bento box with sashimi. Every component of the meals is fresh and tasty. Service is polite and pleasant. As others have commented, this isn't a typical restaurant; it's more like a cafeteria - bright and clean, also very spacious and the armchairs are comfortable. Highly recommended for a casual meal.
I eat at Hi Genki for lunch every chance I get. I loved their home-cooked meals and don't even mind that they do not serve sushi at all. Although their menu is a little bit limited, they normally have a large daily specials list including such things like eel and prawn tempura don, or seafood salad, or japanese hot pot. It's not your ordinary Japanese restaurant as you probably wouldn't know about it unless you knew where it was, or you happen to drive past it by accident. My favorite menu item here for lunch is the mix fry (when they offer it). For about $7, you get an assortment of croquettes and fish filets served with rice and salad. The staff here are always friendly and accomodating, I've never had a sour or moody server yet. The ambiance can throw you off at first. The restaurant is located in an old person's home in Nikkei Japanese village in Burnaby and has a cafeteria feel to it. In the summertime they open up the patio, which is very nice.
Be ware of heavy lineups during lunch. The longest I've had to wait so far was about an hour and for lunch, most can't afford to wait that long.
When I got to the door, I was a little taken back. What? A cafeteria of a home?
It was cafeteria style seating. I was surprised that people come, just to eat. Run by Japanese people, service was great. Very polite people.
Tried the salmon sashimi and the assorted tempura. Both really good. When I saw, what I thought was a piece of sweet potatoe tempura, I took a bite, to find out that this was a cauliflower tempura. Wasn't oily at all.
The chicken karage donburi was boneless and REALLY good!
The deep fried ice cream looked really good, but too full to try it. There were a couple of news articles on this place, and about their deep friend ice cream. Next time, is a must try!
We were craving Japanese food tonite and I remember Hi Genki. I wanted to eat something cheap, but in a quiet setting. Hi Genki was quiet, not too busy.
I like how they display their specials of the day, just before you are seated. Everyday, they have different special display. But they also have a set menu to choose. Their prices are very reasonable and portion are large.
The waitress are wonderful and enjoy practicing their english on us as we were the only non-Japanese customers. Great service in a cafeteria setting. Very clean. Its a nice place to come for dinner if you have a family. Not a great place for a first date. Ambiance is more fitting for a quiet family setting. We noticed that there were quite a number of young families eating there.
If you want down to earth authentic Japanese food, this is a place to eat.
I am always in burnaby and this place has got to be one of the regular places i visit when i eat out. this place's high merits lie within it's traditional, everyday japanese cuisine that japanese IN JAPAN, would normally eat. this place's cuisine is one of those types where family moms in japan would cook up for their family to eat and also make bentos for their husband and kids to take to school and work. it offers hearty food at extremely good values - and the authenticity is definitely there. due to this restaurant also acting as the primary cook for the old people's caretakers home apartment complex, the restaurant's food is light and low in sodium - although their miso soup is at times a bit salty for my taste.
anyways you must try this place to realize the difference of this place and the hundreds of Japanese restaurants that are opened in gvrd.
Just had dinner last night at Hi Genki to visit a relative who lives there and had the BEST dinner we've had there thus far.
The food was fantastic. I ordered the oyako don while many others ordered various curries and other more traditional dishes. Everything tasted wonderful. Their oyako don is the best I've had in the lower mainland! We also ordered a few desserts (green tea ice cream, banana tempera, and another more traditional japanese dessert). Everything was delicious!
The service was truly outstanding. Our waitress was so kind to my fiance's grandmother and great aunt. It was definately so helpful that she spoke Japanese to clearly communicate the menu's with them. Our waitress was also very attentive to when we needed something or when we wanted to order even after the listed kitchen closing time.
The ambiance has improved since we last visited. It looks like they've updated a few of the tables and I think I even noticed a fresh coat of paint.
Overall, I HIGHLY recommend this little Japanese cafeteria to anyone looking for some tasty and authentic japanese cuisine.
If you're looking for sushi, move along. Hi-Genki operates on the first floor of a senior's home and the decor is functional, even reminded me of a hospital cafeteria. The menu for dinner is quite limited and when we arrived there at 7:30pm, half of their items were sold out. They offered combo's with something fried like chicken karaage or fish croquette with a few sides. The portions were large and the food quality was decent. However, being a sushi fan, I would probably not come back. If you like Japanese homestyle cooking, then you may enjoy it.
sooo delicious... i am definately coming back for the curry again.. and maybe try something else next time...
went this passed weekend as my fiance and i.. plus two other friends wanted to check out the farmer's market sale..
sooooooooo delicious ! i know where to eat next time my car is being serviced at teamworks .. lol
We are regulars at Hi Genki for many years now. I guess it's about time that I write something about this place. We go to Hi Genki about 2 - 3 times a month. My wife loves their salmon kamma and I usually go with their spicy chicken karage don. You can't go wrong in Hi Genki and it's good to know that the chef is Japanese. Now what prompted me to do this review is their grilled saba with some tangy sauce on top...I forgot the name but maybe is a spicy radish ponzu sauce. All four of us agreed that this is the best grilled mackerel we've ever had. It's so much better than Fuji sushi's (read my review). The portion is very generous and I forgot the price but it was less than $9. This is definitely a great value. If you've never been to Hi Genki you should try at least once. They are famous for:
- Salmon Kamma
- Salmon Minch
- Spicy Chicken Karage don
- Tempura Udon (very authentic soup base)
- Grilled Mackerel
- Kaki and Aji fry
- Fried ice cream
Food quality here is very consistent and you can expect your food to taste the same now and tomorrow. We strongly recommend this place.
Like all the other reviewers mentioned, this place does look like a cafeteria but even though the decor is lacking in style the main highlight of this restaurant is the food. I went there for lunch and had the agedashi tofu which was topped with green onion and bonito shavings as well as drowned in a sweet soy sauce...yum! I also had the Oden (hot pot) with fish cake, tofu, veggies. Delicous broth and delicate taste although i found the hot dog in the hot pot to be a bit strange. I was served with a side of rice cooked with mushrooms and carrots. I would definately frequent this restaurant more often a lunch and I definately recommend it!
The food is so comforting and delicious I will be back to try many more dishes!
As mentioned by another reviewer, if you want authentic Japanese food, this is it! The food is all in the style of home cooking, rather than fancy restaurant meals. It's quite affordable, they have a decent selection (with special items on the menu that change frequently), and it tastes great!
It's not a fine dining atmosphere (think office cafeteria, but with servers and such), but it's comfortable and very clean. The free underground parking is also convenient. It can be pretty busy at times (I would guess that there are only about 25-30 tables total), so if you're going at lunch or dinner, expect a bit of a wait.
Service speed was reasonable, although the orders tended to appear a bit piecemeal, rather than everyone receiving their orders at the same time. We did arrive to a fully-booked restaurant however, which may explain the timing of the dishes.
Nice to find some genuine Japanese home cooking in Vancouver. Makes for a nice change from sushi and teriyaki houses.
This place is awesome! The Chicken Karage is to die for. The place serves Japanese food that looks like the food they serve in Japan. Not kidding...I've eaten in Japan and trust me, in Japan, the Japanese food tastes nothing like Vancity Japanese food. However, Hi Genki serves it like the motherland. Loved it! Clean and service is great. Mind you, this place in inside an old folks home and it's great to know that one old folks home has good food for both patients and customers. Other if not all old folks homes have gawd awful bland disgusting food!
Their food is very home style type of Japanese cooking. The portion is decent for their price. Once you order, they will start you off with steamed egg. And that, makes the wait for your meals seem shorter. They have different salad/small dishes for different items on the menu. The place has a warm feeling with the friendly servers.
I personally don't mind the ambiance at all. I came here specifically to try the food. The place is really clean, well-kept and comfortable. What more can you ask for? I've been there 3 times now and all excellent experiences.
The food is authentic Japanese homestyle comfort food - no sushi! I tried the beef tendon udon, spicy chicken karaage set, and another beef don. I love the freshness of the food and it's prepared on the spot. Everything is done with quality and care! Even down to the small details like a bowl of miso soup - it's piping hot, not lukewarm.
I highly recommend the fried eggplants (ageshi nasu) and the potato croquette for appetizers. I heard that they have takoyaki sometimes too! Can't wait to go back again!