Isami serves up Japanese cuisine in the original Isami style using fresh and seasonal ingredients.
Tried this place on a weeknight as Sushi Garden always seems to have a wait, I guess for the perceived value. The entrance is just off kingsway. Ordered the tuna/salmon sashimi - good but dissappointed they serve farmed salmon (no choice given), chopped spicy scallop roll was good, dynamite roll - just ok, ika karage - not good as it was overcooked, tempura - very good, agadashi tofu - very good. Overall pretty solid place with prices a bit higher than Sushi Garden but seems a bit higher quality. Prices for rolls $4-$6, appies around the same. Small place with basic decor, overall would return.
I haven't been in a year or 2, used to come here quite a bit when I was worked nearby but now its a little far from downtown. I remember the sushi, sashimi, especially hamachi, toro and uni here were superbly fresh. Even their bento boxes were amazing, good amount of food and service although can be slow when they are swamped, is efficient. I hope to stop by one day when heading over to Metrotown for a movie. It's one of Lower Mainland better sushi restaurants that's for sure.
Quite impressed. Their food was quite fresh and the servers there were very nice and polite. The big list of specials on the wall was quite attractive of what to order, on top of their elaborate menu. Some stuff on the menu was quite different, but good eats.
Definately going back.
I first heard of this place from family members recommending it to me. I've eaten here many times since and this is my favorite sushi place in south burnaby. It has as nice feel to it, seems like it's family owned with the owners actually there. Service was very friendly, a bit slow at times but I think the reason for the wait was great food takes a little longer.
Gomae - different then most places. Usually the sauce is peanut butter tasting, here it had more of a mustard tasting sauce, it was fantastic.
Spicy scallop roll - Wow these are good!
California roll - Very nice, seemed much more fresh and delicate then most places.
The portions here are a little smaller then the usual but I am totally fine with that since the food quality was so high. The hot tea never stopped being refilled also. I would recommend this place to anyone and will continue coming here. I will try their sashimi next time!
My dinner here was delicious - just too bad my dinner companion and I do not have big stomachs. Although I was able to sample a handful of items, I would return to try some other things I wasn't able to.
I really enjoyed the ika karaage and the yakisoba was pretty in presentation as it was yummy. The thin strips of cooked egg initially looked like cheese, teamed up with a sprinkling of fresh herbs, it was beautiful.
I think what sets Isami apart from some other neighboring Japanese restaurants, is the service. Everyone was super polite and friendly. This is definitely a good choice for Japanese in Burnaby.
Had dinner here yesterday night. Me and my friend had a seafood dinner set meal, and a spicy roll with a special roll they had, which had salmon, mango with cheese and tempura.
I found the spicy roll pretty good, but pretty cheap on the contents and the rice was a little too soft. With the special roll, I found it interesting, but I don't find the flavors match too well.
The seafood dinner came with miso soup (pretty good), ebi sunomono (good noodles, mediocre shrimp), appetizer tempura (great), salmon teriyaki (decent) and some ice cream (standard). For $22 I would have thought they should have used something other than those tiny shrimp in the ebi sunomono and come with a bigger piece of salmon.
It was pretty nice inside, I had a comfortable booth seat and it was nicely blocked off from a large part of the restaurant. Service was one of the best I have had at a japanese restaurant such as this. Very attentive, refilled water/tea frequently, was asked how the food was when I started and at the end. Was provided helpful suggestions on the food as well and plates were cleared very quickly. Everyone seemed happy and cheerful.
I might come back, as the service was very good and certain foods were great.
I guess you could call us "regulars" here. We go mainly because of convenience (it's close to where we are) and consistency in the food and service. The staff are friendly and helpful. There are only a couple of other real japanese restaurants in the area (Kura [pricey], Hi-Genki [no liquor]) so we'll continue being regulars.
We went to this place on the recommendation of a friend. My first reaction was that it was a bit pricey. The decor was fine, though with the music they were playing (some sort of jazzy lounge music?) it definitely did not have a japanese feel. We ordered chicken karaage, wakame and some rolls. The karaage was ok, the pieces were small and could've been tastier. The wakame was really small, though it tasted ok. I was disappointed with the rolls, the rice was warm and the large rolls fell apart easily, making it impossible to take a bite. Service was decent, which was a pleasant surprise. Overall a disappointment, we left not feeling satisfied. Have had much better in Richmond for cheaper. Probably won't return.
My family are regulars at Isami as it is the best Japanese restaurant in the area. Chef/owner Sami is customer friendly and has a loyal following. Sushi is very fresh. Kitchen food is also decent. When they're busy, servers may take longer to attend your table but we're well taken care of most times. We take baby with us everytime and get to have the bigger "rooms" where you have to take your shoes off and walk in. A little pricer than others in the area but you get what you pay for.
The owner/sushi chef was the original chef at Shijo's about 17 years ago(when it was actually good). He is from Japan and his dishes reflect traditional Kyoto style food.
Food: I had Kinpira Gobo (burdock), suimono soup (clear broth with shitakes and fish), spinach ohitashi, Uni, Yamakake (tuna with japanese potato) and a bbq chicken dish with lotus, shitakes and other ingredients that I don't even know (this was special dish that he made for me- not on the menu). ALL were very good. But, if I had to pick a favourite I would definitely say the suimono and the bbq chicken dish. He is very flexible and creates new dishes for you if you ask. I didn't order omakase, but I think next time I go I will.
Service: I originally was sitting at a table until I was coaxed by someone to sit at the bar. I like sitting at the bar because you are able to converse with the owner and talk about food!
Value: I think that it is very reasonable. You receive quality unique dishes for a fraction of the price. I think this is due to low overhead costs. Some reviewers said it was a rip off... well if you are comparing it to the mass of Korean ran restaurants then yes, it is. But, realistically it is not for what you are getting!
Ambiance: It isn't somewhere that you would go for a nice ambiance, just good food.
We went here for our New Year's Eve dinner and I was not impressed. I wanted to try this restaurant after reading all the reviews. The food was good but the service was horrible. I was most upset about the server telling me that she could not accomodate my food allergy. She didn't even bother to ask the cook if he could...it was a straight "No". I will not be going back to this place. Dinner was a huge disappointment to say the least.
We are frequent customers at this establishment, we have been coming for over 4 years now. the food is amazing, we love its authenticity. our favorite is spinach gomae sauce MMMM. if you havent tried their kamikaze roll, you are missing out, its is absolutely delightful. after talking to the owners, they said the are setting up a website for their menu and it is officially up. however you cannot find it through a google search, which is a bit odd.
Ordered salmon / tuna nigiri for lunch and all I could smell was fish. The salmon and tuna was presented nicely but definitely lacking freshness, which is the key to sushi. Another bad experience with sushi in Burnaby. For those that like their fish cold, firm & fresh, go to West Van. If you must eat here stick with the California rolls & Tempura.
Over the years, it has been really hard to stick to one restaurant for dine-in experience. I have been here for six years, the food standard has never changed. We always get really good service (I guess I know how to choose the time to go). The food was well-presented and fresh doesn't matter the sushi or the soup from kitchen. Always give me a pleasant feeling after. I recommend to people who like decent sushi. Hope they could keep it up.
They do not serve farmed salmon. It is owned and operated by Japanese people with lots of experience. The food is excellent. Besides sushi they also have bbq salmon jaw, smelt, squid, etc, fabulous.
The price is quite reasonable as well. Sometimes the service is a little slow, but if you're sitting at the sushi bar, Sam will make sure the servers are on top of things.
All around it's very good value.
Whenever we have a family dinner with siblings, this restaurant is always considered. They have a room that fits perfectly for the 14 of us, although with the growing kids, this might be a problem in the near future.
The Chicken Katsu is a favourite of ours and has yet to disappoint us. The only problem and this can be bad sometimes is that they only have one fryer so if many people order dishes that needs the use of the fryer, well, you can imagine the wait time. I have eaten sushi, tempura, and teriyaki without any complaint.
The rating, 4 for food, very good, and to me, I think authentic Japanese food. Service, a solid 3, at times the room might be forgotten a bit. Value, the prices are medium, and to me, you get good food at a reasonable price. Ambiance could be higher if they updated the interior a bit, it hasn't changed since I have started going there.
I recommend this place to people I know, and I will continue to tell people about his fine dining establishment. Now, if they could only find some cash for an extra fryer.
I've been going to Isami for the regularly for the past 4 years the service has been steller all but once. The restaurant looks like the food would cost a lot more than it does. Definately not your average sketchy, budget sushi place. The staff are very polite and attentive.
The texture of the kamikaze roll is A-mazing....chopped up shrimp tempura with chives and an unknown sauce. Drooling just thinking about it. And I haven't found a place that makes better spinach gomae. Frankly, I've stopped trying at new places b/c it's usually warm, limp, and gross. The miso is top notch as well.
I highly recommend eating here
I am baffled by these other reviews, my wife and I just got back from Isami and not only was the sushi bad it also took 3.5 hours!
The staff appeared to be moving through molasses the entire night, everyone moving in extreme slow motion. Because we could see the sushi "masters" at work it was clear that one of our plates of sushi was being prepared for over an hour.
The thimble sized pieces of maki were mushy, tasteless and the rice was still warm. The nigiri pieces were mangled and of extremely poor quality, covered in bits of silverskin and very unevenly coloured. The tobiko was an orange mush and the salmon roe was very funky.
On the positive the tempura was edible.
Anyone who thinks this is good sushi really needs to broaden their horizons past Burnaby.
Great place! Food is consistently excellent. The sashimi is fresh. the rolls are perfectly put together. Noodle dishes are great. Service is friendly and prompt.
I took my wife here, who is a very picky eater, for her first sushi experience. She enjoyed it all. We have gone to other places and she always compares it to Isami when she doesn't like it.
Go try it!
Every time I open the menu I think to myself that Isami is a touch more expensive than your average sushi place. But the food isn't average at all... it is VERY good. By the time the meal is done I am more than aware that the added quality outweighs the slightly higher price. It's worth it! The secret is out.