This place is locationally challenged, being at the corner of Denman and Georgia. Conventional wisdom says you don't want to site a resturant in the corner of a city where there is little walk-by traffic, and even less parking. They claim to have parking in back, but realistically this is a venue for those on foot. And being upstairs (despite the terrific 40+ seat patio) makes it all the harder to stumble upon. It's predecessor Yoshi limped along for several years then disappeared right after the Olympics. I was never a big fan of Yoshi for a number of reasons, and was worried that the former owners had done a "bait and switch" by simply changing the name.
The new format however is an AYCE, competing with Tanpopo (see my dinehere.ca review of it) and Kisha Poppo further up Davie, but in my opinion following a first visit, Taiko easily outshines them both.
Right now they are running a "Grand Opening" 20% off deal which reduces the already competitive $23.95 adult dinner AYCE tariff down to quite an affordable level.
The staff are attentive and smiling, the front of house sushi chefs (3 of them on our visit) are welcoming and enthusiastic as one would hope, and the food variety and quality was really surprisingly and refreshingly good.
Sashimi includes the usual salmon and tuna, but also singles out sockeye as an alternative to the farmed variety, and it is fresh, deep deep red and sweet. Other sashimi choices include things you don't often see on AYCE menues such as tako and hokkigai and several others. It would not be hard to imagine having an all-sashimi meal here and not being at all bored.
And the presentation is first rate. Artfully arranged on attractive glazed earthenware dishes with all the garnishes and attention to detail you would expect if paying full shot for a sashimi main dish elsewhere. Many AYCE places just slap 6or 8 pieces of sashimi on a plastic tray.
There is the usual assortment of nigiri sushi, udon and yakisoba dishes and a couple of desserts, plus a very nice assortment of robata and deep fried items, again some of which you do not see on typical AYCE menus, such as scallops.
My litmus test for a decent AYCE menu is the tempura prawns. I criticized Tanpopo's (further down Denman) as being limp, oily and soggy. Taiko's were textbook good, with delicate crunchy battering over fat juicy prawns (not shrimp masquerading as prawns).
Partly because Taiko is close to where I live, but also because I was very pleasantly surprised by the value and quality of the place, I will certainly be going back soon, and will tell my sushi-loving friends about it too.
(Oh yes, they also have a cool private tatami room that seats 12 and would be a great venue for a birthday party of similar small gathering.)