Japanese Izakaya serving wide variety of sashimi and tapas. Reasonable price and cozy atmosphere.
I've been here numerous times. Not for any particular reason, just happens a group of us want some japanese food and sake. The decor is not too bad. Modern, trendy, kind of a dim intimate kind of feeling (theres no workers yelling in Japanese when you walk in.). Much easier to have conversation with your friends.
Although I find the food quite good, the prices are a little on the high side. I'd say comparable to other izakaya places (manzo, nanchuu, etc). Portion sizes are not huge. I think they're trying to impress customers with quality over quantity. So if you're expecting huge portions or cheap eats don't bother with this place (or any izakaya for that matter because they're all expensive).
I've tried many different things on their menu. I can't say I've tried anything that didn't taste good. Only thing I find is portions are too small for the price. Expect to spend about $30+/person for food. More obviously if you plan on drinking.
Service is quite good and attentive. Not overly friendly or annoying.
I went to this restaurant expecting to eat what a japanese restaurant should have: sashimi. When the waitress came to take our order, I wanted to order an appetizer dish with kani and uni. She said that all their sashimi items in their "menu", yes "menu" not specials, were all "sold out" except for the sashimi items that were on their specials menu. And yes, they are referring to their salmon, tuna, uni, amaebi, etc, the usual sashimi items you would expect to see in any japanese restaurant.
So I wanted to order the chopped scallop appetizer, and the waitress looked at me as if I was stupid b/c i SHOULD HAVE remembered her saying all the sashimi items were "sold out". If it was a late saturday night, I probably would have believed them, but on a quiet thursday night, I'm not buying it. They also had $0.99 raw oysters but that was "sold out" as well, she recommended we try the $3.00 specials, no thanks!
I told the waitress that I'll have the lamb sashimi, she said the lamb sashimi was unavailable and I should try the beef sashimi (like it would taste the same). So basically, all the menu items I wanted were "sold out". So I finally ordered the Toro sashimi, and she tells me later THAT was sold out too.
I was quite fed up with her attitude and the restaurant for not having the items you would expect to enjoy in any japanese restaurant wherever. And she didn't even have the decency to tell me those items were sold out until I had gone over the menu for 20 minutes. Thanks for wasting my time!
And when the bill came (we ordered fried stuff to fill our stomachs) they had already charged a 10% gratutity even though it was only the 2 of us?!?! Let me point out that I did not complain to her manager or to her for not having any of these items, it is extremely unprofessional to charge us the gratuity for service that we felt was lacking in all aspects. Safe to say I will never go back to this restaurant.
DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS RESTAURANT TO ANYBODY.
Really liked the look of this place for a nice date night. Really pretty, cozy ambiance. The menu looked so promising.....then we got cold tea (I mean come on!!). The takoyaki was actually really lovely, light and crispy outside, tender squid and fluffy inside. Then we got our "main" dishes. So small it was almost laughable, except that we were paying so it wasn't really funny in the end. My boyfriends salmon was a cat sized portion and tasted just barely OK. My shortribs were so flavourless I couldn't figure out how they did it. Oh and were delivered sitting in a pool of grease. Really bad. We quickly got the bill and paid $21 for 4 pieces of takoyaki, 4 pieces of short rib, and 3 inches of salmon. Pathetic. No joke- we actually went out to dinner around the corner RIGHT AFTER! First time in my life I've had to re-eat dinner like that. Luckily, the next place was great food and value. We certainly will never come back here and do not recommend others to waste their time and money.
We love this place too, they got lots of fresh RAW FISH.
But the price they are charging are too high compare to other japanese high class restaurant.
We went there for a group of 3 people. with a few disk we ordered on the regular menu, it cost us almost $ 200 for the total bill.
I agreed, they got some special sashimi but only a few pieces. We will come here more often if their price adjust a bit or got some promotion/ special
We saw Soul from the Klip Japanese magazine and found it quite interesting with all the specials, so we decided to give it a try. It was a Friday night and they are quite busy by the time we arrived; glad that we have made a reservation. The server recommended the lobster sashimi and some Japanese fishes, I'm suprised that they carried alot of japanese fishes and some of them I don't even know what they are. The girl there was very patient in explaining what is what, and we appreciated that alot. So we decided to go with the lobster sashimi ( because it was cheap, 40 bucks for 2lb and udon soup included ) and had the chef picked a few kinds of the daily catches. The sashimi were really fresh! We tried the live scallop from japan, gold eye snapper and another fish ( I don't remember the name ). We also order a dozen of fresh oysters and a lamb sashimi which I've never tried before, that was tasty. Other cooked stuff were good as well, and I really like the spicy clams! Everything was good and they treated us a deep fried icecream dessert. Free dessert, why not? Price was reasonable, will go back for sure! They have 99 cents oyster on Monday!!
If you are looking for something different for the evening, Soul could be your answer.
Japanese cusine in Vancouver often serve typical food such as sushi rolls, sashimi, deep fried items and noodles. Soul on the other hand, refuses to offer those and rather going for something that is unique.
The best of the best comes from the "Special Menu", the owner claims he changes it at least once a month. Being a regular customer there now, I have to say that menu lives up to the owner's word. Everything on the special menu is good, just simply pick anything and you should not be disappointed.
Pay close attention on the Sashimi, it is something you don't want to miss. Fish is extremely fresh and the owner prepare every dishes with extreme care.
Must try: Sashimi and BBQ items, also the the deep fried ice-cream
Soul tries very hard in the very competitive market of Richmond, a market that is filled with lower priced All You Can Eat. If you are afraid of trying new things, Soul is not for you. If you are raw fish lovers, Soul is good place to go.
Oh, they have enough place to run a small party of 10-15 on one side of the store. It's cozy and quiet, a nice place to have a date!!
I went to Soul on a Sunday night. I was surprised with what they offer on for the Today's Special and what's on the Sake shelves.
They carry alot of Sake and I haven't seen lots of them elsewhere. I was really amazed with the sake collection.
Althought the watiress spent quite a while in telling us what they have, I appreciate the explanation she gave for each kind of fishes / shellfish. I order a live uni and some sashimi. The uni was extremely fresh and the price is not high at all. Like what the watiress said, it is about the same price as the one for the regular uni. For sashimi, I've ordered Shimaaji, they call them "fish king" in chinese. Also 2 pieces of the Kinmedai, golden eye snapper. They were very fresh and I am glad that we have tried something new rather than salmon and tuna. The waitress even wrote down the name of the fishes that we had, so that we know what to order next time.
For the cooked food, we had the special deep fried wings which the watiress recommended us to try. Seriously, it is SPECIAL. THe chicken wing is boneless and stuffed w/ cheese and spinach. We also tried the grilled beef skewer, they were so juicy. Just that my friend was saying it is a bit too red, but I would say it is right on.
Finally we had a deep fried black sesame icecream for dessert. the portion is BIG. THe black sesame icecream was so GOOD.
Overall, we enjoyed our night there at Soul and I will definitely go back to try more of the japanese fishese and the dishes on the special menu.
Food: for a izakaya, i did not expect the food to come cheap and in huge portions. in soul that is exactly what you get, expensive pricing, and very small portions. HOWEVER!! the food here is extremely good. the sashimi is very fresh and very good, i'd say one of the best places in richmond! the oyster special on monday and thursday is also very awesome for oyster lovers. not the best in town, but hey, 99cents/pc is very good value. overall, i've tried a few different dishes, they never fail to impress. only complaint i have is the size, it is noticably smaller than most places in richmond, but then the quality definately makes up for it
Service: i always go there very late, so usually not a lot of customers inside, so i get a LOT of attention, but services still has room to improve
Value: definately very very expensive. sure the food is good, the sashimi is AWESOME. but in terms of getting me and my buddies of 4satisfied with booze would probably cost $300+. wouldn't visit too often due to the price
ambiance: so-so, not as decent as most downtown counterparts, but it sure isnt bad for a chinese owner richmond restaurant
overall, food is awesome, but pricey, only go there if you're really determined to dish out a couple hundred.
We have just been to Soul Izakaya tonight and had the most horrible experience.
I've first tried this restaurant last Wed. The food and sushi were so-so, the sushi was fresh, but there are comparable if not better sushi and fresh fish from Japan in Richmond (i.e. Seto Sushi, Hachi Sushi, even Guu at Aberdeen has good fish sometimes.)
The first night when we were there, we spent $60 (incl. tips, no drinks) for 2 people - and neither of us were full after this $60 meal. The prices were high to me. But their daily specials brought us back the next night - it advertised uni sashimi for $11.
So we went back, and as soon as we sat down and ordered the uni special, the waitress flatly said "we don't have that. we didn't order uni.". No sorry, nothing.
So if the restaurant didn't order uni, stop advertising it! I felt trapped and tricked b/c of the false advertising. But I came back for the 3rd time in a week because i loved their deep fried ice cream.
We had a huge dinner tonight and felt like dessert. So we went to Soul for their deep fried ice cream. As soon as we told the waiter we don't need the dinner menu, we just wanted the ice cream, he said flatly "we have a minimum charge". So I patiently asked "how much is your min charge?" He said "$10." But I've never recalled the menu stating there's a min charge, so I asked "but it's not stated on teh menu?" The waiter was shocked that someone would talk back - I'm assuming he was bluffing about the min charge - so he concurred and stuttered and said "yeah, it's not stated on the menu, we'll print out new menus soon. But you guys can have the ice cream, it's fine."
I was shocked. They have noodles on their menu I think for less than $10! So does it mean regular folks must order noodles + a drink in order to satisfy this min charge requirement? And how do you enforce a min charge policy when it's not written anywhere - not on the menu, on even on the door - to let customers know there's such a policy (if there's indeed one)?
Deep fried ice cream is good of course, but I'd rather spent my money elsewhere on Alexandra Rd (or other places in Richmond) when there are so many Jap restaurants who are willing to offer ok services with decent food. Why would anybody come back to this place anyway? Merely average food with high prices, false advertising and lots of 'tude just can't cut it in an economy like this and in a city where restaurants litter the streets.
i went to soul a few days ago with my gf and two friends, and i must say it is quite an experience... in a not very good way. i don't know what time they are most busy, but when we got there i don't recall many other tables with customers, if any. the sushi bar had a customer, who we later discovered is one of their chef, as he travels in and out of the kitchen quite frequent, which looked odd because he wasn't wearing a uniform, making the place a little unprofessional. the service is a mix, because the women who took our order chat freely with another table in cantonese, but because when we went in we spoke to her in english she might thought of us as native speakers so she's not so warm to us when she took our order. she did named the specials, many kinds of fishes, although none of us know what she's talking about because many of the items aren't even on the menu. the girl who work there is more friendly though, the women just... let's leave it there. but what got us kind of frustrated is that after she took our order, she sent the food in. that's when we noticed the guy in uniform, also drinking at the sushi counter, is actually the sashimi cut! he walked behind the bar, and when he saw our order he looked displeased, and even threw the towel behind the counter. and he looked mad at the waitress because maybe we didnt order their "sashimi specials". my frd later told me he heard him saying "these guys are here to eat rice". very rude. i would've rated the service a solid 3 if not for this. so of course there's no reason for us to stay long, but the food also came slow, which is surpresing because there's only 1 other table and they were already done eating. makes one wonder what their chefs are busy doing inside the kitchen. when the robata finally come out they don't look like grilled at all, they looked oily, so why dont they call it 'fried-bata' instead? the decor is funny, because unlike what an izakaya should look like, the way whoever decorated it make it look like Hon's with a darker color theme! the tables are spread out and set like a chinese dim sum restaurant, and not the warm, cozy look of an izakaya with the walled tables, making privacy non existing, when the table left before us everyone working said goodbye or something thank you in japanese. when we left, nothing. so would we return again? my answer is a definetly no,
The sushi is better than average for Vancouver / Richmond. There are very few places that have the rice flavoured properly. In this case, I thought it may have been a little bit over the delicateness of Japans flavouring of the sushi rice, but still much better than no flavour at all. Which I seem to encounter at most places these days. The previous two reviews here are pretty spot on. It can be a mix and match. We've tried almost everything on the menu. Some of the twists on old Izakaya favourites didn't seem to go well with my wife (Japanese) who seems to be very critical of what and where she eats Japanese food.
There are different staff working different days, but I live the people that are there. We're sending some staff from our Hong Kong office there tonight to have a meal. I hope they enjoy it.
The restaurant was done in a simple-modern style with fairly clean aesthetics for tables and chairs. There is a small sitting bar in front of the sashimi/sushi chef. The lighting is dim, but bright enough to see clearly. Fun fact: They spell the "Soul" in a away similar to a well-known izakaya chain, so we were a bit confused at first.
The normal menu is a mix of Robata, Appetizers, and various sushi and sashimi. Normal fare for Robata and not a huge list of Appys. However, the gem is in the "special" menu of the day. There was sooooo much the waitress was listing that there was no way I could remember it all. Most of it was of the sashimi kind but some grilled items.
The sashimi got out to us very quickly. We had the live uni, which was extremley fresh and a very good portion. The seafood salad was good and bad. Good in that the various seafood (different varieties of fish) were extremely fresh. Bad in that the sauce was a goma mayo (sesame mayonnaise) that does not go well with seafood. My wife had a botan ebi (a variety of amaebi) nigiri, which was also very fresh.
There was a bit of wait between the sashimi and grill/appys. This was actually an omen of things to come. Where to start? Ok, we originally wanted to start with agedashi tofu but the waitress persuaded us to try a mushroom sauce deep-fried tofu. The sauce was far to strong for tofu and we stopped at a piece each. Next up, yakitori with sea salt. I always try this at every izakaya as it seems to test the skills of the grill chef. Well, to be polite, it was horrible. There was an overabundance of pepper while the salt was virtually non-existent. To top it off, the tori was dried out and definitely not juicy. It went from bad to worse. We ordered the bacon wrapped asparagus (as stated on menu) only to find a trio of bacon wrapped asparagus, onion, and scallop. We only found out after eating them and got confirmation from the waiter "that's how the grill does it". The asparagus used, by the way, was the root end. Items that were passable were deep fried calamari legs and deep fried soft-shell crab. We ordered a few other robata items that would be extremely difficult for any izakaya to screw up and got them as expected.
Service was very good and attentive, although we were the only people in the restaurant. To be fair, we got there pretty early and by the time we left, there was one other table that was seated.
Prices were average for an izakaya.
Soul is located in a new mini-mall that I didn't even know was built, as it's on the "new" side of Alexandra Road rather than the established "foodie" side. There was plenty of parking when we got there but the lot was full when we left. However, knowing this area, I suspect most of the parked cars were frequenting other places.
Soul Izakaya tries hard. The seafood/sashimi is extremely fresh. Probably as fresh as any high end sushi place in Vancouver. Where it falls down is in the experience and skills of its grill chefs. Even with fresh ingredients, the grill station manages to miss on almost all fronts. Would I return again? Considering the competition for izakayas and this being Richmond, I would say "no".
I've tried many, many izakayas in Japan. I've tried all the izakayas in Vancouver. While I know the calibre of Japan, I used the Vancouver izakayas as reference for my review.