This place is actually really good. It's a bit slow on service for takeout, but it is far superior to other sushi places in the South Surrey area in both ambiance and taste.
I just went yesterday with my friends before heading DT, and we grabbed a couple rolls each, some miso soup, sake and tempura. The food was all delicious (they have a wider variety of rolls than most Surrey sushi joints) although the rolls are quite small and the portions just as small. The sake was pretty strong, but hey, no prob there.
The service was adequate, and the server was friendly enough. She wasn't always there when we needed her, but she was good and actually brought us out a freebie of some strange dish the chef whipped up for us, which was a nice touch.
Pricewise, Tawara is fair. The sake is extremely cheap at about $4 for the small (which actually is quite a lot) and the sushi ranges from $4-10 per roll, with tempura costing $10 and the sashimi similarly priced.
And as for the ambiance? The food is presented nicely on wooden trays or plates depending on what you order, and there is a lot of charm packed into the small, high-ceiling'd place. It's good for a sitdown and for takeout.
Food: had the chicken teriyaki bento box while my dining compadre had the dynamite roll bento box and we shared a spicy agedashi tofu and edamame. Food was quite good and it came with an assortment of tempura, salad (which had this really great tangy sauce), daily special (which was deep-fried chicken on a stick) and miso soup - a really great deal for $8. I didn't mind the slower service, esp. when the place was packed.
Service: Slow but not bad when you're not here for a business lunch. I can see how ppl would be annoyed if they had somewhere to be. Servers were rushing around trying to take orders and get food out to the tables so I didn't feel so bad since they weren't merely standing around. Food came out relatively quickly.
Ambiance: It's located within a mall complex but the inside was surprisingly nice - high ceilings, dark wood panelling, great lighting. The plates and menus matched the decor.
Overall, I would definitely come back but only if I was not in a rush to get anywhere. Pretty good food for the price so definitely worth it. Recommended.
I never associated Surrey with great sushi, until now. Tawara has shown me that great food can happen in a "town centre" a.k.a. suburban mall. Got an invite from a friend. We had to wait a long time for service but it was obvious someone didn't show up for work. There was one server on the floor and one person behind the counter. Both were hustling and the fact that we were served at all was a testament to their incredible work ethic. Ordered the Love Boat with a Rainbow Roll and the side Red Tuna Carpaccio. Someone here knows how to fish! All was amazingly fresh and had the dense texture and full and distinct flavour that, in my mind, distinguishes great fresh fish from merely good fresh fish. The last time I enjoyed this kind of quality was back at EN about 5 years ago. The room is nicely decorated in minimalist Japanese black with some colourful touches. Whatever minor deficiencies I did detect throughout the meal were all redeemed by the incredible food we were served. A go to Japanese restaurant.
We had tried this restaurant a while ago. It was OK, but we did not hurry back.
Driving by recently, we decided to give it another try, especially since the reviews here seemed so positive.
Ambiance...s'OK, I guess. A bit dark and cavernous (high ceilings). It was clean and tidy, not too much Japanese-esque decoration. Washroom was clean.
Service - a young server who seemed hesitant and too obtrusive at the same time. She did not give us much time to look over the menu, and rather condescendingly told us that sashimi is NOT cooked. Sigh.
Value - in line with many other similar restaurants in the Lower Mainland.
Food - we ordered miso soup, goma-ae, ebi gyoza, spicy agedashi tofu and deluxe assorted sashimi. We split a large Sapporo beer. Miso soup was barely warm, and the tofu in it seemed old. Goma-ae was quite good, although the sesame dressing was very sweet. Agedashi tofu was a small serving; the spicy sauce was very strong, the burn lingering. Ebi gyoza were deep-fried, which did not help them. They were dry, and the ebi/prawns not very large. The "deluxe assorted" sashimi consisted of 1 piece of surf clam, several pieces each of Atlantic (farmed) salmon, sockeye salmon, tuna, toro and three tiny slices of snapper. Maybe the clam made it "deluxe"? They had hamachi on the specials list at the sushi counter, but it did not make it to the "deluxe" assorted plate.
We were not offered a refill on tea, nor did we get a chance to order any more food. The bill arrived without comment or smile.
It was adequate. We gave it a second try, but I don't think we'll go back.
Tawara's always has good, fresh food every time we have gone. Their service is friendly and quick. My kids and their friends go there all the time for take out - they know them by name and usually what they want to eat! We have had many different items on the menu and have always been satisfied.
The chef usually sends a free sample of an appetizer or menu item which is a nice touch. I feel it is a nice restaurant to go to for an informal evening out for dinner. Always leave satisfied.
Cathie from Surrey
Been coming here for about 2 years. I crave their sushi sashimi bento box. The salmon and tuna is always fresh tasting. The tempura is very good as well. Their consistency is outstanding. The owner prides himself on the quality of the food. Also try their spicy tuna rolls and real (Crab) california rolls.
I have been to this restaurant quite a few times. It has very good food.. The people are nice. I definately think it is the best place to go if your in the Langley/Surrey area. (Ive been to them all- I used to live there.) Anyways, some favourites include the BC roll( I normally hate them, but theirs are really good), and generally whatever is on special, because it is the freshest.
I am a sushi aficionado -- I eat at a sushi restaurant at least once a week, often more. My family and I discovered Tawara a couple of years ago and started to go there every Friday night. The food was very fresh and well-prepared (prices were average to a little on the high side) and the chef/owner was very cheerful, always greeting us with a friendly wave from the kitchen in the back. His little girl often sat on a bar stool, colouring or playing with dolls. Very endearing; a welcoming place. The wife/co-owner/server/cashier was ok, seemed a little obsessed with never letting anyone have anything for free: no substitutions, no freebies when we waited a long time (hubby often sent us stuff). But what made us finally give up on them was the continually poor service. I don't mean nasty, I mean so amateurish that wait staff would walk past us when we practically had our hands up. Drinks didn't get refilled; dirty dishes didn't get picked up; orders were often messed up, etc. They just seemed to be meandering around the restaurant, doing things really inefficiently. These were nice enough young girls who appeared completely untrained in the art of waiting tables. If they had a large take-out order or orders to fill, customers at tables got forgotten for long periods of time. We finally stopped going and have found another sushi place in Surrey where the food is good and the service is personable and efficient. Maybe we'll go back again one day to see if they have improved. Probably not, because they are probably still packed on a regular basis. People are forgiving. We tip really well but demand good service. Pretty good food is not enough for us.
We have been going to Tawara for months every time we have craved for Sushi.
I have to say this place is the best sushi restaurant in town. The food is always fresh and outstanding. I also really like the sauce and dressing for rolls and salad. We sometimes get a complementary dish from the Chef which is nice.
They offer nice and well-presented lunch and dinner boxes which you can try variety menu of Tawara.
This place is always clean and tidy with the high ceiling. And the staff is always welcomed us and friendly.
I had some great sushi at Tawara in the last 6 months. The Master, Pyo was engaging at the sushi bar and a real artist. I went there today and found he had left at the end of July.
This is now just an ordinary sushi restaurant. The rice was poorly constructed and bland. Scallop nigiri was nearly tasteless where before it had delicious grassy notes. It was not fresh. The ikura nigiri tasted off. Tuna nigiri was old and bland, mealy. I think you get the idea. Not a place I would ever go to again. The staff was eager but communication was difficult. I planned a birthday treat there next week but phoned back to cancel because I felt a bit sick in the car on the way home. Good bye Pyo.
We have been going to Tawara for many years. It has to be one of the best Sushi / Japanese restaurants in the lower mainland. The Chef is outstanding and has many unique offerings. All preparations of sauce and dressing are perfected in the kitchen using the Chef's special recipes. The Chef is a perfectionist that treats food like a form of art. The menu has many varieties of hot and cold dishes to satisfy any appetite.
If you are looking for an alternate lunch destination, they offer a nice variety of lunch boxes at affordable prices and you will not leave hungry.
For dessert try the deep fried ice cream, it is delicious.
The restaurant is always clean and the staff is always friendly. They offer take out as well as dine in.
I have returned a good number of times since my original review and have to say the food is still consistently great. I live in the Newton area and considering there are so many restaurants, and all seem poor, I really appreciate Tawara is doing well and will most likely be around for some time providing great Japanese food.
Service has improved a great deal and the past problems were due to inexperience of what appeared to be staff working in their first job in a restaurant. They now have the experience and I find they are very personable when serving their customers. I really like the way they bring you a sample from the kitchen of a dish that you would probably never try. Great and well deserved review in Dec.30/2010 Vancouver Sun. Hats off to owner Bum Yeon Pyo! Keep up the great work.
This is one of my favourite Japanese restaurant in Surrey. We go there quite often and have gotten to know the owner and his wife. The food is good and the prices are reasonable. The only thing is, after being a patron for several years, I am getting bored of the menu as the chef needs to create new dishes. Otherwise, the sashimi is fresh and the quality is good.
I have been eating here at least twice a month for over three years and love it. Every time the food is fresh and delicious and never have I had a questionable meal. The service is very good although the lunch rush can be pretty busy sometimes. This is my favourite Japanese restaurant in the Surrey / Langley area and a must try for anyone in the area.
Food is of incredible quality. The Chef/Owner is very creative. We have been dining here at least twice a month. The owner has gotten to know us and when we come in when its busy we often get a nice little freebee (usually grilled salmon collar) from the chef while we wait for food. I would agree that service is a bit lacking but as most asian restaurants usually go you have to be aggressive and wave your hand in the air before they notice you. To bad it doesn't do any justice to the great food that comes out of the kitchen. Thinks to try: Rainbow Roll, Crunch Roll and Tuna tataki salad.
When you visit a Japanese resturant, you expect food to be fresh. This is not the case, my wife and i had dinner over the weekend and was surprised that they served food that was not so fresh and chef was not waering gloves. We made a comment to the chef and he was angry and said his food is always fresh and it is his business not wearing gloves, and if we are not happy , we may leave. The server was whom i suppose was making min wage, didnt dare say anthing when we said what kind of service is this where a chef may ask a customer to leave if they are not happy. She did wispered to us that he is the owner. No other he is so arrogant
We did leave after paying, without tipping. we have never experience something like that in our lives eating in the resturant . To all would be patronages of this resturants, if you like sub par service and not so fresh food, this is the place to spent your money.
i love the food at this little restaurant. the quality is consistantly great. the service, not so much. i find i just get up and walk over and interrupt the chatting girls if i want tea or my bill. it is worth it. the best dynamite roll ever and wonderful Goma-ae. reasonably priced and a great way to start the weekend