Yokohama is an AYCE and a la carte Japanese restaurant that has been operating in Whalley for almost twenty years. This restaurant is not affiliated with other restaurants of the same name operating in the lower mainland.
This is one of the few ayce Japanese options in Surrey, so it basically monopolizes the market. The only other one operating is much, much worse than this avoid it like the plague (nordel sushi).
I'm a long-time customer at this location, and I've learned to put up with the lack of service, because again there is no other choice in the area.
The food isn't the greatest but it is edible usually. Sometimes the chicken terriyaki will be microwaved and too rubbery and dry to eat, I suspect they reheat day old one's. They are stingy and limit you to 2 or 3 pieces of small sashimi. Their nigiri pieces also have smaller cuts of fish on them.
However they do freshly prepare sushi, so it's not all bad.
The AYCE menu doesn't have much choice, but some of the items are good. I like their sunomono, karagge, tofu, and oyako don even if it is mostly rice.
The service here is surreal. It is so unbelieveably bad. The elderly lady marching through the restaurant looks beyond miserable. It looks like she never ever smiles and she looks really mean. I've noticed that she is nicer to some patrons but I haven't been able to figure out why.
She looks like a prison guard. If you dare to point out that some dishes are missing that you ordered, she will bark out well finish the dishes that have come.
There's another server with curly frizzy hair, who is always half-running through the place. She is a bit friendlier but she tends to forget to serve even more dishes you ordered than the mean lady.
They never make eye contact and they try to avoid you for ordering a second round.
The guys making sushi at the counter are a bit nicer. Periodically they will offer to take your order. But beware of the slightly chubby middle aged guy. He never ever gets your order right and will just make much more than you requested. It's like he is on drugs or something or just drunk.
I've never experienced such bad service in my life. The ironic thing is that now I'm used to the surreal service but at the beginning I was like WTF.
So the other day I paid with a CC. I usually pay with cash. And after signing for the bill. The waitress nastily said, next time tip. And I just glanced at her, as I was planning on just leaving a cash tip as I had enough change.
They recognize me now, that I've been there a few times so they know I'm a pretty regular customer. Yet this lady had the nerve to demand a tip. I was floored. There is NO service, the prices have recently increased by a dollar, and the other times I tipped apparently did not count. In fact she didn't even have the patience to wait and see whether I would add a cash tip, she just demanded it after I finished signing the visa slip.
Just really bad customer service with bad customer relations left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
I will never be returning to this restaurant no matter how bad my sushi cravings get, I will instead head to Richmond or New West for much better AYCE, without the attitude and sub-standard service.
I've been to the Yokohama at least 20 times over the last X years, and so I've had good exposure to it. I always do the All You can Eat. There is limited parking, by the way - only about 6 spots.
The food is ok. For lunch you're limited to (I believe) 3 pieces of tuna sashimi, and 3 pieces of salmon, and 5 pieces of the salmon nigiri, and 5 pieces of the tuna nigiri, all per person. The food is usually fresh, and the pieces of meat are decent size, but not huge. It just depends on what chef you get that day.
The maki rolls are unlimited, and you get the usual assortment - BC Roll, tuna, salmon, California etc. They're mostly rice, of course. There is Teriyaki chicken and beef, gyoza, veggie tempura, and miso soup. I enjoy the chicken, actually, and the rest is ok. I've had a bit better in other places.
The service is poor. Despite being a regular customer, the waitresses are still lukewarm at best, but they remember what we had to drink last visit, and ask me why my wife isn't joining me when I go by myself. The waitresses regularly forget items (I joke that they decided I ordered more than I could eat) and I don't think it's just a language issue. I haven't noticed (or I ignored) any resistance to getting seconds, so if they forgot something, I get it then. I usually tip well, and they seem to appreciate it (surprise!). They do drop by asking if I would like anything else, but it could be interpreted as wanting to move you along. The waitresses could definitely be friendlier (they sometimes give me an impression of anger), but the chefs are a bit better, if you sit at the bar.
The value is not bad, for all you can eat. Lunch is 12.99, and dinner 18.99, I believe, and the green tea is free. I do lunch the majority of the time, and then don't have dinner at home, so the value is pretty good. I think all I eat would cost $20 - 25 in a regular restaurant, so I get my money's worth. My wife, who eats less, brings the value down. With the most expensive items (sashimi and nigiri) being limited, one still ends up filling up on rolls and lots of rice. Dinner is more expensive, so there are less limits, and better selection as well.
The ambiance is there, and a good attempt has been made. There are the usual booths, and the closed-off private tables, usually for larger parties. There is lots of Japanese-related paraphenelia, and there is Japanese music playing. So ambience has been attempted. I go there for the food, not to look around, though.
Since I keep coming back, my overall impression of the place is good. They raised their prices fairly recently, so it lost some of the value. But if you want to pig out on sushi, then this is the place.
Typically, I go for sushi in Richmond. Because I live in Langley, it's not always convenient to drive to Richmond but I've always been satisfied at the local places that I go to there. On a friend's recommendation, we decided to try Yokohama all-you-can-eat sushi as an alternative to driving to Richmond. Even if the food wasn't the greatest, maybe the lack of a 45 minute drive would compensate and allow us to feel satisfied.
Unfortunately, this was not the case. I'm not trying to compare the food at this location to where I eat at other times, because every restaurant seems to have one or two dishes that they may do better than other places. However, I don't think that this was the case for this restaurant. Any type of role that we ordered seemed dry, and when we would pick it up with your chopsticks, the seaweed in the rolls would disconnect because they were so dry. They must've been left over from lunch or made in the afternoon because they were certainly not fresh. The chicken teriyaki was warm at best, and a couple 'hot' dishes were cool. The teriyaki sauce was barely warm; again, I question the freshness. Rolls consisted 95% of rice, with the 'important' stuffing barely noticeable. Add this to the fact that we were not told of limits on salmon or tuna, and were abruptly told that we were not allowed anymore to have because we had already had our four pieces.
Yes, you read that right, four pieces of sashimi tuna and you could have 8 pieces of salmon only for your $19.99 all you can eat dinner. What an absolute rip off. All you can eat with only 4 pieces of tuna? When I told the waitress that I was never informed of these limits, the staff member said that "everybody knows". Well, I'm sorry, but this was not told to me and it was my first time there and that not a reason as far as I'm concerned. Had I been told this when I walked in, I would have went to The Keg and I wouldn't have had an issue.
Seeing that our conversation was not going forward, the waitress was abrasive and said that she would not argue with me but she would get the manager to argue with me. Like that made a lot of sense. The owner came over and was smiling and tried to be pleasant, but kept saying the same thing, no you can't have any more tuna even though we explained that the salmon and tuna was the real reason for the visit. By the way they were acting, you'd think that I had 30 pieces already and was ordering 30 more. I only had FOUR! I think that this was unreasonable considering the fact that it's all-you-can-eat sushi.
I've never been to an all you can eat restaurant where they placed a limit on what you can eat. After all, isn't that what all-you-can-eat really means?. I really took it for the fact that they were trying to take advantage of the consumer. If it's not all-you-can-eat, then don't advertise it as such. Don't argue with the customer or try to make them feel cheated.
Realistically speaking, the rolls and other menu items that we got did not taste overly fresh either. They seem to be made earlier in the day, and
I bet a lot of restaurants do this. But this didn't seem like rolls that were made one or maybe two hours earlier, these rolls taste like they could very well have been from lunch or the day before even. To me, it's not a matter of price, it's about quality. If this restaurant offered free food tomorrow, I wouldn't go back. The attitude of the staff members, the deceptive business practices and the way they handled my concern was unprofessional. The food quality, excluding the tuna and salmon which was limited, was below expectations of quality and freshness.
To the owners if you happen to read this, I'll happily pay double to get what I want another restaurant. I feel like you stole from me tonight. You offered subpar food mostly and wanted a premium price on your terms. There's a lot of eating choice, and while you may have been there for 20 years like other reviewers indicate, it doesn't mean to be around for 20 more. When you count your money at the end of the day, it doesn't mean that you could have had a few hundred dollars more by providing better quality food, with greater freshness and with greater care and attentiveness to your customers. Listen, there's always someone that will drive across town to save five cents at Wal-Mart, but not everyone is that way. You had the opportunity to gain a customer who wouldn’t have come to your restaurant may be twice or three times a month. However, you succeeded in turning a new customer away. Is it funny how people advertise, light up their signs at night time, just to get people to come into the restaurant, and then they'll do things that turn them away. Here's an idea, put another set of doors at the back, so that when new customers walk in the front they can do is keep walking out the back door. That's exactly what happened to me and my guest today. We will not be returning because we feel they're a lot better value choices in the market. I feel like I was just robbed. You lost a customer and none of my friends like punishment enough to go there again. The sushi establishments in Richmond thank you for making us realize how good they are, and how you fail. I left no tip but never heard the waitress say a word.
Ive eaten here lots and lots of times...and had take out. While I dont expect to get GREAT service from here (sometimes its a long wait to place your second order of AYCE, but I get around this by ordering lots the first time!), Ive never been treated poorly. Some of the ladies are bit grumpy, but there is one lady in particular that is awesome and she remembers me every time I come in and is always really nice. The sushi chef is awesome and has had conversation with me.
The food has always been good and Ive never had a problem with freshness.
If you go here, just dont expect great service...but the value is great. Order lots the first time when doing AYCE and enjoy!