Samurai is a sushi restaurant on Cambie with giant portions.
This place is totally for take out only. I ordered a party tray yesterday following some friend's advise of closest sushi place around her area. She said that it was decent sushi, not the best and pretty good value for what you get.
Okay, when I got there, lots of people. Good sign for turnover, but boy, the restaurant gave off such a sour smell, I kept hoping it was the seasoning for the sushi rice! Took home our order and wow! Big rolls of rice!!! So much rice!! Value for rice! Where the heck is the fish and the good stuff that makes it as sushi? It was so poorly made, I tried to pick up a piece of california roll and it just exploded in mid air towards my mouth! Rice everywhere! Some of the sushi pieces was so huge I had to wonder what left over fish is this? Sure it was salmon, and the fatty bad part of it. I've been to good sushi places and I know my fish and sushi quality. Samurai is good at selling quantity of rice and cheap cuts of fish!
When people talk about fresh and cheap, here's a wake up call. There is no such thing as fresh in sushi world, unless there is a fish tank that the sushi chef reaches in and prepares it in front of your face and you consume it right then and there. That defines "FRESH" Also if you are in Japan.
All fish that is prepare in the majority of sushi restaurants are defrosted from being quick frozen to have it back like fresh. Good and real japanese places know how to defrost and prepare to maintain that fresh quality. Others like Samurai don't and hope for the best that they can sell theirs off in time before it goes bad and people won't notice because the price and value blinds them from the quality. This always is the case. I'm not trying to be a know it all, it just common sense in this world of dining. I have encountered food poisoing before from an all you can eat japanese place, but another story.
I know I'm sort of a hypocrite too, with this economy and people looking for deals, I have fallen victim to these vietnamese and chinese pretenders. Well not anymore, I will save my money for quality from now on. Hello Shiro and Toshi.
This is not sushi, only looks like sushi. Proprietors are Vietnamese (nothing against them) and they leverage on quantity. The place is high value if and only if you care for quantity (someone said Uncle Willy's earlier ...). Food is full of MSG, and there's no real taste in ingredients.
Head down to Ajisai in Kerrisdale, or Kura in Burnaby for a simple, authentic experience of sushi, Then come back to see if you still want to eat this faux sushi.
The place serves the ultimate sushis. Ultimate not in terms of taste nor cleanliness but rather in size. If you aren't a picky eater and just want to stuff your belly full of sushi this is the place.
Cleaniness of the sushi is not tops of Vancouver. Everyone in my family except me are vegetarians. They often find pieces of tuna, eggs, salmon and other delicious meat source in their vegetable roll. So for those who are absolutely alergic to any of those ingredients should just stay away.
Service turns from good to questionable due to heavy customer traffic. They smile at you early in the morning then say thankyou and really mean before you leave the store. Soon towards noon, the services grows grim as people start to not look at the customers nor wear a smile. Which is really normal for resturants these days.
The place is often very clean, if you dont tend to look around. If you do, you could find dust mites and other allergents in some areas of the restaurant. This is where take out comes into play.
If you have picky friends, try not to take them there. Rather if your friends or yourself don't really mind not having the absolutely best sushi in the world this is the best place in Vancouver.
Chinese people seem to love this place. The only good thing about this place are the massive portions and cheap prices. It is enough to fill up your stomach and that's about it. I don't recommend this place. Spend a few more dollars and you can get comparable size and much better quality at Sushi Garden in Burnaby.
Large portion of rice and cold dead raw fish. If you want to stuff your face, this is it. As someone else said, sushi is bite size... not here, more like 2-3 bites size. Fish is fresh because of the high turn-over with lineups out the door. They could at lease take one sushi and make 2/3 pieces out of it.
Service sucks, the lady at the cashier with the crappy service and the perpetual grumpy "someone just died" face. If you frequent this place, you know what I mean. But hey its LARGE PORTION!!!! Order ahead and get discount.
You can eat the food, but its not sushi, its large portions of cold dead raw fish. Sushi is suppose to be bite size and nicely presented but hey they cater to the chinese crowd...size and portion is king.
I leave nearby this place so sometimes I ordered for take out. I do agree that their sashimi is not at their best quality or freshness. IF I go there I never ordered their sashimi, I only ordered California Roll (best deal), spicy chopped scallop, Alaska Roll, Unagi Roll or Dynamite roll. Well this place can be very overwhelming for ladies...but flr us men this is definitely the place to satisfy your crave for a sushi. Their sushi rice is not bad and always consistent. For the money this place is worth it.
Food: Quite fresh and tasty considering the price. Definitely not the BEST of the best out there but it's very solid. I know some friends that had less than fresh experience there but I've always had consistent results. It's a great quick sushi fix if you have any cravings!
Service: I think they are pretty quick with the amount of staff they have. I usually call for a pick up order and it's always ready by the time we get there.
Value: Incredibly cheap for the amount of food you get! Just for price reference, it's $3.25 for a California roll. Other places are probably around $3.95. The roll is also like 50% larger than other places. Two people can dine for under $15 for sure!
Ambiance: It's pretty tight for a sit-in meal. More like cramped. I just pick up and go! But they do have a sushi bar which is kinda nice if you like to watch the chefs make speedy sushi as they are sooo busy all the time!
These oversized, over-riced sushi offerings are unbelievable value,,,with enormous pieces of tuna for little more than $1...always busy, it's best to order ahead although if the order is too early, the tuna can be frozen. 2-3 rolls + 2-3 pieces of sashimi are enough for a cheap, cheap dinner for 2. Everything's right for the nights when cooking isn't in the cards.
I've eaten at Samurai for almost 10 years now and still enjoy going there for run of the mill Japanese food. If you want high end authentic this is not the place to go.
Pro's: Quality of food is good but not ever close to being outstanding or high end, but doesn't claim to be either. Fish is fresh due to high turnover, portions are large and you never feel ripped off. Prices are reasonable to cheap compared to what you get elsewhere. Menu has wide variety of rolls, sashimi and cooked food. Cheap, cheap bEER!
Con's: busy, not too authentic (probably pandering to Chinese crowd (give me more mentality). Samurai on Cambie is downright disgusting & laughable at the sametime.
Many Japanese restaurants can compete with Samurai on food quality, but once you factor in price & portions they are hard to beat.
I'm still gonna get my take out and late night from this place for years to come.
I used to come here a lot and then frequented Banzai when that location opened in Richmond. Now it's hard for me to say no to sushi whether it be great sushi or cheap sushi thats decent like Samurai. The philosophy behind it is that you come to try it for the size but keep going back because something is in their imitation crab that makes it taste amazing. The fish quality is kind of just "eh" and the large cuts make it gross to eat sometimes but thats okay! I was still visiting regularly (almost once a week) because its nicely priced and I can't afford $100+ authentic Japanese consisting of delicious cuts of fish every day.
HOWEVER. For the last year I've visited less frequently because with no exaggeration, every single time I go... There is a smell that keeps getting worse and worse. One day I decided to stop going simply because I didn't want to deal with it. Today, I was having the craving and since Banzai was too far, I decided to stop by Samurai again to endure the smell but was literally stunned upon entering the store. I can't believe that the smell has reached such an unbearable point. Without ordering, I left immediately and pitied the 5 or 6 patrons still remaining in the store. Please samurai, find out what the hell that smell is so I can go back for your california rolls.
My boyfriend brought me here for the first time and I was skeptical. I mean, I'M the Japanese one, and I'd never even heard of this place.
Let's be honest, the ambiance isn't the best impression, but who cares. You pay really cheap for really good food in great quantity. Imagine the regular house rolls you get at any other sushi place... yeah, that's the size of their california rolls. My mind was blown as they brought the sushi out, how could they afford to plate so much at such a small price? Then again, they do get a lot of customers of course.
My favorites are their SSSR (smoked salmon, shrimp) rolls, spicy tuna, and salmon sashimi. Yes, I will admit that I'm aware that they do make the popular items ahead of time, but there's not much of a freshness difference when it comes to taste and most of these items are purchased immediately around dinner and lunch rush. They have some interesting creations there as well, and there's a lot to try.
The best value for a money is definitely sashimi as you receive these slices that're actually the size of three regular sized sashimi in any other restaurant. It tastes SO good though, a delicious cut of salmon. The half order is seriously enough for two people. I could never imagine dusting off a whole order of that stuff.
The service is pretty good, they're never rude. You order at the till and find a seat where they bring you your sushi or donburi or whatever, so it's not like a full blown restaurant. You also get free hot tea that's freshly brewed, and even a discount if you order ahead of time to beat the line that occasionally forms.
Amazing place to stop by after a day of shopping at Oakridge, or pick up a platter for a party.
Ordered some takeout, they were nice and friendly on the phone. As everyone says the portions are huge but the quality is not that great. If you're a starving student looking to fill up for not much money Samurai would be a good choice. If you want good sushi I would recommend somewhere else. One of the people eating described the fish as slimey. I found the rolls and nigiri too large as well.
I've only ordered take-out here, and I usually stick to the beef and chicken teriyaki rolls. I had my first taste about 3.5 years ago and this is still probably my favourite place to come to for teriyaki sushi rolls. Sometimes service can be really slow (one time waited half an hour for a four roll order), so it's probably best to call in two hours early (5% off with this). They also have tea that you can take as you wait for your food, so sometimes it's not so bad. I've heard and read about some pretty nasty things about this place (health inspector observed cooks not washing his hands after going to the bathroom and smoking) but what can I say...I will continue to go for the humongous portions and cheap deal!
if you are on a date, go to to another place but this place has HUGE sushi and the taste of the veggie rolls and yam rolls are good and the price is great. The service is fast due to the fact that they have 5 guys working and pre-making the top sellers. the line to order is smashed up against people who are eating in there shoe box sized dining area. I feel bad for the people who dine in during their rush hours.
If i'm looking for cheap sushi and huge portions, this is my go to place. The rolls are huge and cheaper than rolls elsewhere. I also love their spicy agadashi tofu, it comes with a peanut-y sauce that is delicious! Would definitely recommend Samurai for a casual lunch, but don't expect outstanding ambiance or service.
While the place is packed almost 24/7 (I blame the painfully cramped spacing), don't be fooled. As a "value" sushi joint, it fails to meet standards. As you wait 10 minutes for a small combo take-out after receiving "service" from an extremely grumpy woman, you'll notice how unhygienic food handled is, and how menu posters collect films of dust. I've been here several times (once against my will - thanks friends) and this uncomfortable sensation is redundant. While portions are bigger than most and value is almost spot on, you will find much better food, service, and pricing at Sushi King on Granville (tip: call them 2 hours prior to pick up for a 5% discount, a day prior for 10%).
I'm not exactly a sushi connoisseur, but my experience at Samurai sushi today was quite disappointing. I've ordered here many times in the past, but the quality seems to have gone down, while the prices have gone up slightly. I ordered the california roll, and the yam tempura roll. The filling itself was fine, but the rice was terrible. It was incredibly sticky and difficult to chew, contrary to real sushi rice found elsewhere. Go here for a quick bite, but there's many more options out there for the same price.
I enjoy sushi and have visited many good and bad Japanese restaurant. This one will be ranked as bad. The good thing about it is that the sushi are hugh. It's a good thing if you don't care about eating real sushi and you are starving. The bad thing is that sushi is not prepared well. The owner and staff are vietnamese. I have no problem with it but the way they prepare is not authentic to real Japanese food. Also I know professionals (inspector) that there were hygiene issues. Take it for what its worth. If you like it, then enjoy. But just my two cents.
If you want quantity, you will get your money's worth at this place! Their rolls are bigger compared to other places but I find their rice yucky! It just doesn't taste like authentic Japanese sushi rice. Given the fact it's run by Vietnamese, this is NOT the place for authentic sushi. Their salmon sashimi is so thick it taste like rubber! Honestly, I would prefer quality sushi rolls that doesn't fall apart and taste right rather than getting big pieces!
If you want "value", this is definitely a good place... If you prefer taste and presentation, don't bother going here!
the sushi here is soo good and so big so you get more bang for your buck. i was very surprised to see so few good reviews because this is easily the best sushi place with the amount of money spent. i recommend the rolls because they are so big also instead of sashimi order the sushi because they are insanely huge and long