Shima-Ya is a smaller establishment, but great "real" sushi. Chef Fukushima used to work at Chiyoda and Yoshi downtown until he opened up his one restaurant in April '07.
We were craving sushi on a Saturday night and decided to check out Shima-Ya based on the solid food ratings on Dine Here. It is a little out of the way for us situated near the London Drugs on Victoria and 41st. It turned out it was well worth the drive.
The restaurant is small and a little shabby inside but is very clean. We sat at the bar because of limited table seating and it was busy. We ordered a bunch of items including a spicy tuna cone, special chopped scallop cone, salmon sashimi, house dynamite roll and negitoro roll.
The spicy tuna cone was really good; the seaweed was really crispy and it was probably one of the spiciest cones I have ever had. It might have also been one of the best cones I have had in recent memory. The other items were all well executed with really fresh ingredients and not too much rice. The house dynamite roll was another standout. Instead of the usual prawn tempura, it had a giant cooked prawn and asparagus in it. It was a unique twist to the usual dynamite roll and I really enjoyed it.
The service was a little slow with only one server in the restaurant and she was a little overwhelmed. It didn't really effect our dining experience so I am giving the benefit of the doubt on the service rating. The sushi chef was very friendly, quick to prepare sushi items and definitely made up for any shortfalls in service.
Overall, I really enjoyed the food at Shima-Ya. I will return even though its a bit out of the way in East Van because of the fresh, creative, and very tasty sushi.
On our way into town for a play at the Cultch, hubby and I were looking for Japanese in general, sushi in particular. As has become a habit with us, we checked around the DineHere ratings for a place to try.
Although there were only three reviews, all had positive things to say about Shima-Ya, so decided to try it out.
It is a VERY small place, MAYBE seating for 20 at a pinch. It seems to be a husband and wife team, very friendly.
We ordered 3 kinds of sashimi, and the omakase nigiri sushi. All fish was impeccably fresh. Miso soup came with the omakase, and it was made with a slightly-darker miso than usual...very hot and good on a cold, wet evening.
Great place to try for very fresh fish and friendly service.
Surprisingly good sushi from such an unassuming, tiny place off the side of the London Drugs plaza mall.
Food: wow, the toro was incredibly fatty, almost like butter. One of the best that I've had in Vancouver. All of the rolls were well made and used quality Japanese short grain rice and nicely roasted seaweed. You can go wrong if you order anything with tuna as their quality is above average. Some of the specials (probably the good stuff) are written in Japanese so we're curious how they would turn out.
Service: husband and wife team but they managed fine. We sat right at the bar and was served directly by the sushi chef. Our tea was refilled several times and were asked if everything was ok. We were in and out in 45 minutes.
Value: reasonable for the quality of fish. Standard rolls (california, scallop, negitoro) were between $3.00 to $4.50, salmon sashimi ($7), toro nigiri ($2.50). One disappointment was the seafood udon ($9) which is a bit pricey for an average sized bowl with 6 pieces of seafood and lacking udon. $55 for 3 of us (no alcohol) - overall good value.
Ambiance: tiny place that seats 17 patrons. Tables and chairs were very simple and the bar chairs are somewhat uncomfortable but functional. Nice prints hung on the sage green wall and opposite to that, are some posters of sumo wrestlers. I gather the chef is a sumo fan. One nice touch was the traditional Japanese wooden menu cards hung behind the chef's counter.
Two thumbs up for this quaint mom 'n pop shop.
This would be the first sushi restaurant that would come to my mind whenever I am craving sashimi. The restaurant is a small mom and pop gig, yet they are able to provide great customer service and delectable sushi.
Upon coming in to the restaurant, you are greeted by both the hostest and the chef. You have the choice of dining along the sushi bar or sitting at the smaller tables. The menu is not that large, but there are so many different choices for the daring sashimi-lovers. The sashimis are irresistible and incredibly fresh. This Japanese sushi joint is authentic as it gets!
This is definitely a place worth trying.
The chef has excellent skills. Food is fresh and it melts in your mouth~. The chef & waitress are very well mannered and polite. =) If you want to try an authentic sushi restaurant, this is it!
It's better to go during the weekday so you can skip the wait time.
This sushi place is run by a japanese (elderly) husband and wife, meaning it's authentic and he's been a sushi chef for 20 years he said.
The sushi is top notch, and always fresh, you won't find the an assortment of other things here (there's some Udons and chicken teriyaki), but this is a sushi place.
In a neighborhood filled with good chinese restaurants, this is a real gem for anybody who lives east of granville street or away from the Drive.
The place is small, and simple, but the food and friendliness of the owner is great. You know you've hit a goldmine, when most of the clientele is japanese ;-)
i feel so lucky to live close to this place. as someone else mentioned there are often multiple tables speaking japanese, which i agree is a good sign. the sushi is so fresh and they always use wild salmon, not farmed. stuff just tastes great. the negitoro, for example tastes vastly superior to what you'd get in a chinese sushi restaurant like the one across the street. they have plum rice balls, fantastic wakame salad for less than three dollars, and i've also tried the bbq black cod and it was heavenly! very tiny place but on the clean and comfortable side. service is pleasant and accurate but its not possible for the waitress/owner to do everything at once so its just not very fast. no high chairs since its so tiny, but they are very nice with children.
Shima-Ya is the kind of store that you could easily missed while walking down the street, submerge withing the ocean of neon lights that is the common sight of business district of downtown.
But don't be fooled by it's appearances; this small restaurant had a selection of interesting decoration that is unique to Japanese culture such as Japanese most popular traditional sport: "Sumo", and Japanese paper doll; and all that with a top notch cleanliness to boot.
During this particular meal we ordered one tamago roll and six seafood sushi roll that contain raw or partial cook fish. What impress me the most is the chop scallop roll; not only can you feel the soft but chewy scallop meat, but the faint hint of sweetness as well - as the faint smell of sea water rose up to your nose. The B.C roll is freshly cooked (over the grill) chop salmon with skin wrap in rice, and taste pretty good while it was serve hot. While I had many good things to say about Shima-Ya, I also had to make some complaints about their "Chicken Teri Don"; perhaps the chef had a slip of hands and added too much sugar, but their chicken Teri Don was just too sweet for me. So take my advice an stick to ordering seafood if you ever visit Shima-ya.
Lastly, I will briefly talk about services and value: in my opinion, Shima-Ya charges adequately; it's definitely can't compare to places such as Sushi Garden, but for the tentative waitress and the tasty meal I think it's all worth it. In short, if you're not too heavy on seasoning, okay with the natural flavor of the ingredients kind of guy then you should definitely give this restaurant a try.
This is a pretty good place for sushi in the east Vancouver area.
The sushi chef is skilled, but sometimes he does put in too much wasabi on the nigiri sushi. The freshness is there as they import the fish from Japan every week.
If you don't know what to order, you can just order omakase (chef choice) and let the chef chooses the freshest fishes of the day for you.
I would recommend this place to anyone that enjoy good sushi.
Try their Mirugai sushi, amaebi sushi and uni sushi!
Not THE BEST in Vancouver, but it is good enough!
I visited Shima-Ya on a weekday lunchtime to get take-out. I ordered 1/2 order of tuna sashimi and 1/2 salmon for $4.50 each, california roll, and negitoro roll. I was already warned that the pieces are small. The reviews are right, they are small! However, I've been spoilt with other restaurants where they are known for their large pieces and realized that fresh fish should not be a just a big piece of raw fish (ie. big orange salmon pieces). The salmon was small, darker in colour and very naturally flavourful. It made me think whether those larger pieces from elsewhere are farmed salmon. Nonetheless, it's something different, better and a bit more expensive.
The lady was very pleasant and for the 20 mins that I was there, I realized the restaurant had about 4 different customers in and our eating or take out and all of them spoke Japanese. Must be a good sign.
Even though the size was smaller, it made me try to enjoy my food more and I was still full. I would come again.
Sushi here is excellent, well textured, fresh and nicely presented, rice is done just right. If you are looking for cooked/fried food, go elsewhere. Come here if you are a sushi connoisseur. I am not a sushi snob, but nice to see a real Japanese establishment serving bite sized sushi and not a big hunk of cold dead raw fish. I would say best sushi E of Cambie St.
The sushi here is great. Made by a real sushi chef. With a shortage of good sushi on the North Shore, I will go out of my way to eat here. The atmosphere is not fantastic, but it is clean and presentable. For me, it is all about the food.
Been there no less than five times. Every time is pleasant
It's a little pricy if you compare it to other sushi places. But it worth every penny!!
I've never had sushi better than this resturant before or after
Sushi is bite sized which is good. and it actually smells nice if you try close, almost unbelieable for cold food. All fishes seems fresh and the japanese couple who are running it was from a high end JP resturant than opened their own for a few years.
good value and best sushi ever
With the chef's pedigree from Yoshi and Chiyoda we expected good sushi and the sushi was very fresh. Unfortunatley they are not allowed a deep fryer-so no tempura or tempura-type rolls (like dynamite rolls). Also, there is no liquor license, and I like a big Sapporo with my sushi, so I would probably only go back for take out.
I have been here a few times as I just live a few blocks away. The place is small and simply decorated, but the service and food is excellent. Their sushi is always fresh and the lady there, who I believe is the wife is always polite and efficient. You know you come to the right place as it is frequented by many Japanese. A definite must try.