Food: I ordered the raw fish on rice. It had a really strange taste because of the mountain potato/yam - I suppose it really is an acquired taste. It was unlike anything I had tried at other places. However, I tried my dining companion's tonkatsu and that was delicious. They have unlimited complimentary salad which is really awesome.
Service: The waiter gave me someone else's order by accident (it was a negitoro don). The waiter was apologetic and quickly it with what I ordered. I had a sinking feeling that my dish had gone to another table because it appeared to have been eaten...it was really off putting and ruined my meal.
Value: Given the location, the pricing is quite decent. The portion is fair and there is complimentary salad!
Ambiance: The restaurant isn't very large so I can imagine it getting very busy during peak hours.
I think I went on an off day, so I'm willing to give it another try.
Had it opened a few years ago, this might have been a killer place. As it is, it becomes "just another izakaya". That's not to say it is bad. it is in fact quite good. The ambience is a perfect fit. The wait staff are generally very patient and attentive. Service is quick, very quick. No complaint
I ate here twice -- once for dinner and once for lunch.
The time I ate dinner here with a bunch of friends, every dish was delicious and "surprising" in that both the flavours and presentation were not what one would find at a typical Japanese restaurant, but they were all pleasant surprises. I was most impressed.
The more recent visit, for lunch, impressed me a little bit less. The menu is simpler for lunch. The cold dishes, especially the ones with raw fish, were all wonderful in every way. The hot dishes were a bit mixed. None was bad, but some were outstanding whereas some were 'meh'. One of the two beef tendon with rice dishes was an example of something that seemed "over tended to". I couldn't make out the beef tendon in the big patch of brown, gooey stuff next to the rice, and the taste was so so, as if the chef was trying too hard to mix different flavours in order to come up with something new and surprising but failed to impress in the end. The ox-tail with noodles in soup was another one such dish. However, there were more good and impressive dishes than there were 'meh' ones, so, overall, I still rate this restaurant highly.
As with other Izakayas, the noise level is high at this place, particularly because it does such good business that it is always full during peak meal times. It seemed a bit understaffed for my lunch visit, but service was still quick when you could flag down a waitress, and the kitchen sure turned out orders very speedily.
I forgot to mention the desserts. At lunch, there were only 2 desserts on the menu. On first sight, none seemed special -- a creme brulee and a almond tofu, but we decided to try one each anyway. When it arrived, we could not figure out which was which, so special and creative was the presentation, and the flavours -- all I could say is "wow". Do try the desserts if you go here.
On a whim my gf and I decided to stop by here for dinner recently. With the large queues largely dispersed since their grand opening, we were able to get seated immediately.
The vibe is alive with lots of energy coming from the staff. The space itself is stylish and hip which fits in nicely with the other restaurants on the block though I would say it would be nice to see a little more Japanese flare all around.
Both of us went through about a dozen dishes that night with some fantastic standouts. These include the amazing sweet corn kakiage fritters, which uses a simple batter with seasoning like the chicken karaage. It's sweet, salty, crunchy and incredibly delicious, so much so that we ordered it twice. The cha-han beef and garlic fried rice was simplistic, but fragrant and beautifully made. It was savoury with mellow hints of garlic throughout. The cha-shu braised pork was slow cooked to melt-in-your-mouth tender accompanied with a very light broth and a asian spice mix which livens it up. It does contain a fatty top portion which we were warned about by the server and depending on your palette may not suit your taste. The gindara kama black cod cheek was also beautifully cooked and with bone in retained a lot more flavour versus just having the flesh portion, though it made for a bit of a mess. Then we come to the chicken karaage which was lightly seasoned and served with a salt and pepper dip. Unfortunately from the highs comes the lows of the night. The poutine, a nice rendition of kimchi, minced pork and cheese was perfectly fine but was ruined by the poorly made french fries, at best just limp strands of potato. They were thick cut but seemed they weren't double fried or cooked at too low a temperature too soon. The potabello mushrooms were a dish that tried to do too much when it should've just been left alone. It was tossed in a thick sauce which overpowered the natural woody flavour of the portabello and made for a rather unappealing dish. Drinks were also had including my fresh ginger ale, a fantastic refresher throughout the meal. Do note that tea is extra here.
The service is speedy and typical of Izakayas here. Staff are friendly and are quick with clearing dishes and drink orders. We were surprised that one went out of there way to hold the door for patrons to leave. A nice touch.
I'm a bit split on Suika because of the hiccups in execution on a couple of dishes. Depending on what you order your experience may really swing to one side but considering that most of our dishes were fantastic including the drinks it could be a fantastic dining excursion.
Went on a weeknight and it was not very busy. Very casual place with an open kitchen, nice bar and group sitting area in the back with fencing like at a baseball diamond. Tried the salmon carpaccio which was very good, ebi mayo prawns - not crisp and not good, sable fish - good, tuna sashimi - average, fried rice cake - bad, and finally cheesecake - average. Menu is fairly diverse with a fresh sheet menu as well. Overall the food is average for this type of Japanese restaurant. Service was quick and efficient. Pricing is bit on the high side considering the smaller portion sizes. Overall, would rather go to Hapa, Kingyo or Guu.
Went here with my boyfriend a few days ago, they were pretty busy inside and didn't offer us to sit outside and it was sunny (maybe because they think people prefer the inside?). Our hostess tried to squeeze us inside which would've been horrible, but we asked to sit outside and it was so much nicer and quiet. The inside looked very cramped too, if you're planning on visiting, I would make reservations.
On to the food.. I don't think the spot prawns were fresh (as in they were previously frozen), so for $3 each that was kind of a disappointment, the tuna-avacado was okay, nothing special, the grilled duck was very very chewy so I wouldn't recommend that, the kakuni bibimbap (pork jowl) was very tender but kind of bland, it's still neat to try, the oxtail ramen (my boyfriend loves ramen and says this one place on Robson and Denmark is even better than some places in Japan) enjoyed it. He said it was good, which is impossible to hear from him. And the AAA beef fillet steak was good, interesting for those who never experienced this at a restaurant. The deluxe Suika box which was recommended from the server as "sooo good the best," was not very good. It was just a bit of all the appetizers they had, which none of us liked. But the service was good. It's definitely a place to try, but I think most people would prefer Guu. I would always recommend at least trying this place.
Kinyo one is my favorite Japanese Izakaya restaurant, when I found out that they also opened Suika I was very excited to go try it out! The ambiance was nice the decors were cool. We came for a birthday celebration, it was busy but would of expected everything to still be solid...but to my surprise it did not par with Kingyo. We asked for tea and water but they slowly brought it one by one, missed some of the people at the table?! We ordered the braised pork belly, it was too fatty and bland, next came the udon with clams, clams were really bitter and just not tasty, noodles were bland, ebi mayo was overly done the batter was very dry and overcooked, it looked very wrinkled and burnt! The only decent dishes included the duck carpaccio, seared duck breast, kimchi prawn sashimi the salmon sashimi. Braised pork rib came out with a piece of rib bone, it was also very dry and the taste was not flavorful compared to the juicy delicious one at Kingyo it was like an amateur dish. Finally we got dessert, the green tea creme brulee was still frozen, they served it without defrosting it, wow what a bad dinner at Suika! I know it was busy there should be no excuse for poor execution, they do not have the quality that Kinyo offers!
I think I've been here 3 times in 6 weeks and everytime I want to try everything on the menu. I just about have. Their steak, duck, salads, any sashimi, and pressed sushi are the highlights. Not a fan of their jewel box or any of the desserts. The only dish that's completely disappointing is the ebi mayo. Everything else is a solid good.
Their service is unbelievably fast, but their English is terrible. As long as you can be patient with that minor flaw, it's definitely worth it.
Suika, meaning Watermelon in English, is the sister restaurant of Kingyo located Downtown. Situated on West Broadway, it is relatively easy to find, and parking is available along the street, though it might take a few tries along the block to find a spot. Like its predecessor, it serves Japanese Izakaya-style dishes. The dining experiences I had at Suika, on two occasions, were very enjoyable and I definitely recommend Suika.
Food (4): Let's get the bad stuff out of the way. Don't go for sashimi, since there isn't much to choose from and the quality is only average or worse. However, they don't charge an arm and a leg, so if you do insist on sashimi, it's still very edible but not recommended. The entire menu is not very big. Like Kingyo, they have the regular menu which contains stable items that will be served year round, and that in itself does not offer an abundance of items to choose from. Their seasonal menu is the size of an A4 paper (which also contains the sashimi items) and also is quite limited. That said, most items on the menu were very good, with a few exceptions. For one, their Ma Po Mochi was too salty, exhibited no depth in flavor and generally was just a disappointment. Avoid at all costs. Their pressed negitoro roll was another disappointment, though I could see signs of their creative approach. The sushi rice was too mushy, the tuna and green onion portion too dull, and the homemade sauce had a distinct sour but unpleasant flavor that practically ruined the dish. Moving on the good, which includes regular izakaya items like chicken karaage, ebi mayo, tataki and carpaccios were all very good. Even grilled dishes like the hamachi kama didn’t disappoint. Like Kingyo, Suika also threw a few twists to their menu, such as DIY sushi, which provided the seaweed, sushi rice, raw fish, mayo, and tobiko, etc, for customers to wrap their own sushi. It was surprising fun to assemble and quite tasty. Another fun item was the “shake” salad with assorted sashimi (tuna and salmon) which came in the form of a waitress shaking a jar of salad to mix up the ingredients and dressing and then serving it in a bowl. It was fun and gave us a chance to interact with the waitress. Some hit items among myself and friends were the grilled beef tongue steak and beef tenderloin cubes served on a hot stone plate. The beef tongue was very flavorful and grilled perfectly. The tenderloin was very juice and appetizing. Other items like the cha-shu torotoro (pork belly) and cilantro seafood batter were ok, though some friends found it very tasty. Overall, the food was quite good and hopefully they’ll come up with new items soon.
Service (4): Very attentive and friendly service. However, some items came late and had to be brought to attention of our servers. Otherwise, we were pleased with the service overall.
Value (4): Value is on par with similar establishments in the lower mainland. It is comparable to Guu, but slightly cheaper than Hapa and Zakkushi. The portion is fair, but don’t expect to be stuffed in any tapas-oriented restaurant. Our party found the bill cheaper than expected.
Ambience (5): They put in a lot of work and creativity in the décor. You can tell they are leaning towards the more casual atmosphere, and they succeeded in doing so. The sake bottle chandelier is a highlight, and they earn bonus points for not looking like other joints in Vancouver. One thing to mention though is that ventilation is quite poor in the room in the back, as our party found it quite stuffy in there.
Suika is a unique izakaya restaurant that caters to the younger crowd through creative offerings in their menu and appealing décor. It is a worthy addition to the izakaya scene in Vancouver and definitely a must-try for foodies who are into Japanese food.
After eating our way through Japan last year, my partner and I often crave good izakaya snackies. And Suika certainly delivers.
We shared a number of dishes, including braised pork so tender it fell apart whence poked. The chicken karaage was deliciously battered, served with peppery salt the deliciously ubiquitous Japanese mayo. We went a little nutty with the deep-friedness, choosing also the ebi mayo- Next time, might go for a sashimi instead. The meal was rounded off with an amazingly seasoned beef carpaccio, tossed with egg yolk and seasoned with ground sesame seeds. It was, in a word, amazing.
Dinner for both of us, not including booze, was about $45. A little on the pricey side, but well worth it. We'll certainly be back!
You can probably find some of these dishes for cheaper price because there are so many competitions for Japanese Tapas in Vancouver now. I am also not a big fan of the location choice compare to Guu. However, why I still say that you have to come try it here instead of going to the Guu all the time?
Every single dish we order is excellently decorated and I found some of the plates taste a bit like fine Chinese food with a bit spicy favor in it, some of the plates taste like fine French cuisine and of course, the fish is always so fresh and tasteful. You will also fall in love with the incredible postmodern interior design and take a lot of photos here!
Suika is, in my opinion, the best izakaya in town. Kingyo (same owner) is certainly comparable, but I find the menu at Suika more exciting and more innovative. Everything bursts with flavour and the sauces and dressings they use aren't to be found anywhere else in the city. I lived for three years in Tokyo and have tried my fair share of higher-tier izakaya in Japan; I find Suika to rival even those. Japanese friends that I take to Suika are blown away, with many even questioning how izakaya fare could be so good outside of Japan. The atmosphere is excellent. As the first reviewer mentioned, it is a perfect combination of old and new, and it pulls everything off in a comfortable and lively way. The service is top-notch, and the servers and kitchen staff are all extremely friendly. The head chef and many of the servers remembered me after the first time I went there and now all come over to greet me with each visit. If you EVER have a bad experience here I would be surprised and would urge you to go back for a second chance as this place is THE. REAL. DEAL. I recommend the Negitoro Battera, Shimesaba Battera, Asian Kakiage and the Toro toro tontoro, though everything I have tried there has been delicious. The appetizer taster box is really good for a starter as well! Do yourself a favour and give this place a try. Believe me, it's far better than the rest...and I've enjoyed all the rest.
Suika not only accomplishes what every Japanese Tapas Bar in Vancouver tries to do, but goes above any beyond with excellent service, presentation, and atmosphere.
The place feels as if you have entered NeoTokyo and juxtaposes traditional Japanese fixings such as the walls and counters with Japanese Pop Art and Action Figures perfectly. The layout of the restaurant is roomy and not overcrowded, the chairs really comfortable, and the entire style of the place makes you want to pause and just look around at the decor. The washrooms, though a small space, are well-planned and they are even curteous enough to provide toiletries, mouth wash, dental floss, and q-tips in the ladies bathroom.
The food was excellent, and around the same price as Guu. I recommend the Ebi Mayo and the Tuna Belly on rice which were both prepared perfectly and presented nicely. The stone bowl rice and hot pots were also enjoyable to look at and eat. My only wish is that they had more grilled items on the menu and more seafood such as squid, but again, that's only a personal preference.
The service was easily what stood out most at the restaurant. The waitstaff were curteous and attentive, but not annoying or interruptive. Even though the glasses for the jasmine tea were small, they quickly refilled it each time without even asking. Food was delivered at perfect times as if they were watching and waiting for us to finish our dish so as to not over-crowd the table or keep us waiting. They also gave us new dishes and bowls with various dishes so as to not mix the flavours. To top this off, when we left literally everyone in the restaurant bid us farewell and a server held the door upon for us upon our exist.
I will definately return here, and anticipate it becomming a popular night spot for many.
Izakayas are Japan's version of Irish pubs - they serve great food, great drinks and the atmosphere is lively and with it.
And Suika, a relatively new addition to Vancouver's South Granville area, meets all the standards of a great Izakaya.
A funky interior, an open-kitchen concept, a super-friendly wait staff, an extensive menu that is priced right and food presented in a creative and innovative way, add up to a lot of happy customers.
By 7 p.m. on a Tuesday evening Suika is abuzz and almost filled.
Our culinary adventure (we've never tried Japanese food; tapas style) begins with an Amabi appetizer - five sweet succulent shrimps totally intact bathed in a spicy Kimchi sauce. It's a great combination.
Our next dish - the restaurant's signature dish - the $10 Suika Box is outstanding.
An elegant lacquered Bento box is full of small beautifully presented appetizer dishes, each in their own small cup, the kind used for serving sake shots.
The box includes various bite-sized appetizers - a soft tofu silky and smooth, sprinkled with tiny crunchy chips of some kind; small pieces of tuna tataki with Daikon, seared slightly on the outside, rich and so fresh; steamed velvety egg pudding with crunchy asparagus; a heavenly small Kimchee marinated tomato with Chinese chives and cilantro oil; three pieces of crunchy tasty stir-fried lotus root; small pieces of mackerel, salty and earthy and two crackers with a creamy spread.
The sashimi salad is brought to the table; the greens, dressing and fresh tuna are all in a closed Mason jar.
The server does a bit of a shake, rattle, 'n' roll and bingo, your salad ends up in a large bowl.
It was yummy.
The combination of the mixed greens, fresh chunks of tuna, and a sesame seed oil soya dressing, added up to great flavour profile.
A large beef short rib, glazed with a sweet balsamic vinegar sauce, charred on the outside, the inside a perfect piece of tenderness, was robust and tasted terrific.
And that braised pork with Suika's special spice blend was a piece of succulent delicious goodness.
The sashimi - three pieces each of spot prawns, tuna and salmon - was clean and fresh.
The presentation was something to behold - the sashimi resting on dried twigs and beneath them a large banana leaf.
Dessert was a classic Creme Brulee with a twist - it was frozen and topped off with Mango ice cream and a dollop of whipped cream.
It was a fabulous combination and it worked - it worked because it wasn't one of those cloying overly sweet desserts that a lot of restaurants are so fond of serving.
When we told our server how wonderful it was he was more than proud in telling us that he created it.
At the end, we received a small bowl of frozen red grapes - a neat way to end a terrific meal.
Bottom line: Suika's food is creative, innovative and tasty.
The Bill: $77.23 for three, before taxes and tip.
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