Tojo's is a Japanese restaurant on Broadway that is consistently rated one of the top restaurants of its kind in Vancouver.
My husband and I were in town for a few days. A few years ago he had eaten at Tojos and had a good experience. He had let the chef prepare a menu for less than $200.00, tip included. Still A bit high,but I figured if it's outstanding, let's do it. Well...what we got were small...I mean small...portions of cooked dishes, a few of which contained a few small pieces of fish and the rest sauce and veggies; one small sushi dish and some less than incredible pieces ( 4 pieces to be exact) of sushi. Best of all, didn't get requested fish in roll. And one had roll consisted of rice and a piece of tempora shrimp, only...no joke. Anyway, as we waited on the bill, less than satisfied, we were floored to see that we were charged $370 plus dollars (not including tip) for these little cheaply prepared dished. Although we felt completely worked over, we paid and left. The absolute kicker besides the outrageous bill was that we didn't even get the high quality sushi that had brought us there...even after asking for it. I would not recommend this place.
When you first step into this restaurant, you'll notice the ambiance, it is soothing and inviting. Relaxing even.
Then you take a look at the menu and you'll notice all the quotes from famous people/publication/tv show and awards for the restaurant. Promising indeed.
Next you open the menu and you go "Whoa...ok then....hope it's worth it." then you go
"maybe i should go across the street and go tomokazu for all you can eat for the price of a roll here...hmmm..."
The service i gave it mediocre because we had to wait quite a bit for everything. Even water and tea! I know the place is bigger than most and it is busy, not packed, just busy, but waiting for 10 minutes to get your water just doesn't warrant anything above mediocre for service. Not to mention a supposed high end dining place.
The food i gave it outstanding because the ingredients are top notch fresh. It is not even excellent when you think about the perceive standard that the price range suggested. The taste is nothing special because i've tasted the same stuffs at other much cheaper restaurants. The portion size is also very small.
That brings the score for value at poor. This is what i got for myself, yes myself.
I ordered baked oysters at 2 for $10 and what i got was half an oyster in each shell, rest filled with mushrooms.
The assorted nigiri came in at $34 and you get 8 pieces of nigiri and a small tuna roll. Fresh fish that you can get else where.
The rolls were minimum $20 each. There were 8 pieces for a roll. Good but not at that price. Oh and my roll came loose.
The only thing that is worth the price is the homemade sorbet, at $6 each.
So to sum it up, i am very disappointed with tojo. It's a good restaurant with good food but the reputation and the price range just don't match the product. There are japanese restaurants out there that serve equally good quality at half the price. I can't recommend this restaurant. If you have to go, don't go hungry or you'll be broke.
As others have commented, I am thinking that Tojo-san has gone just a bit above himself.
I have been a Tojo fan since 'way back at Jinya, back in the 80's. It was always fantastic, always worth it. When he set up "Tojo's" near Cambie, it was fun and still worth it.
The new location leaves me cold, as does the value of what he is pumping out. I took Japanese visitors there for omakase, and I was embarrassed, as well as quite a bit poorer.
Service was almost non-existent, but an Indian gentleman who spoke Japanese was very much in the spotlight.
The omakase was NOT worth the money, and even my Japanese visitors figured that out. Lots of premade cooked dishes, a few sushi items and that was it. Tojo-san himself came out to collect kudos. Even with the Japanese, he was a braggart, boastful.
Too bad, but I don't think that I will return, even after all these years of believing.
Can't say if this place can be a regular dinner venue as it was definitely steep but for special occasions or to impress your guests, it does not get better. My spouse had the Omakase and loved it, I had the ala carte as I wanted to have their Northern Light Roll and Tojo's Tuna and they were both spectacular. The tuna was melt in your mouth and the sauce not too sweet. Their Omakase (chef's creations so no ala carte) range from $60 to No Limit. Our server was attentive, thank god we got him as there were some rather strange servers around, see for yourself. One Japanese kid was kind loud for no reason at all and he was trying to be obnoxious but failed miserably, hard to explain. It was a great experience but not life changing. Unique rolls and seafood but was it worth the kind of prices charged ($21 for Tempura, $7 for Agedashi Tofu), I didn't think so. The room also looked dated, one would think for the kind of prices charged, Tojo would kick the decor up a notch. Having said this, I would return, but only for a really special occasion or if someone else is buying. For 2, our dinner came to $144 which included the following:
1. 2 beers and 1 sake
2. 2 rolls
3. Agedashi Tofu
4. Omakase at $60 pp
5. Small order of Tojo's Tuna
After striking out a half a dozen times trying to get a reservation for a party of 12 to celebrate my birthday, we finally settled on Tojo's. Many places would not give a reservation between 6 and 9, some couldn't accomodate a party that size, some were already reserved. Tojo's wanted a credit card to ensure we showed up and would charge $200 if we didn't which was an interesting policy but we agreed since we were having difficulty find a place to accomodate us.
Everyone settled on the $80 Omakase menu where Tojo himself selects each dish. The cooked dishes were all very good, especially the sablefish. The sushi items were less than stellar although there was a tasty scallop roll that had interesting flavours.
The service was very good overall. Drinks were always full and dishes were explained in detail, almost too much information. There were some gaps in food delivery between each course which was a little bothersome especially since most at the table were starving.
Overall, I enjoyed my dining experience at Tojo's. My biggest complaint would be the low overall value; I would definately not order the Omakase option again. I have dined here previously and ordered a la carte and left much more satisfied and heavier in the wallet.
Creamy fresh fish. Toro is melt-in-your mouth juicy! Perfect temperature for the raw fish. Always fresh, except maybe the occassional prawn that doesn't seem AS fresh or as sweet as it should be. Service is flawless, friendly, perfect! Deserving of every last bit of a generous tip! They make the bluefin tuna worth every penny! Or tens of dollars, rather... From food to service, I have no quarrel, except that hopefully, there will be more cooked creations I would lovvvve to try that's prepared by Tojo and his staff. But for the raw variety, this is the best! For more cooked/raw variety, go for the chef creation in the higher price range of the options given.
My fiance and I went to Tojo's for our anniversary dinner and we had the 5 course Omasake menu.
Omg - I love Tojo's! I thought their service was top notch. Well, at least our server was very attentive to us. She was so friendly, and happy. On our way out she even gave us two complimentary shots, an extra dessert and a pair of chopsticks for us both. Just a few minutes ago, I received a phone call from Tojo's asking how we had enjoyed our dinner there. I mean...where do you get that kind of service?
The food was very good. There were a couple of dishes that were ok, but then there were also some dishes that we thought were delicious!
Some may argue that the quality of food is not worth the price; I would say it depends what you are comparing Tojo's with. If you're going to compare Tojo's with Sushi Garden or Hapa Izakaya or Sea Monster, then of course you're going to think that it's not worth it. You're comparing apples to oranges. If you compare Tojo's with say Hapa Umi or Kimura or Miku or Octopus Garden then I think there's a much fairer comparison. We did not like Hapa Umi or Octopus Garden.
We're definitely going back to Tojo's again and next time, we want to sit at the sushi bar!!
I was taken here for my birthday and the five of us sat at the sushi bar. I was told that when you are at the bar, you don't order off the menu - which was refreshing! Tojo came and asked us if we have any food allergies and then he started doing his thing. He was so nice and down to earth, and I heard that New York and LA tried to recruit him but he stayed loyal to Vancouver. So Vancouverites, stop being cheap about the price! If you have to think about the cost, this is not the place for you. I did ask to see the cocktail menu and all the martinis looked incredible... I settled on Carmen's Guava which was divine and so fresh. I also had a glass of Tojo's select white wine which was awesome. We started with the marinated Tojo tuna - the best raw fish you could ever have! We gave Tojo a challenge - we told him we are big steak eaters and we'd love some beef! He rose to the occasion with the most flavourful and delicious beef I have ever had. We had so many courses, I won't describe everything, but it was all intricate, with different flavours and textures, and made with the freshest most quality ingredients. This restaurant is the best of the best, so don't come here if you are expecting large portions and lots for your money. You are paying for exciting, fine food - it is not for the masses.
A lot of very positive and very negative reviews here that's expected. First of all, I agree with the other reviewer who said people in Vancouver expect japanese food to be cheap and very few can imagine paying $100+ for a meal. But when yuo go to Tojo's, it's an experience you cannot find in any other japanese restaurant in Vancouver. I've sat at the bar and at tables. I've had some bad experiences with one or two of the servers (yes, they're sometimes aggressive) but other times they are very observant and on the ball. When you go with omakase, you'll be served works of art. The room is gorgeous and slick. Tojo himself is visible and approachable. If you want to experience the ultimate ripoff in japanese cuisine, try Nobu in the US which shouldn't even be called japanese. Go to Tojo's with an open mind and enjoy.
Food: I can make better sushi rice than those idiots. There's not a lot of varieties of fish. It's not like southern California, sushi is so good there with all kinds of fish. The menu and ingredients are quite limited Sashimi is so so, not the best sashimi I ever had, certainly not that price. I had much better sashimi but much cheaper and better decor and better service in the States. Why is Tojo so expensive then? They spent all the money on PR and advertising. It's just a hype.
Service: It was so slow. It's a joke. When you pay a lot of money (fine dining price), you really expect good service. I don't care the restaurant is busy or not, if you charge people fine dining price, you need to hire more waiters to keep the service prompted. They want you to pay lots money and not being a cheapo, but they are acting like cheapos themselves. Ya,that's really classy.
Ambiance: Whatever. The decor doesn't look like a fine dining restaurant to me.
These days, with the popularity of food TV, a lot of restaurants got their PR time on TV. They sure turn around and try to sell themselves as some expensive big deal. In fact, it's just a hype like mother used to say "Don't believe TV advertisement." Having a segment on TV is a different form of advertisement. The 30 seconds commercial spot lets you know it's an advertisement already. The TV segment (they can get it from paying the producer or hook up with the producer) is a more subtle advertisement. You think it's show producers' research and point of view. It can be bought. In fact, a lot of them pay for their TV segments.
Before you go to Tojos remember one thing. You get what you pay for. If you're looking for a deal, then go to All You Can Eat Japanese place. If you;re looking for quality then Tojos is your place. Probably the freshest sashimi around and definately the nicest cuts of tuna including Hamachi. Of course the price is expensive, party of 4 with 2 drinks each was $300.00 or $75.00. Great good and service !
I’m not really sure what the fuss is about with this high priced sushi joint.
We went with the suggested $80 tasting menu which consisted of 5 high quality, but very small dishes; the sablefish being the only one to really catch my attention. The food was very good, but with a less than fair value. The place settings were that of a all you can eat restaurant, with cheap glass wear, chopsticks and paper napkins. This is certainly not a fancy spot, but then it’s not supposed to be. The service was attentive, knowledgeable and very friendly. In all fairness, the food was very good, but could be found at other sushi rooms in town for far less$$.
I am confident that for $150 a head, you could dine at any restaurant you choose in town.
There are no words to describe how good, how delictable, and how amazing the service was at Tojo's!
Went there with my husband for our anniversary and it was the best decision ever!
Food- to die for! The sashimi was so fresh, it melts in your mouth! The special rolls, so delictable! Quality and originality rings out through the whole meal!
Ambiance -- Clean, neat and trendy
Service- outstanding!!! Never once did I have to wave down our server, he was always there when we needed something. Also Chef Tojo himself even greeted us and thanked us on our way out!
Overall -- would go back in a heart beat!
A must go!!!!
The first time I came to Tojo's I expected to foot a large bill, as my colleague comes here once a month and had given me the FYI. I ended up paying $220 before tax for 2 (no Sake). The food is incredible. A lot of flaming about the ridiculous pricing, and I agree, it's quite expensive... but Tojo's is a Japanese fine dining establishment - I think a lot of folk who dine at Tojo's for the 1st time expect to pay slightly more than at an AYCE restaurant, which is definitely NOT the case. That aside, we received great service - our waitress gave us a lot of attention and explained the origins of each dish cause she knew this was our first time.
The only negative experience came at the end of the night... we capped off a great meal by not finding my car where I parked it (in the parking lot in the back of the restaurant)... apparently someone from Tojo's called in to Drake's to tow it away.. there are no signs indicating no parking, and Tojo's even advertises that the back parking lot is for customer parking only... but apparently it's for 'frequent' customers (he has to recognize the cars). Sorta sucks, ended up forking out another $93 + cab fare to pick up the car from the Drake's yard... anyways, moral of the story is to not park in the back unless the man himself knows your car...
Back on topic: I'd recommend going to Tojo's for anniversaries or really special occasions - definitely not a 1st date place as this will set a really bad precedent ($$$)... Anyways, I'd say a good benchmark would be +/- $100 per person.
I am was very disapointed eating at tojos'. $28 for tempura? I bet they get the veggies from the same wholesalers as every other japanese restaurant! I really don't know why this restaurant gets all this attention. Sorry Tojo, this place is a waste of money...
There were 6 of us. We all went with the $80 chef special. The special included 5 dishes and a dessert.
The first dish was a tuna/blue fin tuna salad. The tuna was raw. The dish was very fresh and tasty though the sauce (soy sauce?) was too salty. Unfortunately, this is where the good food ended.
The second course was Pacific cod salad with sesame sauce. The cod was cooked. This dish was very bland. The sauce didn't taste like sesame and was bland too.
The third and fourth courses were grilled salmon steak and grilled halibut cheek. Both were overcooked. Following this was a plate of sushi & nigiri. The raw seafood on the nigiri were all very dry, which was odd. Can't say they didn't taste fresh but the lack of moisture made us think it's been sitting there for a while. The last course was a pineapple yogurt dessert which was unremarkable.
The dishes were all tiny and poor value for money. No one in our group enjoyed the meal and wanted to return.
I've been here a a couple times, once, after a stressful week of exams, and once for a romantic dinner with the boyfriend.
I find service here great. The first time I was here, my friend was over thirty minutes late, and the servers made sure that I was not bored by taking turns and having simple conversations with me. The second time, service was slightly worse, but better than most places. It was also pleasant to have a lady in a traditional outfit walking around smiling and greeting you too. I have been reluctant to speak to Tojo, who can be within an earshot range of you based on the word that he's a cocky little guy. But one day I would love to speak to the chef who claims he invented the California Roll! Nevertheless, he looks like one of those cute old Japanese anime characters, and he's fun to watch.
The place is fairly new, given they moved to their new locations within the last few years, so ambiance is outstanding. It's a little difficult to find the place on Broadway during the evening though, there's no bight lights pointing you to the restaurant; look for a little flag sticking out with the writing "Tojos."
As for food, I have tried the $80 and $120 dollar Omakase, and I enjoyed it! Omakase is what Tojo's is known for: you're entrusting Tojo to make your meal for you. All you have to do is tell the Server you want the Omakase and that you prefer ____ but you hate _____, and they sort of just stir something up.
Some people may not like the price because you are getting the same ingredients served in a regular Japanese restaurant for 20X the price, but compared to normal Japanese restaurants, there's a genuine delightful freshness to it.
However, I'm not sure if the tradeoff between price and freshness (that some people don't seem to notice) is worth what Tojo is charging. I would come back here again, only if I feel like real quality foods...but that probably won't be for a while.
Should have known better as this place was recommended by a 'friend'. You know, everyone has one of those 'friends' that must get the latest over price gadget. The same kind of person that wrongly believes that outrageously expensive must be good.
Well, curiosity got the best of me so I decided to see what the hype was all about. Plus, if I'm gonna talk smack about a place, I might as well check it out in person.
My bf and I went and ordered the chef special which is $120 for 6 dishes. They should clarify that it is really $120 for 6 appetizers, actually, the portions were even smaller. They were the same size as the samples at Costco.
And the worst part was there was nothing special at all about any of the dishes. Half the dishes I could cook myself. And the other half was just regular sushi/sashimi that you could get at Temaki.
For that price I expect to be served some kind of rare expensive seafood, not just regular salmon and tuna that I could get at any other Japanese place.
Oh well, live and learn. And now I can tell everyone, DO NOT GET SUCKERED BY THE HYPE. Just cause a restaurant is mentioned in some magazine means squat.
Plus, we were there on a Saturday night and it was absolutely dead. Including ourselves there was two other tables, guess everyone already knows what a rip off this place is.
Good food should be expected when you pay expensive, and yes, they served good quality. Beautiful interior decoration, and I almost thought this would be a nice place for a romantic evening, until the moment when waiters started to sing "Happy Birthday" loud, I mean out loud. I am not quite sure where a restaurant should make a line of friendliness; I mean it is good to see friendly gesture but you do not want to hear waiters singing in a 5 star restaurant...or maybe it was not a 5 star, but the food prices were...
The only way to go at Tojo's is Omakase. Let Tojo make a meal catered to your favorites and be sure to mention what you don't like! He'll create a unique 5 or 6 course meal for your that includes a couple appetizers, two major entree style dishes, and an amazing dessert! Each time its very different (especially if you visit in different seasons). Also you must try the Bacon-Wrapped, Shrimp cooked Beef Rolls (name escapes me)... they are morsel of pure heaven (hell for the heart).
Also Tojo's cold Sake selection is good especially enjoyable served in a chilled bamboo serving set! Sure its expensive, but its worth every penny.
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