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3.5
  • Food3.5
  • Service3.5
  • Value3
  • Ambiance2.5
  • Reviews27

Vanya

5615 Harold St
Vancouver, BC V5R4J9
Tel: (604) 433-1303
Neighbourhood: East Side

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 27 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Solid Japanese lunch
By lindarose of Vancouver (172 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 6:16pm [Dine in]

Brought my two kids here for lunch.

They had a special, a Chicken Teriyaki (sp?) Don Bowl with shrimp salad and miso soup for $8.50. I ordered one of these to be split between the kids. I ordered the chicken teriyaki combo for $11.00.

Our food arrived in a reasonable time. I would have preferred if they brought the kids items first as it would give me a chance to get their meat, and arrange everything for them before my food comes out. It is a minor quibble though - I'll just make a habit of requesting that the kids be served first in the future.

The food itself was good. I liked the chicken, it was flavourful without being overpowering. The sauce was not simply glopped on, it was cooked properly.

My combo was nice, the Tempura was light and crispy and there were even two generous sized prawn tempuras!! Everything tasted fresh.

The service was friendly and efficient. The ambiance was okay - clean and functional only. For dining with two preschool aged children - this suits me fine.

I will return as I would like to try some of their sushi rolls and sashimi.

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Oh Yeah to Van-Ya
By Gidge of Vancouver (93 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 12:29am [Dine in]

I'm happy to see that little has changed since the late 80s. Literally. Well, except the old Japanese couple may have retired or sold it to another Japanese proprietor. The food is very good, authentically Japanese in ingredients, taste and size (not too big). Hubby and I shared several rolls and mini udons, and shabu shabu. The soup broth is exquisite and simply made. The key ingredient that they use that few other restaurants seem to bother wish, is tempura flakes. What difference it makes to the broth! We especially love their negitoro rolls - nicely minced and tightly wrapped. The service can be a bit spotty if they're busy but the ladies are very nice and food is also brought out in a timely manner. It took a few requests to get tea but other than that, I don't have much to complain about. Value is very good where most of their menu items are about par with other Japanese resto' - including the Cbinese owned ones. However, if you're into massive rolls, this is not the place to visit. They have reasonably priced bento boxes and grilled fish. If you sit at the sushi bar, you can witness the non-stop action at the grilling station. Quite entertaining. Ambiance is dated with simple furniture and little wall adornment. Seats about 40 patrons and it's usually busy on weekends, so be prepared to wait. If you're looking for that authentic, Japanese mom'n pop place, Van-Ya is a perfect replica of that experience.

Recommended.

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Decent sushi.
By teddyandturtle of Vancouver - Kingsway (84 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, January 5, 2010 - 11:43pm [Dine in]

Just went here not too long ago. As a vegetarian, they don't have many items on the menu for me. As expected. They were very friendly and greeted me as soon as I came in. They did apologize for their lack of a veggie menu, but told me the few items they did have without meat.

I ordered two orders of avocado rolls. They were good.. but I wished they put a bit more avocado in. The rice is fine, maybe a tad too much vinegar though. It was nearly 7 dollars for the two orders, so I wish the portion size was a bit bigger.

The restaurant itself looked clean, could use a couple of decorations though.

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Authentic Hole in the Wall Japanese Joint
By CaptainNemo of Vancouver (97 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 15, 2009 - 12:11pm [Dine in]

A whole in the wall restaurant. Very authentic.

I have been here many times over the years, I have lived in this neighbourhood. Although I have not been here in a while.

I tried out there cold noodles and it was soooo good. I find that their sashimi is good, but not that outstanding. And their portions seems small.

However, with the price, I think it is quite reasonable for small dishes.

The decor may need some updating, but overall, I think this is quite good.

Would definately go back.

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Good standard japanese place..
By aregma of Burnaby (116 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 25, 2008 - 6:34pm [Dine in]

Came here for dinner two times, both times the service is friendly but sparse. Hard to wave someone down to get a tea refill or even the bill.

Food wise nothing was bad, but nothing stood out as great either. So I thought their food was pretty solid. Portions were decent in size and good for me. I was satisfied with the value, but I wouldn't say it is cheap.

I have tried their fish dinner, as well as their chirashi don, salad as well as a the gyoza. All were decent and consistent.

Clean and simple decor. Would be back if in the area.

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It's alright, but you can do better
By EatsFats of Vancouver (321 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, May 10, 2008 - 12:21am [Dine in]

Little hole-in-the wall place that has been here for quite a while a think. Place is just like you expect, fortunately, seems quite clean, but don't expect any special ambience! Service is decent enough for what it is, maybe even bordering on friendly :-)
The chef certainly looks like he knows what he's doing, though he ssems a little tired or unmotivated. Maybe too many years without a holiday.

Yes, it serves sushi, but I guess the special is the "home-style" meals. These are not bad, and certainly inexpensive relative to other places.
So here's the rub though, the "other" places aren't that much more and you also get more. Mainly I'm referring to Hachibei or Tenhachi. Both of which offer more "extravagant" meals which have more stuff, more variety and is done at least as well if not better.

Don't get me wrong, if you live in the neighbourhood, save the planet and walk to Vanya by all means. But for the others, I'd take the jaunt over to the other 2 places instead.

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How have I not reviewed this place?!
By jezzme of Burnaby (62 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, December 1, 2008 - 1:33pm [Dine in]

Although the ownership has recently changed, Van-ya has pretty much remained the same for about 20 years. This is one of the first restaurants I had sushi and sashimi at, and quality and authenticity is key here.

This was (and continues to be) owned and operated by a Japanese couple, and the current chefs were apprentices under the previous owner and chef. Go a couple times and you'll notice that there are locals who dine here frequently - for a reason!

The food is consistently fresh and good, and their takeout bento boxes have satisfied many a school kid / college student / young adult in our family. We've also had many a cousin gathering and (small) family gathering here as well. Their special roll is enough for lunch or dinner, and their summer time special cold noodle is deliciously appetizing.

Love this place, hope that the new management doesn't change it too much!

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Authentic Japanese Cuisine-
By vancouverpiggie of burnaby (51 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, February 28, 2008 - 4:34am [Dine in]

I ate here tonight and although it's been nearly 6 years since I came back to this place (for no particular reason), the food is still the same! great consistency.

it's a very cute family owned business as you see the dad preparing the sushi and sashimis while mom and perhaps aunt or daughter cooking in the back. the son seems to make phone calls and deiliveries. the restaurant isn't big but it gets by.

clean, is the word.

now on to the food.

don't expect...well i guess anything fancy or fusionistic or contemporary in the menu as the selection has not changed much and everything is very traditionally shown and made. ingredients are very fresh and the method of cooking is very japanese and authentic. the sushi are not big and the meats are cut into near shreds and cooked with salt and pepper. the miso contains JAPANESE seawood. the condiments and sauces are all home made.

price wise, nothing has changed much except maybe small hikes here and there due to global inflation and gas. however the portions and the prices are more than fair and more than enough for the average joe.

I'd recommend this place for casual or business affairs.

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Decent Japanese
By frugalgourmet of Vancouver (70 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, March 8, 2007 - 10:01pm [Dine in]

I've usually visited Vanya's for lunch. Their udon's are under $6 and their sushi is freshly and delicately prepared. Although their sushi rolls are not the largest, they are well prepared with fresh ingredients and are made by the owner himself. The grilled fish combinations seem really popular, although I've never tried them myself. Not a large menu, but definitely good value. Their $9.25 Beef Terriyaki combination meal gets you beef terriyaki with veggies, rice, california roll, salad and miso soup. Service can be a little slow if you are part of a large group, but I've always received my food promptly when dining in groups 2 or less. It's amazing to watch the 3 chefs (1 on grill, 1 on deep fryer, 1 on sushi counter ) and 1 server keep the place running smoothly. They even tabulate your bill using a manual calculator! I must make a point of trying more menu items during the dinner hour.

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Home-made goodness
By hellothere of Richmond (15 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 - 9:43pm [Dine in]

This family owned japanese restaurant is something to come back for. Every saturday, I come here to pick up my lunch. The service is friendly and greets me everytime I walk through the door. You'll always here "thank you" and "arigato gozaimashita" when you leave. The donburi and udon are delicious, as well as the bentos. I wish they had bigger portion sizes for the sushi. I ordered dynamite & california rolls, and they were tiny! I keep coming back because of its authentic taste.

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Bad service
By aliko888 of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Saturday, July 2, 2011 - 9:37pm [Dine in]

My husband and I came here for dinner and ordered assorted nigiri sushi and assorted sushi rolls. After taking a few bites, we both looked at each other and said the sushi is not good. The sashimi doesn't taste fresh and firm like how fresh seafood should taste like. The nori ouside the sushi rolls feel soggy, not crisp. The rice tastes stale. Overall, the food is just not good. We came here a couple times before and the food was always excellent, that's why we kept coming back. This time, out of good intentions, we decided to voice our opinions to the server "who looked like the manager". My husband told him that, not to sound disrespectful, but just wanted him to know that the food today was very subpar, and it feels like the food quality went from very good to below standard. The server looked shocked and seemed very offended by my husband's comments. My husband told him that we will pay for the food but just wanted to let him know how the food tasted. The server simply told us that nothing has changed with their supplier of seafood, and how they prepared the food. His tone and expression told us that he did not appreciate our comments and made us feel we should not have told him the food was not good. I then mentioned to him that it feels like the sushi has been sitting out for a while, and he immediately told me "never, we never do that."

It could have been many contributing factors, could be the weather or who knows what happened. But it feels like out of good intentions, we told the server how we felt about the food, we were totally shot down. He did not once apologize nor offer any discounts (not that we were wanting any discounts) or anything to make us feel like we did the right thing about telling him. The poor quality of food could be just this time, but the way the server reacted will prevent us from ever coming back to this restaurant. What a shame, it could have been a totally different outcome had the server appreciated our honest feedback instead of focusing on his hurt pride.

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Authentic Classic Taste
By Chewie of East Van (1 Review)
Submitted Thursday, March 25, 2010 - 1:04pm [Dine in]

After moving back from Japan, I come to Vanya when I crave my favourite classics (katsu don, oyako don, raamen). Consistency. The donburi (stuff on rice) always comes out quickly and hot. The dashi (soup) for the noodle soups always tastes "right" (not too salty). Even the wasabi for the sushi always tastes fresh.

I come by every few months and the servers are always very courteous to me and my family (3 kids under 6 years old). The waitresses speak English, but learn some Japanese if you want to experience true Japanese service at an authentic Japanese restaurant from the waitresses who are Japanese after all.

I find the prices are about the same compared to other local Japanese (but not necessarily run by Japanese) restaurants.

The seating area is worn down and could use an update, but I'd rather Vanya keep the old decor and keep the prices low.

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go hum
By happyclam of burnaby (2 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 22, 2008 - 3:56pm [Dine in]

food is decent enough and value is good. Very casual and desperately in need of a décor update. Even the food presentation is blah. Staff as friendly (and cute) but casually dressed in jeans. Mr Suzuki at the sushi counter is obviously very experienced and adept. I had a front row seat.

I won't repeat and wouldn't reccomend to friends.

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Cheap and tasty..
By happy-eaters of BC (4 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 28, 2008 - 2:54am [Dine in]

I've been here several times since discovering it a few months ago.. and it's been good every time.

The sushi selection is not very big, but quite fresh and tasty. The chopped scallop nigiri is great here, they use real japanese mayo unlike other restaurants. The salmon is wild, not farmed. The sushi is the perfect size, just the right amount of rice and fresh ingredients. I enjoy the fish combinations, at ~$9, it's quite a bargain. The BF really likes the sukiyaki beef, comes in a clay skillet with an egg you crack in yourself - you have to order rice separately, but it's a must. The udons are also tasty, and the tempura has a nice light batter.

Service is decent, a bit slow at times, but it is a small place with just 3 staff in the kitchen, and 1-2 in the front. The restaurant itself is small, with little decor. But that's not a problem as we come here for the food..

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homestyle Japanese food
By hollywood_gal of Los angeles, CA (5 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, October 8, 2007 - 2:46am [Dine in]

I'm from out-of-town and My friend took me to this little hidden family-run, Tiny Japanese restaurant Called Van -ya.

The place is a little boring looking and theres nothing special about the decor but the food was great!

I ordrerd the Chicken combination which was very good. Tates like my mothers cooking. Very healthy! They didn't really have a big selection of Sashimi but I don't blame them (it's such a small place) but we had the saba nigiri and salmon and was happy to see they used wild salmon. My friend told me that a lot of "japanese" restaurants in Vancouver use Farmed salmon.

Overall I was very satisfied and super full. Will recommend this place to friends visiting vancouver

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Recommend
By LuvToEat of Burnaby (6 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, March 20, 2006 - 3:07am [Dine in]

This little restaurant is closed to my work place, I love their food & services, although place is just decent, I went there average 1-2 times a week, I highly recommend this place. I tried most of their foods, recommend their uni & fish combo, uni is just $2/piece and fish combo is average $7 per person. My colleagues love to take out but I prefer to eat there, because the environment is quiet and warm, the waitress & chef are always smiling, have a strong welcomed feeling.

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Home cooking Japanese Food
By Food-luver of downtown Vancouver (16 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 7:31pm [Dine in]

I love Vanya. I would eat here everyday if i could. The servers are always friendly and efficient. The food is always outstanding. I see that they've got a new floor and it looks cleaner. I've been going to Vanya since I was a kid and I'll never stop going. It's nice to have an Authentic Home-style Japanese restaurant in the neighborhood.

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Decent food but a little on the salty side
By huhu of Vancouver (13 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, May 14, 2010 - 2:31pm [Dine in]

I've been to this little restaurant twice, once for lunch and once for dinner. In general the food is quite good and fresh, the sashimi/sushi is always good quality, but certain dishes are a little too salty for my tastes. The menu is in Japanese and English and the servers usually speak good English as well as Japanese.

I've tried the assorted sashimi and assorted tempura and they were both good quality each time I came here. The tuna is not mushy and the tako (octopus) doesn't taste like rubber, always a plus. If you come in a group, you can mix and match the sashimi/tempura/maki/etc. platters which cost $5-$11 depending on the amount and type. Or there are also combination meals that go for $8-$13 and usually come with the main dish (ie. teriyaki beef/chicken or BBQ fish), some bean sprouts and vegetables, rice (or califonia rolls with the $11 "special beef teriyaki combo), 5 pcs tempura (sometimes agedashi tofu), and miso soup. The teriyaki combos come with a lot of food, while the fish combos have significantly less. On the wall, there will be a chalk board that lists the daily specials (pork and ginger don for $8.75 when I went). There's also a selection of udon/soba and rice bowls.

The food generally was good, but anything with soup was too salty. The miso soup (usually quite a salty soup already) had more salt than I expected and the nabeyaki udon was also too salty. I ended up not using soy sauce for my rolls and tempura to counterbalance it. Other than that, there wasn't too much to complain about with the food.

The major drawback to this restaurant is the drab decor, the walls are bare and the carpet is really old. The music was on a loop of Japanese pop or 90's Western pop. Nevertheless, the place is clean and tidy if a bit cramped. The service is quick and courteous, although you have to wave them down if if it's busy. Overall, I'd say it would be worth checking out if you want decent priced simple Japanese food and don't care much for ambiance. 4 people came out to $53 before tax and tip.

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Not worth returning for - but, Jesus, do something about the floor!
By pretentionless of Vancouver (17 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, March 19, 2010 - 10:38am [Dine in]

Visited with the family for dinner a couple of weeks ago. The food was just okay. Another example of real Japanese food that might be okay if you were to whip it up at home yourself, but even for an inexpensive restaurant you expect a bit more than what you get here.

Service is friendly and pretty quick considering they were quite busy. Could have used some tea refills.

The thing that clinches that I won't be returning is the decor. I don't expect much. Plain Jane is fine as long as it's clean. This place hasn't had any attention the decor in probably 25 years, which is okay, but the carpeted floor was so grotty and worn out that I was scared to let my child stand on it in case she were to touch it. It was filthy and worn out. After seeing this it really turned me off my meal. Don't believe me? Check it out when you visit. You'll be screaming, "Just rip it out and have bare cement!!"

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mmmm! yummy
By NAVerson of East Van (2 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, August 19, 2012 - 9:59am [Dine in]

i love Vanya great food great staff..somewhere you can go lay low and have a few beers and sushi. They have good specials and pretty reasonable prices a bit more than the half dozen japanese resturants in the area but you pay for what you get. Its always fresh Udon is good and the rolls are good too. They have a special KATSU CURRY ON RICE. One of my favorite dishes they have. Overall i would eat again and again...

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