Modern Japanese cuisine in a comfortable yet elegant setting.
This restaurant is not very prominent, hidden away in a very small corner mall. The food style I would say is kind of Japanese fusion / izakaya. Similar to Bonqula or Sai-Z maybe, but this one leans the most towards the "traditional" side. You can even get a kaizeki (24hrs notice I think).
Place is very modern decor, very clean, nice and pleasant. Service is what I would expect for this place, very good, but no surprises or complaints.
The food? Well, it looked a bit pricey at first (we went for the set tasting and dinner menus), but as it turns out, the portions are not small and it is very well done, so I think it is worth it. Next time we may just order a la carte, as the rolls and everything else look to be quite sizeable portions.
Presentation was good, very good, but not innovative. Still no complaints.
If you're looking for cheap eats, you won't find it here. But I think it is food very well done and good value for the money. It's worth a second visit to sample the other fare on the menu.
Quite literally a hidden gem - it is in an out of the way strip mall on West 16th near MacDonald.
Outstanding food delivered in a very Japanese style from the service to the presentation. The menu is a mix of Sushi and Izakaya - the various rolls were great, especially the soft shell crab, as was the sablefish. The chicken karaage was unique and very delicious served with a citrus zest on top, which worked very well. The restaurant room is very modern and stylish, and no plate was over $20. I will definitely go back.
On W 16th around the corner from Macdonald, it's tucked away about 15-20 feet from the sidewalk; you can easily mistake the front of the restaurant as the rear portion of the Starbuck's on the corner.
Once you are inside, it looks more like a fancy French restaurant than a Japanese restaurant. Everything is neat and clean without the clutter you will find in many Japanese restaurants. The service was pleasant and very attentive, maybe because it was only 6PM and there were only 3 tables going. So far so good.
We were told that prices would be high but to expect something expectacular for food. Well, prices were high alright (almost 2X elsewhere) and food was definitely better presented and better tasting than your run of the mill Japanese restaurant...but...not good enough to warrant the premium prices. In my opinion, a 30% discount would have placed it at the correct price point. But then again, considering the part of town they are in, it looks like the neighbourhood can afford to pay their prices. I guess you charge what people are willing to pay.
I would return for the food but not at the prices they are charging unless it was for an extremely special ocassion but then why not just choose a fancier restaurant that is better priced.
The other night we tried zest. We where promptly seated and our coats were hung. The waitress placed my napkin on my lap and then our meal began. Throughout every dish our plates were cleared.
The place that we normally go to never comps or offers us dishes. And, this being our first time the chef already gave us two dishes. Which encourages our spending in the long run!
The atmosphere was nice and modern... definitely upscale (it only lacked a view!)
The food was very fresh and they had some traditional kyoto style dishes. Some particular favourites that we enjoyed were: Osuimono(light and refreshing), sablefish (light yuzu flavour), uni, crab and radish sprouts... actually it was all very good. Nice Mirugai. The only dish that both of us were not too pleased with was the Fluffly Chili prawn. It had a sort of southwestern flavour, something that you would get at a crappy chain restaurant.
This is a more conservative, elegant restaurant than your typical izakayas, and yet the food is more inventive than your traditional Japanese restaurant.
We had ordered various different kinds of rolls, all of which were like works of art. We also ate the chicken karaage but it was no ordinary chicken karaage -- it was pieces of really delicious, juicy chicken, lightly battered and fried, but there was a light lemon juice over all of them, evenly coated -- just enough for a delicious zing taste. We also tried a more inventive soba noodle sushi roll (which I didn't find too special). All in all, quality of food and freshness of ingredients is excellent. I would definitely come back again. Service was attentive and polite.
My father is a huge Japanese food fan, so I brought him there for father's day dinner. And... to be honest, after reading all the reviews, I came home feeling disappointing.
Food. Ok, maybe I am too picky on Japanese food. For Japanese food in Vancouver, yes, they are pretty solid and above average. but nothing taste great enough for me to plan for another trip to go back. and they are overpriced. For example, I ordered the exclusive sashimi. For that price (you can check the price on their website), of course I had a little expectation. Nothing tasted bad, but they are all ORDINARY. The only thing that I found nice is the homemade green tea ice-cream. It worth a try.Overall, things look better than their taste.
Service. It's very nice how they serve 1 dish at a time and help you changing your plates before each dish. However, the servers are a little mindless sometimes. We had to ask them for filling some hot water for our tea most of the time. and it's also a little hard to catch their attention. (once you are successful catching them, they are very friendly)
Ambiance is very nice. and tableware are nice. you got a very comfortable distance from other tables. lighting was also very comfortable. if they can make it less sushi restaurant smell, it will be perfect.
If you just start dating a girl, it's wroth to bring her there for a try. If you are going for a dinner with closer friends or family, trust me, go to Sushi Hachi in Richmond. You can get the same quality of food with 30% off your bill. (just less decoration, and they don't change your plates for you. unless you think that wroth an extra 30%)
I thought the actual restaurant itself has excellent presentation, and I love the interior decor and arrangement. However, the food is only ok.. they sound great on the menu, but not as great when you actually taste it.. and for this, I think they're also slightly overpriced.
We decided to come here for a pre show dinner and we each had the set dinner menu.
The first course was the Spinach Gomaee. It was delicious and they had crushed peanuts on top of it, which helped with the finish.
2nd up was the Seafood Sunomono. It was a mixture of surf clam, octopus and crab meat with gelantanized dashi. It was an interesting mix, but personally did not like the surf clam or octopus. The dashi though made up for the difference.
The next dish up was the assorted sushi. The sushi served was Salmon, Tuna, Mackeral, Ebi (Prawn) and Surf Clam. Again, I am not a fan of the surf clam. The Salmon, Tuna and Ebi were fine. The Mackeral was kinda of average. The wasabi that was served with it was quite powerful though.
The fourth dish was the Spicy Fluffy Prawns. This was almost like a tempura style, but the coating was more pillowwy. This was alright, but half the texture of the dish was the coating.
The last item before dessert was the Honey Garlic Chicken. It was served by itself. It should have been served with a little rice.
Finally for dessert, they had a tofu cheesecake with a green tea syrup. This was delicious and the syrup made it.
Overall, I think we will come back and try a little ala carte next time.
Unlike most Japanese restaurants in Vancouver, the decor of Zest strays away from the usual pine wood and fabric flaps. The place is oozing Japanese modern from the clientele to the service staff. We scooted ourselves into comfy suede booths under a dramatically lit textured wall while we poured over an extensive list of Today's Specials and the Menu. First to arrive was the deep fried prawn in chile mayo sauce. The prawn was fried just right to be juicy and bouncy however the batter could be crispier. On a good day, Hapa's version would win hands down. The seared beef wrapped over avocado was quite flavourful. The stewed lotus was a crunchy delightful find. However the deep fried oyster in miso sauce was tasty but too salty. The service was impeccable if not too attentive. Not only did they refresh our little plates but also replaced our teacups at the end of the meal. All in all, i would recommend Zest if you're in the mood for Shiru, Guu or Hapa but don't have the energy to brave the energy of downtown lineups and want to be pampered with service in a relaxing environment.