Senzushi is a Japanese restaurant located on Victoria's China Town district. Serving up fresh, authentic sushi and a menu full of traditional and modern Japanese classics prepared and presented beautifully.
Izakaya - translated to Japanese pub food (tapas). Terrific assortment of traditional Japanese tapas that are all quite delicious and authentic. Having spent some time in Japan, I've learned to appreciate this type of food and I must say it's great to finally see an izakaya style restaurant in Victoria. The ambiance is also very authentic and servers helpful and friendly. Going back soon.
Senzushi is one of the best Japanese restaurants in Victoria.
The restaurant looks both inside and out like it just landed from Japan, where I lived for over a decade. It is Japanese owned and run which is very important if you want really good, authentic Japanese cuisine. In Japan, with the exception of "Denny's" or Denny type restaurants" you do not mix different dishes in one restaurant. If you want really good tempura, you eat at a restaurant that does just tempura and nothing else. The same goes for ramen, in ramen only places, sushi in sushi only places ,etc. The Japanese understand that to do a certain dish really well, you must work on perfecting only that dish...sometimes for generations. Here, for the most part, one finds the All In One Japanese Restaurant which is unfortunate as there will always be some unevenness even in good Japanese restaurants like Senzushi.
So my list of Great, Very Good, Fair and Bad would be : GREAT sashimi and sushi prepared by their Japanese ita-mae (sushi chef) and his assistants; expertly sliced and presented, on a good quality sushi rice that is properly seasoned and the age-dashi tofu which has a particularly good broth. VERY GOOD: the tempura ( a good value when ordered as a dinner), the unagi, and the three large combination dinners which are also a good value for those with large appetites, and the sunomono salads. FAIR: any of the cooked fish. The portions are small and often over or under cooked. BAD: the tonkatsu (breaded pork) that was thin, tough and overcooked. The cooked white rice which accompanies many meals could be better. I believe it is of a lower grade than the sushi rice and is also sometimes on the dry side, as though it needed more soaking prior to cooking, or they lifted the lid too soon. The miso soup is also a little thin.
I have never ordered any of the noodle dishes because I know better than to think that one can eat good soba or ramen in any Japanese restaurant other than one dedicated exclusively to that dish. Vancouver has several dedicated ramen restaurants (Kintaro, Benkei, Motomachi, etc.) Why Victoria has 0 ramen restaurants with a Japanese student population this high is something of a mystery.
Despite some shortcomings on a few dishes, which I feel are caused by too large a menu (and the impossibility of doing all to an equally high standard ), Senzushi is far, far better than many of the so called Japanese restaurants in Victoria. It is also a fairly good value for the money and has good service. I usually order the chirashi sushi which is enormous, and filled with expertly cut, high quality fish and traditional Japanese toppings which are also well executed. The only drawback here, is that I wish they would offer a smaller size chirashi, as it is a bit too large for me to finish. Such a shame as I want to finish every last bite.
Lived in Japan for 5 years and this is the only place in town that feels remotely close to home. The food is prepared with love by ...wait for it...actual Japanese people!!! The whole place is owned and run by them. To the best of my knowledge, it is virtually the only place in town that boasts this important fact. You will taste the reason that this matters when you eat there. Save your time and money and avoid the other major sushi restaurants in town. Most of them are complete crap. Sen Zushi is slightly more expensive than some, but I have had HORRIFYING dining experiences at quite a few places in town which I will not name in this review. Not to mention, on any given night, you see that about half of the customers are regulars, unlike many other sushi joints which cater to clueless tourists, ready to dump their money on second rate food.
The servers are attentive, friendly and have COMMON SENSE which is so rare with other places. While it can get super packed, making the food come a bit slowly at times, the servers usually bring some kind of snack like edamame or salad, free of charge for the wait. Most importantly, once it arrives, it is always hot if it is supposed to be hot. It is always fresh. Always. And the chefs are constantly changing the menu with items that are true to the passions of Japanese dining. If you love Japanese food, don't go anywhere else.
Ate here on April 27th for dinner. The sunomono, gomae-ae and miso arrived promptly, 10 minutes passed and nothing. A different waitress came by and asked if we were waiting for some food, and we said yes. Another 10 minutes passed and finally the rest of the order arrived, 4 rolls of sushi minus one.
The food is outstanding, and we were there at a busy time. When we walked in at 5 PM, there were only about 3 tables full. Mid meal, the place was packed with a line forming so that explains the slow service.
The portions were about a dollar more than I am used to paying in Vancouver, but they were significantly larger, and perfectly prepared.
I'll be dreaming of the gomae for weeks to come.
As a Caucasian who love Asian cuisine, it is always reassuring to see many Asian people frequenting an Asian restaurant. To me, it says that this is the real deal! Sen Zushi will not disappoint as the food is fresh, timely and extremely flavourful. The service has always been friendly, helpful (when determining what's what) and prompt. Other Japanese restaurants in Victoria are either North Americanized or owned and operated by non-Japanese restauranteurs. I really can't say enough about this place and encourage those who fancy exciting their pallets to try it out!
Went here on a Wednesday for lunch. Interior is beautiful and well kept. Great atmosphere for business lunch or romantic dinner. Menu was decent and prices were about average. Service was a bit slow considering we were the only ones in there at the beginning. Some of the food was a bit on the salty side ... ginger beef! Otherwise, portion sizes, value and ambiance was great. Definately will return to give it another try.