Best Japanese Casual 2015

Best Japanese Casual winners of Vancouver Magazine's 26th Annual Restaurant Awards

Best Japanese Casual winners of Vancouver Magazine’s 26th Annual Restaurant Awards

  • Gold: Kingyo
  • Silver: Zakkushi
  • Bronze: Kishimoto
  • Honourable Mentions: Guu Garden, ShuRaku

 Kingyo (Gold) neither pioneered our izakaya craze nor does it seem interested in trying to parlay its success—as certain rivals have done—into chain-like ubiquity (although it did open a Toronto outpost in 2012). But its sole Vancouver location remains the Gold standard in our judges’ estimation. With most of its imaginative, artfully composed plates costing under $10 (ebi mayo and stone-grilled beef tongue are longtime favourites), the raucous room offers an endlessly revelatory juxtaposition of serious food served with pointedly unserious prices and enthusiasm. “Loud, cheerful, and energetic” Zakkushi (Silver) specializes in more than 30 varieties of yakitori (“grilled things on sticks”), from Kobe beef and free-range chicken to veggies and “all the bits” (tongue, heart, liver). A good sake selection and fun $5 cocktails encourage making a night of it. Low-profile Kishimoto (Bronze) humbly goes about its business, plating some of the city’s best sushi rolls (try the seared ebi oshi-zushi, with pesto and cracked black pepper) and charging far less than their quality merits. Honourable Mentions: Guu Garden, ShuRaku