Vancouver Patio Guide 2023: Minami

Did you know there's a quaint little Japanese-inspired Zen garden hidden right in the heart of Yaletown?—But you didn't hear it from us!

Best Secret Garden: Minami

1118 Mainland St.

Dogs allowed: No
Coverage: No
Afternoon sun: Yes
Patio reservations: Yes


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Did you know that Minami has a Japanese-inspired Zen garden patio tucked behind it? (Shhh, don’t tell anyone.) With just nine tables and 24 seats, this romantic little oasis in the heart of Yaletown is the perfect spot to impress on a first date. Snuggle up under the tree canopy and twinkling string lights while nibbling on the restaurant’s signature flame-seared pressed sushi. It’s hard to choose a favourite between the salmon (B.C. wild sockeye and jalapeño), ebi (prawn and lime zest) and saba (house-cured mackerel and miso sauce), so go for the sampler ($21), which includes two of each. Another must-have is the bluefin tuna Redwave roll ($12 for 4, $24 for 8), which made its triumphant return to the menu this year after a brief hiatus, during which the chef upgraded the ingredients. (We didn’t think it could get better, but it just did.) Looking to secure that second date? Treat them to the Iwate A5 wagyu nigiri ($12), a piece of exquisitely marbled beef perched atop sushi rice. Wash it all down with a sake flight (starting at $25), which includes a selection of three glasses hand-picked by restaurant manager Barnaby Malong. And don’t forget to save room for dessert: pastry chef Nikki Tam is always creating something sweet with her ever-changing selection of “Japan-Euro-influenced” confections, but the green tea opera cake ($16) is a staple. It’s the happy ending we all wish for in a fairy-tale setting.

This story was originally published in the July/August 2023 print issue of Vancouver Magazinefind the digital issue here.