My friend introduced me to Aki Japanese restaurant for dinner tonight. This restaurant had been in business for a long time ( since 1963 ). I was surprised for not knowing such authentic Japanese restaurant exists in downtown. The restaurant was a real hidden gem as it was located at basement level.
Once we got in, I could immediately feel a Japanese home style type of restaurant - very cozy.
It was pretty packed during the dinner time, most of the diners were Japanese. We were quickly and warmly greeted by the server. This restaurant has two open bars : sushi bar and robata bar. We ended up sitting at the robata bar as we found it very unique. The menu selection was mostly dominated by sushi/sashimi and robata. They also have quite a big selections of appetizers. Although the food that they offer are the typical food that you can find in a regular sushi restaurant, the quality and execution are different as this restaurant is run by Japanese.
Our first dish was the gomae. This spinach appy was really refreshing. The amount of the peanut sauce was just perfect.
The deluxe assorted sushi came soon after we finished half of the gomae.
I was really satisfied on the assorted sushi as they were all very fresh !
FYI, they grilled the unagi at the robata bar before using it to make sushi.
For sashimi, we had one of the daily specials : toro ( fatty tuna ).
The toro was cut to perfection, and it was really fresh and succulent!
Dinner was not complete without ordering something from the robata bar.
So we ordered a grilled black cod. It took a while for the robata chef to prepare this dish.
However, the long wait did not turn into a disappointment. The grilled black cod was well cooked. We both enjoyed it a lot. Although it was not as tender as the one I had at Toshi, this was still a very good grilled black cod - above average I should say.
Overall, I was totally surprised yet delighted by this home style Japanese restaurant. I really did not expect to find this kind of restaurant in downtown as downtown vancouver is well dominated by izakaya type of restaurants.