Saturday, April 19, 2014

Sushi Bella 美 : North Vancouver location

You know what? I am going to park and we will walk to the closest restaurant which is Waraku Sushi because we really do not have time to look for a place that looks good right now. Walking up to Waraku Sushi, the restaurant seemed to be closed and was, despite an unlocked door and the open sign lit. After standing there thinking we are in a rush and I rather have a burger and be gone, we walked up to the next restaurant which is Sushi Bella. This is also when a man who was walking his dog overheard us and mentioned the restaurant is great, as well as that he was picking up some take out.

According to my blog, I have posted forty Japanese restaurants in ten months and only two out of the bunch has served not so fresh sashimi. To be fair, one was an AYCE and the other, a slow food stall at Aberdeen Centre which may be expected for not serving the freshest sashimi. However, the third in this case is apparently (according to some reviews on Urbanspoon) quite a busy Japanese restaurant on the Lonsdale strip! Anyhow, trying out Sushi Bella based on convenience rather than looking at photos unlike my last two great Japanese finds (Kaya Japanese and Tokyo Hon), we walked in for lunch.

Walking in, the restaurant did not look very busy and had Korean rap music playing in the background. As for the seating arrangements, there are seats at the sushi bar, a few tables for two and up a couple of steps at the back of the restaurant, tables for four or more. In addition, outdoor seating is available as I overheard a couple's request to be seated outside.

 After a glance at the menu, the restaurant seems more fusion than traditional and I thought hey, why not? Plus, I love mangoes which seems to be the fusion part of the dish asides from the butter ponzu. Unfortunately though, my fusion experience was not that great since the prawns taste extremely mushy as well as soggy, and sour. As for the butter ponzu, it tastes like a mango syrup rather than a simple butter ponzu. Furthermore, the chunks of mango do not taste fresh and tastes beyond ripe, as in they have gone bad. Basically the sauce has a thick syrupy consistency, the prawns have a soggy batter and the mangos are no good, how can a kitchen serve this without knowing? 

NIGIRI SUSHI, SALMON ($1.75), TORO ($2.00), TUNA ($1.50), HAMACHI ($3.00) AND UNI ($3.50).
After the horrible appetizer, we could not wait for the nigiri! Visually, the presentation shows some effort was put in by adding a couple slices of radish, baby watercress and grape tomato.

The salmon is not at the right temperature, does not taste fresh and the cooler needs to be a few degrees lower.

TORO NIGIRI ($2.00).
Similar to the salmon, the toro does not taste fresh and is missing that nice fatty flavour.

Are you serious? For $3.00/EACH the restaurant is serving the crappy cut of hamachi which is reserved for rolls? I would be embarrassed to charge this price at my restaurant for the quality. The hamachi has a slight fatty taste but is missing that nice hamachi flavour which is in the back burgundy cut, the proper cut for sashimi and nigiri.

TUNA NIGIRI ($1.50) AND UNI ($3.50).
Like the above nigiri, the tuna does not taste fresh, is very mushy and fell apart (not the rice, just the tuna!). Once tuna is not at the correct temperature it starts to melt away. Also as we were leaving the restaurant, I took a look at the sushi bar and saw a puddle of water underneath the tuna since the temperature was too high. How can a restaurant not know this? Fortunately the last one up is the uni which of course cannot go wrong. Overall, the sushi should have been more fresh and as for the rice, it is not properly mixed with the sushi vinegar. The rice tastes hard and the sushi chef possibly had a problem with the formation due to the lack of sushi vinegar (therefore needed to squeeze the rice harder which resulted in a stiff ball).

The deluxe udon includes teriyaki beef, egg, asparagus, zucchini, broccoli and two pieces of prawn tempura which is provided on the side (great for those who do not like having it in the udon). The tempura has a crisp batter and although not flaky, tastes alright. As for the soup base, it tastes like a generic udon broth and if I wanted to be picky, seven spice powder was not provided (unlike most authentic or not, restaurants). Furthermore, despite the beef teriyaki tasting not bad and much better than uncooked beef tossed in the udon, the broth picked up some oiliness from the teriyaki sauce which does not taste pleasant.

TOTAL: $47.78 + TIP $4.79 = $52.56.

Overall, we I was firm on tipping 10% because the food was crap and the service was nothing special.

- Interior is nice
- Outdoor seating is available?

- Sushi is not fresh
- Below average eats

- Good thing I did not order like how I usually!

Food: 1.5/5
Service: 2.5/5

Sushi Bella 美(North Vancouver) on Urbanspoon


  1. All of their fish is frozen and then thawed. This location also has a rat problem which they refuse to take care of despite the fact that they're aware that it is taking over their stock/dry goods room next door to the sushi restaurant in the vacant coffee shop.

    1. Every restaurant has frozen fish and thaws it, however, the temperature of the cooler was too high.

      As for the rat issue, I thought it was the one on West 4th (according to health inspection reports)?

  2. Hi,
    I walked by last week and the restaurant was closed by Vancouver Coastal Health authorities upon hygienic reasons. A pedestrian came by and mentioned that this is not the first time happening ...

    1. That sucks… the quality isn't even good and the prices are higher than average too



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