VanVan Izakaya

Where did I eat?

VanVan Izakaya at 1333 Robson Street in Vancouver.

What do they specialize in?

Japanese izakaya style small dishes.

What was the vibe?

Cozy, dark, traditional Japanese decor.

What did I order?

Ebi Mayo

Ebi Mayo – battered tiger prawns with chili mayo

  • Ebi mayo is one of the dishes they I always order to judge an izakaya and I enjoyed VanVan’s version.
  • The prawns were lightly battered and not greasy at all.

Ika Maruyaki

Ika Maruyaki – grilled whole squid with teriyaki sauce and mayo

  • I’m not the biggest fan of grilled squid because the texture is too rubbery for me and I find it lacking in flavour, however, this version was quite good.
  • I liked that the teriyaki sauce gave it some flavour and honestly anything dipped in mayo is going to taste delicious.

Russian Roulette Takoyaki

Russian Roulette Takoyaki – one of the five balls is filled with wasabi instead of octopus

  • The takoyaki here was good and covered with bonito flakes and lots of mayo
  • Having one mystery ball filled with wasabi added a fun and interactive element to the dish

Chicken Van Van

Chicken VanVan – chicken cutlet with sweet and sour and tartar sauce

  • I liked the crispy thinly coated batter on the chicken, however I found the cutlet to be on the dry side
  • The sweet and sour sauce was more sweet than anything, but I liked it in combination with the tartar sauce.

Sashimi

Sashimi – salmon, tuna, and scallop

  • All of the pieces of sashimi I had tasted fresh and good
  • Unfortunately someone else at the table found something hard in the middle of her scallop, which was a bit of a turn off.

Yakinasu

Yakinasu – grilled eggplant with ponzu sauce and one with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil

  • The eggplant itself was warm and pull apart with your fork tender
  • The ponzu sauce I found to be too sweet and needing more tang to it to balance it out
  • I surprisingly really liked the Italian style one. It was like a more quirky version of eggplant parmesan.

Beef Tataki

Beef Tataki – thinly sliced lightly grilled beef with ponzu sauce

  • The beef tataki had the perfect light sear.
  • This dish is a standard at izakayas and VanVan pulled it off well.

Yaba Flower

Yaba Flower – deep fried cauliflower with matcha salt and tartar sauce

  • I really liked this dish because it is something different from a lot of izakayas offer
  • The cauliflower was lightly coated in batter and very crispy
  • The tartar sauce was a delicious accompaniment and the matcha salt added an interesting salty flavour

P Toro

P-Toro – bbq pork cheek with Japanese citrus sauce

  • The bbq pork cheek was tender and very rich and fatty
  • The citrus sauce helped to brighten up the dish and cut through the fatty flavour
  • Having a few pieces of this is the perfect amount, but the fatness of it becomes overwhelming if you eat too much

Salmon Yukke

Salmon Yukke – chopped salmon with garlic sauce

  • The was one of my favourite dishes of the night because it was so light and refreshing
  • The salmon was cut up with little pieces of cucumber and you are given sheets up nori to wrap it up

Curry Fries

Curry Poutine – french fries with curry and cheese

  • This is definitely not a traditional Japanese dish, but it was surprisingly tasty
  • The fries were standard, but the thick, rich Japanese style curry sauce made it delicious

Final Thoughts?

VanVan offers a change from all of the other chain izakayas in the area and more competitive pricing. Some of the dishes were just okay, but they had a lot of fun and creative menu items that you can’t find elsewhere.

Disclosure: I did not pay for my meal.

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Categories: Downtown, Japanese, Metro Vancouver, Vancouver

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  1. What's Up Wednesdays: Jurassic Behavior - Beyond the Rhetoric - June 17, 2015

    […] over to the world of culinary delights, “The Food Queen” Amy Smith offers her review of VanVan Izakaya. The Japanese restaurant is located along the bustling Robson Street neighborhood in Downtown […]

  2. VanVan Izakaya | gastrofork - June 30, 2015

    […] out Diana and Amy‘s […]

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