Minami stands out amidst Vancouver sushi scene

The entrance to Minami

The following review focuses on Minami Restaurant and its “Dine Out Vancouver” Lunch Menu. Items not on this menu are not included in this review.


Located in the heart of Yaletown, a vibrant and sophisticated neighborhood which boasts a variety of eateries and boutiques, Minami is a Japanese restaurant that exemplifies the power of innovation when applied to traditional cuisines. Despite its rather recent establishment, having been opened for just over three years, Minami has already attracted many Vancouverites through its mission to “create a new style of cuisine by using global flavors and cutting edge techniques”. One of the most notable techniques that Minami, along with sister restaurant Miku, has introduced to the city from Japan is Aburi, a method that involves flame searing sushi for an added, unique taste. The Aburi technique is just one of numerous ways that Minami, and similar restaurants, is enhancing the prolific sushi scene in Vancouver.

On January 26th, I, along with my Journalism 11/12 class, went to Minami hoping to gain a deeper understanding of all the aspects which make it such an outstanding restaurant amidst the multitude of restaurants in its surrounding area. The first aspect of Minami that contributes to its success is its accessibility; diners can park either on the street or in the parking lot that is situated right beside the restaurant. Once we entered, I quickly noticed the relaxing and comfortable ambience that we had walked into. Despite the large number of people dining at that moment, the place was relatively quiet and allowed conversations to be had and heard; personally, I believe this to be one of the most important factors when judging the quality of a restaurant. Furthermore, the design of the dining area is simple yet elegant, classy yet unpretentious. With two bars, one for drinks and one for the sushi chefs to be showcased, and a large number of tables, Minami has the ability to cater to all kinds of people and offer them a casual and comfortable dining experience.

Once we were seated in the private room the staff had provided for us, (which was just as beautifully designed as the main dining area), we were formally welcomed to Minami and given answers to any of the questions we had. I could tell that the waiters and waitresses were all genuinely happy to shed light on whatever we wanted to know and possessed a passion for the work that they did. Not long after our question and answer period, the food arrived and we proceeded to dig in.

Minami’s “Dine Out Vancouver” Lunch Menu

What immediately struck me when the waitress placed the “Zen Platter” in front of me was the attractive and effective way the food had been arranged on the plate. The four components of the platter that were not Aburi sushi were each placed in their own little plate, which separated them and displayed them clearly. Moreover, the pieces of Aburi sushi were arranged on a large green leaf which highlighted the sushi against the white plate, suggesting that they were the main parts of the meal. The presentation of food is often just as important as the taste of the food itself, as it can shape the first impressions that the diner has for the food and influence what they will think of the food and restaurant as a whole. Minami’s success can be partly attributed to the appetizing way which their food is presented; this shows that the chefs take pride in and are serious about their craft.

As for the food itself, I am no expert when it comes to describing in a detailed fashion the tastes and the textures of everything that I ate; however, what I can say is that every time I ate one part of the platter, I couldn’t help but move to the next part as fast as I could. The food was just that delicious. My personal favourites were the salmon oshi and the pork cheek, both of which possessed exquisite flavours and soft textures that surprised me even despite my high expectations prior to our meal. As a big fan of sushi, the Aburi style sushi at Minami was one of the best I have ever had in Vancouver due to its use of the flame searing technique and the quality of its ingredients, which work together to produce mouth-watering rolls and nigiri. After the main course, we enjoyed a house-made, strong and sweet passionfruit sorbet that brought the remarkable meal to a pleasant end.

All in all, Minami is a restaurant that values the quality of its food and the experience that its diners have while enjoying their meal. This unique Yaletown eatery excels at all of the factors that give a successful restaurant its strong reputation: accessibility, service, atmosphere, presentation, passion and of course, food. There are a countless number of sushi places in Vancouver, but few are as prominent as Minami, which is definitely worth the time and money to visit.