VanVan Izakaya: Japanese Sakaba on Robson Street


VanVan Izakaya is a relatively new restaurant on Robson Street. You won’t be able to find any sushi here except for the lunch hour. You will still find sashimi on the dinner menu. They call themselves a Sakaba, which translated to ‘Bar’ in Japanese. A few of us were invited by ChineseBites to try out their menu, so we did what any foodies would do…try to eat a majority of the items on the menu. We clearly had to eat through the pain.


The seating is what you would expect from an izakaya – wooden rustic furniture and funky walls.


You can even take some chalk and start drawing over the walls. Most of everything on the wall doesn’t make sense as people have written over other people’s drawings.


The dinner menu is a decent size and you can find the usual items on there. It’s a good selection. Their menu is also quite constant, so it won’t change too much.


Ebi Mayo ($7.80) is battered tiger prawns with chili mayo and balsamic vinegar. It was pretty average and the spinach leaves didn’t add much to the dish. Perhaps green onions would be a tad better.


Beef Tataki ($8.50) has thin slices of raw beef, garlic chips, radish, green onions, onions and ponzu sauce. You grab a little bit of everything and dunk it into the ponzu sauce.

I didn’t really like the way the beef was sliced. It was very thin, so you could hardly taste the beef. Plus the slices were a bit smaller.


Chicken VanVan ($7.80) is fried with a sweet and sour sauce. Then it is topped with tartar sauce. We thought it was ok, but it was a bit weird with the tartar sauce.


Curry Poutine ($8.80) has a bed of crispy fries, curry sauce and cheese. A great choice! The fries are very crispy and goes so well with beer.


Nasu Dengaku ($6.80) is a baked eggplant with 2 sauces – miso and tomato sauce + cheese. The miso glaze was a tad sweet for our liking. Surprisingly both of the sauces worked with the eggplant.


Yabaflower ($6.50) is deep-fried cauliflower and it’s served with tartar sauce, matcha salt and a lemon. It was delicious! You can’t go wrong with any deep-fried.


P-Toro ($8.80) is pork cheek served on a hot skilled. It has lots of green onion and a lemon wedge. I love pork cheek! Very flavourful.


Albacore Tuna Sashimi ($7.80)
Scallop Sashimi ($6.80)
Atlantic Salmon Sashimi ($7.80)

These were good, but we did find a little bit of debris on them, especially the scallops. Nat bit down on something crunchy that she couldn’t figure out. what it was. Perhaps shell or sand?

We ordered another plate of Atlantic Salmon Sashimi. We really do love our sashimi.

Spicy Pork Intestines ($7.80) comes in a sizzling hot bowl filled with cabbage and pork intestines. I ordered this just to scare FoodQueen, but in the end, no one really had a liking towards the dish. It had a particular chemical taste to them that really turned me off. If they were deep-fried or had some other textures, I think that would have added to the dish.


Ika Naruyaki ($7.80) is a whole grilled squid served with teriyaki sauce and mayo. Another great item on the menu. I loved it. I couldn’t stop eating.


Salmon Yukke ($7.80) is chopped salmon with garlic sauce and cucumbers. It is also served with dried seaweed. You scoop some onto the seaweed and enjoy.


Russian Roulette Takoyaki ($5.80) comes with 5 pieces, but one of them is super spicy and filled with wasabi. We went one by one and the victim was Angela. She knew right away because it has a pretty pungent smell. It’s a very fun dish for a group of friends. Plus, if you’re lucky to avoid the wasabi takoyaki, the normal takoyaki tastes pretty good.


Gyu Tongue ($9.80) has many thin slices of beef tongue that is BBQ’d and served with a Japanese leek mixture on top. The mixture is a bit salty, but it goes well with the tongue.


Matcha Tonyu Pudding ($4.80) was so good! If you want something unique, get this! It’s like a custard/soup. I wanted to eat the whole thing.


Matcha Ice Cream ($4) is topped with matcha powder, whipped cream and red bean. Very good and flavourful ice cream.


Black Sesame Ice Cream ($4) is paired with whipped cream and red bean. The sesame is very fragrant and tastes great.

Overall, VanVan Izakaya is a great atmosphere if you like Japanese bars. It’s lively, staff are attentive, and good atmosphere. Some of the food is a miss, but a majority of them are delicious.

Foodology Disclaimer: I was invited by ChineseBites to try VanVan Izakaya’s dishes with a few other bloggers. The service is not representative of their usual service since they knew we were coming.

We Rate VanVan

1333 Robson St
Vancouver BC


Click to add a blog post for VanVan Izakaya on Zomato

VanVan on Urbanspoon

About The Author

Diana started Foodology in 2010 because she just eats out everyday! She started a food blog to share her love of food with the world! She lives in Vancouver, BC and adores the diversity of food around her. She will go crazy for churros and lattes.

Leave A Response