Vanya has been in operation on Harold Street in Vancouver for as long as I can remember. Originally, it was owned by an older couple and as far as I know, it is where me and my family began our love affair with sushi!
I remember going when I was in elementary school and working my way from the California rolls, to their special rolls - an ever-changing assortment of fish and seafood packed into a roll. We continued going to Vanya as we grew older - it made for healthy and hearty lunches, a quick eat-in or take-home dinner. Suffice to say, it helped out mom a lot as it was something that she would eat, and that us kids enjoyed as well!
A little over a year ago, Vanya changed hands to a younger couple, and for the first bit, the old owner / chef stayed on to train new staff. The food has held up their quality and standards, and prices have gone up a little, but that is quite understandable in todays' economic climate and inflation!
The restaurant serves a number of bentos / combos and also a slightly different number of bentos for take out. It is all good. :)
One one occasion with M, my mother and sister, (before work got all crazy!) we enjoyed a simple dinner. I didn't get all the photos I wanted, but here are some highlights!
Vanya serves fresh sashimi. Another perk is that they serve wild Sockeye salmon - better eat up before its all gone! Both the salmon and tuna are carefully picked over for bones and sliced beautifully and arranged.
The aforementioned Special roll - filled to the brim with fresh, mouth-watering sashimi, it makes for a healthy, low-fat meal for one, or the perfect dish to share. The dynamite roll is also tasty. My mother always says that Vanyas' tempura is the best; the perk of a small restaurant is that your food arrives quickly, and fresh, crispy tempura is what makes a dynamite roll excellent.
Here is one of my favourite dishes, katsudon, at Vanya. You could say that its one of my favourite comfort foods! Deep-fried pork cutlets with egg cooked onto the top, on a bed of carmelized onions. M is not necessarily great at remembering the names of restaurants, so for the longest time, I referred to Vanya as "the pork chop rice place! You know! How can you not remember?!?" Finally, he is remembering Vanya, so no need to call it the "pork chop rice place". You know. Less confusion. :)
Here's a last shot of the tempura. Crispy, fresh, tasty while still retaining moisture in the shrimp. Vanyas' yam tempura and assorted tempura are also very good.
As an aside, if you order the Nabeyaki Udon, be sure to order the tempura on the side. And in the summertime, be sure to try their cold noodle.
I'm glad Vanya hasn't changed too much with the new management - the place has a lot of nostalgia for me!
5615 Harold Street [map]