Kyoto Sushi Japanese Restaurant

Restaurant: Kyoto Sushi
Cuisine: Japanese/Sushi
Last visited: July 13, 2011
Location: Surrey, BC (Surrey Newton)
Address: 13651 72 Ave
Price Range: $10 or less, $10-20

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 2
Service: 2 (really depends on who you get)
Ambiance: 2
Overall: 2
Additional comments:

  • Voted “Best of Surrey”
  • Japanese owned/operated
  • Extensive menu
  • Lunch/dinner combos
  • Cheap party trays
  • Serves limited bubble tea
  • Budget friendly/cheap eats
  • Delivery available
  • Small parking lot
  • Accepts Visa/MC/Interac
  • Mon-Sat: 11am-3pm, 5pm-10pm
  • Sun & holidays: 12pm-9pm

**Recommendations: n/a, but the Takoyaki was good

It’s been voted as “Best of Surrey” and “Best Japanese in Surrey” since 2002 to 2006 and I just didn’t get it. I didn’t even come in with those expectations and only noticed it when I saw their menu. Sure I didn’t try a huge selection of food, and maybe I ordered the wrong things, but I don’t really see it getting much better. I actually don’t even see it being “Best in Surrey”, so I can’t even say it’s good for the area because it does get better than this.

Yes, it is Japanese owned and operated, but that doesn’t necessarily make it good and authentic. Personally I would rather go to Tawara Japanese Restaurant, Ta-Ke Sushi, Tokachi Sushi, or Akasaka Japanese Restaurant if I wanted to stay in Surrey for Japanese food.

The place looked clean and comfortable and the lunch time crowd wasn’t big at all so it was easy to get a seat. I must say that the service is hit and miss. The young server that helped us most of the time was a sweetheart, but the owner wasn’t very friendly at all. She told, not asked, us to move tables after seating us at one and gave no explanation as to why. It took the other server to kindly explain that someone just made a reservation for that table, but within that hour, no other group ever came. I think boss lady does most of the kitchen stuff though, so there’s a ying and yang in hospitality.

There is a lot of good food in Surrey, but Japanese is not exactly an area it excels in. I could see this being popular for people that live and work in the area, as it’s walking distance to many small businesses, but “BEST IN SURREY”? Really? I won’t compare it to Vancouver standards, but the experience was quite underwhelming.

The prices are very affordable, but they skimped on some ingredients and quality, so I have to say “you get what you pay for” rather than “it’s a bang for your buck”. A few things I ordered didn’t even match the menu description, but it’s not a place I would really bother bringing up the issue with, or really coming back for in general.

On the table:

Deluxe Sashimi – 1.5/6

  • 18 pieces $19.99
  • This was a pretty sad sashimi platter and overpriced for what it was.
  • It’s the “Deluxe Sashimi” too, which is their highest priced platter, which should mean it comes with the highest quality and freshest sashimi of the day, but it wasn’t.
  • The sashimi wasn’t that exotic and there wasn’t even any tuna, toro, or Wild Sockeye Salmon on it. Those are almost standard for any sashimi platter, and they are on the menu.
  • Besides the selection of sashimi, the freshness also wasn’t there. Some of the fish tasted treated with lemon, and the mackerel seemed cooked or at least made ceviche. Major no no.
  • The shredded daikon salad also tasted fishy, like it was strictly meant as garnish and not to be eaten.
  • The wasabi was strong and perhaps the best part.
  • Tako (Octopus) Sashimi 2/6
    • It was two relatively large strips in the centre and they were a bit dry and seemed treated with lemon first.

  • Salmon Sashimi – 2.5/6
    • The salmon sashimi was so average and the cut was a bit rough.
    • It was pretty thick slices, but to have 6 pieces of salmon sashimi and none being Wild Sockeye Salmon on a Deluxe Sashimi platter was so disappointing.
    • It’s not the worst salmon sashimi I’ve had, and it was okay, but I’m not about to recommend ordering salmon sashimi a la carte.
  • Surf Clam2.5/6
    • I don’t mind if surf clam is on a sashimi platter, but the quality tasted like the frozen kind.

  • Mackerel Sashimi – 1/6

    • This was pickled, which is essentially a method of “cooking” raw fish with lemon.
    • Mackerel doesn’t keep long as sashimi so after a few days a restaurant would be forced to pickle it.
    • It was very tangy and the meat was firm with lots of lemon flavour.
    • This was extremely disappointing to have on a Deluxe Sashimi platter.
  • Tai Sashimi (Sea Bream) – 2/6
    • This was the most exotic the fish got and it was sliced so thin it was almost transparent.
    • It had a lemony flavour and not just because it was touching the lemon slice. It should be fresh enough to not require any lemon.

  • Ebi (Shrimp) – 2/6
    • The shrimp was cooked and again it’s not particularly something I want to see on a Deluxe Sashimi platter.
  • Prawn Sashimi1/6
    • There were two raw prawns with the heads and those were warm and tasted quite fishy with a fishy after taste. I didn’t feel confident eating them, but I was fine afterward.

**Takoyaki – 3/6

  • 5 pieces $3.99
  • This was not bad, and they’re new to the menu.
  • They make them in house and they take a bit longer, but that’s a good sign and they’re served hot.
  • Takoyaki is a Japanese fast food snack and it’s pretty much a lightly battered and fried, or grilled, octopus ball or dumpling.
  • It was their own version and they drizzled it with some very tangy mayo based sesame vinaigrette (?), topped it with fresh red bell pepper, parsley and bonito flakes.
  • The sauce was more sharp with vinegar and I couldn’t taste the nuttiness of sesame, but I think that’s what it was.
  • Traditionally it’s supposed to be topped with nori instead of parsley, but this was their own version so I don’t mind.

  • They had a thin batter and were quite fluffy, creamy and moist with a small piece of octopus that was a bit overcooked and chewy.
  • The fluffy part is just a Japanese pancake batter and it’s almost like mashed potatoes, but it’s a flour batter with no potato.
  • The ginger flavour was a bit mild, but I liked the tang of the sauce and sweet crunch of fresh bell pepper which was a nice twist to the traditional recipe.
  • I prefer my takoyaki a bit more savoury with a different sauce, but these were still pretty good.

Kyoto Roll – 1/6

  • Real crab, chopped scallop, tobiko, cucumber, mayo & spicy sauce $4.49
  • It was edible, but the crab was fake, the scallops was almost MIA, and it was avocado instead of cucumber.
  • It was almost all artificial crab meat and the scallop was maybe the size of a 12 year old girl’s pinky nail in each peice.
  • The “crab” was very creamy and heavily dressed with lots of mayo and it was very overwhelming. The filling was almost wet.
  • The seaweed got a bit chewy and the spicy sauce and mayo was just the most standard spicy mayo you can think of. It was spicy, but it was quite mild, but still there.
  • The price is cheap, but it’s a pretty small roll. At least the rice was flavoured, although at times dry.
  • The worst part is that I purposely ordered this instead of the House Roll because they told me the House Roll used kani (fake crab)… but so did this one! It clearly stated “real crab” on the menu too.
  • The server even took it back the first time without me saying anything to confirm that it was in fact the Kyoto Roll. That just made me think she knew it wasn’t too and i just didn’t have an honest experience.


Kyoto Sushi on Urbanspoon


  • Bow says:

    I like the look of the Deluxe Sashimi platter but I thought it was priced at $12.99; at $19.99 it had better be really good…too bad it wasn’t. Most surveys are skewed, the people voting the “best” Japanese in Surrey haven’t really tried the places you mentioned(McDonald’s is No.1 restaurant in the world for sales…enuff said). The Kyoto roll only got 1, wow ! That`s low, it must taste bad ! I`ve had mackerel that tasted `tangy`and wondered it the fish was off…? Well, I guess I’ll give this place a miss.

  • LotusRapper says:

    I guess that really depends on who did the voting !

    Same reason why I no longer trust and Urbanspoons Vancouver, although it can be easy to tell the “shill-ers” from regular legitimate readers/voters.


  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – With the Kyoto Roll I think what ticked me off was the fact that it said “real crab” and then serving it with artificial… that was pretty much by “not cool” point. Well actually having pickled mackerel on the sashimi platter wasn’t cool… as YOU say… “there are roses and there are thorns”

    @LotusRapper – yes sometimes dinehere and urbanspoon is hard to tell.. I mean food is so personal so what may taste good to person A might not be good to person B… and then it depends on the area and clientele and then how many votes it has… it’s so tricky and political… why… now i even feel more honored that you read FMF. Thank YOU!

  • Linda says:

    o my o my! i can’t believe how bad everything here was! at least the takoyaki was yummers 🙂 the prices are quite cheap too!

    btw, there’s going to be osaka balls at the powell st festival (a japanese food fare and cultural event!) and they’re pretty much the same as takoyaki except that there’s shrimp and not octopus inside.. hope to see you there! 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – I knooowwww 🙁 – ok this powell st festival I need to google and I’ll go! And find you!!

  • Kurt says:

    This place is close to my office, so I go there once in a while out of necessity. The only way to go there is to get one of the bento boxes. Decent bang for the buck, and it comes with miso soup. Fresh fruit (complimentary) at the end is a nice touch. Otherwise I pass and get Pho at the place next door.

  • Mijune says:

    @Kurt – I’m pretty sure we see it the same way then if I was in your shoes.

  • Joshua says:

    Having lived in the area for five years but meeting up with friends mainly in Vancouver, we decided to change it up and dispell the notion that Vancouver and Richmond had the best restaurants. We therefore decided to try out this local restaurant. As a bonus, one of our group members had a coupon from the entertainment book so we decided to give it a try. It was a sunday night with about three quarters of the tables full when we walked in. We were a group of four and after waiting a considerable amount of time to be seated, we were finally acknowledged only to be asked if we had an entertainment coupon. Naturally we answered “yes we do” to which the hostess replied, oh then in that case come back in an hour because we are busy. We replied with the fact that on the coupon there was no time restriction with it mentioning VALID ANYTIME. She replied with “we are busy” and pointed to receipts of take out orders. Again, we replied with the coupon validity to which she replied ok ok ok fine! Take a seat!

    Unfortunately, having to argue to obtain a table for dinner and in light of facing such rudeness, we all decided to leave. So, if you are looking for horrible and rude service, please dine here… Good luck! We will never return and share this story with others… I guess I should have read the other reviews on this website!

  • Mijune says:

    @Joshua – ai… oy… ugh… stop… I feel so bad for you. I didn’t have a great experience with the service either. The waitress was friendly, but the owner wasn’t. Please don’t let this convince you that it’s the best in Surrey/Delta. There are lots of other good options.. even for sushi! Please see my post for Tokachi.. or check my “Locations” “Surrey” tab above… I’m so sorry you had this poor experience.

  • bmc says:

    We have been rudely shouted at and refused service by both the owner and the manager of the restaurant. The lady (I’ve been told she’s the manager) came to our table when we wanted to order. But when she saw that I have an Entertainment coupon with me, she started talking very rudely that we cannot understand then she walked away. We did not know what was happening so we called the other server to order. When the manager heard what we ordered, she quickly said, “No you cannot order THAT!” I didn’t have any clue what was happening. So I called her to ask. She said that because have a coupon, we cannot order any other food except “Bento C” and “Bento E”. She said it in a very mean, rude, disrespectful and discriminatory way!!

    My friend, who was celebrating her birthday then, does not eat raw fish and both combo meals have raw fish. She said she will replace the sushi with california rolls. I simply asked how many total california rolls will be in the meal since it already originally comes with 3pcs of california roll. She shouted “4!” then gave me a mean look and walked away right in front of us. Clearly she refused to take my order again.

    We were left stunned and didn’t know what was happening. Couple of minutes after, the owner from the kitchen (not the manager), came out and posted a sign by the entrance. We didn’t know what it was but when we looked, it read “No coupons today!” I stood up and walked towards the kitchen and asked what was going on and if I can order now. The manager rudely shouted at me, “You complain too much so I’m not going to let you order!!”. We were really surprised and customers from the other table saw what happened and was stunned too. I asked who the owner is and when the owner came out, he said “You’re the one with the coupon?!” Then he walked to the entrance and pointed the sign he just posted! Then he rudely told us that he needs to go back to work and cannot talk to us. At that point, we were very angry and frustrated with how they treated us. Especially my friend who was celebrating her birthday that day and I was with a 2-year-old as well. We left the restaurant right away.

    We would have paid full price without any coupon if only the lady had just told us nicely from the start “Sorry but we cannot accept coupons today.” Was that too much to do?????

    This service, attitude and business practice is totally unacceptable. They didn’t treat us with any respect at all, to the point of us feeling harassed just because we came in with a coupon. THEY DO NOT DESERVE YOUR BUSINESS! Please spare yourself from being ridiculed and humiliated and go someplace else.

  • Mijune says:

    @bmc – wow. u have A LOT more patience than me.. did you read my experience? Did you read some of the other comments on here? I don’t think service is their specialty… or even there at all. ugh. sorry to here your story. You seem like a nice person… I don’t know if I would have been as patient as you.

  • Sheri F says:

    I have been going to Kyoto Sushi 2-4 times per month for the past few years and the service has been hit and miss, however, in the past year it has been more miss than hit. First of all, I will say that I enjoy the food tremendously and that is why I continue to go back and I have no issues with the food. The service, however, is my problem. As others have mentioned, I have had problems with them trying to deny my Entertainment Book coupon, however, I “reminded” the owner lady that I am one of their most loyal customers and there are other places I can go. I have had problems in the past with slow service, and a general overall unfriendliness (but only from the lady owner), however, my main complaints and my reason for not returning ever again is my last two experiences at the restaurant. The first one included being seated at a dirty table and having to ask them to clean it, then after the food arrived we again had to ask for chopsticks and dishes. The waitress then brought a roll to the table and i told her we did not order it. She took it away and five minutes later brought a different roll to the table and again I told her I did not order it. The owner lady then came over to me with the roll in her hand, pointed at me and very rudely stated “You did order this” I informed her that I didnt order that one or the previous one that was brought to me. She then shook her head and turned away.
    Because I love the food, I then returned with my daughter and friend last night and OMG, what a terrrible experience. First, we get seated and we waited for at least 15 minutes before anyone came over. We finally got our tea and waited another 15 minutes to get our order taken. When the order arrived, my friend and i got some of our order, yet my daughter had to wait another 10 minutes to get her first item. The owner brought some more items and literally tossed them in the middle of the table, she said a random “I dont know“, which I`m assuming she meant she didnt know or care who`s order they were and walked away. A waitress came over and asked if we wanted tea and i responded with yes please and my daughter moved her cup towards the waitress but she just walked away and neither of us got tea!! We were very confused. So, it gets worse…..we then finish our meals and because i am a regular customer I know that they always bring complimentary fruit to the table but we literally sat there for 45 minutes with no food, no tea, and no waitress ever even looked at us. Finally when we are presented with two separate bills which we had requested, I notice that they have our orders mixed up and they have higher prices than indicated on the menu. I then called over the owner, which took another 15 minutes, and my friend mentioned our terrrible service and the problems with the bill. The owner was very rude, even laughed at us stating they are very busy. My friend asked for a discount and the owner said she will give a $1 discount!!!! She very reluctantly upped it to $2 then $3. At this time, we just wanted to leave so we went to pay with the ridiculous $3 discount and the new bill had only a $1 discount. When we called her on this she flipped!!! She threw her hands in the air, yelling that she is not making any money if she gave us a $3 discount, threw the bill on the ground and yelled `no more discount` in front of everyone and stormed away and had another girl take our payment. She made a huge scene in front of everyone. I will never return to Kyoto Sushi!!!

  • Mijune says:

    @Sheri – omg!!!! honestly the food isn’t that great though… how bout you try Ta-Ke Sushi? It’s on HWY 10 right by the TD Canada Trust across from the Chevron Gas Station. Or try Asakasa Sushi in Guilford or Tawara on HWY 10. My favourite is actually Tokachi in Whalley There are lots of other options for better sushi in Surrey with service that won’t disappoint.

  • Karen says:

    I will never enter the doors of this poor establishment. The service is terrible, rude, and unacceptable. The lady/hostess asked us if we had a coupon and we said yes. She said “come back in one hour” and took this other couple who did not have a coupon and who came in after us. We were shocked. We were kind of bewildered. You deny our service just because Kyoto Sushi put out an entertainment coupon? They should have honoured the coupon, but what they got are disgruntled customers who will spread the word that this place is going to GO DOWN, and that they will never step through those shady doors again. Just plain rude!

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