Shota Japanese Cuisine

by Ed Lau on May 2, 2007

There’s really no shortage of any type of restaurant in a city as multicultural as Vancouver. You could pick any random street and there would be at least five different types of food available. One that is particularly abundant is Japanese.

I’m not quite sure how popular all-you-can-eat style sushi is anywhere else in the world but even within the relatively small suburb of Richmond, there about ten different places that let you stuff your face with raw fish. Although you don’t get the same quality food as some “a la carte” Japanese restaurants, there are a few venues where the food isn’t bad and a great value at only $10 for lunch/late night and $20 for dinner.


I was hoping that Shota, located at 100-7831 Westminster Highway, would be one such restaurant and from the outside, things were looking up. The location looked relatively elegant and parking was quite easy. However, once you set food inside, things start going downhill. My friends and I had made a reservation for four at 8:30 at noon on the same day and we were informed that that would be fine. Upon arrival, we still had to wait almost 15-20 minutes before being seated as other parties got tables without reservations ahead of us. Reservations mean nothing at Shota. A huge faux-pas, if you ask me.

While the inside of the restaurant is decently decorated with nice paintings and tasteful tables/chairs, our plates and tea cups were covered with pictures of sushi along with their descriptions and names. Some folks might find this amusing and useful but I thought it was a bit tacky. A much simpler set would’ve made a better impression.

The list of food is extensive and you order by writing down how many orders of what you want on a list and giving it to the waitress. I know it seems like a bit of work but it is a lot quicker than any alternatives. Food did arrive in a reasonable amount of time but they missed an item or two on each order.

Before you ask, all the pictures seem very yellow because the lighting in Shota is VERY warm. It makes everything a strange yellow tint and…while I’m not asking for cool florescent lights, this is absurd.


There is plenty of variety available when you go for dinner, including all the usual things you can order at most sushi restaurants and some that I haven’t seen anywhere else such as fresh raw oysters, fresh wild sockeye salmon sashimi, abalone sushi and lobster sushi. The oysters tasted pretty good with a squirt of lemon juice and some chopped green onions but they were possibly the tiniest oysters I’ve ever seen! Good thing you can order as many as you like. The wild sockeye was also very good with a distinct BC taste and a deep red color. The abalone, however, was as fake as possible and tasted like an old balloon. I couldn’t even chew through it. The lobster was equally disgusting and insanely dry despite the…mayonaise. I don’t recommend either…


Some of the other usual dishes were quite good including all the different types of sashimi. Don’t expect otoro but the salmon, tuna, toro, tako (octopus) and hokkigai (surf clam) were quite good. The beef sashimi we ordered was hit and miss though. The first dish we ordered was alright and well marinated but the second was almost frozen! I know you’re supposed to keep this stuff cold but this was ridiculous. Chopped scallop, negitoro and spicy tuna cones were all decent as well. The chicken karage (deep fried chicken wings) were…strange and overdone. They were fresh and hot but hard as freakin’ rocks.

I know I shouldn’t expect too much from an all-you-can-eat sushi place and I know I’m a bit picky but with everything in mind, Shota was not all that impressive. I liked the inclusion of fresh raw oysters and wild sockeye but everything else ranged from okay to not particularly impressive to abysmal. Service inside was decent but that thing with the reservations does not give a good first impression. Some dishes like the “abalone” and “lobster” were disgusting and even the miso soup was far too salty.

If you want to try some all-you-can-eat places in Vancouver, there are certainly better places to go. Aji Taro on #3 Road has insanely slow service but better quality food and Ebei (pronounced like eBay) on Granville in Vancouver is also a good choice. While you shouldn’t expect the best, most authentic food from any all-you-can-eat, every couple months, it’s not a bad way to spend 10 or 20 bucks.

in Food and Fine Dining

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kiltak May 3, 2007 at 5:51 am

I’ve never really liked sushi.. sure, It’d take a bite or two out of them when they were offered in an all you can eat spot.. (And yes, we do have these over here too).. but that’s far as I would go..

However, I love to eat a almost raw tuna steak… they’re wonderful and spicy :)

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Joel Szerlip May 3, 2007 at 10:48 am

Looks good to me. Never been a huge sushi fan up until recently. I had to read this when I was hungry!

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Kenny May 3, 2007 at 6:19 pm

Those cones at the end look terrible! So what is one of the better all you can eat sushi places in Richmond/Vancouver nowadays?

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Leo May 4, 2007 at 7:15 pm

I find that most of these sushi places use waay too much rice, mayo and other sauces to make up for the poor quality food.

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