Where do you find the best poke in Vancouver? We’ve got the list! We’ve gone through the reviews, tried countless poke stores in Vancouver.
Poke is one of those delicate
What makes good Vancouver poke?
- Poke: evidently the poke has to be good. The fish importantly has to be fresh. The fish (be it salmon, tuna, or octopus) should be well marinated with soy sauce or the likes to be considered poke!
- The toppings: Now, generally poke is eaten by itself in Hawaii. However, we Vancouverites and much of the mainland appreciate the variety of health and flavorful toppings like cucumbers, avocados, seaweed, crab salad, or whatever your preference is! Perhaps not quite as authentic but more nutritious and delicious; change is good right?
- Rice: The rice has to be well cooked, gently seasoned. Brown rice is always healthier and being able to get perfectly cooked brown rice is a bonus. Most good poke stores in Vancouver have this nailed! Being able to mix your rice and salad as the base is considerable too, reduce your carbs intake.
- Service: You want good service that’s quick to make you feel good. No one ever goes out to seek a bad experience (well, maybe if you’re like some Americans.) Generally speaking, fast-casual food and restaurants are as much about service as they are about food.
- Ocean-wise & eco-friendly poke: Well, because we’re Vancouverites, we care about our seafood and we care about our ocean. Having fish that is sustainable is much appreciated. Many poke restaurants in Vancouver will carry sustainable seafood and wild seafood (generally healthier than farmed seafood but farmed seafood can be more sustainable.) but a few also seek to get the officiated certification. Basically, it’s nice to know what you’re eating and your impact on the environment.
The 5 best poke in Vancouver:
1) The Poke Guy:
Of all the poke restaurants we’ve tried in creating this list of the best poke in Vancouver, The Poke Guy, comes up top by an inch. (We’ve got some great choices for poke in Vancouver with more up coming. It’s becoming more apparent that Vancouver’s fascination with poke is liken to a Sushi 2.0 craze.)
What makes The Poke Guy poke so irresistible? Firstly, their location is conveniently nestled in downtown Vancouver (towards Gastown actually.) Secondly they are the only Ocean-Wise certified poke restaurant in Vancouver; they care about our environment and ocean as much as you do as a Vancouverite. All this wouldn’t mean much if the poke, the fish wasn’t fresh, or if the flavors were mediocre; but the fish is fresh (usually) and the flavors are like a symphony in your mouth. It’s good poke and you can dress it as you like.
There are a few gripes we have about The Poke Guy but bar none, it is the best poke in Vancouver. (My first experience with The Poke Guy was actually negative but went back and after trying a variety of poke restaurants in creating this list – it is truly the best where it comes to variety, poke, and flavors.) It is the only poke restaurants you can get pork cracklings on top of your poke as a garnish with the ever popular furikake.
What to expect at The Poke Guy: Non-pretentious poke, lots of toppings, fresh fish. With salmon selection, they only serve wild sockeye salmon with their poke; there is no farmed Atlantic salmon available. They serve their poke to-go in a cool compostable cardboard-like rectangle container, or you could have in a ceramic bowl in store.
The Poke Guy prices: $10.95 for the big bowl (really big bowl) but poke is extra. (quite a different approach from the rest of the Vancouver poke stores that include poke in their prices to be transparent.) It ranges from $2-$2.50 per scoop of poke which are quite generous portions. They generally recommended five scoops of poke for the big bowl. Unlimited toppings for the big bowl and The Poke Guy has a wide availability of toppings.
2) Westcoast Poke:
(Almost edged out on top for value, quality, and service if not for the recent experiences.) Your typical poke done right with various health food options like bone broth. A good variety of toppings available including avocado at no charge (if they haven’t run out of it.)
The fish is reasonably fresh unless you come towards to end of the day it seems and they allow a choice of two bases with brown rice, white rice, and vegetable mix available. It’s good Hawaiian poke with a Westcoast spin. They even have bacon aioli. Service and quality varies on occasion however. If you get a newer staff versus a more experienced and friendly staff.
Westcoast Poke is conveniently located just minutes from the popular West Broadway street. You’re no more than a two minutes walk to Whole Foods (great opportunity to grab a bulletproof coffee with your poke) and a four minutes walk to the Broadway-Cityhall Canada Line station. It’s a great spot for health take-out and their poke is solid. You may appreciate trying their spicy shoyu or the bacon aioli for something different. (I really wanted to love their poke and for a long time; it’s great to have fast-casual food that emphasizes on health and raw foods. I considered it one of the best poke personally because of the convenient location, fresh and health food, and quick take out. However, it seems recently their quality has gone down a little and easily edged out by The Poke Guy. The fish – specifically salmon – hasn’t been very fresh and service is slower. Dollar for dollar, you also get much larger portions at The Poke Guy. The real benefit with Westcoast Poke however is that avocado is not an extra charge – but they were out of avocado the last time I went. Fair warning, AVOID their Wonton chips; the wonton wrappers soaked in oil, so while crispy spew out oil with each bite. You may as well be drinking oil; now it wouldn’t be that bad if they fried it in olive or coconut oil but it’s likely canola oil.)
What to expect: Fast service, occasional line up, convenient poke store. Healthy poke selections. Usually fresh fish. Vegan fish available and free avocado topping. (If they’re not sold-out.) Healthy food like bone broth. Unique Westcoast spin like the Westcoast classics. Comfortable and minimalist seating available. Poke minutes from downtown Vancouver if you’re looking for something a little better than the standard Poke Time and Pokkerito (which are still excellent poke choices in downtown Vancouver.)
Westcoast Poke prices: $10 for snack size (which is actually quite sizable – about 2 scoops/oz of protein.), $12.50 for medium, $15 for big bowl. The poke toppings and garnishes are included, even avocado and mangos, but limited – seven mix-ins, five toppings, two premium toppings, and seven finishes. They also do order online and delivery.
3) Pacific Poke:
What to expect:
Pacific Poke Prices:
5) The Poke Shop
More poke restaurants/options in Vancouver:
We’ve tried many poke Vancouver options before compelling this list. While we have chosen to recommend only the top 5 poke restaurants in Vancouver, there are still many other poke option that hits the mark….they just fell a little bellow these other great poke stores in such a competitive environment! These Vancouver poke restaurants will still wow your taste buds and keep you coming back for more. These poke stores are still worth trying out if you happen to be around the area.
Poke Time – Ah, the brand synonymous with Vancouver poke. One of the first poke restaurants in Vancouver. They have three poke locations all centrally located in downtown Vancouver. They don’t have quite a variety as the best 5 poke in Vancouver, however. Also, in our opinion, offering morning corn flakes as a poke topping seems to make the poke seem cheapened – maybe change that to pork cracklings for crunch or home-made croutons to elevate it.
Carp – The way poke should be. There is no build-your-own poke bowls here but you get the chef’s special. Smaller portions but a good price. Excellent, excellent poke. Just not your traditional poke restaurant – they sell sushi but their poke is available as a meal or a snack. There aren’t any fancy vegetable toppings, you get it as it was designed and prepared!
Shishinori – There are three poke restaurants around the Broadway-Cityhall Canada Line station alone! One great (Westcoast poke), one good (Shishinori), and one to avoid (Poke Station). Shishinori serves Hawaiian fushion Asian food and they also have a large variety of pre-designed poke menu that are pretty good in their own.
Hoke Poke –
Pokeman – A recent addition to the poke scene located on 4th Avenue in Kitsilano that replaced a former ice cream store (guess it was too much competition when Rain and Shine came in)
Avoid these Poke restaurants in Vancouver:
It’s not the norm to provide negative comments on local businesses. We just want to positively share with you the best of Vancouver. However, when it comes to poke, the cost of having bad fish is very high. Further, in trying various poke stores, one store was so horrendous with service, portions, and quality that it absolutely required the attention as some people still surprisingly recommend it. (articles written from people who haven’t tried it! looking to add variety.)
Poke Corner –
Poke Station –
Unfortunately, these poke restaurants are the main ones conveniently located on the popular Broadway intersections. Don’t worry, if you’re craving poke while on Broadway street, there’s a great poke restaurant just minutes from Broadway-Cambie Canada Line station – Westcoast Poke! They came very close to #1. You should most certainly try poke at Westcoast Poke if you haven’t.
How many Poke Restaurants does Vancouver have?
You may be curious, how many poke spots does Vancouver currently have? In making this article about the best poke in Vancouver, we’ve scoured to find every poke in Vancouver, sort out the best, and then confirm it with a taste-test and a deeper look.
In the process, we’ve sorted through 15 poke restaurants – these are eateries in Vancouver that only sell or specialize in poke. There are also a variety of other restaurants and eateries that offer poke on their menu but are far from being specialized in poke. This even includes restaurants like Earls (who offer Ahi Tuna poke on their menu) and casual eateries like Hime Sushi (that offer poke salad on their menu) and Urban Sushi (offering poke bowls and “sushi burrito”) even completely random cafes like Island Cafe now offer poke!
You may also like to know that in creating this article endeavoring to find the best poke in Vancouver…over 50 pages of content were consumed, X poke shops considered, and hours spent finding, filtering, and tasting poke! It’s safe to say we’ve truly found the BEST poke in Vancouver. (this wasn’t just some list created using reddit as some journalists do.)
There are a total of 20 poke stores in Vancouver, 10 of which is downtown. Some brands have several locations within the city of Vancouver – Poke Time has 3, Pacific Poke has 2 …which one is a franchise ran entirely by UBC and very different in quality+experience+service, Pokerrito has 2, Westcoast Poke is planning to open their 2nd which will be in Richmond…not Vancouver. However, there are many other restaurants and eateries ranging from bars, social eateries, to sushi restaurants who serve poke as well.
Poke is certainly the new trend in Vancouver. You’ve got even restaurants like Craft Beer Market and Bao Down Gastropub cashing in on the poke craze with their variations of poke (and fusion dishes) on their menu. Never knew poke could be pub food but I suppose it is now!