Aoto-ya Blue Door Japanese Restaurant - Hidden gem!!

  Once in a while you find a hidden gem. A diamond in the rough. A neglected goldmine. Aoto-ya is just that. Aoto-ya is located on Victoria Drive, not exactly the most "happening" of places haha.

  I found this place while randomly searching for food on yelp! Someone said that this place is similar to Hi Genki, and I agree. You're not going to get fancy food here. Or "mind-blowing" food. It's Japanese comfort food, done right. Unpretentious, simple, and delicious.

  This place isn't very well known yet it has a 90% rating on urbanspoon! Yes, ratings are highly subjective but they still hold some degree of truth.

Signature Dishes
  Aoto-ya's speciality is their Teishouku Combo, which is a main dish served with a kobachi side dish,pickles, rice & miso soup. They have different variations like shriomizaka no shiso fry, grilled salmon, shougayaki, simmered mackerel, shiso tonkatsu which range from $8 - $18!

  They also have sushi, donburi, udon, and sashimi! Their sushi rolls are only a $2.50 each! If you order 3 or more you can a free miso soup.

  They even have dessert items like mochi, matcha parfaits, coffee floats, ice cream, and taiyaki! Roasted Green tea is free but they also have an extensive drink menu!

  Service was alright, nothing more, nothing less. The waitress was polite, but didn't smile or make conversation. There only appeared to be one server in the restaurant from what I observed.  Aoto-ya is a mom-pop operation, so the food comes does come out slower. If you're willing to look past that, you'll enjoy your time here.

  The decor is really simple and modest. They have their daily specials plastered on the walls, above eye level. Some of the dishes on special aren't available on the regular menu. On the table they have signage advertising their selection of teas and desserts!

Price - Affordable $
 If you come at lunch the specials and bento boxes are really affordable! Their Teishouku combos are more costly, but the other menu items are pretty inexpensive. Dinner is a pricier endeavour, as it is with most restaurants.

Value - Good 
The portion sizes are large and coupled with their cheap prices, this place is great value! For less than the price of a fast food meal, you can get healthy, delicious Japanese food made with care!

More Info!
6543 Victoria Drive Vancouver, BC
Open from 11 - 2 pm, 5- 9 pm
Kitsune Udon $6.99
 4/5 stars
  This was awesome! The udon noodles were bouncy, al dente, and didn't taste like packaged udon noodles. The main attraction was the broth. The broth for kitsune udon is made out of kakejiru, which is a a mixture of  dashi, soy sauce, and miring. It had a lovely aroma. The broth had depth: it was sweet, with an underlying note of seaweed and soy sauce. There were three large pieces of tofu pockets, which had picked up a ton of flavour from soaking in the soup. The tofu was really sweet, and had a spongy like texture to it. It also came with a side of chilli powder that came in a cute little wooden box! The portion size was really large and I was full after eating the whole thing. 
Salmon Avocado Roll $2.50
3/5 stars
  For $2.50 this was a great deal! All there rolls are the same price, regardless of what you order. It came with 8 small pieces. The rice was tightly packed and slightly sour. The avocado pieces were fresh. There was a little more rice than I would have liked, but it was understandable, given the price. If you tend to have a large appetite ordering one or two of these along with a combo will definitely fill you up!

The Verdict
Overall, Aoto-ya offers up delicious, authentic Japanese home style food at affordable prices! I wouldn't hesitant to come back here! Give if a try, you'll definitely find something you like!
Aoto-ya Blue Door Japanese Restaurant 青戶家 on Urbanspoon


  1. Cool, a really hidden gem, I've never even seen/heard of this place. Good to keep in mind next time I'm in that 'hood.

    Another old-fashioned, Japanese owned/operated restaurant is Koko on Hastings just east of Victoria Dr. My very very first Japanese sushi meal, ever, took place there, circa 1977/78. I've heard they were the very first Japanese restaurant in Vancouver, and even if not I'm sure they were one of the firsts. No frills, no fancy schmancy fusion/izakaya offerings, just time-honored classics crafted to perfection by highly trained and experienced chefs and staff. And their prices will shock you, on your 'new' Value scale ;-) they'll go through the roof :-D

  2. Koko sounds amazingg! Wow, first Japanese restaurant in Vancouver? Crazy considering how many there are now! It's definitely stood the test of time. It must have a special place in your heart then!

    I love old fashioned Japanese restaurants! In all honesty I prefer them to the new, trendier izakayas haha. I'll definitely have to try this place out! What would you recommend there?

    lol shock me? In a good or bad way? ;)

    And let me know how you like Aoto-ya! :)

  3. I've only been to Koko three times total. And the more you eat at modern Japanese restaurants, whether they are traditional (N. American-adapted) or modern (izakaya, fusion), the more likely you'll appreciate Koko's staying with "tradition".

    I have nothing specific to recommend, except maybe their battera and tamago (yes, tamago). If you watched "Jiro Dreams of Sushi" you'll see how such a humble nigiri takes way more skill and effort than it appears to be, and certainly disproportionate to the prices a tamago nigiri typically commands ($1-2/piece, $1.50 average).

    Shocking prices ..... in a good way, in absolute terms as well as in terms of value (after the facts).

    Bring a group, order many things to sample Koko's variety :-D


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