Tomoya Japanese Restaurant on Nelson and Kingsway, Burnaby

Updated: 15th Nov 2014; This restaurant is closed according to

Karl (of The Friday Lunch) met up with me again for lunch around the Metrotown area. Karl is a great lunch partner … lots of things to say and we do share the same interests too.

BTW, I finally found out why he calls his blog the Friday Lunch. Karl goes out with his gang at work on Fridays. It is like a eating club of sorts. This makes me want to organize one too at work seeing how successful it was the last time I organized the Turkish lunch at Anatolia’s Gate. I had expected only a handful to come but 20 turned up. Those who went raved about the lunch that there were two other parties (those that could not make to  the first round) from my company who went.

Yeah, maybe I would organize another one soon.


This round, Karl and I went to check out the Tomoya Japanese Restaurant. Tomoya is located just next door to Lao Shan Dong Beef Noodle place.

I walk past Tomoya EVERYDAY and yet I have never been there before. I have been meaning to try their food which is kind of unique. At one point, they were touting themselves as Japanese-French fusion food. During our visit, it seems like they are more Japanese than anything. Behind all these, I think they are entirely Chinese owned.


We were there at noon on a Monday. So it was quite empty but it soon filled up very fast. I had read feedback of their bad service on various sites but seriously we did not have that sort of things happening to us. They even came up to fill our water.

You know and I know. One can only trust so much about reviews you find on sites like urbanspoon or or yelp. For the most part, the feedback and reviews are useful information but at the end of it, it is up to you and I to make our own judgment … whether or not to trust the reviews. That goes too for chowtimes. LOL!


Back to Tomoya. Tomoya is small and compact. While the tables and chairs are placed very close to one another, I did not find it “intrusive” to the point that we are aware of our neighbor. The place has that cozy feel to it … like a place you could hang out in and take your own sweet time enjoying the meal. No rush-rush kind of place.



You just gotta check out their menu. Very nice menu with pictures of the chef’s creations. Tomoya has very unique rolls and that is what they are famous for. They are not like Sushi Garden or Asakusa where they serve run of the mill sushis and makis.

It took us a while to get down to getting what we wanted. At the end we decided to get a couple of their unique rolls and the Black Sun. Oh … the Black Sun … you WANT to get the Black Sun. I had never quite seen anything like it before. Karl wanted the Tokayaki too … so we got that too.

Since these were called the “Chef’s Creation”, I was curious as to who the chef was. I asked our waitress who merely said that the chef is not here. I did not ask any further but there I was sitting and thinking that perhaps the original chef is no longer there?


Free miso soup. Come to think of it, I don’t know how many Sushi places actually gives free miso soup. I had never paid much attention to this before but I thought that not many restaurant does. This is because I only remember ordering the miso soup in Japanese AYCE.

Not that I really want to know. I am just being myself … asking mundane questions. 🙂


Mundane questions begets another mundane picture. I just love that shot above. The ginger looked good huh? BTW, how did the ginger get to be that red? Was that coloring?

He he he … another mundane question, I know.


Ladies and gentlemen … mesdames et messieurs … señoras y señores … nushi men, xiansheng men.

The Black Sun … le soleil noir … el sol negro … hei taiyang.

I had never seen something like this before. As beautiful as it looked above, it looked better in real life.

Let me tell you how good it is by telling you what Karl “said” when he ate this:

“wow … mmm … wow … mmm … wow … mmm … www … mmm”.


That’s what Karl said … seriously. He was mmm’ing and wow’ing with every bite.

The Black Sun is $9 and is a combination of … chopped scallop, tuna and salmon. It is carpeted at the top with lots of black tobiko. I think it sounds better if I said it is black caviar. And in the center is the “sun” … a small and raw quail egg.

The sauce … the sauce gave this already marvelous dish a different dimension in taste.

OMG! The Black Sun beats any sashimi hands down. This is Tomoya’s signature dish.


As for the roll, deciding on the first one is relatively easy. We went with the roll that is named after the restaurant — the Tomoya Roll.

The Tomoya Roll is $7.75.

Listen to this … it has chopped scallop, crab meat, tamago, avocado.

And it is then topped with mango, ebi, and roe and served with their own special sauce.


The Admiral Roll is more expensive ($9.25). This is a tall sushi — big and chunky with soft shell crab, spicy tuna, and tempura.

It is topped with tobiko. This roll is a bit dry’ish and crunchy. I guess for people (like Suanne!) who does not like raw fish, then this type of roll is more to her liking.


Karl wanted to get the Takoyaki ($3.50). It was just three small pieces … pretty good but am not a big fan of this.

Karl picked up the bill this time. The bill came up to about $31 (right Karl?) which is cheaper than the lunch we had at Kura ($34).

Personally, between the pure Japanese-owned Kura and this Chinese-owned Japanese-slash-French fusion, I enjoyed this better.

And that is MY personal preference and it is OK to disagree with me. LOL!

Tomoya Japanese on Urbanspoon

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  1. LotusRapper

    Bravo, Ben !!

    I’ve only had their lunch special boxes, tonkatsu set and a bunch of “standard” rolls. But I’ve never had bad food nor experience. Plus I simply like their decor ….. good to be different !

    Hmm, next week’s Yakko will seem quite anti-climatic for you 😉

  2. LotusRapper

    Ben said: “Tomoya has very unique rolls and that is what they are famous for. They are not like Sushi Garden or Asakusa where they serve run of the mill sushis and makis.”

    I’m SO glad you like Tomoya. They *aren’t* like your typical Japanese sushi place.

    [whispers]: “Remember Ajisai in Kerrisdale ?”

  3. Oooh, the black sun looks good. And I prefer “black tobiko” because if you said “black caviar”, it wouldn’t have appealed to me at all! =D

  4. egirlwonder

    The black sun is indeed beautiful – but looks challenging to eat neatly! 🙂
    I understand that gare (pickled ginger) is made with young ginger, rice wine vinegar (mirin) and sugar. It’s a chemical reaction that causes the ginger to turn pink when mixed with the vinegar! Older ginger doesn’t turn pink – it stays pale yellow. I do think lot of the jarred stuff is died though…
    I haven’t made this myself at home yet, but I understand it’s pretty easy,I’m hoping to try making some this spring!

  5. Marike

    Yeah, the jarred ginger you can buy has been dyed red and sweetened with aspartame. But I still love to eat it with sushi!

    Does black tobiko taste like the orange ones?

  6. El

    I”ve tried this place back in 2006 the food was awesome but for the last 2 years it went down hill. The seafood is not as fresh and when i tried one of the rolls last time there jellyfish stinked.

  7. Eric

    Ben, glad you enjoyed their signature dishes! Been to Tomoya for quite a few times now, but only for dinners. Try coming back to this location after 830pm. They have these specials ( think it applies certain hours in the afternoon too) that’s quite cheap. You get sushis / rolls / sashimi / udon / etc, any 3 items…and that miso soup for only $8 bucks.

    Question though, while I don’t mind raw sashimi and other seafood, how was the raw quail egg? Do you think the overall black sun…without the sun, will still taste as good if I remove the egg from the top?

    1. Ben

      Hi Eric: I think the quail egg makes a big difference to the over all taste. It binds the black sun together and gives it that creamy texture. Why? Is it that you don’t take eggs? The quail egg is small if that helps.

  8. glory

    I went to tomoya 2x. i liked the food the first time, however the second time we were seated where I could see them in the kitchen. Having worked in a kitchen for 13 years, I will never eat there again with what I saw. The final straw though was when I saw the chef cut himself, get blood on the food, put a glove on and then serve that food that had his blood on it. So dangerous, so disgusting.

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