Let us introduce you to a new Japanese Izakaya spot in Edmonton: Sakura Izakaya. This cozy new spot is located on 4436 Calgary Trail NW and has free parking for easy access. With Japanese Izakayas (meaning Japanese Bar/Pub), you can often expect a variety of small, typically inexpensive, dishes and snacks to accompany alcoholic drinks. When you first arrive to the place, you will be greeted by their friendly staff. The team at Sakura Izakaya work together like a family and on top of that, the stylistic choice for the interior design gives you a warm welcoming feeling.
Now let’s talk about their food. The menu is simple, yet diverse in the type of foods you can expect. There is a range of sushi, skewers, grilled fish, noodles, drinks and more. What was most surprising to me was that the menu items are fairly priced. For what you pay for, the food is worth it! Chef Akisan has also informed us that all their meats are locally sourced and the seafood is imported fresh from Japan. This is definitely a plus when it comes to the freshness and taste I experienced here.
To start off, we tried the Okonomiyaki, which is a Japanese seafood pancake topped with tonkatsu sauce and mayo. For a ‘small dish’ this item had a large portion that’s great for groups of 4 or more! The seafood was also topped with Bonito flakes (dried, smoked shavings of skipjack tuna).
Next up, we were served the Sakura Bun (BBQ tender beef, spring mixed served with steamed white bun) and Angry Edamame (spicy soybeans). These were great starters before the main meal, especially the flavoured Edamame which had a unique taste.
For the main meal, we had a variety of pressed sushi, Beef Yakisoba noodles, and a spicy poke bowl. My personal favourite was the Pressed Mango Sushi. Since it’s mango season, the fruity taste was potent and melts in your mouth. However, the Pressed Chopped Scallop sushi was a close contender. Both had me wanting more! Whether you are a noodle or rice fan, they have both options including the Yakisoba noodles and poke bowl with rice that we tried. I would say the spicy poke bowl was the winner for me. The mix of greens, egg, avocados, and fresh raw tuna worked harmoniously.
Of course if you are enjoying the food, you must pair it with a drink! They offer a variety of unique alcoholic beverages that are imported from Japan: plum, strawberry flavoured sake, Japanese beer, and more.
Overall, this place really shines with their flavours, pricing, and friendly staff! You have a curated menu with a variety of foods and drinks that are unique. The atmosphere is great for socials and late night hangouts with friends and family. I highly recommend checking out this place if you’re looking for somewhere new to eat!