We needed to grab lunch before heading out for a group hike. I stumbled upon Li-Ao Sushi, which had some good reviews and ratings so we decided to check them out on a late Saturday afternoon. The restaurant is located deep south (Bridlewood neighbourhood) in a random strip mall area but they make up for it with the sweetest staff and dirt cheap prices. Seriously, dirt cheap.
We were starved from not eating anything so we went to town on ordering. Li-Ao have a couple monthly specials (see chalkboard) while the rest of the menu is pretty standard Japanese fare.
What I don’t get is how the front page lets you check off what you want but the back doesn’t. So odd…easily fixable but I doubt it’ll be changed. The staff are friendly, attentive and go above and beyond to please you (think that kind, endearing Japanese quality).
Deep fried tuna gyozas
Not many restaurants give you free appetizers to start your meal but Li-Ao do! They dropped these off while we were perusing the menu. Crispy fried outside, tasty inside. Good way to start our meal off!
Negi toro roll (#49) ($2.95) and spicy salmon roll (#45) ($2.75) – belly tuna chopped with green onion for the negi toro roll. Salmon, cucumber and spicy sauce for the spicy salmon roll. Simple but good.
Avocado roll (#52) ($2.95), salmon roll (#54) ($2.95) and tuna roll (#55) ($2.95)
6 pieces of avocado/sesame seeds, salmon and tuna. These were standard maki rolls. Nothing special but these were cheeeeeeeeeap. At least my sis can eat these without all the fancy drizzled sauces on top.
Sunomono salad (#82) ($3.95)
A traditional Japanese vinegar salad with noodles. I think this is the first time I’ve had this. The octopus was fresh and the noodles were soaked in a sweet, soup style broth.
Tataki (#111) ($8.95)
Briefly seared beef, sliced thinly and seasoned with ginger. We forgot to order this originally so we flagged our waitress down and had it near the end of our meal. Light, thinly sliced, tender beef with a sweet ponzu sauce. Good stuff.
Assorted sashimi (#113) ($18.95)
15 pieces of sashimi. You get six types of sashimi (salmon, tuna, scallops, tako, red snapper and red tuna) and egg (think they threw these in as extras). $18.95 for 15 pieces of sashimi is a GOOD deal. Everything tasted fresh and for the price, you can’t really complain (too much). However, the salmon and tuna were cut quite thickly. If you’re into quantity, you’ll be a happy camper. My favourite were the scallops and tako.
Salmon mango roll (#63) ($9.95) – tempura shrimp, mayo, avocado, salmon and mango. Pretty standard fare roll wise.
King salmon crunch roll ($12.95)
This was one of their May special rolls. We tried ordering another of their specials (black cod) but they were already out of it so we went with the king salmon roll instead.
The waitress that served us was a real gem. She gave our whole group each a pack of Pocky at the end of our meal (I think she said they usually only give them out to girls). If you want a cheap place to grab sushi, check out Li-Ao Sushi!
#231, 2335 162 Avenue SW