Sushi with a Side Order of Care

Vancouver’s diversity spills into its food choices and one sushi spot on Robson Street brings a twist that is refreshing and unexpected. VanLove Sushi is a fusion of Vancouver’s favourite Japanese tastes with the experience of European restauranteurs. Decades of Ukraine’s unique fusion style has come full-circle, back to the Pacific Rim.

When the Going Gets Tough, the Sushi Chef Gets to Work

We spoke to Serhii Holovatskyi at VanLove Sushi to find out what sets their taste apart. “My business partner and I had to leave Ukraine because of the war, but we had decades of restaurant experience between us. We’d developed a chain of successful sushi restaurants in an area of Ukraine that my family and I had to leave suddenly. We were so glad to make it to Vancouver’s beauty, but we also missed home,” Holovatskyi explained.

“Here, there are lots of high-end sushi places, but we saw an opportunity for the fusion tastes and every-day food values we were missing. We had a feeling our house recipes that were so popular in Ukraine would be well received in Vancouver, too,” Holovatskyi said.

Coffee in the Morning, Sushi All Day

Before VanLove Sushi opened in 2023, a coffeeshop occupied their Robson street-front location. VanLove Sushi kept a neighbourhood favourite on the menu, as a tip of the hat to Vancouver’s special diversity. A Mojito is a cold drink with lime and mint — and it sits alongside VanLove’s other coffee menu items, like their Saffron Ice Cube Latte and soothing London Fog.

“Our customers appreciate the warm and friendly feeling we’ve created inside the restaurant. We worked with a top Ukrainian restaurant designer to include commissioned artwork and a special ambiance. Because our menu focuses on ‘Ukrainian-style sushi’, our customers have encouraged us to support Ukraine through hats, t-shirts, flags, and other souvenir items we sell in the restaurant. We give the profits from these items directly to Ukraine, as we show our support from our new home.”

Holovatskyi went on, “We are passionate about showing our kids the creativity and joy of food preparation, as well. Each winter, we run children’s master sushi classes that are very popular.”

A Happy Place in the West End

With sushi rolls that are considerably bigger than typical restaurant fare, VanLove Sushi’s Philadelphia Roll is a top favourite in Ukraine — and another house-signature roll combines scrumptious salmon and avocado. Customers appreciate the variety of combined flavours in each roll. There’s no scrimping on the contents — and delicious Japanese-European fusion sauces on the side.

Plan a trip to Stanley Park, rent a bike for the afternoon — start with a coffee to-go, and end with fresh sushi. The restaurant’s location at 1755 Robson Street, across the street from the Safeway at Denman, means ocean, park, shopping, and great food are all ready for you to enjoy. Make a plan for this coming weekend — stop in VanLove Sushi, take-out, or order for delivery.