ABOUT YUWA JAPANESE CUISINE
Tucked away in the heart of Vancouver’s West Side, Yuwa Japanese Cuisine is an elegant enclave where a creative homage to regional Japanese fare is complemented by one of the city’s best selections of artisan sake and wine. Led by Executive Chef Masahiro Omori and renowned Sake Sommelier and Co-Owner Iori Kataoka, Yuwa offers an inspired approach to the traditional kaiseki style of dining where the very best local and seasonal ingredients are paired with consummate service, attention to detail and expert knowledge of fine wine and sake from around the world to provide a Zen culinary experience unlike any other. Formerly known as Zest Japanese Cuisine, Yuwa was newly christened in the fall of 2017 and quickly singled out as a finalist for Best New Restaurant at the 29th annual edition of the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards.
At Yuwa Japanese Cuisine, Chef Masahiro Omori’s classical training, keen grasp of time-honoured techniques and eye for presentation are on brilliant display during each night’s service.
For Omori, Yuwa is both a showcase for his effortless-yet-elegant approach to the traditional Japanese kaiseki style of dining, and a heartfelt homage to the woman who first helped forge his culinary path so many years ago. It was his obaasan (grandmother) Yuwa — owner and operator of a fish market in Japan’s Chiba Prefecture for more than 35 years — who instilled in Omori his dedication to craft, tireless work ethic and gift for selecting the freshest catch.
After attending culinary school in Japan, Omori continued to sharpen his blade with two decades of experience in restaurants both in his homeland and in Vancouver, where he first teamed with Yuwa Co-Owner Iori Kataoka as the opening chef at ShuRaku Sake Bar and Bistro in 2008. At Yuwa, Omori prides himself on escorting guests on a tour of Japan’s distinct regional cuisines and flavours using the bounty of local and seasonal ingredients available from oceans, farms and pastures located throughout the Pacific Northwest.
Yuwa Co-owner/Sake Specialist Iori Kataoka takes pride in ensuring that each guest embarks on a culinary adventure unlike any other, providing expert service and pairing an extensive knowledge of sake and wine with the restaurant’s signature take on traditional Japanese regional cuisine.
A respected and self-taught veteran of the Vancouver hospitality scene for nearly three decades, Kataoka opened her first successful restaurant, in 1990, rebranding it as ShuRaku Sake Bar and Bistro in 2008. She launched Zest Japanese Cuisine in Yuwa’s current location in Vancouver’s West Side in 2005 and helped guide the restaurant to one of the finalists of ‘Best Japanese’ restaurants at the Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards and Gold designations for the Wine Program Excellence Awards at the Vancouver International Wine Festival from 2014 through ’17 for its wine/sake list.
A Certified Advanced Sake Professional and recipient of the Premier Crew Award by Vancouver Magazine, Kataoka prides herself on curating one of the city’s top-shelf lists of artisan sake and wine at Yuwa, which was singled out as a finalist for ‘Best New Restaurant’ at the 29th annual Vancouver Magazine Restaurant Awards shortly after opening in the fall of 2017.