Watami is one rare non All-you-can-eat (AYCE) Japanese restaurant in Waterloo,  with a full focus on Japanese cuisine (others are typically a mix of Korean/Japanese). Although Watami’s owner is Chinese, the restaurant’s interpretation and execution of ‘modern Japanese cuisine’ is refreshing – not exactly authentic, but appealing. Their website is also very impressive.

I love fish, I love raw fish – Y and I have very high expectations of Japanese cuisine. After being sick and tired of stuffing our faces with mediocre/terrible food at AYCE places, we were extremely excited to see if Watami will pass the test to be our new go-to sushi place. However, we were confused by Watami’s logo as the words on their logo read Yamamoto– a typical last name for Japanese, instead of Watami. Maybe I’ll ask them about it on my next visit.

The decor is modernized, contemporary and rather intriguing. I enjoyed the spacious interior (and random fire places). Service is usually pretty reasonable – not too slow, but not exceptional either.

Now to the food. I was pleasantly surprised by the serving sizes of the sushi and rolls. Rolls should always be bite-sized! Some places puff them up with so much rice that I have to dissect the poor sushi before eating it. I’ve tried the Sushi Lover Boat for Two and we barely finished it. I guess we will be sticking to individual orders going forward.

I love California rolls. Not a traditional Japanese roll, but it is simple and delicious. You’ll be surprised by how some places can butcher the Cali roll! Too much rice, uneven cubes of avocado/crab meat etc. Bad Cali rolls makes me sad.

On the Table for Maple:

The common roll (Rainbow roll) looks nice, and has generous amounts of fish.

The new roll (Salmon Salad roll) was refreshing and interesting.

The creative rolls (Las Vegas roll / Tex Mex roll) were weird. Cream cheese in sushi is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Overall, I thought it was a good experience and a change from ordering 2 million rolls to get your money’s worth, and trying so hard to finish them ( or hide them in napkins when you can’t finish them – don’t lie, everyone’s done it!). Going for A La Carte at Japanese restaurants might be a slightly more expensive option than AYCE, but no food goes to waste and no insane amounts of sushi goes to your waist.

*Note: They also gave me a sushi cake for my 21st birthday!


1) $$ price (a dinner for two will typically be $60+ )
2) Clean, crisp ambiance
3) Thoughtful service (my sushi cake!)
4) Refreshing taste

Watami Sushi & Sake Bar on Urbanspoon

One Reply to “Watami”

  1. I know you wrote this last year but I just came across this post about Watami. Loved it! My husband is Japanese and laments the whole “fusion” scene. He likes the fusion twist on things but wishes there was somewhere in K-W with really authentic Japanese food. That being said, we both like Watami and I love what you wrote. It was a very realistic assessment; the food was great and focussed on only Japanese cuisine. Of course it still has things like rainbow rolls, California rolls (that is what is in demand in the market over here, so can’t really ignore it!), but the quality of the things we have tried is very good. The owner is Chinese as you said, but once we noticed a help wanted sign in the window…in perfect Japanese.

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