Izumi-Tei – You get what you pay for.

Sara and I originally planned to go to the Old Spaghetti Factory but after being told of a 40 to 50 minute wait, we decided to take our empty bellies elsewhere. After much debating, we settled on Izumi-Tei buffet in Richmond.

Izumi-tei is a buffet located inside of Izumiya Market. Buffets typically are not an option for us considering Sara gets full on very small amounts of food, but at $12.50 per person (after taxes) even if Sara didn’t eat a whole lot of food the price is still acceptable. When you walk in, you will quickly notice that Izumi-tei is not your typical buffet. While there are still plenty of options to choose from, the options at Izumi-tei are mostly deep fried foods. For a Japanese buffet, there are not many rolls to choose from either.

If you are wondering where the washrooms are, the washroom is actually located within the grocery store. The washrooms are the ones you will find at most Japanese places. They are single occupancy, meaning its just one loo and a sink.

The Food

This is where I have a dilemma – should I judge just the food itself? Or do I consider the price I paid to be eating this food? The food, as a whole, as alright. Nothing spectacular. I tried almost everything they had and nothing really stuck out to me. As I mentioned earlier, most of the items are deep fried and probably straight from a package. So if you are on a diet (and if you are why are you at a buffet), Izumi-tei is probably not an option for you.

My first plate.

My first plate.

A few things stuck out for me and for the wrong reasons.

First of all, most of Izumi-tei’s items are either warm or cold. Even the fried foods. Maybe their heat lamps aren’t working properly, but most of Izumi-tei’s “hot” food items were not actually hot. This was the case for everything that wasn’t drowning in liquid like soup or their terrible terrible beef sukiyaki. This was a put off for me, but hey, I paid $12.50 to eat unlimited amounts of this so the gluttonous pig in me doesn’t really mind too much.

If you can see in the picture above, we had their deep fried fish. Don’t let the size of that piece of fish fool you – most of that is batter. When biting into that, its like eating a fish sandwiched between thick slices of fried batter. Actually, its not “like”, it is like biting into a big chunk of batter and fish.

The beefless beef curry

The beefless beef curry

This is more a complaint of Sara’s as I didn’t try the Beef Curry, but I’m pretty sure I would of said the same. There was no beef in the beef curry. None. Zilch. Really it was just Japanese curry made from the Glico curry cubes. They should have just labelled this item as curry because there is no traces of beef to be found in there. Maybe the beef was symbolic. Maybe the beef wasn’t suppose to be in the curry but the beef is actually in all of us. I would rather prefer the beef to be in the curry, so I can put it inside of me manually.

Oh clams, how great you could have been.

Oh clams, how great you could have been.

If there was anything that had potential at Izumi-tei’s buffet is the Garlic Butter Clams. There are plenty of clams swimming in that hotel pan. The soup was really flavorful and full of clam taste. Other than clams and flavor, can you guess what else is swimming in that hotel pan? Sand. Lots of sand. Enough sand to build a sand castle. I would have had more of the clams, but I didn’t want to get kidney stones.

Too Soft Serve Ice Cream

Too Soft Serve Ice Cream

I personally didn’t have the ice cream, but Sara did. She said it was very soft. So soft that it melted really fast.

Oden - the food that I will never understand.

Oden – the food that I will never understand.

What the frick is oden! Sara says that its suppose to be fish paste and fish balls. I guess oden is the Japanese version of Chinese curry fish balls? The oden that Izumi-tei had was primarily just fish paste and fish balls in some kind of soup. Wasn’t enjoyable to me. Will never have again.

The Conclusion

What do I say? The food was mediocre (borderline terrible) at best but the price to take part in the buffet is only $12.50. You really get what you paid for at Izumi-tei. The food items aren’t very good, but they are not so bad that they don’t deserve the $12.50 price tag. It really comes down to your mentality with food.

If you are a gluttonous pig like me, then you won’t mind coming to Izumi-tei. You can eat as much food as you want and pay half of what it would cost elsewhere.

If you are one to always value the taste and quality of the food, then Izumi-tei isn’t for you. The food isn’t well made and they are mostly food from packaging.

Here is a list of all the items at Izumi-Tei:


Chicken teriyaki
Beef sukiyaki
Beef curry
Tofu steak with mushroom sauce


Fried Squid tentacles
Garlic butter clams
Deep fried white fish


Veggie Tempura
Spring roll
Fish balls


Oden (fish cakes, daikon, balls, konjac knots– konnyaku)
Spicy egg and seaweed


Zousui (Japanese Style congee)
Spicy eggplant


Matcha soft serve
Matcha bread

Salad bar:

Spicy menma
Namasu (Japanese radish and carrot)
Sakura daikon
Various salad dressing + lettuce


Sushi: I really don’ know what rolls they have as majority were taken by earlier customers. I did, however, have some dynamite rolls and Inari.

Izumi-Tei Japanese Buffet Restaurant いずみ亭 on Urbanspoon


Kelvin can eat a lot. To keep his body fueled, Kelvin will try to eat anything within an arm's reach. When not eating, he likes to work out, train jiujitsu and spend time with Ollie. Follow him on twitter @KelvinW_JJ or on his diary at whatkelvinthinks.com

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One thought on “Izumi-Tei – You get what you pay for.

  1. Maybe other customers took all the beef in the beef curry and just left the sauce. I would do that.

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