On our recent October trip to Vancouver, we had a free night go out for dinner. I’ve been wanting to try Kingyo Izakaya for a long while so we headed over to Denman. Unfortunately, we got to the restaurant and it was packed. The wait was well over a hour and although my parents were watching the kids we just felt we couldn’t stay out too long.
We made a quick decision to head over to the nearby Guu Garlic which we love but hadn’t been too in years.
Guu Garlic opened in 2001 and was one of the pioneers serving this type of food. The first time we ate at Guu was back in 2003 or 2004 and, Anna and I were like, this place would be awesome in SF. There’s nothing like it! And even today, there’s nothing in SF that compares to Guu in my mind. Or for that matter some of the others like Hapa Izakaya (another of the originals) just up the street on Robson.
It was busy inside, lots of energy, and very loud with the waiters and cooks shouting who knows what. People were downing beer and sake and the food looked great. The hostess said we could either wait 20 minutes for a seat inside or get seated immediately outside.
We opted for outside even though we’d be away from the action.
It had rained all day so was a bit cool but with the heat lamps it was quite pleasant. It definitely was quieter outside with only a few tables occupied. But if I wanted to see the action inside I just had to look through the window.
There was the regular menu and the daily menu. Both looked great and we tried to order a variety of things (as much as you could with only two people!).
The menu was split by categories.
We really liked our waitress. She was friendly and was able to help us figure out what to order including suggesting one item that wasn’t on the menu that evening. We told her that this place would do really well in the States and specifically the Bay Area.
The waitress told us the owner actually wants to expand to the States but is having some issues “since he’s not American”. Not sure what those issues would be but he needs to solve them!
And now onto the food. We started with assorted oden and chose tofu, beef tendon, yam cake, fish cake, egg, and puffed fish cake. It was delicious!
Next came the mussels which came in a tasty broth and were plentiful.
And the mussels were big. How big? Take a look.
We ordered tuna tataki. Excellent!
When we sat down, the first thing that caught my eye on the menu was the baked oyster with spicy cod roe and this mayo cream sauce topped with cheese. This came next. I should have ordered a second one.
The waitress recommended this off the menu item called Tuna Yukke which was great. I can’t remember all the ingredients but chopped tuna, edamame, lotus root, sprouts, and garlic chips come to mind.
Although I was feeling pretty satisfied I wanted to order one more dish. We decided on chicken wings which were good but I saw a pan-fried udon dish going to another table and then thought, darn, should have ordered that instead!
I washed everything down with a large glass of beer and happily paid the bill (which I thought was a deal!) before heading off to Bella Gelateria for awesome gelato.
1698 Robson St