I am biased. I love Guu. Especially Kitanoya Guu with Otokamae in Gastown. I love almost everything on the menu - Salmon with seven friends, Ebi Mayo, Miso Black Cod, Yakiudon, Takoyaki, Brie Cheese, Okonomi-yaki, Kimchi Bibimbap. I love it all!
So it was more of a treat-yourself-out dinner than a "review" dinner that we had on Saturday. Unfortunately, we'd had a late lunch at Banana Leaf earlier that day, and were meeting some friends in Gastown for some pubbing later, so we ate a little lighter.
Izakaya is traditionally a drinking hole that also serves small dishes and tapas, targeted towards the busy businessmen or for more casual get togethers. It is only more recently that the izakaya has grown in size, and included a greater variety of foods.
Within the last eight years, you can say that Vancouver has had an "izakaya explosion" of sorts. From from the chain izakaya around downtown and Richmond to the yakitori-ya along Denman and Robson, the Gastown Guu location is still one of my favourites.
While some may argue that the constant yelling of orders between waiters and kitchen staff and bar staff is disruptive, some may also say that it adds to the unique ambience that izakayas offers.
Personally, it depends on the day. But I imagine that since izakayas have grown in square footage over time, modern-day izakayas are taking that traditional approach and just keeping it casual. I can tell you from experience in the restaurant kitchens that Guu is probably just a touch louder than your average kitchen, and the waiters here are a helluva lot nicer than the kitchen staff at other establishments.
On our visit last Saturday, we were delighted to find that pitchers of their Jump cocktails were on special, and so we ordered an ebi mayo, tai carpaccio salad, and halibut karaage to begin with. As usual, we enjoyed the tender, succulent prawns enveloped in crisp, hot batter so much, that we ordered another ebi mayo, plus a yakiudon. It was fantastic.
Again, I want to do a dinner here in March. I remember the set menu dinner I tried last summer was great value and a good variety of food.
Kitanoya Guu with Otokamae
375 Water Street #105 [map]
Tel: 604 685-8682