From Montreal we headed west to my favorite city Vancouver. Consistently ranked as the best city to live in the world by Mercer, Vancouver is blessed with all that nature has to offer. From Whistler Mountain to Stanley Park to the Pacific Ocean, Vancouver has something to offer throughout the four seasons. Together with its laid back lifestyle Vancouver has become a multi-cultural city that attracts thousands of immigrants particularly the Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and Indians who have contributed to the city’s diverse cuisine.
Unlike Toronto or many other cities I’ve visited, nearly all of the hundreds of Japanese Restaurants in Vancouver are actually owned and operated by Japanese Chefs. There are so many Japanese people here that the cuisine itself is dissected into parts with restaurants specializing in Sushi (Tojo’s), Ramen (Kintaro) and Izakayas (Guu).
For our first night in Vancouver I took Zhao Kun and my Thai friend Imm (who recently moved here for school) to Vancouver’s most famous Izakaya called Guu. With five branches in Vancouver we visited my favorite location on Robson Street called Guu with Garlic. It was their first time in an Izakaya and so they left me to do the ordering
We had to order this since Guu had their own version. Ramune is a Japanese Carbonated Drink that tastes something like lemonade.
Assorted Sashimi: Albacore Tuna, Sockeye Salmon and Scallops
This was Zhao Kun and Imm’s first time trying Albacore Tuna and Sockeye Salmon, both of which are unique to the Pacific West Coast. Compared with Blue Fin Tuna, Albacore Tuna has a softer texture and milder flavor. It is also my favorite of the two types of Tuna. Sockeye Salmon on the other hand is much leaner and meatier than the usual Salmon that most people would find in a Japanese Restaurant
This is one of Guu’s signature dish. The Croquette was crispy on the outside with the mash potatoes not being too mushy. It was delicious with the Katsu (Japanese BBQ Sauce) and Mayo sauce
The Grilled Squid had the right amount of seasoning but it was a little chewy
The Pork Belly was stewed in a sweet soy based sauce. It was really tender and delicious tasting similar to Shanghainese Braised Pork Belly but less sweet
Aigamo Salad (Duck Salad)
The duck was cooked medium and was very tender and went really well with the combination of lettuce and sautéed mushrooms
Oden-Mori is an assortment of boiled Japanese Fish Balls and Rice Cakes. My favorite were the Deep Fried Fish Balls which had a nice bouncy texture
Deep Fried Prawns topped with Mayo Sauce. The prawns were plump and juicy and had a nice crisp batter. The lemon mayo sauce was really good with the prawns
The ever popular Grilled Cod Fish with Miso was excellent. The meat was moist and succulent and it had the right amount of sweetness and miso flavor that went really well with the mayo sauce
The Carpaccio was made from thin slices of Sockeye Salmon that is topped with shredded Red Onions and Yuzu Dressing with Mayo.
The Grilled Pork Cheeks with Sea Salt had a really nice texture but was a little too salty.
Another first for Zhao Kun and Imm where the rice is made with a house special broth is Green Tea based and topped with cooked salmon meat.
Can't really go wrong with this dish. The Sashimi was fresh and so were the Greens. It was good with the combination of Mayo and Lemon Juice.
It looked as if we ordered quite a bit of food but believe me the portions were small similar to Tapas. And since this is their first Izakaya style meal they both really enjoyed it.
Price: $$$ (Under USD $35 per person)
Address: 1698 Robson St, Vancouver, BC V6G 1C8, Canada
Tel: +1 (604) 685-8678