Guu Original - Izakaya Pioneer
Dubbed as the pioneer of izakayas in Vancouver, Guu is quite the legend on Thurlow. Offering their menu in both English and Japanese, this cozy restaurant gives a very excited atmosphere and you can’t go wrong with a lot of the regular menu items.
Specializing in tapas, these small dishes are meant to be shared amongst the table though you can also simply order a few for yourself and have everyone else at the table do the same. I ordered the Kabocha Croquette (pumpkin squash with egg), Tako Wasabi (octopus wasabi soup), Bacon Cauliflower, and Duck Paste. The latter two had intricate names in Japanese but that’s what they generally showed up as. My winner for the night is hands down for Kabocha Croquette. Drenched in a sweet mild mayonnaise, the crispy exterior just teases everything inside. The pumpkin squash melts on your taste buds and is not something you find in every izakaya. The resident boiled egg found inside is just bonus on top of everything else in this tapa. My least favourite of the night was the Bacon Cauliflower which was exactly as named and was a little too oily for my taste, though it was easily won in terms of pure volume. Their in-house Guu’d ale is in my opinion the best value on the menu for beer. The cups are quite small though so you will be refilling a lot.
Guu is full of small tables so I recommend coming with a group no bigger than 4 and show up early. If you decide to come with a larger group I highly recommend a reservation as Guu has one large table at the back that seats what seems to be a max of 10 or 11.
Service is excellent here. Our waiter easily divided our orders up after we told him we were ordering individually (they don’t split the bill but you can tell them how much you are paying if paying by card). When some of our people forgot what they ordered, the waiter kindly told us what the dish was in English so we could figure out who ordered what. And as per all Japanese izakayas, the kitchen and staff roar at you as you enter the restaurant and one more time as your party exits the restaurant.
I’ve been to every Guu in Vancouver, but there will always be a special place for me at the original location. Here there is a nice homey feeling being tucked away just off of Robson Street and their regular menu is filled with quality Japanese tapas.