Guu Izakaya is one of the first izakayas to gain attention and prominence in the Toronto food scene. When it arrived in late 2009 — with its flagship restaurant located in Vancouver, Canada — many Torontonian foodies were extremely excited about its launch and anticipated a visit to this bustling restaurant. Since then, Toronto has exploded with many other copycat izakayas (not a bad thing! Many of them are quite delicious too).
Izakayas are popular in Japan where people gather after work to have a drink and a bite to eat. The restaurant operates in a tapa-style where small dishes of snacks can be ordered in a round to share among friends.
In other words, because you can order so many small dishes and varieties of food all at once, izakayas are one of my favorite places to dine! Come on, you can literally have 10 dishes of different varieties of food in one sitting. What’s not to like? The best idea is to come with three or four people so that you can really take in all the different delicious tapas.
The servers at Guu are SO incredibly nice. The atmosphere in Guu is the best I’ve seen; lots of enthusiastic and friendly cheering whenever someone arrives and leaves. There’s no other izakaya in Toronto that is this good at promoting a restaurant culture (while I was waiting in line outside, I could hear the team practicing and hyping themselves up before the guests arrived).
I ordered the Takowasabi (a recent favourite of mine) and loved it! I loved how it was a bit spicy from the wasabi and also crunchy from the cucumber cubes that were in it.
I was a bit skeptical about the mango and berry sauce that accompanied the deep fried brie pieces since I figured sweet and salty isn’t a great combination. However, I was surprised at how well it all melded together. The deep fried batter was thick enough to keep all the creamy and gooey brie cheese inside. It was so good!
The sashimi salad was a big bowl of crunchy and fresh greens with various pieces of seasoned fish and raw octopus. It was fairly good and very filling!
Other dishes I’ve ordered in the past on my first visit here in July 2010 include the following tapas. Everything was quite good! I remember that my friend Pat wasn’t a fan of the beef tongue though, haha. : ) I loved the baked oysters!
I definitely wouldn’t mind another visit here again soon. Not only is the food good and authentically Japanese, but the spirit and service are excellent! It’s almost contagious to be in such a energetic and happy environment. Next time, I’d like to try their udon and items from their daily special menu!