Guu Otokomae serves homestyle Japanese food in a loud and electric atmostphere. Food is served from an open kitchen and the dishes are generally tapa sized.
These guys have reason to be proud, but I want to state right off the bat - let's not get carried away, guys. The bill was 55 total, and I put a 50 and a 20 on the tray. The hostess came around to collect the money, and asked me if I'd like any change. This would have meant a 30% tip on the bill before tax...it was an uncouth ending to an otherwise very enjoyable evening. I politely asked for change, then tipped generously, but not frickin' 30%...sorry.
I recommend any of the really really good Guu sashimi innovations, and the halibut with seaweed sauce was fantastic. The eel bibimbop was a nice try, and the server mixed it up for us, which was interesting, but it was lacking that Korean kick that sends bibimbop through the flavour uprights. The okonomiyaki was served in individual wedges rather than as a whole, which again was quite interesting to me, but it lacked flavour. The presentation was, like everything else we tried, pretty much perfect.
Guu has daily drink specials, an energetic staff ready and able to please, and the vibe is electric. It's not a laid-back place...it's more like go, go, go, eat, eat, eat, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy. I felt a tad rushed, a bit frenetic, but it could be because the service is just so efficient, and because I'm a rather old person who likes to take things slowly. The menu is cleverly constructed, wide and varied, beautiful to look at.
You're a sexy beast, Guu, but don't develop an attitude. You're not the only sexy beast in town. But you're a damn sexy one.
This is by far my favorite izakaya (Kingyo a close second). I went their for my birthday dinner and had such a great time. The atmosphere is inviting and hip. Yes, a bit loud - but it encourages laughter and fun times.
Food is excellent, especially the oyster gratin - very generous portion. I also loved the calamari dish and the deep fried brie...yummy!! Drinks are equally delicious. The only thing I preferred at the other izakayas is the stone bowl rice dish. They serve a kimchi one here. Can't say that it was one of my favs.
Service was both a hit and a miss. He was very nice and but not very attentive. Had to ask a few times for things.
Would definitely recommend!
Food: ordered the edamame, ebi mayo, deep-fried squid, okonomiyaki, shiso-age, salmon sashimi - everything was really good (best salmon sashimi i've ever had!) except for the shiso-age which was oily and bland so best to avoid that. Also had the Pink Pearl Drop which was really tasty (i couldn't taste the alcohol which is something I prefer but others may not)
Service: Pretty good except for some forgotten waters. Other than that, nothing really to complain about.
Ambiance: A really nice date spot, especially with the dark lighting and closer seating.
Will definitely return to try other dishes or even for some repeats! Recommend to others to try as well.
Nice selection. Beautiful decor. Skillful presentation. Flavours are slightly disappointing. Still a nice place to relax, drink and enjoy some classy Japanese dishes.
Food - I've been to this location multiple times and the food has always been good. My favourites include the tuna with 7 friends with diced tuna, avocado, and multiple sauces create a creamy, flavourful dish; the mushroom and cheese bibimbap which is a cool experience as it's served in a hot stone bowl, then mixed at your table. They're also very generous with the mushrooms and use a variety of them, too -- I think there was shiitake, button, and oyster mushrooms at least. The seaweed salad with black sesame sauce was unexpectedly good. The black sesame sauce had a nice sweetness, not to mention great aesthetic appeal. They have the most extensive menu of all the Guus, and most dishes are really great. One miss was the hot stone bowl dessert: ice cream, custard, and a sort of cake served in a hot stone bowl. The mix of hot custard and cold ice cream sizzling on the bowl was really cool, but I found it too sweet. The ice cream also melted really fast into 'ice cream soup'. I preferred the green tea ice cream which wasn't generic ice cream, but possibly house-made? It had large ice crystals and an intense green tea flavour, great as a palate-cleanser.
Service - staff are friendly, but super-busy so it was a little hard to flag them down at times. They did forget my drink one time, I had to ask for it again. The reservation policy is weird, I've tried to make reservations multiple times but couldn't while my friend had no problems.
Ambiance - definitely the coolest Guu, it's very urban with a Japanese flair. There is less seating than you'd expect from the outside.
Value - I've always had a good experience at Guu. I usually do make sure to order bibimbap or noodles so I don't leave hungry, but those dishes are tasty anyways. All in all great for a night out!
I dont share quite the level of enthusiasm as some of the other Guu posting patrons but my friend and I did enjoy the quirky scene and much of the food at this popular gastown Japanese tapas joint. At 8:30 on a Sunday evening Kitanoya Guu was still hopping and there were no tables available. The two of us were able to secure some space at the bar while we enjoyed sake and beer whilst perusing the eclectic menu of small-plate offerings. An interesting mix of modern rock/house music reverberated around the dark interior. We started off well with the Popeye Salad, which was actually a handsomely executed mound of gomae. Delicious. A decent-sized serving of tuna tataki was next, a good deal at $7 and change. Tangy and fresh..another hit. Next came the enoki and bacon-wrapped scallops. Its an interesting dish though the texture of the mushrooms was slightly slimy each bite required some serious chewing. I wouldnt order it again but was appreciative of the creative level of chef. Next came two Chinese dim sum offerings that were barely passable. An order of har gow was tough and not heated through. The siu mai was bland and gelatinous. Some wonderfully fresh wild salmon sashimi was slapped down by our hipster waiter next which thankfully rescued our meal from sliding into the realms of the uninspired. Back on track. Finally we stuffed down some sweet, slightly spicy calimari rings...an excellent compliment to ice cold Japanese lager. The scene is loud, fun and casual. The service is laid-back and friendly. Nightly drink specials and reasonably priced tapas make this Guu a potential refueling depot for me. Its a busy spot though...no reservations accepted after 5
This is a pretty nice place.
The loudness of their greetings and goodbyes can get irritating, at least for some.
The food: some dishes are really great, others are very mediocre. Focus on the proteins and less on the starches for sure. Their rice dishes are not great, the pot pie is mediocre, and pretty much so are their noodles.
The tuna steak was deliciously seasoned and well cooked. Their fish dishes are pretty good too. The lamburger is nice too.
Fried brie is good.
green tea mojito is also good there.
salad can be quite greasy, and they sure do love the mayo
The best Guu!! I LOVE this location, but its unknown to many because it is not on street level in Gastown, so you don't see the restaurant, you have to go upstairs. I think they are very solid on the quality of their food and service here. They make really good oyster gratin, I always order this when I come, I can never get enough of this dish and the unagi rice gratin is really delicious too, the portion is big, definitely order this one to share! I love the grilled black cod, its done really well and its cooked to perfection everytime. The beef sashimi is one of the best I've ever had! They have innovative drink specials every night, check it out!
A very happening place at the end of Water street. Generally I would visit the Robson location but I think the experience at Kitanoya has converted me over. Great food, great service, great vibe. Only crappy side is the lack of decent street parking in the area. I especially like how they start off the dinner service with a hot towel and presented to you with two hands...how Japanese! The izakaya experience feels very authentic here with some westcoast touches like bricked wall and wooden beams. The servers are polite, professional yet casual. We ordered the sashimi salad (very yummy), yaki-udon, baked creamy rice, yam fries, agedashi tofu, and a few other shareable plates. The value is very reasonable for the portion size and they don't cheap out on ingredients or quantity just because it's "tapas". The crowd was diverse and lively. Great place to hang out with friends or for that casual date by the bar.
Guu's gastown location is situated on the second floor almost right on the corner of Water Street and West Cordova. The decor is quite different from the Thurlow location and is also much bigger. It's darker and more upscale looking. Sizewize it seemed more like a "real restaurant" than the cramped Thurlow location, yet the extra space seemed to take away some of Guu's appeal.
Favorite dishes include the Asparagus rolled Bacon, Calamari with shrimp, and duck (where you grill it yourself). Total for five people came out to $85 (around 11-13 dishes, 4 teas, 1 beer). Foodwise, I prefer the Thurlow location to the Gastown one, though I still haven't tried the Robson one.
The service is pretty good, but again not as great as the Thurlow location. This is mainly because everything is so much more spread out! What I thought was a little funny was that they said "sorry for the wait" after bringing out almost every dish, even when the wait wasn't very long.
My Japanese friend giggled when she translated "Otokamae". Apparently, it literally means "Handsome Man". The restaurant has a dark and eclectic mixture of industrial and old Western antique elements, with a touch of modernism here and there.
Food was good, but it strains to be different from all the other Guus. Okonomiyaki was well made with plenty of tasty bonito flakes; The Robata Pork was robust, and the drinks were nice and stiff. We had bar seats so we were in the middle of the action. The bartender girl who was performing alchemy in front of us remained indifferent to our presence and hardly smiled - but managed to ham it up with a couple who sat next to us and even scored them a free beer on the house. Maybe because they spent a hell lot more than we did.
Besides myself, no other Handsome men around at the restaurant , ;)
Tried all Guu restaurants and I have to say this one is the winner!
Oyster Gratin-Delicious with well rounded flavours
Duck Breast-Bland but presented nicely
Halibut Cheek-Delicate and fresh tasting
Negitoro-Awesome negitoro!!! Except they give you nabisco type crackers with it which i felt tasted like cardboard.
Bbq Kalbi-Best dish we had so tender and flavourful!
Drinks were absolutely delicious and they had a great pitcher special for $8.50!!!!
Service was not too bad but our server forgot to put in our order for fried banana for dessert and had taken off after his shift. We waited a while and decided to leave.
Overall not too bad of an experience! Definately my favorite GUU for food!
Happened upon Guu in Gastown the other night after attending a lecture at SFU and while waiting for a friend to join me for a couple of beers at Steamworks. Hadn't been too impressed at all with the pub food at S'works and was pleasantly surprised to discover a Guu restaurant almost right next door. I've read lots about Guu on Robson and Thurlow and if they are superior to this place they must be great. Tried some tuna sashimi, scallop spoons, yakisoba and "Mexican" spring rolls. Fish was very fresh and each dish was artistically presented. Good service from very happy staff here.
I like the décor more at this location than on Thurlow. It’s great for a group, but there’s something about the Thurlow location that I still prefer. I think it’s just sitting at the bar, chatting, eating good food and watching the guys do there thing in the kitchen. Anyway in the Water St. venue some of the things we had were the grilled beef & vege skewer ginger/garlic sauce, yakiudon, grilled fish with miso sauce, deep fried squid with spicy sauce, and yam fries. Skip the yam fries. They had a novel idea of using different kinds of yams but they were too soggy. I always get a kick out of watching the little flakes on top of the yakiudon dance. The skewered beef was ok but nothing exciting. The sauce that was used with the calamari made the dish tasty. Next time I’ll try more novel items. Also looks like they have an interesting drink selection too.
This was my first time at an Izakaya and I enjoyed it alot.
Between 3 of us we ordered 6 or 7 dishes which left all of us full. The price was very reasonable if you average it out between 3 people.
The food was fantastic. I can't pick out anything of the 7 or 8 dishes we had which I did not enjoy.
The place was loud, but in a fun and entertaining way rather than obnoxious as it could have been.
We stayed for quite a while, so actually ended up ordering 3 extra dishes about 2 hours later. In the end, we had 5 containers of sake, 2 big asahi beers, and 9 or 10 dishes, and the bill was $127. Very reasonable for alot of food and drinks. I'd like to try the other GUU places as well.
Dined at Guu last night for the second time - Loved it for the fantastic food and fun ambiance!
The most amazing of the dishes we ordered were the Spinach & Sesame Gomae, Guu Beef Tataki, and Enoki Scallops. I have never tasted a more delicious gomae - the sauce is mouth-wateringly savoury and the spinach is the perfect balance to a menu heavy on meat/deep-fried options. The tataki was recommended by the waitress as her favorite dish and did not dissapoint! Delicious, fresh, light with a great tangy sauce that really highlighted the flavour of the meat. Finally, the enoki scallops - our favorite - dlicious chewy bacon wrapped around perrrrfectly cooked scallops and delicious little mushrooms. I highly recommend trying it!
Other awesome little features of this place are the service and the atmosphere. Although there was a slight language barrier when trying to make a request, the waitress was otherwise extremely obliging, polite, and cheery. The staff does a lot of shouting-orders-back-and-forth to create a sense of novelty and festivity.. definitely made for some laughs between my boyfriend and I, although a little loud at times.
This is a cool alternative to your run-of-the-mill sushi joint and a place to find really interesting dishes that you might not get to try elsewhere!
This is def. one of my GF and I's favorite places to dine out at.The atmosphere is busy and loud but the staff are super friendly and the whole room is really inviting.
Only had sub par service once when we booked for a group of 8,we seemed to be rushed.Otherwise thumbs up.
Prices are pretty decent.This is tapas food,so it can add up if you're real hungry...
Favorite dishes...hard to pick just a few but they include: Okonomiyaki,tuna tataki,popeye salad and the spicy squid.The Robson st. location does have a few things better done than this one such as the ebi mayo,and we haven't tried the Thurlow or Richmond spots,but this one is our regular spot!
Everything at Guu Otokomae was really tasty. The stand out dishes that everyone in our party enjoyed were the mushroom and cheese bibimbap (which was very much like risotto), the maguro tataki (really fresh),and the salmon and 7 friends dish that had natto mixed into gooey yumminess.
The service was prompt and helpful. On weekends there's a seating time limit of 2 hours but that was just right for us to finish our meal and drinks.
So the one thing that really bugs me about this place every time i go is the dirty glasses. They're ALL spotty. They really need to fix their dishwasher.
Went for the first time about a month ago and have been back twice since. This place is awesome! I have yet to have a dish that I didn't like and I've tried quite a few. Standouts are the Wasabi Tuna Sashimi (AMAZING) which was on a special menu, the sashimi salad, ebimayo, yakisoba, deep fried brie. I could go on and on basically everything is good. The sake mojito is a must.
The atmosphere is cool for what the place is and service is good. The waiter staff are basically all ESL but they are great people and great servers. There is always someone around to take your order and the food comes out very timely considering this place is always busy. I have been there at 5 when they open, 7, and 8:30 and everytime it was basically full including the bar.
This is a GREAT place to go with a group of friends as it gives you a chance to share plates and sample a little bit of everything. I'm glad I don't live closer or this place would have all my money.
Consistenly good and always glad to see new items on the menu. Love the ambience and the people there. Staff are always helpful and trying hard to keep the clients happy. Out of all of the Guus this is my fav! A little more upscale but not so snooty as the other Izakaya on Robson. Everything, I mean everything, on the menu is fantastic. Food and Drinks are reasonably priced and creative. I hear there may be another Izakaya opening near them but Otokomae has nothing to worry. Always bring my friends from Japan to this place and they rave about it too. My favorite dish is their Seafood Paella, or the Salmon with x number of friends (Sorry I can't recall if it is 7 or 8, i guess I will have to go back there again to verify the exact numbers).