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.
Went here the other weekend with friends for dinner. The atmosphere was totally awesome. Still got a little taste of old, rustic Gastown but modern decor as well. The food was superb also. We enjoyed sharing every dish. Try their duck breast. Was served slightly cold, but it worked. Oh, the sake selection was good as well. For those who have been to the other Guu spots, this one's got a warmier feel.
This is a great place to go if you're looking for somewhere to hang out that's fun, relaxed, loud, with great food.
Like many in Vancouver I'm a big fan of Japanese cuisine, despite being allergic to seafood. There's typically a great variety at restaurants such as Hapa, Zakkushi, or Ebisu and Guu is absolutely no different. We ordered the two udon dishes, the deep fried brie, grilled beef ribs, and the raw tuna plate. Every dish was unique (especially the deep fried brie, never had that before. Highly recommended) and delicious.
Service was typical for a lot of high energy Japanese restaurants in Vancouver such as Gyoza King or Zakkushi on Denman, lots of shouting, smiles, broken English, and quick service. The place was packed but we were quickly seated at the bar, our order was taken promptly and our food and drinks came surprisingly fast.
Layout of the place is excellent, it's two levels with most of the seats on the upper level and the main level being the bar and kitchen. Very open design, great use of lighting, music, and design to come together for a welcoming and casual environment.
I would definitely come back here, it's a great place to spend some time with friends and have some drinks, eat some delicious food.
I am from Toronto and had the pleasure of living in Vancouver for 3 months last year. Although I tried many restaurants, this place will forever stay in my heart. The food and the atmosphere are amazing. The service is friendly and fast, the atmosphere - fun and filled with great energy. We lived in North Van and made our way to Gastown to visit this place at least once a week (sometimes twice). We always ordered several dishes and shared. My favourite ones were the scallops with enoki mushrooms, both kinds of fried shrimp, the ahi tuna (delicious) and their fried banana with coconut ice-cream for dessert. My mouth is watering just thinking about it and I'm tempted to buy a plane ticket just to go there for dinner. You guys are lucky to have such a cool little place in your awesome city.
I've been here many times over the past few years and find that it has held up nicely with dishes, specials and drinks which constantly change.
Food: I don't know what I could possibly say is bad about the food, as everything is always just so good. My favourite dish by far is the Fried Brie Cheese (The only bad thing is if you order too close to closing time, they'll be rushing it and it might be not so melty!)
Service: I've never had poor service from the all Japanese crew in this restaurant. The service has always been relatively quick, and friendly. It's always a treat to hear 'Irrashaimase!' everytime you walk into this restaurant.
Value: I'ts a Tapas place, therefore the food is generally small-ish dishes. The cost is not too much, and is quite average for a tapas place (and better value than certain others I won't mention here)
Ambiance: This Guu has the best ambiance, and there is two levels of the restaurant. One with the bar, and the other with seating. Frankly, if you don't come with a large group, catch a seat at the bar and watch some of the food and drinks being prepared, while enjoying some friendly conversation. It's a great experience.
What are you waiting for? Make a reservation and go! :)
I have been this Guu location many times with various different groups of friends. I understand the strict reservation policy because it is always super busy but I always make a reservation to ensure I get a seat.
I recall one visit where four of us drank 2 bottles of wine and stuffed our faces, sharing many dishes, for only $110! The prices and portions are perfect and the staff is friendly, they always make sure to yell an enthusiastic goodbye as your leaving.
Went with a friend, we ordered about 7 dishes between the two of us, and 4 drinks later, the bill only came to $55.
We enjoyed everything that we had ordered. All the food came to the table perfectly done, and each dish was very unique. Sure, you might be able to name every ingredient in the dish, but picking out the flavours was fun, and delicious. The drinks were fun too, we ordered the earomantic, affectionirvana (both had jelly on the bottom! sounds weird, tastes good) as well as sapporo beer and black jet jump
takowasa (our favorite)
shrimp and scallop rice gratin (didn't actually find shrimp, but had mushrooms instead and scallops) covered with cheese. could've use a pinch of salt more, but was delicious nonetheless.
for dessert we shared the earl grey creme brulee, which was perfected with a very light barely there sugar crust.
Presentation was beautiful and I will be bringing my boyfriend around next time.
They have a very strict reservation policy, where you can only make reservations between 2pm-5pm . I called in over a week and a half ahead to make reservations for a larger group. It was 430 I was put on hold for a few minutes, and told to call back in 10 minutes. I tried calling back, the line was busy the whole time. The next day called in at 5:15 literally, they refused to take my reservation, too lazy to even record my name... It took me another day until I finally got my reservation.
As for the food, I prefer either the original guu or guu with garlic, seems to fit my flavour more and seems like more variety? Beef tataki I had was a bit too salty, and sashimi salad, was more like a sashimi daikon salad, for my other dishes they were O.K...They have a specialty drink menu, it is interesting to have coloured ice balls in your drink, but not if they take up 75% of your drink.
Since it was a larger group there was a 2 hour limit we could stay, they were rushing is like crazy. It also took us awhile to flag someone down to take a second round of orders. They were basically trying to kick us out while they completely forgot some of the desserts my friends had ordered. How do they expect us to leave when we havent gotten all of our orders?
I've been to other the guus numerous times and to this location very few, I dont think I'll be returning again based on this poor customer service rating. The other guus are much friendlier and have better selections of food to fit my taste.
I accidentally wrote this first on the wrong Guu page ~ it was meant for this location.
Best of all the Guu's
I really do think that this is the best yet least known of all the Guu restaurants. So this will work out in your favor as you can avoid the long lineups.
The food is great, i have never had a dish here that i didn't like. I was disappointed that they took the Mexican Harumaki off of the menu.
Their cocktails are unique and delicious (a little overpriced however for the small glass that you get).
9.5 times out of 10 i have had really great service and friendly waiters/waitresses. The only time i had a rude one here was on the phone when i tried to make a reservation ~ but i don't think he is working there anymore.
The ambiance is nice and relaxed ~ i would recommend this place to anyone who just wants to go somewhere nice for a drink and snack or even to go out on a date for a nice meal ~
Really great place ~ i don't think you'll be disappointed.
Everything about this GUU was perfect (except for the service)! I would definitely go there again but won't necessarily try the other GUUs.
We were offered a table near the stairwell where servers bring up the dishes and got a visual preview of the entire menu. Even when we finished dinner, we still salivated to try items we had initially negated!
Drinks there are affordable and have an interesting Asian/Japanese twist. The Green Tea Mojito is perfect for anyone who doesn't want drinks too sweet. The Diva drink came across as more of a smoothie.
Although the Yaki Udon didn't jump out from the menu, when it was delivered to the table next to us, we just HAD to order it! The sauce was a mixture of soy and fish sauce, but it's like Reese's Pieces: you can't just slab peanut butter on chocolate to get a great taste.
The daily Cold Tofu isn't worth trying though. It was tasteless and not firm enough to be an appetizer dish.
Everything on the dessert menu sounded so good!!!!!
Everyone at Guu was so friendly, shouting welcome upon entry, singing cheery happy birthdays (albeit forgetting the birthday girl's name...). Cool enough, but our waitress couldn't wait to get the service over with. She was only interested in ordering more food for us and was reluctant to tell us names of dishes or ingredients.
The interiors are cool and relaxing. Mini dishes at the bar serve as a hip coffee house alternative. Someone was even working on their macbook.
Washrooms offer Scope for the breath mint challenged.
Came to guu in gastown with my bf last friday. We started off with a couple of cocktail. Their selection was great and my bf loved his Yahman cocktail. I wanted to point out that their Seafood Paella was great even though the portion was a bit too small. Another must-have is the surf clam and scallop carppaccio.
We both left with a very happy tummy! :)
We never had this kind of tapas before, and it was fun. We had beer and plum wine and sake along with seafood dishes. Our energetic and helpful waiter talked us into trying salmon with natto and raw egg and a few other things in a seaweed wrap, surprisingly a tasty combination. All the dishes had a nice blend of flavors. Even though there's a lot of shouting of orders, you can still have a conversation, and the tables and lighting are comfortable enough for you to stay longer than you expected.
Me and my friends have a subtitle for each of the Guu's in Vancouver
Date Guu - Gastown - For a nice little date with the full Guu experience I believe this is the best of the bunch
Ghetto Guu - Thurlow - This is a Loud, small and fun experienece - should be experienced by all
Casual Guu - Robson - More mellow and calming
Chinese Guu - Richmond - Often empty and as listed by a previous reviewer, the only similarity is the name
This particular Guu is great as they shout out your order while you are announcing your choices. The food is sometimes a little strong tasting with a bit too much sauce but a simple scrape off the food is all that is needed to fix that.
The staff have never disappointed me, and I often find that a lot of Western restaurants can learn off of some of these servers.
I still don't understand the concept of a cold towel at the beginning of the meal but whatever floats their boat.
What I love about the gastown Guu is there is hardly ever a wait, even on weekends. I can not say the same about Thurlow as there have been multiple instances where I have wandered Robson for 45 minutes and still have to wait another half hour to seat.
I strongly recommend either the Gastown or Thurlow Guu.
The way the waiters/waitresses welcome customers is like no other place I've ever been to. Just incredible enthusiasm and positive energy in the entire place, makes you feel so good coming in and going out (the whole restaurant knows your entry and exit).
Their daily specials (written in funky japanese handwriting) are really, really good. Salmon (i think it's wild) and mussel mmm. This place is definitely quality over quantity. They must put effort in the presentation of the dishes too, very pretty.
They're generous and considerate with the extra share-plates, as well as water and hot hand towels.
Overall, other than the good quality of the food, what sets it apart from other places is the refreshing, welcomed feeling you get out of the place.
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!
Decent food to sample with friends at surprisingly decent prices for the type of restaurant it seemed to want to be. Food was beautifully presented and service was friendly, quick, and attentive despite how busy it was. Though I admit the food isn't exactly to my taste (especially the rare duck) I don't think that counts as a valid reason.
I don't understand why people rated this restaurant so high. I think this is the worst guu location instead. I found that the menu was so limited, and the daily special was also very limited and not interesting. I ended up ordering the common ones like udon and tuna steak. They were both decent but a bit boring for me and not that impressive. I also ordered the drunken mussel. This was nauseous. I think they put too much sake or something in it and the mussel was knda rare. It only tasted like rare mussel poured with sake and there was no other spices to balance the flavour. Maybe I picked the wrong items, maybe it was just me who don't like these kind of food, or maybe I was not hungry. But it was really disappointing. I'm not going back to this guu location.
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).
I usually go to Guu with Garlic since one on Thurlow seems to get really busy and loud. I had read good reviews for this place so I decided to go with my friend who also loves Guu.
We sat at the bar because we hadn't made a reservation and ordered some food. I LOVED!!! the cocktails but the food wasn't as good as I had expected.
The service was .. BAD! very disappointing. Even though we were sitting right beside the cash register, nobody came to take our orders. We waited about 5-10 minutes for our waiter to come around. He asked if we were ready and we said yes. Waited couple of more minutes and just ordered with another waitress who was serving another floor.
I don't know why but our waiter rarely came to us. Never asked how the food was or asked if we need more drinks. He just occupied himself with bills, drinks and other things. The only reason i gave a 2 (decent) for service is because of the nice waitress who took our orders.
I really liked the ambiance but because of the service I don't think I'll go back anytime soon. Really wanted to like this restaurant.
With its spli level layout, Otokomae is the most spacious of the three Guu izakayas. And with its brick walls and urban decor its the most stylish. Thus, all in all, its got the best atmosphere of the three.
Most recently, four of us had 7 or 8 dishes, 2 large Kirins, 2 pints and a cocktail for $82 (after tax, pre-tip).
The gyu tataki and chicken karrage are excellent, as is the okonomiyaki. Every time I go I get the Popeye Salad - one of my favorite salads in the city.
Make a reservation on Friday or Saturday nights or you'll be waiting in line long enough to grab a beer or two down the street at Steamworks (which isn't a bad idea in itself).
I've eaten at this location before and the service was pretty good!
But yesterday the service was incredibly horrible.
I went there to go eat with my family (without reservations) and was told it would take at least 1hr to get a table. That was fine with us, so we waited. After waiting 10 minutes the server said he could get us a table within 10 minutes. Yay! We were happy we got to get a table so quickly, but it seemed a little weird to go from 1hr to 10 minutes waiting time.
We finally sat down, ordered at least 10 different items on the menu. After about 20 minutes we wanted to order a few more items and the waitress told us to hold on. She left, came back and said.. we couldn't order anymore and had to leave at 8:00pm (it was already 7:45pm) because someone had reserved our table (there were other empty tables around).
They were pretty much kicking us out, but couldn't really explain why we had to leave other than there was people waiting for our table. I have never experienced such bad service in my life, let alone be asked to leave by a certain time without letting us know ahead of time.
Even the most sketchiest fast food restaurant I have been to has better service than this place.