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4
  • Food4
  • Service3.5
  • Value3.5
  • Ambiance3.5
  • Reviews73

Guu with Garlic

1698 Robson St
Vancouver, BC V6G1C7
Tel: (604) 685-8678
Neighbourhood: Central
  • Cuisine: Izakaya, Japanese, Tapas
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner
  • Hours: Mon - Wed: 11:30AM - 2:30PM, Thu: 11:30AM - 2:30PM & 5PM - 12AM, Fri - Sat: 5PM - 12:30AM, Sun: 5PM - 12AM
  • Guu serves homestyle Japanese food in a loud and electric atmostphere. Food is served from an open kitchen and the dishes are generally tapa sized.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 73 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Yum yum!
By azn_msfyt of Delta (194 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 24, 2006 - 5:49am [Dine in]

I have no idea what it was that I had to eat since a friend ordered all the dishes but they were all quite tasty. The only thing I really didn't care for was the oden but everyone else around me seemed to enjoy it. I remember having a duck salad and I thought it was the best salad I've ever had. Gotta love the garlic chips on everything! Service was great. We went earlier in the evening so were seated within a few min. Servers were always around to take orders and clear plates when needed. I did feel little rushed though since the place a little small and we were seated by the doorway and people were staring. Sometimes the yelling can get a little loud but other than that, it was fine. I would def. return.

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Balk at the hype
By Bonka of Vancouver (464 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, January 4, 2010 - 7:10pm [Dine in]

We ended the holiday vacation with some Sunday evening Izakaya dining, and having already heard of all the plugs about this place at all angles we finally drummed up the courage to wait. Though we had to get our name on the list and get a callback it seemed to be a slow evening as a few couples were able to squeek by after a short wait.

Furnishings actually looked better from the outside then when you're actually sitting inside but it has the ethnic touches all over. I suspect the ambiance is only as good as the company you bring, so bring a good time if you're expecting one.

Despite all the buzz we've heard with the fantastic food, it was more sizzle than steak. While the dishes we ordered were solid enough overall, preparation lacked consistency and refinement. A few dishes we expected to order were already sold out, so we went with the second string choices, ordering nearly a dozen in total. The standout dishes were the soba grill mackerel which was beautifully cooked despite its appearance, the fatty grilled pork cheek and the oden mori thin stew. The ebi mayo and cartilage batter was too oily while the grilled squid was overdone and served with Japanese mayo, a conflicting and lazy combination. The great flavour from the Kukuni stew was ruined by it's main ingredient, the pork belly. While fatty, it was rushed and not rendered down slowly and made it entirely stringy. The rest of our dishes were merely par and easily equalled. What is attractive, and probably a main reason for the hype are their excellent prices. Dollar for dollar, it provides the best value among the local Izakayas.

Service was a nice surprise for an eatery of this type, but nothing over the top. Staff are very friendly and pleasant creating the illusion that they actually enjoy their work to some extent.

I would likely come back, but more for the prices rather than on their food. Maybe it was what we ordered, but many of their dishes are bush league being passed off as big leaguers.

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Yummy.
By hungryfordinner of Vancouver (125 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, March 19, 2009 - 10:35pm [Dine in]

Food: I had the bibimba...good ingredients, good value. This is a tapas restaurant and the prices for the dishes aren't that high considering the good quality of the foods.

Service: Very energetic, happy staff. We felt very welcomed.

Value: As mentioned above, everything was decently priced. The dishes range from around $5-10. If you aren't too hungry, $10 will fill you up fine.

Ambiance: The restaurant was very clean. We sat in the part of the restaurant where you have to take your shoes off. My legs started to hurt afterall...but I guess it's all part of the 'authentic' Japanese restaurant experience.

I will definitely return, and I encourage you to do so too!

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Patience is Well Rewarded
By sweethot of lower mainland (162 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 25, 2007 - 12:22am [Dine in]

Like all the other Guu's this place is popular for a reason, it serves delicious Japanese tapas in a lively, fun, crowded environment. There will be a wait unless you arrive when they open. I came here the other night and I fell in love with Guu again, its comfort food thats good for the soul. My favorite dishes include the pumpkin croquette, anything seafood here, especially the salmon carpaccio, the duck salad, their oden dishes especially the daikon, and anything that looks appealing to me from the fresh sheet which changes daily. Sitting at the bar is fun because you can see the chefs preparing the food, and you also start to interact with the people sitting around you, we started to compare notes on the food and ended up ordering new dishes that we hadn't thought of trying. Everyone I've brought to Guu ends up loving it.

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Highly recommended
By pkwok of Shaughnessy, Vancouver (123 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, November 6, 2006 - 11:54am [Dine in]

All the previous positive reviews are right. Delicious food, festive atmosphere (with all the yelling by the servers), attentive service, and an unforgettable meal. Every dish delights your tastebuds. The other Guu on Thurlow may be marginally preferred, but that may just be a personal thing. You won't be disappointed at all at this Guu. Go!

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Can I get a side of my-foot's-asleep?
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 9:58am [Dine in]

Dinner last night at Guu w/ Garlic was an anticipated one. Although I wasn't blown away, I didn't expect to be. It was a nice dinner experience. I made reservations for 7pm for 6 and was surprised they took my request because of how busy they usually are. When we got there, our party shrunk to 4 people and we got to sit in the raised area. Excited, we took our seats. It wasn't such a wonderful experience about 15 minutes into the dinner. Let's just say it took us a while to come up with a good seating arrangement trying to accommodate leg placement.
All the servers were great, we didn't even mind the high-pitched ear-aching shreeks of the servers calling out your order to the kitchen. We ordered, and ordered, and ordered some more. The food was interesting and very tasty. We took quite a long time for dinner, but not once did we feel rushed (except by certain glares from people waiting for seats - oops!). At $64 for quite a bit of stuff, the price wasn't too bad. If I come here again in the future, I would probably prefer to sit in the main seating area since many times during dinner, both my feet feel asleep to the point where it was absolutely painful!

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Great tapas, even greater prices!
By foodfanatic of South Vancouver (286 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 26, 2005 - 4:27pm [Dine in]

Just can't compare to Guu on Thurlow! Though bigger (seats more here). Different menu in the different Guu locations. Roasted garlic topping every dish, yummmmy!

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Guu is amazing
By dreww_ of North Van (9 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 4:29pm [Dine in]

I love Guu. There is no other place I would recommend for izakayas than Guu. I used to be a regular at their original location on Thurlow but ever since I moved apartments I've had to find a new Guu to go to.

No change of taste between locations. I ordered the okonomiyaki with kimchi and it was delicious. Prices for food are low so it is really tempting to order more! I always have to stop myself. The sake is expensive though (duh) with the exception of the house sake. My favourite is the dassai.

No complaints. Even the service is great. People greet you as soon as you come in and are friendly at all times. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would!

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Tremendous Izakaya!!
By diningRL of East Vancouver (65 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 28, 2008 - 10:50pm [Dine in]

This place is excellent. I've been frequenting this restaurant for about 3 years now. I always bring the out-of-towners here to showcase some of the international (Japanese) flavors in Vancity.

Guu with Garlic offers tapas size dishes - more on the traditional side of the Japanese cuisine. Still lots of raw fish, just prepared and presented differently from sushi. You will appreciate the artistic presentation of almost all of the dishes in this place - a great added feature without paying fine-dining coin.

Extremely high recommendation. Expect to line up (it's worth it).

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Great taste of Japan!
By JooJoo of East Vancouver (82 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, February 1, 2008 - 11:48pm [Dine in]

Traditional Japanese Izakaya! Here you will find unique little dishes of wonderful taste of Japan. Love the salmon sashimi, very thinly sliced, with fried garlic! I also absolutely love the baked oysters, it always satisfies my craving, although its small, its soooo yummy with the mayonnaise and corn mixed in, baked to perfection with a crispy coat on the top! The oden is also good, I love just having daikon, an egg and fish cake in it! The ebi mayo is nicely done with dipping mayo on the side, its so good I could eat a whole plate of them! The drinks are very innovative, try something new for a change, the matcha milk vodka is really good! This place is always packed, but the wait for a table is well worth it!

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Misleading about the Garlic
By kwailan of Coquitlam (75 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, December 24, 2007 - 12:10pm [Dine in]

Finally made it here one late night.

With a name like Guu with Garlic, I was expecting great garlicky tapas. What we got though was the usual japanese tapas topped with deep-fried garlic slices! It works, but I was just expecting more.

The plating here (and at the other Guus) are not as eye pleasing as Alpha's, but the food definitely tasted better. Not much better though.

Return? Sadly unlikely. I am not a patient guy and the wait for table is torture. To unwind after work, I will rather take the short drive to across from Madam Cleo's. Alpha's more relaxed. But that's just me.

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What Diners want... an experience
By sinner of North Vancouver (71 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, November 11, 2007 - 12:53am [Dine in]

Too many restaurant owners/operators have forgotten is that diners are looking for an experience when they go out for a meal and drop a big chunk of their daily salary on a restauraunt. The people who run Guu with Garlic define this brand of "experiential" dining.

We had a couple from Toronto and Los Angeles who were blown away by Guu - they said there was nothing comparable in their home towns - understandable in Hogtown, but hard to believe for L.A. But Vancouver is blessed with some great dining experiences - Guu is one of those.

Where to start? Orders are not only shouted out to kitchen staff, but are then repeated back - ostensibly to ensure the order has been heard, but it definitely adds to the ambiance.

The food is innovative - try the Tuna Tatake, the Salmon Carpacio, the deep fried egg "enrobé" with deep fried pumpkin or the Daikon salad - it's all prepared with aplomb with a dash of the irreverent.

The service is a little chaotic because it seems no one server is responsible for your table. We were sitting at the bar, so we didn't know whether we should order "directly" or through one of the servers - a slight issue in an otherwise great dining experience.

Bring your friends, your countrymen, your relatives from "out East" - for once Easterners won't have any superlatives to lob at you ;-)

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A great dinner unbridled!
By louielobster of Glendale (53 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, April 26, 2007 - 4:06am [Dine in]

We’re a couple of guys who tried to dine here a couple of Fridays ago and couldn’t find a chair or bench because the Guu was packed from the Tatami room to the open counter. I like the noisy atmosphere and the shunting of customers and staff. Great ambiance, like it’s one big happy intense food fight! We ordered a couple of Coke’s and sip on some beers and waited for our food’s arrival. Didn’t take long before the dishes landed onto our table. The food was so good that we just kept on ordering. Each time a certain dish agrees with our taste, we would order another. We order a total of ten dishes and ice cream for desert. The waitress caution us that a two persons meal should only consists of approximately five or six items. Well, we’re a couple of hungry and crazy guys! Here’s our order…. What else would you suggest?

*2 orders of Tori Karaage
*2 orders of Scallop steak
*2 orders of Salmon Carpaccio
*Avocado prawns
*Tuna Tataki
*Beef Carpaccio
*Deep Fried Calamari
*Green tea ice cream for desert.

I’ll happily return to Kitanoya Guu but with reinforcements! More people, more items to try! Reservations are definitely recommended.

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Still Guu'd, but other location better
By Trevor of Vancouver (60 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, March 3, 2007 - 2:43am [Dine in]

Went with a few friends after the game. Usually frequent the Thurlow location, but decided to try this one out this time.

The food's good here, but I find I like the menu at the original Guu better. Good value. Disappointed that we didn't get frozen grapes at the end of our meal, but no biggie.

Service was alright. Server forgot an order and we had to ask 3 different ppl (including a chef who delivered a food order) just to get a tea refill.

Great atmosphere~the good kind of loud and noisy. Very brightly lit, almost too much so for me tho.

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The critics are right !!!
By chefdave of Downtown (58 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, October 26, 2006 - 11:06am [Dine in]

If you;re looking for a great japanese tapas place this is it. Very comparable to Hapa however more on the casual side. Servers are friendly and the food is superb. Obviously the place itself could be bigger to accomodate diners more confortably but its an izakaya right ? Thumbs Up !

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Bring some mints!
By madddskillz of Burnaby (57 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, October 16, 2005 - 4:25am [Dine in]

Went here on a Saturday and didn't make reservations... BIG mistake!! The wait was one and a half hours!

This location is slightly bigger than the Thurlow location and quite a bit smaller than the gastown location. Food was excellent as usual, but service was not as spot on as the other locations. It seemed they were short of staff the night I went.

My favorite dish was the Tuna Yukki (tuna tartar without the bread). I also enjoyed the Tuna Tataki (sliced seared tuna with garlic chips) and the Soft Shell Crab Salad.

imho, I would rate the Thurlow location as the best, followed by Robson, then Gastown. I liked dishes at the Thurlow location best as well as the atmosphere. However, the gastown location would probably be the best choice if you're at all claustrophobic.

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Food is excellent and consistent
By gti303 of Vancouver, BC (45 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, August 5, 2008 - 12:36am [Dine in]

The food here is great, just like other japanese tapas but their quality is more consistent than their competitors, its not the best, but its definately good. If you can get through the frustration of waiting for a table and speaking japanese or broken english with the hostess then this place is for you. Great japanese tapas, fair price, and their beer is priced quite cheap.

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Off day?
By tastytasty02 of Burnaby (44 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, September 7, 2007 - 10:39am [Dine in]

I was super excited to visit Guu since my last visit was about a year ago. My bf and i decided on Guu w/ Garlic. Waited about 15mins for a table and sat at the bar...host ask if it was ok to be seated at the bar, which was nice. Got our hot towels and drink promptly. Ordered a total of 5 dishes, baked oyster w/ mayo sauce, beef carpaccio, daikon salad, tuna tataki, okonomiya (spelt wrongly but it's a japanese seafood,veggie pancake). Only the baked oyster and daikon salad amazed our taste buds. Beef carpaccio was chewy and tough maybe the wrong cut of beef. Tuna tataki needed more sauce and the garlic chips fried too long so it was kinda bitter. The seafood pancake was drenched in 3 sauces and was a little bit too saucey and that made the dish extra salty. Overall the food experience did not meet our expectations. Ambiance is good and it was loud which i didn't mind I also got to see the chefs cooking which was fun while waiting. But I will stick to Kingyo from now on.

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Overrated
By ijlee of Surrey (4 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, February 16, 2009 - 10:02pm [Dine in]

I've always wanted to try Guu w/ Garlic, but hated the wait. Luckily, I was in the area just 10 mins before it opens. I went in with high expectations for food.

The service was prompt. We have no problem communicating with waitresses. We ordered grilled beef tongue, chorizo and bacon potato gratin, potato croquette, snow crab with 3 dipping sauce. We waited 20 min for our first dish and 40 mins for our second dish. But that was okay because we were chatting.

I find the gratin to be on the salty side. And it tastes very very oily, almost too rich. It made my stomach really uncomfortable the whole night. Beef tongue was done right with a hint of charcoal (which I loved). There were proabably 20 pieces, each 0.5cm think. The portion was very disappointing. Potato croquette was just average. The snow crab....3 legs and 1/5 of the crab itself, cost me 12. The sauce wasn't even that special ( mayo with masago, soy sauce with real wasabi, lemon juice). Crab meat tastes bland. The crab dish is definitely overpriced.

When we got our bill, we found 2 extra dishes that we didn't order. They were sashimis. My frd doens't eat raw meat. It took them another 20 min to take care of that.

We didn't order any drinks because we had to drive that night. The food was at best average. What's with all the hype???

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Excellent food with excellent atmosphere
By K8tie of Vancouver (4 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, January 2, 2008 - 5:40pm [Dine in]

This is probably one of the best tappas place that I've ever been to. The food is very well made and is at a good price. It's also very well portioned so that you can order up a lot of different variety and still be able to finish everything. It's also very authentic as all chefs and waiters/waitresses are Japanese and shout out the orders to the chefs in Japanese (in the traditional Japanese fashion). The only downside to this place is that it's very small and is always very busy, no matter what time of the day you go. But even if there is a 45 minute wait for a table, it is totally worth it.

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