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.
They have pretty good flavours - not too salty, not too bland, etc. Not something that would stand out from other Japanese establishments. Their concept of dinning is not for everyone - loud and in your face with orders being shouted across the restaurant. I would not go here if I want to dine in peace, but definately give it a try if you want something different and exciting. They serve mainly small tapas portions. Two can be satisfied for around $40.
Decent prices for decent food. The staff are very friendly and very lively with all of them welcoming you when you enter and thanking you when you leave. The waitress shouts out your order to the cooks. One thing is that this place is very loud....but in a good way. Food portions are tapas style so it's good that you get to enjoy many different dishes. Ebi mayo, chicken karaage, and oyster motoyaki, beef carpaccio, tuna tataki are all delicious.
Expect to wait awhile as it's very busy and seating is limited. If you're not willing to wait, try the other Guu locations...Thurlow, Gastown, Richmond.
Delicious, fast, friendly without any useless banter from the staff.
Your money should be spent here.
From the minute you walk in until you second you walk out it's a pleasant delicious experience rivalled only by Kingyo whom i believe they are also owners of.
The beef tataki, the grilled pork cheek, the cold beers everything is perfect in this place and consistent visit after visit after visit. No excessive talking and sucking up tactics by any of the wait staff or owners which is turn off at any place but if that's your thing, go to "HAPA". i think owner banter is on the menu.
The service is always pleasant, quick and courteous. pretty much anyone I know that has gone here has converted from any other izakaya in town which is pretty amazing since there are plenty to choose from in the city nowadays.
One of the best places in town.
I recently went with a friend for a casual dinner. I love going to places like this because there is always cool new innovative things to try. If your the teriyaki chicken rice box kind of person, this place isnt for you. There salmon carpaccio was the best ive ever had. I would recomend it for a quiet nice evening, if you want somewhere more upbeat check out hapa. I think the food at Guu is better!! Also incredible value for money, and some interesting cocktails also appear on the menu.
I've lived in Japan for several years so I have an idea of what a good Japanese restaurant is. It doesn't have to be expensive or all decked out. Guu with Garlic is very authentic in terms of the food and the ambience. Loud - yah. Waiters/waitresses shouting their order - yah. Food - awesome!
It's the combination of the food and experience that really makes this place special.
Downsides is that there is always a long line-up and the place is small.
Guu with Garlic is probably one of the better izakaya's in Vancouver not just because of the price (for two people, bill came to about $38 before tips and I was stuffed!) but also the service. When we entered to find no line ups but full tables, the server asked us to sit down. We waited about 15 minutes and while waiting, the server offered us some japanese gum which made the wait a lot more enjoyable. We sat at the Sushi bar and ordered two rounds which came to about eight plates. The portions are quite hefty especially for the price. After only going twice, I'm addicted to Guu with Garlic! But, expect to wait if you plan to get a seat from 6:30-7:30
This, along w/ Gyoza King's Nan Chuu in Rmd are our 2 favourite izakaya places. I like variety, so I enjoy that you can cover about 70% of the menu between just 2 people. W/O drinks, you can do very well on just over $15/person. And that's a lot of food already!
My faves: duck salad w/ the garlic chips, ebi-mayo, and just about everything on their specials menu.
My only knock: looooong wait, unless you go crazy early -- even on week nights!
My husband and I went here on our first date, so it'll always be a little special for me. The ambiance is great, sometimes there is a line, but it's always worth the wait. The staff is very friendly, and they make the atmosphere a lot of fun. The food (what I've tried of it) is pretty good, but the drinks are what to go for. I don't usually like cocktails, but they have an amazing list with so many fun things to try. I really like the one with matcha and kahlua. They also feature this asian vodka type liquor that goes really well with the drinks they make. Everything on the cocktail menu is also very inexpensive (i think under 5$).
Guu is one of those places i always end up taking friends/family who visit from out of town - it's unique Izakaya atmosphere (one of the first I'm sure in vancouver) make it a much more authentic japanese experience, and the ever changing specials menu makes it interesting to return every so often.
The portions are cheap, but they're not large either, so except to spend at least 40-50$ for 2 people, including drinks and tip.
Their salads are exceptional, oden is very good, any of the carpaccio 's have also been very tasty with a mayo/wasabi sauce.
A gloomy November evening... searching for a place to impress a date without breaking the bank, I settled on Guu with Garlic. What a magical place, located on the corner of Robson and some unimportant street, we popped in at around 10pm on a Friday and the place was bumping. It was packed so we sat at the bar, staff were great... Now for the food....
The menu is amazing, other than barley being able to read the hand writing on the paper menu's, ordered some beer that came in a huge pitcher which was nice.
Tuna Tataki- So moist and fresh, amazing.
Ebi Mayo - Words can't describe
Beef Udon- Oh ever so tasty
This is the best restaurant in Vancouver, the quality and price point is unbeatable. Its hilarious morons pay 4 times as much at places like Tojo's.
hmmm...I'm trying to figure out what to say. Maybe I'm not an Izakaya guy...so if you're a huge lover of the stuff...don't send me hate mail. Don't get me wrong. I love my Japanese food and I consider myself quite adventurous. I'll eat pretty much anything you put in front of me.
We heard great reviews of this place and decided to try it out. My girlfriend lived in Japan for a year and spun great stories of the Izakaya's she visited in Tokyo and Osaka. I was psyched.
Long wait, atmosphere was okay, service was okay, food was "m'eh". It's different, I'll give you that. Maybe my girlfriend's hype led to the disappointment...but she wasn't overly impressed either.
I probably won't go back. But everyone else seems to like it. Not sure what I'm missing. Like I said...maybe I'm not an Izakaya guy.
A line-up outside the restaurant started at 5.25 pm on Friday, 5 minutes before it threw its doors open at 5.40, 10 minutes later than its stated opening hours.
Already the restaurant was quickly occupied with the bigger tables reserved. The only vacancies left for 2 of us was at the service area. Boy did we regret it.
Service was relatively prompt and we placed our orders quickly. The shrill and loud hollering of orders and the raucousness generated made the whole dining experience rather intolerable and uncomfortable - that said, it is typical of this genre of dining known as the "izakaya" experience.
We ordered tuna sashimi (French style), daikon salad, calamari, bamboo shoot, udon with perilla and seaweed topping, salmon cappachio and grilled soba.
The grilled soba looked quite "frightening" to me. The skin looked strangely colored and marbled. But to be fair, some parts of the mackeral (soba) tasted not bad -- the fishy fattiness which is supposed to be good for you. Uncovering the dish itself revealed lemon slices and fine whole dill twigs that was baked together with the fish.
However, the udon was the worst. Not sure what it was, but my partner said it tasted like soap ?! The udon had a starchy coating and tasted funny, like liquid detergent was used on some utensil which was not washed properly before our udon was cooked in it.
Unlike what another reviewer said earlier, both of us commented that the remaining dishes were NOT what we would "miss our planes" for. My intelligent palate detected the use of common Japanese mayo, and if Guu with garlic means literally sprinkling dehydrated fried garlic slivers on every single dish unimaginatively, then Guu garlic is something we can do without. To me, that was disappointing as i thought a culinary experience involving garlic would ingeniously work this wonderful stinking rose into each gastronomic piece of creation.
Price-wise, both my partner and I suspect that many of the foreign "students" who frequent this joint are the ones who could live off their parents back home.
Just came back from here, had high expectations, the place is always full and line-ups at peak hours. My first Izakaya experience, not too great, portions were small, food was very average, only the cod in a butter sauce actually had a unique taste, different from anything ive had before. but the rest was uninspiring. with tip for two it came to $80..... normally I'd say thats cheap but considering we were both starving after, I have the same feeling as after I had gambled away $80 at a casino.
Recently visited Guu with Garlic with my wife and had a much better experience than the Guu on Thurlow. The food was much better, the place much cleaner. We had the Japanese hotpot which was nice but wish there was more soup. The rest of the food was really tasty and fresh - we had the beef tartare, ebi mayo, oyster baked with cheese, grilled mackarel (very good)!, ahi tuna special, ahi tuna with rice....but by the middle of the meal - we got really thirsty. One compalint would be the food may be too heavy on the sauces or too much MSG. Will we be back? Yes, will give it one more try but will request the cooks to cut down on the sauces.
We waited 1 hour the first time we went (from 9 to 10pm). The second time we went, we started lining up at 5:10pm! When the doors flew open, everyone scrambled to get seats. We chose the tatami room: our own quiet 2 person corner. How awesome. At about $60+ (a bunch of tapas, large sake, and 2 drinks), we were stuffed! The amaebi is a must get! Such a great price. i'ved tried almost their whole menu. faves include: salmon carpaccio and hamachi with salt. Fave drinks: grapefruit cassis and aloe vera with/without vodka. Service at the Thurlow location is better than service at Robson.
This is the place where you can try various japanese food without emptying your wallet. The place always packed with youngster.
They change their special regularly so you don't get sick of it.
Careful of the waiter and waitresses as they literally shout out your order as you pick. The furniture used is old and needs to be replaced or cleaned.
As they have counter-kitchen-bar open space, expect yourself to smell like food after you're done.
Food is tasty with lots of various selections.
I was full before I knew it. I've eaten Izakaya in Vancouver often - Guu with Garlic has a knack for creating slightly unique dishes. I don't eat meat often, but they had enough fish on the menu to keep me asking for more dishes until I was full. Excellent Grilled Saba. Service is solid, no complaints at all. Lots of loud orders and greetings heard throughout the restaurant. This place is small, and quite frequently lined op out the door. I enjoy the experience...and the food. No Sapporo beer?
This restaurant is awesome, we went here on a very very busy fireworks Saturday night.
Food: Solid, the highlights were the tuna tataki and the raw shrimp. Every dish is something different, yet tasty. Lots of items on menu, so you never try the same things twice, unless you really like it.
Service: The best part of my dining experience. Servers are native Japanese I believe, and are very accomodating. The host, a guy about 20ish, tried to find us a table of 4. There was a nice table on the patio, but no chair...we suggested that we just take a waiting bench from the outside and lift it into the patio, and he was fine with that! Awesome.
Ambiance: You come here for loud, and that's what you get. Patio view of Robson is nice. Less yelling from the chefs and servers that from the Thurlow location though.
Overall, Guu is guud, just like what their poster says. Highly recommend.
There were several reviews about this eatery but most all in my opinion are outdated. My recent visit was a pleasant surprise and we need to take notice. Most of the locals would agree Robson scenary are made out of hundreds of restaurants. There are fierce competition among many and Jap food outlets try hard to outdone each other and it shows. Guu has not been around that long but they hold their ground well and there is a good reason. They don't have a huge menu but whatever they offer was well presented and very tasty. The significant difference are the reasonable $$$ that other has failed to match. One can pay premium for the same items just a few stalls down the street and it doesn't taste any better. The menu are very innovative and aim to please all people. If you like tuna or beef tataki then you are in a right place. The sushimi are just as good as anyone except they are so much cheaper in comparison to the robson standard. Try the ishiyaki (hot pot rice) and this is to die for. The only shortcoming and like many shops around there, this restaurant is small and wait time can be atrocious. A wrong place to go if you are seeking a romantic dinner. Otherwise a funky place to be in. BTW the service are exceptional and I cannot say enough of our server and she is awesome. Of course parking is the pain and this is the price we all have to pay if we choose to dine downtown anywhere
I have been to this place twice now and have left pretty happy customer. The only thing that irks me is the tight seating arrangement, but I can't complain too much because its their style and adds to the experience. They always greet you at the door loudly which is their custom. The servers are always anxious to help and very sincere it seems.
The food is standard japanese cook dishes which are tasty but small portion. They are well made and I havent had a bad serving in my two visits there yet.
Sometimes its busy so you have to wait for a table, but its a great place to meet up with your friends before a movie or something