A Japanese izakaya serving a variety of alcohol with daily specials in food and a limited selection of sashimi (hamachi/beef/tuna/salmon). A good selection of grilled fish from black cod to mackerel as well as various forms of chicken, beef, and tofu served the funky Japanese way in tapa-sized portions. Also available are hotpot selections and grilled beef tongue dishes.
My wife and I have been wanting to try Kingyo since it first opened but just didn't make it until recently. I knew it was going to be a good night out when I found free parking about 2 minutes from the restaurant!
It was a Thursday night about 7:00 and we were lucky to get seats at the big central table right away. The hostess and waitresses were all very efficient and pleasant with better English skills than at some izakaya. The food was served quickly and tea and water refilled as needed. We never had to look for service. The only slight downside of this service was the not-quite-pushy sales technique of our particular waitress who was a consumate salesperson which didn't bother us but could become an annoyance for some people.
It's a nice room, deceptively simple but with enough authentic decorations to show that the design has been considered to make a comfortable dining experience. We sat at the big central table where you sit next to other parties, but with the tall bamboo in the middle of the table you don't feel like you're sitting directly across from other people. The section of Japanese roof tiles above the sushi bar is also a nice touch.
But what about the food? We were not disappointed with anything we ordered, if not overwhelmed. The karaage was excellent - meaty, crispy, and tasty. It comes with three kinds of salt which on the finger do taste slightly different, but don't make too much difference once you dip the chicken in. The sashimi salad was good with a reasonable serving of hamachi and... I forget the other fish now on a bed of mixed greens with a nice dressing. The beef tongue is served raw with a very hot rock to cook it on yourself. If you think the rock will cool off too quickly to cook the meat enough, don't worry. I'm a big tongue fan and this was a special treat. The calamari was quite good as well. Not the best I've ever had, but the shiso salsa was good.
I had the kingyo cocktail which is shochu based. It was a pretty typical "sour" with the addition of a little gold pepper (?) that looked like a goldfish in the drink. I nice touch for their signature drink.
Kingyo isn't the cheapest izakaya out there, but the food quality is consistently good. The menu is somewhat smaller than other places which I think helps to ensure that each dish is more carefully constructed. The quality/volume/price ratio is fair and won't kill your wallet.
If there weren't so many other izakaya out there we'd probably be back soon. Alas, there are other places to get to before a return visit. But I think that Kingyo is going to be around for a while, so I'm sure we'll have the chance.
Food - In terms of taste and authenticity, I would say it's pretty bang on. There are 1-3 items that are not super fantastic, but that's a given anywhere. The selection is quite good, ranging from kobe beef to grilled saba and tan-tan noodles. The drink menu offers quite a few choices as well.
Service - They are always quite accomodating to their patrons. Usually you are always greeted right away, you are given a hot towel when you first sit, and they even make sure to open the door for you once you leave. The servers are quite friendly and can get quite out going given the right topic of conversation. Some people might say that some of the servers are lacking with their english abilities. I can understand how that's fraustrating for others, which is why I took off 1 point.
Value - It's an Izakaya place, let's not kid ourselves. You don't come to an Izakaya place and expect to pay $15-$20 /person. I don't see a problem with spending $50-$100, though others don't see it that way. The idea is to have 3-5 dishes, some drinks to compliment each dish, and share with your group. Simply put, it's a tapas place.
Ambience - I rather like the decor, despite some of the reviews here. The place is always clean, including the washrooms. We had talked to the floor manager about the decor the other night. He said the owner was the one who came up with the concept. Most of the ideas and design is something you would see in Japan.
Here we have another izakaya opened by the same people who brought us the Guu restaurants. I usually find the food at Guu to be great, and Kingyo was no exception. Things I tried: the Beef Tendon Miso Stew, Chicken Karage w/ 3 diff. salts (it was neat), Yuzu jalapeno japanese pasta (awesome, I really missed japanese pasta), Ebi Mayo (it was described as "My style", its exactly the same as Guu w/ Garlic), sashimi salad (subpar, way too much vinegarette, sashimi was good), negitoro sushi (fantastic, the sauce on it was awesome), mussels (average, not as good as the one at Guu on thurlow). Definately want to try the beef tongue cooked on a hot stone, and a pork belly hot pot.
Overall, the food quality is what you would find at any Guu. What I liked most about this place is the sitting space. My problem w/ Guu is the waiting time and lack of seating space. There are way more spaces for 2 or 3 people at Kingyo than say Guu w/ Garlic. Hopefully this means less waiting times.
Simply outstanding! We had to wait quite a while to get a table. Even though we tried to reserve a table much earlier in the afternoon, they said that they were all booked. That's definitely a sign of a good restaruant. In any sense, we took our chances and waited out. I'd say it was well worth it!!
The service was really good. Our waitress was very attentive and the food came in a very timely fashion.
The food was very delicious, very fresh. I enjoyed the decorations on some of their plates as well. Also it depends on what you order because some things are quite pricey. This place had a decent selection of sake. If you can afford the high prices then you'll definitely enjoy the drinks!
We sat at the table that had the bamboo trees split down the middle. I thought it was a nice touch.
I'd definitely go back! Kingyo rates high on my reviews.
My favorite tapayaki! Love the small sized sharing portions and drinks are great! Definitely a great place to hang out before hitting the club! My most favourite dish of all time at this place is their miso black cod! So soft, moist and just melt in your mouth goodness! Especially if you are coming here with a bunch of your friends, it's best to try their Harami Karubi!! A great place to show off your outta town guests!
Well , there are so many Izakaya bars in Vancouver now, it seems to be the latest rave.
Kingyo is yet another form of these tapas restaurants that delivers smiles and good Japanese tapas.
Service is excellent , food is good, maybe not as plentiful as the Guu's but very tasteful just the same.
The seating is maybe a bit awkward, if you get sat down at a large table with a table screen, you will be rubbing elbows with your neighbours.
All in all its a solid deal...
We might return soon!
Decided to finally try an Izakaya and break away from sushi... Kingyo seemed like a good bet based on reviews. Everything was generally good... no complaints... but, nothing spectacular either. Just another slightly overpriced, trendy restaurant in Vancouver. I'll give the Izakaya 'experience' one more go elsewhere, and then possibly abandon it.
General perception of the food that we chose is that while the ingredients were all very good and fresh, and the cooking was skillfull, the assemblage generally didn't bring me any closer to heaven, or give me anything relating to an orgasmic experience.
My date and I shared the Tako-Wasabi, raw octupus with wasabi sauce... fresh wasabi sauce, but overpowering, dectracting from enjoying the octopus. Maybe serve the sauce on the side? Ate half of it...
Yellow Tuna carpaccio (special)... definitely get one of the carpaccios... Great mixture of flavours, colours, and textures, but again... skillfully planned dish, but for the price, makes it average.
Kobe Beef... beef was excellent, cooked to personal taste on the hot stone, searing the outside, rare inside. Mmmm! Good sauces too. We both had fun cooking it. $19... but very filling and worth it over the tongue.
Ebi 'new style' special... (vs. the ebi-mayo) 3 Deep-fried breaded ebi-cream sauce balls with 3 dipping sauces... very tasty and filling, good value at about $9
Mackerel Sushi... simple roll of rice and wonderfully thick slab of oily mackerel on top. Pretty basic roll, but filling and we enjoyed it.
We shared a medium size house sake carafe for $8 which was a great value for liquor that lasted the meal. 2.5 small glasses of crisp cold sake each mmm!
For dessert, a nice green tea and tiramisu, a sweetbread soaked in sake... a bit boring... go up to the Luxy for the best tiramisu in the city.
Tot. bill include tip $83 We made a reservation for 8:30 friday, tables stayed full, nobody seemed to have to wait long for the communal table. Our reservation gave us a great small, quiet table in the corner.
Service was average... food came quickly, waitering was great, and not under or overly attentive. Agree that the prices are slightly inflated for food value. Ambiance and decor was very relaxing, trendy, and the music and noise level was pleasant with the occasional colour as guests left and arrived.
If you want to spend a few bills for decent izakaya, I'd reccomend it... but not over any other izakaya. cheers!
I had highly anticipated this place prior to my first Kingyo dining experience. My girlfriend and I had four dishes in total but could not finish the last two. We just thought they did not taste good. My girlfriend ended up with a stomach ache after eating their tan tan noodle.
The server was polite, but a bit slow. He never really paid much attention to us.
The food was ok. Compared to other izakayas, the presentations of the food were very nicely done. However, the price was a little high for me. I'd rather go to Guu or other places.
Ambiance was not bad although the tables were quite small and we had to eat at the sushi bar.
I do not think I will be returning anytime soon.
I have been to Kingyo around seven times now, and each time I have been completely satisfied and happy with my experience there. All of the employees are actually JAPANESE and can speak fluent japanese, unlike many of the Chinese/Korean run operations littered throughout this city. Their menu is fantastic - it's large enough to have a variety of dishes but not too big that you don't know what to order or risk getting something that won't be that good. They also have specials which have NEVER been the same every time I have visited - and honestly they have all been extremely delicious and worth every penny. I am not sure what everyone else has been saying about Kingyo being expensive - although you are ordering probably around 30 dollars of food per person, I think the variety and quality of the food you get is well worth the price, if not a bargain.
Go visit Kingyo if you want authentic Japanese izakaya style fare. Oh and order the Saba Battera, Ramen Salad and definitely have the home made almond tofu for dessert!!!
After the dinner we just had at Kingyo on Denman I'm feeling like giving all 5 stars, but culinary perfection is something I hope to continue to look forward to for a long time.
We arrived shortly after they opened at 5:30pm and of course enjoyed the hospitable shouts of welcome from the entire staff as you enter, making you feel that you belong.
The place has a creative decor with a mix of traditional, modern and whimsical touches that give a brief view of modern Japanese life. Well maintained from every corner I could see from the dinning area to the washroom.
Many dishes each sufficient to satisfy starting with the daily special fresh baby yellow tail sashimi artfully plated with a tea candle glow through a ribbon ring of radish served with tamari soy sauce. Next daikon and jellyfish salad, tart and tasty, a wonderful healthy dish from their everyday menu. To balance the greens karaage chicken served with 3 kinds of salt from different ends of the earth, very nice, best Karaage I've been served. How about sizzling agedashi tofu dancing in a stone bowl with a delicious enoki mushroom and okra sauce.
No disappointments yet so more to come.
Seared scallops with seaweed plum sauce all in a row on a long narrow rectangle of glass, crab and cream fried croquet, tan tan noodles that I could not get enough of, yes I'm a glutton.
More, eight local ama ebi for just over 8 bucks, great deal.
Finally off the daily specials menu a generous slice of pork belly covered in barbecue sauce and served with a radish cup of stone ground mustard. Bliss.
Handmade unique pottery, beautifully crafted wasabi carrot sculptures, details with every dish that entertained our minds and put warm feelings in our tummies.
Can't wait to visit Vancouver and Kingyo again.
I've been to this place three times and I figure it was time to write them a review. I love the food, the service, and the ambiance. The food is priced just right I guess.
My favorites are the Sashimi Salad and the Ebi-Mayo, these can be enjoyed with a bottle of hot sake to bring out the flavours.
If you like high end whisky, Kingyo has one of the best in the world, ask for "Hibiki". I was introduced to this whisky during one of my trips to Japan and just love it.
Kingyo is typically busy but I find the best place to sit at is the bar because the servers are right there and you can have great insights and conversation from them.
I love kobe steak. They had a great one for $16. And it was done just right for me... however, i'm not sure if i like my steaks cut into small pieces for me... but it was great nevertheless.
The drinks were the fun part. I just ordered around of cocktails, and told them to bring me a couple of specials. they really came through with the series of multi-colored cocktails mixed with my favourite japanese drinks, from when i visited tokyo. Only thing missing was cc lemon.
I think the drinks, hot towels, and cheery japanese was enough to earn them a good service rating.
We've been looking forward to dining here, and knew that it wasn't the least expensive option, so saved it for a Friday night with another couple.
No reservations so when we walked in, they took our name and our cell number, said it would be 45 mintues so we went down the street for a drink first. Sure enough, they called 10 minutes early, no rush though, our table would be ready right in time and they were thoughtful enough to give us time to finish our cocktail first. Very kind!
The service was outstanding for sure. we really enjoyed it. We each picked a couple of dishes and again, true to good service and kitchen timing (we were drinking our share of sake so they knew we were in no rush), dishes came out 2 at a time so the table was never overloaded with food and each dish was fresh (hot or cold). The ahi tuna was awesome, so red and fresh. The favorite of the group was the beef tongue, a new one for me, and cooking it on the hot rock was fun.
Everything was good, paying a bit more for the ambience and the wonderful attentive service was so worth it to me. There may be better places overall (from what I read) and I look forward to comparing. But since I haven't been to that "other place" I will say I found it to be a great night out. 3 orders of sake (in those cute hand made clay ewers), 8 beer and 8 dishes later, the bill was $140 before tip - not to bad IMHO.
I went to Kingyo with a bunch of my girlfriends after work one evening and I like the atmosphere. It's a dim and trendy looking Japanese restaurant.
The food I thought was good, however there are so many other Japanese tapa places I rather go to.
The service was great and the wait staff were attentive.
My favorite dish here is the cow tongue. It's the most unique dish at this place. Other dishes such as tuna with avocado and the beef sashimi are good. Prices for Kingyo isn't as good as Guu though. Too bad.
In the izakaya market in he West End there are a lot of choices, many of them good. But none have smaller portions or are as expensive as Kingyo. Having said that, everything else about the restuarant was positive; great servers, very lively, well built and designed interior, and it attracts a young hip crowd of tourists. This place is run by a pro with an excellent kitchen staff turning out fresh fish and good tasting food creations. And the pro running this place is getting rich. I don't drive a porsche, so I won't eat again at Kingyo.
I've been to this restaurant many times during the past 1-2years and I could definetely say the food and drinks are very good! The selection has gotten better from the past, they have many tasty dishes like the fish tail, ebi mayo, daikon salad, hotpot, chicken karaage, and many more that I can't think of right now...but I'm writing to rave about their cocktails.
This is probably one of my favourite places to come for japanses cocktails. They're so cheap!! 5.00-5.50 for all the cocktails and they aren't watered down like many other jap tapa places. The size, and ESPECIALLY their presentation of their drinks are GREAT! I love their sangria, mix shoju, and calpico cocktails!!! If you're into the jap mix drinks, this is a great place to come try out all the drinks. The ladies will love it.
The food is pretty good but the prices are very expensive. The wife and I spent 85 dollars for the two of us (did not have drinks) and we left hungry. The kobe beef is good but a real rip off. You really pay for that boiling rock you put the beef on. Staff seem friendly.Never again to this place.
I love going to Kingyo for lunch on weekdays. They never have a line, lots of seats, fast service and the washrooms are clean.
I usually order one of the following three:
1) Pork Kukuni bowl
2) Negitoro bowl, or
3) Tofu mobo bowl (spicy! watch out)
They also have a great homemade ginger ale that I like, and the hot teas are good too!
The bowls above are under $10 and come with soup. The Tofu bowl comes with this almond dessert too!
I love this place!
Took a friend there to celebrate her birthday. Had been there once before and was worried as sometimes it's good (exciting, new) the first time and not so much after that. It was still good. We each had a miso soup which was fantastic with vegetables and pork... almost a meal in itself, and SO tasty. We shared some tuna tataki (yum), negitoro (tasty), ebi mayo (tempura prawns with mayo) and a ground beef version of ton katsu. Everything was really good and fresh tasting.
The food came almost TOO fast though, we felt a little rushed. Also the pop came in highball glasses...small and weird.
Last time I had some of their fancy cocktails and all were really great.
I like the frozen grape they give instead of candy at the end of the meal, a very nice idea
I have been here a couple of times, but quite late at night so I don't order a lot (mostly drink :)) Anyways, the foods really good and the atmosphere is nice too. SUPER fresh sashimi.
I like the staff though. They were soo entertaining! The male staff were chanting and dancing all of these Japanese songs with another group of men at their tables. So funny and soo nice.