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3.5
  • Food4
  • Service3.5
  • Value3
  • Ambiance4
  • Reviews65

Kingyo

871 Denman Street
Vancouver, BC V6G2L9
Tel: (604) 608-1677
Neighbourhood: Central
  • Cuisine: Izakaya, Japanese, Tapas
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Service: Takeout
  • Meals: Lunch, Dinner, Late night
  • Hours: Mon - Thu: 11:30AM - 3PM & 5:30PM - 11PM, Fri: 11:30AM - 4PM & 5PM - 2AM, Sat: 11:30AM - 3PM & 5PM - 2AM, Sun: 11:30AM - 3PM & 5PM - 11PM
  • 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.

Reviews

Displaying 41 - 60 of 65 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
wow! great sharing place!
By the_hulk35 of Richmond , BC (2 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, October 12, 2012 - 12:05pm [Dine in]

My favorite tapayaki! Love the small sized sharing portions and drinks are great! Definitely a great place to hang out before hitting da club! My most fav dish of all time at this place is their miso black cod! so soft, moist and just melt in your mouth goodness! A great place to show off your outta town guests!

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So can you finish by 7:30?
By cc820872 of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 5:31pm [Dine in]

We made a reservation for 5pm. We were told that we need to finish by 7:30. No big deal. We arrived on time, and we were reminded that we need to finish by 7:30. We sat down, and then we were reminded some more that we need to finish by 7:30. We were told no less than four times after we were seated that we need to finish by 7:30. We were so fed up that we left before we ordered anything, went next door, and had a great meal there where we weren't constantly reminded that we have to leave by a certain time. By the way, when we raised our objections at the constant reminders, we were told that some customers just don't listen. Is that my problem? No. We JUST sat down. If we were still dilly-dallying at 7:15, then I get it. But this kind of nagging? Not what I need when I'm dining out with my family.

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Overrated
By yummygoodness of Burnaby (1 Review)
Submitted Wednesday, June 20, 2012 - 10:01pm [Dine in]

I came here for a very small birthday party (less than 10 people) on a weeknight. I had heard that a lot of the food was 'lovely' and was cooked quite well. I am a HUGE fan of Japanese cuisine (both raw and cooked) so I was looking forward to trying this place.

Food: this was a disappointment. While I understand the portions are not giant, I was not expecting to get a tiny handful of food, either. The only thing I personally enjoyed was the edamame. I ordered the pork tenderloin dipped in tempura batter, and got five very small pieces. The entire portion was very, very oily and I actually had to blot the extra oil with a few napkins. The rice I also ate with the pork was cold (I'll get to why in a moment) and while I was not full, the way in which this food was presented to me was not appetizing - needless to say I didn't order anything after that.

Service: this was probably even worse than the food. The waitress took my order first, and it was not as though I mumbled or was unclear; I even repeated my order three times so she could write it down and pointed it out to her on the menu. She kept saying "yeah, yeah, yeah I heard you" and was quite dismissive about my order. I also ordered for two other people at my table, which she didn't even write down. All in all she came back four times to ask me how many bowls of rice we had ordered. I've never had anyone do that at any Japanese restaurant before, be it AYCE or one such as this. She served the rice to me and my two other dining companions after the fourth time. Forty-five minutes AFTER the rice was served, everyone was eating their food - except me - and my pork was STILL not out. My rice was COLD. I asked her where my food was, to which her response was, "what did you order?" I was ready to walk out then and there, especially since I had repeated my order three times and was incredibly hungry. She said it would be out "in ten minutes," and it did not come out until 20 minutes later - a total of almost two hours wait for five pieces of pork. I sat embarrassed as I ate my dinner last - everyone had already finished their food and this pathetic service had ruined my dining experience.

Value: if the service is that bad, and the food is mediocre, I believe that justifies the poor value for my dollar. I should also note that the bill was split in a way that four very disappointed people was unfair. The majority - four out of seven of us - were not pleased with the meal. I can make fried pork at home anytime - why people rave about the food at this place is beyond me. A coupe of us refused to tip; the protest was not contested by the staff (probably because they didn't notice).

Ambience: I can understand why people like the ambience. They cheerfully greet you when you come in the door, and when you leave they graciously say thank you. I must say this is quite well done by the staff at Kingyo. If we were basing this solely on the kindness of most of the staff, they would have gotten a perfect score in ambience. Sadly, the restaurant was squishy, there wasn't much room, and there was another party placed behind us that also had a lack of room, and bumped into us all night. I do like the decor, though! It's quite comforting and has warm elements of Japan nicely blended into it. My favourite part was the bamboo plants in the middle of the dining area.

Overall, the title of my review says it all. I won't be going back, and I'll definitely be one to rant as opposed to rave.

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Our favorite restaurant.
By browneyedgoddess of New Westminster BC (4 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, December 10, 2011 - 1:02pm [Dine in]

Yasu is great! This is our favorite restaurant! Even though we can't make it there very often anymore, we make it there as much as we can. The thinly sliced tuna is delicious! Everything is really great here. I need to keep writing because I haven't put in enough words to fill the space so I'll just say again that this is our favorite restaurant

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Stands Out In the Crowd
By aphemushroom of Vancouver (1 Review)
Submitted Friday, September 10, 2010 - 6:49pm [Dine in]

The crowd of izakayas that is. Having tried a multitude of restaurants serving like-minded food, I almost passed by Kingyo unnoticed. Such was the relative obscurity of the restaurant. Painted in a flat black, the only thing that stood out from a distance was its (I believe made to appear as bamboo) door.

These types of Japanese eateries generally serve the same fare, so I'll save the explanation. I've been to Kingyo three times - which in itself serves to commend the quality of the food, however, as I have noticed from others (friends and family) who have dined there, the consistency is somewhat of a hit-and-miss, justifying why I gave it a four star for food (I'm actually leaning towards 3.5, but felt generous given the lack of half stars in the reviewing process).

Twice they presented great food, in small but understandable portions given the exotic food (for example, the three types of salt they use). There were choices of course that were definitely worth it - the miso udon, which is a DRY udon I may add, whilst others - any of the "hot pots", valued at around $13-15 - seemed lacking for their price. Taste has always been good, and so has service. It was very pleasing eating around the many decorations liberally strewn around the restaurant.

However, and I'm sure others will agree with me that Murphy's Law is indeed true, the one time that I decided to recommend this to others, the restaurant underachieved. Service was mediocre, food was alright, but the general mood among my party was not a good one. I'm sure more than one of them returned home to cook up a batch of instant noodles to fill the void in their stomachs.

Despite the fault, I would really like to say that when Kingyo does perform, it serves up delicious fare; just know what to order. That however, comes with experience.

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Very good izakaya
By rockstarrr of Vancouver (20 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 21, 2009 - 2:03pm [Dine in]

If you like the food at Guu, you will like the food at Kingyo. I heard a previous chef from Guu left Guu and opened Kingyo. This place seems to be always crowded. It's best to make reservations, but they don't take reservations the day off, so it's first come first served. Great ambiance. Place is very nicely decorated. You actually feel like you're in Japan when you walk in. It's a good dining atmosphere as you don't get all the yelling you get at Guu. The yellow tail carpaccio is really good. I wasn't a big fan of the bibimbap (Korean rice in a hot stone bowl). The plum wine is a must try. There is hot pot here too. It's kinda cool. Service is really good too, except my waiter kept on saying "cheers" after every dish was placed on my table. Overall, I'd recommend this place if you love izakaya food.

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Good, But Pricey
By EMPTYUK of Downtown, Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 13, 2007 - 10:42pm [Dine in]

This place is nice but to me it is just a classed up Guu. The food is similar although the prices are higher at Kingyo.

Nice to check out if you haven't eaten food like this but I think I'd stick to Guu overall.

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Really good, Expensive
By dix of East Vancouver (2 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, November 3, 2007 - 5:27pm [Dine in]

The food was very good. All the raw items were fresh. All the hot items were served piping hot. Very good quality. Good ambiance. Some items on the menu were very pricey but that was to be expected. Definitely would go back again.

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A Quiet version of Guu
By burvan of Burnaby (30 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, October 29, 2007 - 8:38pm [Dine in]

Dropped in on a very quiet Monday evening and was very impressed by the overall atmosphere especially the use of bamboo to separate diners . The food was excellent especially the Kobe beef steak that was cooked to perfection and melted in your mouth .The Yuza jalapeno pasta was also very tasty along with the Kara-age Chicken with 3 salts . Our waiter forgot one dish that was an appetizer and certainly apologized for the error .great food in a nice atmosphere with reasonable value for the money spent.

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Interesting evening
By WinerDiner of Vancouver (5 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, October 8, 2007 - 11:56pm [Dine in]

We went fairly early so no line up to worry about. I still don't get it when I walk into a Japanese Restaurant and everyone yells something at you. Sometimes I wonder what they are really yelling or maybe what they would like to yell. It was a Sunday and every one seemed a little tired. I can imagine as the place seems to always be busy which is always nice to see but I'll bet can be tiring by the end of the weekend.
We tried one of the fresh fruit and alcohol drinks because a friend told us to. It was nice having the fruit squeezed at the table. On the adventurist side we tried the beef tongue that you cook yourself at the table on a hot rock that comes out of the kitchen. I seriouly need to improve my chopstick cooking skills as two of the five slices of meat fell on the floor during my attempt at medium rare. Perhaps I just need a flatter rock to cook on because mine was the mount Everst of cooking stones.
Interesting experience, not too expensive and lots of things to talk about. Don't think I will order anything I have to cook on a stone again until they come up with a less vertical surface to cook on.
Definitely worthy of a visit.

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Great experience!
By wlau of Burnaby (2 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 17, 2007 - 9:17pm [Dine in]

Went there as a party of 4, on a Friday.

Service was superb. Waitresses were very friendly and prompt with refilling our tea. Dishes came fast as well.

The food tasted great. We had about 11 different dishes and all of them were great. I think the only dish that was a slight disappointment was the chicken karage. Guu seems to do a better job.

Pricing wise, it seemed slightly more pricey than Guu. Portions were what you expect at a typical tapas place.

Overall, our party was very happy with the experience. Will definitely go back someday.

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Over priced food, small, average taste, very disappointing
By babyfoo of burnaby (9 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 6, 2007 - 3:02am [Dine in]

Went here with my family of 6 on a Monday night. We ordered: 5 combo sashimi for 20$ - very fresh and nice presentation. 2 ebi mayo - 6 pieces for (around 7$ each plate)..pretty good, but nothing amazing. 1 seafood springroll- 4 small pieces for around $5. 2 "special" negitoro sushi-3 pieces each for around 7$ each! however it was very soft and tasted good but not worth it. 1 "special, # 1 order" scallops in cod sauce for $10!!! this was seriously 2 pieces of scallops cut into 3 pieces each...we each had one tiny bite of scallop~overly priced and very bland, biggest rip-off ever!!! 1 order of salmon carpaccio-pretty good, but not as big as hapa's, for around $7. 1 Unagi bowl for around $8-very small, probably half of hapa's stone bowls and tasted average. 1 Ramen salad-pretty good for $6.8. 1 jalapeno pasta-took FOREVER. It was one of the last dishes to come, and only because we reminded the waiters 3 times-very plain looking AND plain tasting. A little too salty as well. 1 chicken karaage-nicely fried with 3 different salts for dipping...all for show, tastes the same to me however one of the better dishes for around $5. 1 cuttlefish tempura-probably one of the best dishes...would go great with some sake or beer. 1 order of oyster motoyaki-2 pieces-the oyster meat was still cold underneath the baked cheese! 1 order of the ebi chilli wrap-tasted horrible! came with 1 pita torn in half with a small cup of wierd tasting tomato sauce with ebi and cheese-around $8. We ordered quite a lot of food, probably almost everything off their menu. The service was very slow considering it was a monday night and the restaurant was not even full. The servers were quite polite, but that's how they are at izakayas. They kept switching our plates-kinda annoying.I WOULD NOT recommend this to anyone, goto the other GUU's or hapa or even Chopstix in Yaletown for better food, cheaper prices, and faster prep times.

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Now this is what a Japanese Izakaya should be.
By daisuke of Richmond (9 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, December 26, 2006 - 5:13pm [Dine in]

I'm going to keep this short because I've only gone there once and it's not fair to judge a place that was this good just by the first visit. I'm going to go back and see if the consistency is still up to par. The food was delicious although small in portion size. The Eel rice was amazing!

The room itself is a work of art and the artists hired to shape the place up did a wonderful job.

The waitresses were a bit overwhelmed by the number of orders received this evening so they were slow, but waiting 20 minutes is nothing compared to the recent waits I've endured at awful places like 'the eatery' and "hapa".

overall, a very good time and am looking forward to going there again in the new year.

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Great casual place
By taaja of Kdale, Vancouver (11 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, May 26, 2013 - 10:56pm [Dine in]

I've been here twice, and I thought the service and dessert/drinks were great both times. The maitre'd is always really nice, lets you sit where you like, and is attentive and fast. I like all their desserts, and their drinks are yummy too. There's always street parking outside, super convenient. The chairs aren't super comfortable (a hard wood?) but that's the only real downside to this place.

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Best Japanese Decor in Vancouver
By Jorge Eduardo of Vancouver (West End) (18 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 8:31pm [Dine in]

Kingyo looks great, and doesn't disappoint. I have only been for lunch and consider it to be a solid deal - but hardly anything more.

Sure, the ambiance is unsurpassed as far as Japanese restaurants in town, which in Vancouver, easily number in the thousands in Vancouver metro alone. So that is amazing by itself. The music is mostly cool and thoughtful, but at points tries too hard and I just wanna be left alone with my lunch and not necessarily listen to an exciting Kingyos DJ set.

Service is fast and very good. I think most lunch items are good value for around $10, but they are obviously pricier in evening. I'd still consider going in evening, seeing as it keeps pretty late hours which is sometimes handy.

But in all honesty the food looks more exciting than it tastes - its prepared very nicely for sure, but my eyes are more impressed than my tastebuds. Now if I could just find a way to eat the decor ...

Menu Highlights: Negitoro Bowl

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Very cool spot.
By mister_jacky of Vancouver (22 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, December 27, 2008 - 3:19am [Dine in]

This place was recommended to me by a friend, so I took my girl out there one night. Very interesting place, very friendly happy staff, very cool ambiance (we booked a table). Majority of the food was very very good, izakaya is small portions. We enjoyed ourselves, seemed like a very authentic place. The staff were super nice and courteous. My only complaint was the price; we tried a bunch of things, a couple drinks, and the bill was about $90.

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Upscale and more expensive Guu, but it's good.
By mayo of Burnaby (19 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, July 10, 2008 - 3:06pm [Dine in]

Went there with my boyfriend and it was a great night out.

Food quality is slightly (just slightly) better than Guu. Sashimi was fresh, but very expensive. Cream Croquet rocks! That's the best dish I had that night. That was so creamy. It's one of the best croquet I had so far. The small hot pot can still be improved. Cocktail I had was also very good... not bar style, but izagaya style.

Service was excellent. That was a very busy night, but the servers were very energetic and friendly.

Overall I had a very good time there. If you are willing to pay more for a more quiet and higher ceiling Guu, that will be the place for you. It's a good place to go once a while.

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Not bad.. not bad at all ! lol
By hamsup of Vancouver (14 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, May 14, 2007 - 9:32am [Dine in]

Since I was in the area... the choices I had were Zakushi or Kingyo... i didn't like Zakushi the last time i went as everyting was burnt and overcooked... so I decided to give Kingyo a try.

The service was great.. the waitresses were very tentative as to what we needed and came around many times asking if they could offer us another beer.. more food... etc... =)

Chicken Karage with three different salts were delicious.. wish they gave us a bit more salt though.. but the chicken quality was superb and was quite mouth watering !

Tuna Sashami... a very small portion but the quality was definately there... i wish there was a bit more lemon zest.. I think it would of brought out the flavour of the tuna a bit more !

Salmon Carppaccio.. YUMMY ! the flavours were well balanced and the portion size was decent..

Ramen salad.. i found this dish to be the worse of the night. it wasn't balanced.. and seemed to be just an assembly of ramen, mixed greens, cucumbers, and some miso char-siu (bbq pork)..

Besides that.. everything else i had was great.. i had i think two other noodles dishes...

The beer is decent priced though it doesn't compare to Ebisu on robson whatsoever.. but thats alright =) I went t here afterwards for round two of everythign ! lol

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Good & Tasty
By GoodEats88 of North Vancouver (7 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, January 13, 2009 - 12:23pm [Dine in]

It was a Monday night out on Denman and it was a toss up between trying Yoshi’s or Kingyo. Since Kingyo’s was nearby and didn’t look busy, those were the deciding factors. Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted warmly by the staff and shown to a table quite quickly. Nice hot towels were served to us and our drink orders taken. There was a daily special sheet folded into the menu and the difficult thing was deciding on what to try. We asked the server and he recommended a few dishes. Knowing it was izakaya (tapas), we weren’t expecting huge portions, but trying out several sharing plates. We started with the ahi tuna sashimi (melts in your mouth), then had the calamari (loved how it was made) followed with the Ebi Mayo and the Black Cod. After a brief lull, the tan tan noodles and the petit chicken kaarage don arrived. Both of these dishes were by far the best and we had wished they had come out at the beginning since they seemed to have opened our hunger palette for more food. The don was made uniquely and held a lot of flavour. The broth with the noodles we didn’t waste and used the rice in the don to lap it all up. All in all, everything was very good and tasty. When we got the bill, it was accompanied by a small flower vase with a flower and 3 skewers. We didn’t think anything of it until we realized that the skewers had a grape on each end and the grapes were frozen. Biting into them was like biting into some frozen sorbet. A nice ending to a delicious meal.

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A bit disappointed
By natnod of Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, October 28, 2009 - 1:14am [Dine in]

Went with a friend 2 weeks ago, got high expectation from the reviews, but end up a bit disappointed. The food is decent, but couldn't recall anything that's really exceptionally good. We ordered prawn sashima, it's fresh. Dan Dan noodle, their menu said it is the best in the world, but I feel it's taste is bit too strong, but I did manage to finish the Dan Dan noodle soup too. We also ordered a duck hot pot, it was decent but same problem, the soup tastes a bit too strong. I couldn't remember what else we ordered as they were nothing memorable. We tried their two desserts on the menu, the Tiramisu cake is tasty, probably the best dish for that night's meal. I end up paying the bill, 80.00 including tips, which is reasonable for a downtown Jap restaurant, but since the food is not as good as expected, I only give it a 2 stars on value.

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