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.
Kingyo was an awesome place to go for high grade izakaya food. It has a great atmosphere and the lighting made the place more intimate as well. Service was top notch, and if you're lucky you can score some seating upon arrival. Otherwise, you may have to wait, but the wait is worth it.
Food at Kingyo was superb and the menu is very creative with its ingredients. Best of all, the drink list has quite a few interesting cocktails which fuse some Japanese elements (sake, shochu) with some contemporary spirits too. Very cool.
Of course, plates are small, but fair and well presented. Pricing is reasonable as many of the ingredients are quite specialized too. Overall, I would definitely recommend Kingyo, as your reliable high-end izakaya location in town.
We had a party of 9 recently visit Kingyo on a Friday night. Just to be sure we had a table, we made prior reservation, which they were initially hesitant in accepting. I told them we'd be gone within 2 hours so they agreed to a 6 - 8 p slot.
Once there, we just ordered a bunch of food, from the raw squid in wasabi to the karaage to the ebi mayo to the hot pot etc. Needless to say, we enjoyed each and every dish we ordered.
As you'd probably expect from some izakayas, some of the food were in portions that were too small. However, it's not out of ordinary and pricing is comparable to other authentic establishments around the city. With tip and drinks (each of us had at least one), our bill came to $23 each.
All in all, we couldn't have asked for a better meal. I highly recommend this place. Even better if you can find a group to go with you so you can taste more dishes.
After reading all the positive reviews, we were prepared for an amazing meal. Well, we were very disappointed. We were expecting something similar to Guu in quality and taste and it was not even close!
We ordered the fondue. Big mistake. It was basically a tomato sauce, cheese & sugar mixture.
The scallops came barely warm and didn't have much taste.
The special negitoro rolls were decent (but once again, nothing great).
The miso cod was probably the best, but that being said, I've had waaaay better at Honjin downtown.
The ahi tuna was at least fresh so I guess they get 1 bonus point for that.
We will def. not be returning. Not sure how this place got so many great reviews.... Maybe we're just a tad pickier than the average person?
My family and I discovered Kingyo last year, and we have been there numerous times since then. A variety of factors contribute to the exceptional dining experience and make us keep coming back for more: the delicious and authentic Japanese cuisine, the casual and exciting ambiance, the friendly and professional servers, and the interesting and appealing decor.
I love Japanese food, and have tried many different Japanese restaurants, but Kingyo is my favourite. All of the dishes that I have tried are mouth-watering; my favourites are the Stone Unagi Bowl, the Tuna Tataki, and the Ebi Rice Balls. All of them are also reasonably priced - most dishes are under $10 (the portions are quite small, but the quality certainly makes up for it). The best part of the menu is the desserts - try the Matcha Brulee :)
Other than the food, though, I love dining at Kingyo because of its friendly, cozy, and energetic atmosphere. The servers immediately make you feel welcomed by enthusiastically greeting you. After you are seated, they are very helpful, and all of the dishes are served promptly. They are also very detail-oriented, despite the fact that Kingyo is almost always very busy.
The restaurant can be quite loud, but it adds to the lively ambiance. The authentic Japanese decor is also very appealing, and "goldfish" symbols are subtly and cleverly incorporated. The menus are also nicely done (albeit a bit busy), and their business card is very cute!
Overall, an amazing restaurant - you will definitely leave with a smile on your face!
Robson and Denman is fast becoming the izakaya corridor of downtown Vancouver. Zakkushi, Hapa, Guu, Gyoza King.. and now Kingyo.
Service: disorganized. As soon as we entered the restaurant, they asked if we had a reservation (to which we replied no) and then asked us to sit and wait (even tho half of the restaurant was empty, hey they could ALL be reserved, I can not assume anything). 10 seconds after this, we were once again approached by staff and asked the SAME question, and once again asked us to sit and wait. We were seated about 7 mins after.
Food: Everything was luke warm when it arrived, suggesting that either it was not made fresh, or items had been sitting under a food lamp (especially for deep fried items). The pork cheeks were tough and bland, the squid was chewy, flavourless and borderline cold upon arrival.
Ambiance: It seems they spent alot of money gutting this place, as it was a deli/casual dining restaurant before (Enthuze). I give them props for trying to dress the place up, albeit in a cheezy manner. The CHAIRS were horrendous tho, my butt was numb after 10 mins of sitting on those awful chairs. Note: I am a slender built person.. good luck if you are more robust or tall!
MUSIC: Yes, normally this doesn't register on my food reviews, but the music they played was just atrocious! An izakaya is a lively pub, people go there for some nibbles, booze and laughter.. but the ambiance there was like a funeral, as they had sad country-esque music playing throughout the time we ate. We were the only ones though -- the table beside us complained, and not in a friendly manner either!
Service: Food was steady for the first 3 dishes, then it fizzled. I understand that it's not a dine and dash establishment, but to boil some noodles and broth shouldn't take more than 20 mins to prepare.
All in all, I am not sure if I would return to Kingyo. With so many other izakayas around town, I won't be going back any time soon.