Guu Garlic is part of the Guu izakaya restaurant group that has locations all around Vancouver and Toronto. This location is on the far west end of Robson Street and the inside is loud and bustling like all izakayas. This location specializes in garlic flavours (hence the name) and their restaurant slogan is “garlic is sexy”.
My friend Melissa and I arrived a bit early for our reservation, so we ended up in the upstairs area where they have traditional low Japanese tables and you sit on the floor. While sitting like this was a cool novelty because I’ve never done it before, it became uncomfortable by the end of the meal and if you have long legs I wouldn’t recommend doing this.
The salmon carpaccio ($7.50) is a refreshing summery dish. This was on the daily features menu so it isn’t always available.
The wild sockeye salmon was a bright red colour. The salmon is cut thin and it was so smooth and fresh. It was topped with garlic chips, onions, and drizzled with a creamy mayo dressing. The garlic and onion flavours were bold and prominent and the mayo added a creaminess. The salmon was also sitting in a tangy and sweet sauce. This dish is a great way to start a meal and it is light compared to lots of the greasy items on the menu.
The yaki udon ($7.80) is a Guu specialty and is available at most of the Guu locations. The udon noodles are pan-fried with sliced beef, mushrooms, green onions, sesame seeds, nori, and a soy butter sauce. The noodles were smooth and lightly coated in the mild buttery sauce. The beef and mushrooms are a perfect pairing and the nori flakes add a salty flavour. This dish is simple, tasty, and comforting and it’s a good dish to order to fill you up.
The ebi mayo ($7.80) has five plump tempura prawns smothered with a chili mayo sauce. The prawns were sweet and juicy with a crisp seasoned batter. The chili mayo was delicious and creamy with a hint of spicy flavour. This was one of my favourites and it’s a must order at any Guu location.
The other deep fried dish we got was the chicken karaage ($5.40). Karaage is a relatively standard dish in most Japanese restaurants, but this ended up being our favourite dish of the night.
The boneless chicken thighs came out piping hot and it was so juicy that moisture was oozing out. The outside batter was light and didn’t overwhelm the chicken or feel too heavy. The rich, thick, garlic mayo also added an extra layer of delicious. This is the best karaage I’ve ever had.
We originally wanted the black cod but since they were sold out we ended up ordering the beef tataki ($5.20).
The beef was sliced paper thin and lightly seared on the outside. The meat was tender and melted in your mouth. It was topped with some onions and we had a side of ponzu sauce to dip it in. The tangy sweet ponzu sauce was a nice pairing with the beef. This beef was very good, however the pieces are quite small.
Everything we had over the course of the evening looked beautiful and tasted amazing. All of the dishes are affordable, with them all being under $10 and perfect for sharing. They also have a wide array of affordable drinks to go with your food. I’m already looking forward to going back.
Yes, for mouth watering Japanese bar food.