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Guu is open!


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photo from my flickr. Guu opens in Toronto! (for intro/extro/photos/menu)

Well, there's enough that I decided to organize this by sections on the menu. Otherwise, it would be far too chaotic! Ready?

Special Menu (2/3)

There weren't too many specials, but we did like what was on it. I was tempted to get the uni, but ultimately decided to pass. This time!

Marinated BC Albacore Tuna

sashimi with jalapeño sauce. Really quite good. I liked the spice from the japaleño. Off the special menu.


Being the Vancouverites they are, of course this made the menu. Sweet and delicate. Don't forget to suck the head! A good order.

Appetizers (3/6)

Apps were pretty strong all-around. I liked all that we did order, with the Takowasabi as my top pick.


Cooked octopus with chopped wasabi stem and vegetables. To be wrapped in nori. I really really like this dish. I first had it at Kingyo in Vancouver and Guu's version is just as good (or better). Cruchy, wasabi-hot, a little bit of vinegar or something like that and a sweet hit. I asked for a second order of this. Though I was told later that this probably isn't house-made (and bought from a supplier). True? False? Someone else will have to ask.


Marinated jellyfish and vermicelli (fake shark's fin). Small dish, but a nice crunchy snack. This makes my potential re-order list. It was tasty.


Boiled spinach with black sesame sauce. Looking like a baby sludge monster, this was really tasty. Sweeter than the white gomaae you can find around town, I'm told. I quite liked this, though it verged on being dessert. Maybe a good intermezzo order..?

Salads (4/4)

I found the salads okay but nothing that I would order again.

Tofu Salad

Tofu and garlic sauteed mushrooms on greens with crispy wonton chips. Nice plating/stack, but entirely meh for me.

Gyu Shabu

Salad Thinly sliced boiled beef on greens with black sesame sauce. Needs more beefy flavour or something.

Sashimi Salad

Assorted fish on greens with mayo. Meh. It wasn't bad, (some tataki in there!) but I think this is not why you would come to Guu.

Daikon Salad

Daikon with greens, scallop and spicy cod roe mayo. I somehow missed the spicy cod roe taste.

Cold Dishes (2/5)

Interesting dishes to eat and try, though there are some repeats that swap out the main ingredient for a like one.

Aburi Salmon

Lightly seared Atlantic salmon sashimi with ponzu sauce and wasabi mayo. Tasty enough, with the notes of garlic adding a nice depth to it.

Salmon Natto Yukke

Chopped salmon sashimi with natto, shibazuke, takuan, wonton chips, garlic chips, green oinion and raw egg yolk. To be mixed and wrapped in nori. Needed more natto - you get the texture/goo of it, but no taste. I liked the takowasabi better. Less items, but better taste imo.

Deep Fried (4/8)

There were a couple things on the deep-fried menu that we were hesitant to order - the Brie Cheese being one of them. Someone else will have to try that out first! We also passed on the Ebimayo because we figured that we knew what it tasted like. There was no logic in that thought though - I mean, what if we missed the best fried shrimp ever?! Oh well. Next time!


Deep fried soy sauce marinated chicken served with garlic mayo. All my dining companions really liked this - and they should. It's lightly battered, crispy, and juicy inside. Don't know why I couldn't get into it. I still prefer the chicken at Ajuker - and I know they're two different animals.


I'm used to the smushier ones from Manpuku, but I quite liked these. I can't vouch for authenticity. I'll try these again sometime though. There was so much going on at this point that it was hard to process it all.

Kabocha Korokke

Deep fried kabocha pumpkin croquette with a boiled egg inside. I liked this one a lot. A good snack and the lightly sweet kabocha is really nice. Though I kind of wish it were a tea egg inside with runny yolk instead of just boiled.

Agedashi Tofu

Deep fried tofu in dashi broth. Not bad, though they used the hard/spongy tofu, which I like less.


Deep fried japanese style pancake with tonkatsu sauce and mustard mayo. Not like the okonomiyaki's I've had in Osaka with noodles in it, this is a crispier pancake. Still, it was quite tasty. Nice to see this Osakan dish at Guu.

Oden & Stewed (2/2)

100% completion on this category. Both are interesting orders.


photo from my flickr


Egg, radish, squid & fish cake, puffed fish cake, deep fried tofu, bamboo shoot, fish cake, taro jelly. Can be ordered individually or as an assortment. Sort of meh, I did like the bamboo and taro jelly for tasting purposes.


Sweet miso brasied pork belly with boiled egg. While the Tontoro would be my pork pick out of the two, this was a slightly sweet and fatty pork that reminded me of Chinese braised pork belly.

Grilled (4/8)

Of the dishes we ordered, it was really good or just bad. Enjoyed the Gyu Tangue and the Tontoro. Both are re-orders in my book. The Kakimayo? Not so much (only according to me, though!).

Grilled Saba

mackerel with garlic, lemon, and herb, on vegetables. Thought this was okay - I prefer standard Korean preparation of mackerel better. Depends on your taste - this certainly wasn't bad.

Gyu Tangue

Grilled beef tongue with salt. Really nice and tender pieces. Salt level was just nice. Would re-order.


Grilled pork cheek with yuzu pepper. Really tender and tasty. Well salted and I really liked the yuzu pepper. I consider this a re-order!


Grilled oysters with spinach, garlic mayo, and cheese on the top. If this sounds really bad to you, it does to me too. However, many of my dining companions liked this, but there were a couple of dissenters. Me, I thought this was a bit too odd for my tastes. One friend who doesn't like cooked oysters liked this basically because you couldn't taste the cooked oyster...

Rice & Noodles (1/6)

We slacked on the rice & noodle section.

Kimchi Udon

Boiled udon noodle with spicy cod roe. Topped with kimchi. Everyone else thought it was just okay, but I really liked this one. I just really liked the taste of the kimchi + noodle. Reminded me of a packet-of-ramen flavour.

Sweets (1/4)

Didn't have too many sweets, as we were really stuffed. Also, it's your run-of-the-mill Japanese restaurant desserts. Albeit, the one we did have was really good.

Sake Cheese

Cake Smooth and pretty good. I don't love cheese cakes, but the smoothness won me over. Had the subtle taste of sake mash.

Frozen Grapes

At the end of the meal, this was brought out to us. Reminded me of the skewers I had at Kingyo not too long ago.

Drinks (8/15)

Drinks seem very interesting on the menu and it was decided we should do our best to sample as much as we could. I didn't shoot many drinks, but highlights include the Cassis Oolong (not to be mistaken with the Oolong High!) and Bamboo (pictured up top). The Nama Gure (grapefruit/vodka/soda) was interesting, but more gimmick than substance. I enjoyed the Ume Mojito, but without the mint, I hesitate to call it a mojito. No one dared ordered the Matcha Coco. We'll have to save that for another time.

Overall, I feel that this is a real destination dining place - the kind you go to for gatherings and events. Less your every-day eatery and definitely not your romantic date spot. While Izakaya is set up for beers and snacking, I'm not sure the area would lend itself to that kind of clientele (I would have opened in the business district for that). Still, this is just the beginning. I'm hoping we will see more dishes that dive into cartilage and organ-meat land.

Complete blogpost > Guu opens in Toronto! (for intro/extro/photos/menu)

Menu time on flickr!

Edited by jenc (log)

foodpr0n.com 11/01/17: A map of macarons in Toronto // For free or for a fee - bring your bottle! corkagetoronto.com

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I ate at Guu on Thurlow in Vancouver earlier this year and it was fabulous.

Lucky, lucky Toronto!

Guu Izakaya 398 Church St., Toronto

Don't think their Toronto web site is up yet but here's site for Guu Vancouver.

Great blog post, by the way.

John DePaula
formerly of DePaula Confections
Hand-crafted artisanal chocolates & gourmet confections - …Because Pleasure Matters…
When asked “What are the secrets of good cooking? Escoffier replied, “There are three: butter, butter and butter.”

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  • 2 weeks later...

Actaully Guu Izakaya Toronto is more like Vancouver's Guu with Garlic. Personal preference from all of the five "varieties" in Vancouver is the one original one on Thurlow, but as noted in the link above, I was told with time (and as patron palates are more receptive to the flavours and fare), we may be able to see other traditional courses. The spot has been packed since the opening. Notice the difference from the days before to the night of the soft opening (from the seat beside jenc), to two consecutive Sat since (photos to come). Thankfully Toronto seems to love Guu (hopefully translating to longevity). Perhaps those "traditional" dishes will come sooner than later.

One more thing: while it's not in the pieces above, the manager had noted (in one of the interviews) that the fish is sourced from BC (as ironic as it is to get Atlantic salmon from the west coast; although Ogasawara did have a valid point - it's farmed anyway). Reason? Consistency and reliability in product. Makes sense as they can order the items in volumes out west.

John, if you're ever in this part of the country, at least you know you have another spot to dine at. :smile:

I ate at Guu on Thurlow in Vancouver earlier this year and it was fabulous.

Lucky, lucky Toronto!

Guu Izakaya 398 Church St., Toronto

Don't think their Toronto web site is up yet but here's site for Guu Vancouver.

Great blog post, by the way.

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