Have you ever walked into a bar and felt truly like a VIP? Guu Izakaya, originating from Vancouver, BC, in middle of downtown Toronto successfully gives off that vibe. As you both enter and exit into the restaurant, you are greeted by boisterous staff members, who welcome you in.
Guu is certainly a restaurant which lives up to its hype. Located between Carleton and Gerrard on Jarvis, this restaurant is rather inconspicuous. However from the inside, it felt authentically Japanese (although neither of us has ever been to Japan. It’s what we imagine to be authentic, at least). We opted to sit on the patio, since it was a beautiful day outside.
The greatest thing about having a dining experience is not knowing what to expect. Given that Japanese food is a bit of a trend here in Toronto, we were expecting all things tempura. On the contrary, the food was unlike anything we’ve had before, and surpassed expectations.
Along with the Sapporo (served on tap), which hit the spot after adventuring downtown on a sweltering hot day, we started off dinner with a seaweed salad. It differed from the typical seaweed salad that we’ve had, and was a great preview for what was to come.
Next, we had the Salmon Takatak. It included salmon sashimi, wasabi, mayo and garlic. This dish was delicious; it melted like butter in your mouth.
After we had the deep-fried Brie cheese with a blueberry and mango sauce. It was literally the greatest thing ever. Keep in mind, we’re both cheese enthusiasts. The combination of savory and sweet absolutely hit the spot. It was the perfect dish. In fact, it sets the standard for any other form of deep-fried cheese. It might even spark a deep-fried cheese hunt; perhaps the best mozzarella sticks in Toronto will be one of our next adventures.
We next chose the Kinoko Bibimbap. If you haven’t had bibimbap before, it’s a delicious Korean dish that combines rice and various veggies. It is often served with an egg on top in a hot stone bowl. We are huge bibimbap fans. This one had a HUGE twist: it included seaweed, mushrooms and CHEDDAR CHEESE (refer to our previous statement about cheese). We were expecting a harder cheese, however cheddar mixed perfectly to create a great and unexpected dish.
Lastly, we chose one of the daily specials. The lettuce wrapped salmon sushi was essentially a deconstructed sushi roll, cupped in a boston lettuce leaf. This dish was one of the best. Since we both consume a lot of sushi, this was a fresh take on an old favourite.
Overall, the Guu experience definitely redefined our views on Japanese bar food. We can now understand why it is a growing trend in Toronto. A+!