838 Thurlow Street
T: 604 685 8817
Brief Description: The Thurlow location of a chain of cheap and cheerful izakaya. Prices are extremely affordable – you could take pocket change and still leave with a tummy full of delicious, authentic food.
After I wrote my review of Hapa Izakaya, in which I had mentioned Guu numerous times, I just couldn’t get it out of my head! I had to go for a visit. Thankfully, B is always up for my food suggestions and so after a movie at Scotiabank Theatre the other night, we made our way to Guu on Thurlow.
There are 3 Guu’s located down-town; Guu with Garlic, Guu on Robson and Guu on Thurlow. There is also a location in Richmond. All of the locations have different menus and the food selection does vary quite a lot between locations. I really enjoy visiting the Guu on Thurlow as the vibe is electric and full of life. Usually hectic, loud and full of ESL students getting a taste of home, Guu offers homestyle Japanese food in a simply decorated, no-frills restaurant. The kitchen is open, which allows you to watch the charismatic chefs prepare the food with speed and ease. A friend of mine who lived in Japan said that the food is some of the more traditional Japanese izakaya food that she has had in Vancouver. As someone who hasn’t been to Japan, I feel like this is a small taste of how fun/crazy it could be.
At Guu, the craziness starts the minute you walk through the door. The servers and chefs will look up from whatever they are doing and enthusiastically scream greetings at you. When this happens I feel as though a celebrity has walked in behind me as everyone is shouting and staring at you! They also shout goodbyes at you when you leave. It is fun and I can’t help but giggle when they do this. With this fun/strange welcome out of the way, service is generally extremely fast and polite but they do try to turn the tables over fast as there is usually a heaving line-up to get in.
The thing that always surprises me about Guu is the prices. It is just so cheap! B and I over-order every time we go there. The last time we went we couldn’t finish everything that we ordered and it still only came to $35 in total. As I said - cheap! We shared a large bottle of Sapporo ($7.80), Kimchi Fried Rice ($7.50), Grilled Beef Short Rib ($5.20), Grilled Asparagus Rolled Bacon Skewers ($4), Salmon Sashimi ($5.50) and Edamame ($3).
The delicate Salmon Sashimi in a garlic soy sauce was absolutely wonderful and it was a mere $5.50.
My personal favourite dish, and I believe is only available at the Guu on Thurlow, is the Grilled Asparagus Rolled Bacon Skewers ($4). The smoky asparagus covered in the salty bacon is simply amazing. I always order this dish and I’m never disappointed. A simple but mouth-watering treat.
I don’t particularly like the Grilled Beef Short Rib as the meat is just too fatty for my liking. The flavours are nice; a slight sweetness and a smokiness from the grill but this is basically a dish that we order for B.
The Kimchi Fried Rice is simple but full of flavour and has big yummy bits of bacon dispersed throughout. A hearty must-have.
Final Thoughts: For a fun night out, with good food and good prices, you can’t go wrong with Guu. It is a great place to experiment with new dishes and an interesting culture.