Guu Izakaya Review


398 Church Street

(416) 977-0999

Pricing: Cheap

Cuisine: Japanese

Type: Tapas


Atmosphere: 8/10

Food: 8/10

Service: 8/10

Guu Izakaya on Urbanspoon

Guu Izakaya Interior

If you know anything about the Toronto scene, you’ll know that Guu is where you and your group of friends go on a Friday night. The tapas-style bar has you sharing plates and laughing over sake and beer. It really is a night to remember.

The tables are side by side so you’ll be bumping elbows with your neighbours. Everyone is loud and in a good mood, what more can you ask for?

Also, look out for their daily specials, it changes every night so order it if it seems interesting; you might not see it the next time you come.

Nama Gure Sour

The Nama Guru Sour sounds intriguing by having vodka and soda mixed with grapefruit but none of us were expecting them to bring us an actual grapefruit and a squeezer. I think they should have that stated somewhere in the item description.

Nigori Sake

They’ve got many different types of sake that come in all shapes and sizes. We started the night off with the Nigori Sake; a mild and sweet blend.

Bamboo Sake

The Bamboo Sake is where things got a little crazy that night. The alcohol actually comes in a chilled bamboo stalk and you have the option of getting the regular or the large. However, this isn’t on their regular menu so we ordered another! It’s not as sweet as the Nigori but still goes down smoothly.

Hotate Carpaccio

The Hotate Carpaccio is Hokkaido scallop sashimi with wasabi dressing and even though it’s raw, the taste isn’t there. I don’t know what the chef’s did but it’s just pure bliss. It melts in your mouth and has just enough sauce.

Gyu Carpaccio

I was a little skeptical of the Gyu Carpaccio because it’s seared beef sashimi and there have been a lot of news around beef but like the hotate carpaccio, it melts in your mouth and chases away all negative thoughts. The garlic chips gives it a nice crunch and your breath a little fresh (you did just eat raw beef after all).


The Kakimayo is baked B.C. oyster with mushrooms, spinach, garlic mayo and topped with cheese. Despite being in oyster shells, they only use them as decoration. There aren’t enough oysters in there, despite tasting so good.


The Karaage is a classic; deep fried soy sauce marinated chicken with garlic mayo. It’s perfectly crunchy on the outside and very tender on the inside.


Karubi (grilled salt and pepper beef short ribs with scallion sauce) is something you can find at any Korean or Japanese restaurant and Guu doesn’t make it any different.

Kinoko Bibimbap

The Kinoko Bibimbap was my favourite of the night, cheesy bibimbap with mushrooms and seaweed? Almost all of my favourite things in one delectable dish!


I found the Okonomiyaki to have a little too much. It’s a deep fried Japanese pancake with squid, tonkatsu sauce and mayo but there was also a lot of what I think is shredded cabbage. That kind of took away from the whole dish, there was too much going on at the same time.


I love Takoyaki but suprisingly, I didn’t like Guu’s. It wasn’t chewy enough for my taste and a bit too starchy.


Tontoro sounds odd, pan fried pork cheek with salt and yuzu pepper, but it’s so good. It’s sliced thick and is chewy because of the muscles that are in the cheeks.


I love udon noodles when they are cooked right. The Yakiudon was cooked and marinated just right, even with the green onions.

Sakana Furai

I’m not a big fan of fish but one of my other favourite dishes was the Gindara; grilled black cod with Saikyo miso and white wine sauce. It was so tender and it felt like I was eating cotton candy. And the crispy skin on top of the fish was like a chip, and there was no layer of slimy fat either.

Salmon Natto Yukke

I’ve always wanted to try natto so I ordered the Salmon Natto Yukke, never again. It’s not appetizing at all and taste like you’re eating dirt. The natto is sticky and not the good kind. It feels like you’re eating raw snails or someone’s spit.

I love Guu Izakaya (not Sakabar) and will be returning. But it’s not something I can do too frequently because it takes a lot out of you.