Wanting something different from the standard Japanese sushi restaurants, we went to an Izakaya, an alternative Japanese dining adventure both in terms of atmosphere and menu. Dining at Guu Sakabar turned out to be not only a culinary experience but a cultural one as well.
Izakaya fare is offered in a similar fashion to tapas or dim sum, with small plates meant for sharing. The menu sections include starters, salads, cold, grilled/baked or deep fried dishes, rice hotpot and noodles with prices ranging from around $3.5 for the smaller dishes to $12 for the more substantial ones. We started with the blanched spinach in a sesame paste, seared B.C.tuna sashimi in a ponzu sauce with fried garlic slices, baked oysters with mushroom and cheese, and green bean tempura served with a matcha (green tea flavoured) salt. While we've had variations of the other dishes before, the spinach dish was unique and delicious.
We had the only non-Asian waitress taking care of our table. It was amusing to hear our blond server calling out our order in a stream of Japanese. We found out that she started out in an Izakaya in Vancouver and while she was not fluent, she knew enough Japanese to be able to eat well in Japan.
As we left, there was a loud chorus of "Arigato" as we were thanked for coming. This was a really fun dining experience and the food was tasty. We would definitely return to try some of the other choices and re-order some of our favourites.
559 Bloor Street W