Guu North York

My love for all the Kinka family restaurants has been well documented over the years, so I’ve been waiting with bated breath for the doors to open at Guu’s North York location. One of my favourite restaurants, within walking distance, was a dream come true (because all I dream about is food really). However, my first impression of the third Guu location was underwhelming. Nothing was particularly wrong, or off, but nothing was particularly spectacular either.

Atmosphere: Being jetlagged, I planned dinner early at 5:30pm on a weekday. Without a reservation, we were able to get a seat but the restaurant was full by the time we left at 8pm. We sat on the outside patio and the weather was warm but shady. Walking into Guu, the greetings shouted felt especially loud. Being on the patio, it was also distracting whenever the door to inside opened and a wave of noise hit us. Inside the restaurant, with background music and constant yelling, it was loud. I would recommend getting a patio seat for as long as possible if you’re hoping to hold a conversation over dinner and not lose your voice.

I foresee the restaurant being packed to be a regular occurrence. Reservations can be made online for up to 10 guests, this location is currently not open for lunch.

Service: Having just opened, the wait staff felt a bit clumsy and rushed. While friendly, we had trouble getting someone’s attention to order more items and dishes came out in an odd order and in waves. Our Takowasabi was one of the last to arrive after many of the cooked dishes. I’m sure over time, the service will be smoothed out.

Food: Looking at the regular menu I was a little disappointed that some of my favourite dishes from the other location was missing and there were no unique dishes for North York. I did like how the Daily Special menu featured lots of Sashimi, I felt like they were trying to present the freshest fish at any time by keeping the selection variable.

Dinner consisted of:
Seared Pork Belly – Good sauce but I would’ve like the fat more rendered to a crispier finish
Osaka Fry – The fries were crispy and moist on the inside but not worth $6 for the small bowl
Saba Oshizushi – I loved the pressed cured mackerel on top of each piece of sushi, but thought the rice was a little too wet
Takoyaki – Crispy outside, gooey inside
Kimchi Udon – I was hoping the Carbonara Udon would be on the menu but the Kimchi Udon was still satisfying
Takowasabi – Pretty standard, I would’ve liked a little more wasabi
Sashimi Salad – Generously dressed, the salad had a good amount of sashimi that included scallop and chunks of seared tuna
Karaage – Served hot, straight from the frier, had a tasty seasoned batter and moist interior
Gyu-Tan (Grilled Beef Tongue Steak) – chewy but tender with a great smoked flavour, this was one of my favourite dishes that night

Overall, dinner was consistent or just below par from the other Guu locations. I found the classic dishes to be well executed and great with a glass of beer. A few of the menu items were nothing special. Next time, I’d like to try more of the sashimi dishes and of course, there will be a next time.

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