Located on Bloor St., Guu Sakabar is easily one of my favourite restaurants in this city. If you are looking for an authentic Japanese izakaya (tapas) experience, this is the place for you! (Approx. $15-20/person + drinks)
Guu SakaBar operates on the same basis, menu, and overall feel as it’s original location Guu Izakaya, but can be distinguished by a few key features. It offers a quieter section where you take off your shoes and sit at lower tables for a more traditional Japanese feel (if you want to sit in this area be sure to arrive early, or reserve a spot in advance!). There is a different sake selection, which includes the Murai Family Junmai- a must for those looking for a good drink to have before or with dinner! Finally, in my experience at least, the food is made a bit better at this location (odd considering the other location is the original).
I went here yesterday and got three dishes that I’ve never tried before, which I figured would be the perfect opportunity to attempt a ‘non-bias’ review of the food. I kept things exciting by getting Kurage (Jellyfish), Gyu Carpaccio (Beef Carpaccio), and Kabocha Korokke (a pumpkin/egg croquette).
The Kurage ($5.50) was sweet tasting with an odd crunch to it, and was served with glass noodles and a dressing reminiscent of (or possibly the same as) the one used on seaweed salads.
The Gyu Carpaccio ($7.20) was amazing- slightly seared on the edges with a drizzle of wasabi mayo and ponzu sauce made it a very exciting dish, I was tempted to order another. The meat was chewy (to the same extent as carpaccio usually is) but the sauces made every bite (chew?) worth it!
Finally, the Kabocha Korokke ($6.00) had a texture reminiscent of baked potato, but was made from pumpkin and had a hard boiled egg in the centre. I found this to be a bit too much for one person, but I’d expect it to be a great dish to share between 2-4 people. Only get this dish if you really like pumpkin.
Overall, this restaurant is truly unique for Toronto. It offers an authentic Japanese Izakaya (tapas) experience, two areas- each offering a different look into Japanese dining, a wide variety of food that you’ll rarely (if at all) find anywhere else in Toronto, reasonable prices ($15-20/person) and enthusiastic staff. If you love Japanese food and want an authentic experience, this is the place to come.
If you want to try Guu SakaBar for yourself:
559 Bloor St. W