Suika means “watermelon” in Japanese. Suika is also the name of a Japanese restaurant located on West Broadway. It is an izakaya, like Guu. For lunch, Suika serve lunch sets; for dinner, they serve small plates. I heard that it’s not exactly a place you’ll get full from if you go for dinner.

Anyway, Mochi, Milktea, JL, and I, along with a few friends, decided to go to Suika for lunch one day.

Suika – Japanese Snack Bar

We arrived at 1pm for lunch and the place was packed. Good thing we made a reservation so we were seated almost right away. It was quite spacious inside, and everything was made out of wood: tables, floor, chairs; it gave the place a nice and rustic look. I especially liked their ceiling lights!

Ceiling lights at Suika made from beer bottles

Mochi was not too interested in their lunch menu, and so he asked the friendly waitress whether he can order from the dinner menu. She replied that it was perfectly fine.

I ordered the Double Tonkatsu Set from the lunch menu:

Double Tonkatsu Set – $12.80

I loved the presentation of this set. The pork loin cutlet was coated in panko (bread crumbs) and deep fried to perfection. It came with two different dipping sauces, a bowl of rice, miso soup, a bowl with sesame seeds, some kimchi, and some grated radish. MilkTea told me that the proper way to eat tonkatsu was to first mash up the sesame seeds, then pour one of the sauces into the bowl (soy sauce). The tonkatsu was then ready to be eaten by dipping them into the two sauces, and the grated radish was to help get rid of the oily taste.

The tonkatsu was crispy on the outside, and extremely flavourful. The miso soup was very good as well, and it had a few pieces of carrot and radish inside.

Deluxe “Suika” Box – $10

This box came with nine different kinds of appetizers. Some tasted better than others. I really enjoyed the tofu cup and the chicken cup. Others were a bit plain, such as the bread cup and the tomato cup. It was visually appealing though!

Complimentary Salad

Oh yes, I forgot to mention that Suika gave us a huge bowl of salad while we were waiting for our meal to arrive. It was a very simple salad, with lettuce and vinaigrette, but it was very nice of them to do that! :) It made the entire experience that much better.

Sashimi “Shake” Salad – $7.80

JL’s sashimi “shake” salad. We were wondering why it was called a shake salad until our server brought it over. The salad came in a jar. Basically, the sashimi, vegetables, and sauces are all put into a glass jar and then shaken up, hence the name “shake” salad. The greens and sashimi tasted fresh, and I especially enjoyed the tobico.

Sable fish?

This was on their special menu for lunch. I think it was sable fish. It was quite a small piece, and in terms of taste it was not bad. I just didn’t like having to pick the tiny bones out, which is why I tend to stick to cod and salmon sashimi.

Tuna Tataki – $6

Mmm.. Tuna tataki! It was drizzled with homemade chili oil, complete with scallions and sliced onions.

Negitoro Battera – $9.80

This pressed sushi was topped with tuna belly and avocado, and drizzled with a seaweed sauce. MilkTea really enjoyed this sushi. I thought it tasted good as well, and everything melted in my mouth. However, for almost the same price, I still preferred Miku’s aburi sushi.

The Good:
– Friendly staff
– Great service
– Creative food

The Bad:
– Parking was hard to find
– Have to order a lot to get full for dinner
Suika on Urbanspoon

Guu with Garlic

On Wednesday, to celebrate Mochi’s birthday, we went to Guu with Garlic for dinner. At first we wanted to try the one in Gastown, but they didn’t have any oden or the kabocha koroke (my favorite~) so we opted for the one on Robson instead.

Entrance to Guu with Garlic

This is my second time at Guu with Garlic. The first time I went, I got a seat in the tatami area so I didn’t really get to see everything that was going on in the izakaya. This time we were actually lucky enough to get a seat at the bottom where all the action was! When I made a reservation, they had told me that there were no more seats in the bottom left, but I guess a space cleared up~ The only disappointing part of the night was that they had run out of kabocha koroke.. Oh well.. Next time then. :(

First up, we ordered a Guud Ale since Mochi really wanted to try it.

Guuud Ale $8.50

A glass of ale!

It tasted quite bitter to me. It was a bit stronger than the other beers that I have had. I can’t really comment on it too much since I’m not an expert in beer~ Half a glass was more than enough for me though! I prefer the sweet stuff.

Next up was the mochikin (sticky rice cake in a tofu bag):

Mochikin $2

This one is my favorite oden and as far as I know, only Guu offers it. The tofu bag really soaks up the flavorful soup and combined with the soft rice cake inside, it’s a match made in heaven.

Next, the beef tataki:

Beef tataki $5.20

This dish was amazing! The beef was lightly seared on the outside and raw on the inside. Then it was thinly sliced and served with ponzu sauce. It tasted slightly chewy and really flavorful.

Sashimi Salad $6.50

This is a must-have everytime I come to Guu. The assorted sashimi pieces always taste fresh and it’s a nice dish to order if you want a balanced diet of meat and veggies. There aren’t many veggie dishes at Guu, so this one is a very refreshing dish to have.

Takoyaki $4

The takoyaki’s here are special because they are deep fried. That makes the doughy shell slightly crispy on the outside, but nice and soft on the inside. The batter they use is also very delicious, and the octopus piece inside is big enough to taste (unlike the ones in Richmond night market).

Kimchi Udon $7.80

The udon tastes very chewy and it really mixed well with the fish roe and kimchi. I want to attempt and make this dish at home next time! I think this one tastes better than the yakiudon.

Kakuni $6.30

After reading about this dish on someone else’s blog that OmNom showed me, I wanted to try it as well! I thought that it was an interesting dish.. I didn’t really know how to eat it since the poached egg and the pork belly were just floating in the bowl of oil. The meat was very tender and tasted good with the steamed bun. However I didn’t really know how to eat the egg? If anyone can clarify this dish for me, please leave a comment!

Grilled Black Mackerel

This dish was on the special menu that changes all the time. I had it the last time I was eating at this location too! The chips on top are garlic chips which I thought was interesting (at first I thought they were dried banana slices!). This dish is slightly salty and would taste a lot better if eaten with white rice.

When it was time, we asked for the birthday cake. It took them a while to bring it up. At first we thought that they forgot about it, but after 10 minutes of waiting, suddenly the lights were turned off and the music stopped playing. Then they brought out the birthday cake! They also sang “Happy Birthday” with us too. It made the entire experience extra special. We gave them some mango pudding cake before we left!

Happy Birthday, Mochi! :)

Overall, I think Guu Thurlow still has a better selection of food (they have more things on the special menu too). However, I like the seating areas at Guu with Garlic better. There are more seats and it feels less crammed and so you feel less obligated to eat quickly and get out of there. However, the service at all the Guu locations are impeccable! I want to try their newest location next time: Kobachi on Denman!
Guu With Garlic on Urbanspoon

Guu on Thurlow

Tonight I went to Guu (838 Thurlow Street) with M for dinner. Compared to the Richmond and Robson Guu’s, this one is definitely the best!

It was a Friday night and we arrived at 7pm and found the tiny place packed. After waiting for 20 minutes, we finally got seats at the bar, right next to the kitchen where all the action was. The servers and chefs there are all Japanese and they were enthusiastic to say the least. They were constantly shouting out orders and greeting customers loudly in Japanese.

Cherry Blossom $5.50

Here is the Cherry Blossom: ramune soda with soho and strawberries. A very sweet and fizzy drink! I didn’t even taste the bitterness of the alcohol~ It was really delicious and better than the drink I ordered at Robson Guu (Asahi beer with mint and lemune).

Ebi Furai $5.80

Deep fried prawns with spicy mayonnaise. This one was very good~ Prawns and mayo went very well together. Om nom nom~~

Kimchi Udon $7.50

Kimchi Udon: udon with spicy cod roe, soy sauce, butter, kimchi and green onion. My favorite dish of the night~ Very chewy noodles and spicy fish roe.. simple yet delicious. It leaves me wanting more.

Takoyaki $4.00

Deep fried octopus balls with tonkatsu sauce and mustard mayonnaise. Crispy shell and soft center with a couple of chunks of octopus inside. Yummy~ It’s like Richmond night market all over again, but more authentic.

Kabocha korokke $3.60

A must-have for those who visit Guu. It is a Japanese pumpkin and boiled egg croquette with original mayonnaise sauce drizzled over it. This awesome creation is one of Guu’s signature. The light sweet taste of pumpkin paired with a delicious boiled egg makes this a must-try for any first timer.

Mochikin Oden $2.00 each

Oden is a new addition to the Guu restaurants. The most unique oden on the menu is the mochikin, a stuffed sticky rice cake in a soy bean bag.. The tofu soaked up the light yet flavorful soup really well. Biting into the tofu bag, I was happy to find a large piece of mochi hidden inside. Mochi~ My favorite~ Even the string is edible.

Ikageso $4.80

This one was ordered for M. He still did not forget the Richmond night market grilled squid legs. This dish is grilled squid legs with spicy mayo dip. It wasn’t too chewy and it was easy to bite. With or without the mayo, the squid legs tasted very flavorful.

Guu is probably one of the most authentic Japanese izakaya’s that we have here in Vancouver. I felt like I was really in Japan for the time that I was there. I got to experience the Japanese culture as well as tried out some great food in the process! Time to go on a trip to Japan~ Next summer! : )


Service 8/10
Ambiance 8/10
Food 10/10

Guu on Urbanspoon