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izakaya questions

I am finishing up my Vancouver plans and I have a few questions about the izakaya spots in Vancouver. Some background information: my wife will be 6 months pregnant with twins at the time of our visit to Vancouver, so she isn't keen on doing a izakaya crawl, but does want to go to at least one izakaya spot. If you could only pick one izakaya spot, which one would you pick and why? I know some of the izakaya spots have floor seating. She is definately not going to be interested in sitting on the floor. Which spots have the better seating options? Thanks!

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  1. Hapa for a good balance of vibe and food. Kingyo is a very close second even if the food IMO is better executed. Hapa has raised benches and regular tables. Kingyo has regular tables.

    If you are looking for authenticity then Guu original and Garlic would be my choices.

    6 Replies
    1. re: fmed

      Does Guu with Garlic have regular tables? Might be able to talk the wife into Guu with Garlic and Kingyo as they appear to be very close together. Thanks fmed!

      1. re: JonH

        Yes they have regular tables and they are a 5-10 min walk from each other (Hapa is in between). Have fun and report back.

        1. re: fmed

          I had a not great experience at Hapa when I was in Van- very strange space to be alone as a 44 y/o; gyoza king was a lot more comfy.

          1. re: John Manzo

            I can see how that can happen. I've always have a great time at Hapa perhaps because I'm a regular. Gyoza King is a great addition to a crawl, but I wouldn't hit it if it may be your only opportunity to dine at a izakaya. It's a fun place, for sure.

            I almost never go to just one restaurant...I usually hit 3 or more in one evening so the mood sort of just averages out.

            btw i'm also 44 and I've been alone at Hapa. I sat at the drinks bar (on the left 'loungey' side) and had a blast.

            1. re: fmed

              I was trying to mark papers if you can believe that!

              1. re: John Manzo

                I'm sure it doesn't add to the atmosphere!

    2. If you don't mind the noise and the younger crowd at Hapa that's cool but for slightly less chaos, slightly older crowd and equally good food try Shiru-Bay Chopstick Cafe in Yaletown. The food is very similar and they do take reservations.

      http://www.shiru-bay.com/

      1. In general are reservations required for Izakaya restos or can diners crawl hastle (i.e. minimal wait times) free?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Apprentice

          >> In general are reservations required for Izakaya restos or can diners crawl hastle (i.e. minimal wait times) free?

          I follow a strategy: Go on a week night (Thursday is best), Book at two places for 8 pm and 9:30 pm (eg Hapa and Kingyo then crawl before and after. It works well if there are only 2 or three of you...so you can sit at the bar instead of waiting for a table.

          1. re: fmed

            Cheers mate! I can only go on a Sunday...I hope it will still be good!

            1. re: Apprentice

              Sunday will be fine. The scene is busy Fri and Sat.