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Apr 11, 2013 04:21 PM

Guu, Hapa or Kingyo

Have never been to any of these isakaya places. We like Japanese food and have done a fair share of sushi places and teppanyaki dinners over the years. Which of these places would you suggest with a couple of older kids in tow?

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  1. i haven't been to hapa before but i'd totally suggest either guu or kingyo. they're both excellent food wise. space wise, kingyo is a lot more spacious.

    these places are nothing like your traditional sushi/teppanyaki places so you're in for a real treat.

    how old are your kids? if they're picky they might not like any of these izakayas. if it's their first time at an izakaya all the food is gonna look strange and different.

    1. Food at Kingyo and Guu, both are very good and very authentic, although Kingyo is a bit more like a restaurant with some dishes that could be "mains" while Guu is a purer izakaya bar/drinks/tapas-style play.

      Kingyo's seating is MUCH more comfortable and the room is a bit quieter.. But Guu seems cheaper. Are your kids energetic and noisy? They will fit right in at Guu

      Overall, I'd suggest Kingyo rather than Guu, because unlike GUU, you can BOOK a table there, which is importnat with hungry, impatient kids.

      Also, unlike GUu, they don't tell you to move along at the 2 hour mark, although you are unlikely to exceed that with kids at night. I used to LOVE Guu when it was the only game in town, and stood in line many nights. The worst was the night our crew ordered OODLES of dishes but the kitchen was in the weeds or the server messed up the order, and we hit the 2-hour mark before the last items were served. And the hostess actually told us to eat them quickly because we had overstayed our two hours. WTF? However, I have been back since, and still enjoy it, especially now that there are shorter lines.
      I have not been to Hapa.

      1. For me, kingyo>guu>>>>>>>>>>>hapa

        1. kingyo's portion sizes are bigger compared to guu, so costs evens out at the end of the day.

          kingyo is in a league of its own imo.

          guu is still a decent second choice.

          hapa is not worth wasting time on at all.

          1. Hapa isn't interesting or above average in any way.

            Kingyo just changed their menu - seems a bit shorter. Anyone been since the menu change? A lot less izakaya type foods, at first glance.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Food Tourist

              I wish I'd studied the old menu! Is there something particular you are missing from the old menu? I had a vague impression that some of the cheaper items were gone, but I didn't miss them. The demographics for Kingyo (unlike Guu, it's not Ryerson/UofT students, it takes reservations, has comfortable seating) may skew to higher quality, larger portions, higher prices than true izakaya. I will watch in the future and report back.

              I was there last night, and we ate exclusively from the extensive specials list, which changes every two weeks. Enjoyed sublime garfish/needlefish/sayori and REAL bream/Tai sashimi, light and luscious chawanmushi (last offering this year in the hope that spring will eventually arrive!), matcha creme brûlée and others. It does seem they'e shortened the sushi offerings, but sushi is widely available in Toronto and many of their dishes are ONLY available there. I hadn't had castera (cake)since my last visit to Nagasaki and was delighted to find it at Kingyo.

              1. re: KAYLO

                We were at Kingyo this evening and were not shown or offered any daily specials. Food was very good, though not as excellent as first visit. The restaurant never filled up completely which we found odd for a Friday night.

                1. re: Food Tourist

                  May be comparing with others, their prices are a bit too expensive?! So, price conscious patrons prefer elsewhere?

                  1. re: Food Tourist

                    The specials are not daily, but every two weeks, and are on a two-sided single sheet printed menu in a cover that in typeface, color, and texture perfectly matches the booklet-format permanent one, and both are placed on the table without fanfare at one time. Please, if you DON'T get one, ask for it. The choices tend to be more seasonal, and perhaps prepared with a bit more attention rather than the sturdy rote selections which produce very good, (but rarely GREAT) , food when the place is hopping. Interesting review in the Globe today, lauding the best dishes and decrying the inconsistency and the sometimes-unforgiveable misses. Reviewer gave it a harsh 1.5 stars, but the description of his experiences justified his conclusion. As Food TOurist said, it can be great, but not always.

                    I wonder why?