What’s on the menu at Guu, a new izakaya (from the original Guu chefs)

What’s on the menu at Guu, a new izakaya (from the original Guu chefs)

Name: Guu Izakaya
Neighbourhood: Parkdale
Contact: 1314 Queen St. W., 647-351-1314, guu-izakaya.com/toronto, @GuuIzakayaTO
Previously: Porzia
Owners and chefs: Masaru Ogasawara and Natsuhiko Sugimoto (Guu Vancouver)

The food

Last fall, after a conscious uncoupling between parent organizations, the city’s Guu restaurants were rebranded as Kinka Izakaya and Kinka Sakabar—but the O.G. izakaya is back. Fans will recognize many of the sharing plates, like the restaurant’s signature kakimayo (baked oyster with mayonnaise and cheese) and karaage (fried chicken). Lesser-known dishes include nankotsu (deep fried chicken cartilage) and uma (horse carpaccio with yuzu pepper). The chef-owners have also created new menu items specifically for their Toronto audience—beef taco spring roll, anyone?

Gyu tongue: beef tongue served with garlic soy butter. $9.

Harumaki: beef taco spring rolls, served with salsa and sour cream. $6.

Sashimori: the selection of sashimi rotates, but can include hamachi, octopus, scallops, salmon and prawn. $15.

Shoyu ramen: Tokyo soy ramen with grilled pork jowl, fish cakes, bamboo and seaweed. $9.50.

Ogasawara (left) and Sugimoto have been with Guu (collectively) for almost 25 years, and were part of the opening staff for the original Guu Toronto.

The drinks

Sapporo and Asahi on tap, bottled and draught sake, plum wine and playful “Guuu’d” cocktails, like the Okinawa Iced Tea made with sake, tequila, peach liqueur, yuzu lemonade and Coke.

Zakuro-Su Sunrise: tequila, orange juice and pomegranate vinegar. $8.

Kyuri Basil Smash: gin, cucumber, basil, lime and simple syrup. $9.

Okinawa Iced Tea: sake, tequila, peach liqueur, yuzu lemonade and Coke. $9.

Some of the sake available by the glass, tokkuri (300mL) or bottle.

The space

Tapping into its izakaya roots, the new 60-seat location is set up more like a pub than a restaurant, with a long bar, and high top and communal tables. Fun fact: guests will find complimentary mouthwash in each of the washrooms.