Hello everyone! One of my favourite restaurants in the Annex is Kinka Izakaya (formerly known as Guu.) I was scared when I first saw an article pop up on my news feed about Guu being no more, however was relieved when I found out that it was just the name that was being affected. This was confirmed when I went for dinner recently and everything is as delicious as it usually is. Kinka is a Japanese pub-style restaurant featuring many different Japanese snack favourites and fusion dishes.The interior is still the same with 2 dining areas – the bar/regular side with wooden tables and chairs and the tatami-style section where you sit on the floor. The only major decorative difference is the old Guu kanji-doodle mural above the bar is gone.
We were seated on the tatami side!I went with my friend Laura as our Christmas celebration and ordered some of our old faves while trying some new dishes. The karaage (fried chicken) is still the best I’ve ever had and if I recall correctly is now a bigger portion. In previous years, you’d only get 5 pieces whereas now you get 7. To balance out the fried chicken we also ordered the delicious seaweed and tofu salad which features several different types of seaweed and the most delicious vinaigrette. I wish I could make salads at home taste this good!
This is the Kinoko Bibimbap. The first time I ordered it, I was a little apprehensive since it contains cheese, mushrooms, and seaweed in a Korean style stonebowl. Turns out this odd combination works incredibly well and this hearty rice dish is SO comforting. Spicy Negitoro (top left) is one of my favourite dishes at Kinka. Chopped spicy tuna with nori on the side for wrapping – you really can’t go wrong. We also enjoyed Ingen, which is the tempura green beans with matcha salt, and the braised pork belly (can’t remember the name of the dish) but it was tender and the soft boiled egg mixed beautifully to maintain the richness of the pork belly and sauce. We used to get the Kakuni Pie (braised pork belly wrapped in pastry) however it is sadly no longer available in that form. Sidenote: also very sad that Nanohana (sauteed rapini) is no longer on the menu. Overall, Kinka still maintains the high quality dining experience with perfectly executed izakaya food and an extremely energetic atmosphere (they still yell greetings and goodbyes when you arrive and leave.)
Kinka Izakaya (Annex) is located at 559 Bloor St. West. There are also locations on Church and in North York (and apparently also in Montreal!) You can find them online at http://www.kinkaizakaya.com and follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
Have you been to Kinka before? What are your favourite dishes? Any other izakayas in Toronto you recommend? Let me know! Thanks so much for stopping by!