Denman / West End Eats: Good times at Kingyo Izakaya

Last night – small birthday party for my hubby and his best friend. 2 bottles of sake and a lot of food later, we rolled out of Kingyo full and happy.

An izakaya is not your standard “”Japanese Restaurant” or Sushi Bar.  Traditionally it’s where you drink and have a bunch of small plates. Many izakayas in Vancouver also do some sushi and sashimi, but it’s not required…the focus is more on cooked food. I LOVE THEM. Beer/Sake and a bunch of food at an izakaya is one of my favourite pastimes.

Now, onto the meal:

The drinks: 2 bottle of Momokawa Pearl Sake – this is unfiltered sake, so it’s very cloudy. Don’t let that deter you from trying it though – the taste is great. And remember, cold sake is good sake. Hot sake bad. Bad!

The Food:
I don’t see a current menu online anywhere, but an older one is available in pictures here. I was too busy drinking sake, so I didn’t take great notes, but here’s what I remember us eating:

– Ebi Mayo – Deep fried prawns with a mayo sauce. Crispy and light. Every izakaya has their version. Kingyo is one of my faves.
– Fresh sashimi of the day: Scallop, Ebi, Hamachi, Salmon, Tuna
Top standout of the night: Pressed mackerel sushi. Thick pieces of fresh, seared mackerel, on squares of rice with an uber yummy sauce. This was soooooo good. So good.
– Chicken Karaage with three dipping salts
– Thinly sliced beef tongue that you grill on a hot rock at your table. Tender and flavourful.
– Spiced & fried squid
– Tofu pot of crisy tofu & mushrooms
– Tako Wasabi – raw octopus marinated with pickles and wasabi rolled in nori. Yum.
Standout #2 of the night: Shrimp tempura rice balls. Fried shrimp on top of a mound of sushi rice on top of crisp and light seaweed. Everyone at the table loved this dish
– Pork rice paper roll
– Grilled black cod/sable fish
– Grilled duck breast
Standout #3 of the night: Grilled kobe beek steak. So flavourful. As my friend put it, “you can taste every cell of fat in the meat” mmmm.

There was more food, but I am getting way too hungry thinking about this.

Service was friendly and speedy. On a Tuesday night, we didn’t wait long for a table but Kingyo gets pretty busy on weekends and summer nights. They take a limited number of reservations each night so call ahead if you can.

Kingyo Izakaya
871 Denman St, Vancouver


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