Restaurant Wars: Guu vs. DonDon Izakaya

image from guu-izakaya.com/toronto/

When Guu opened it’s first Toronto location in December 2009, people (many of whom were familiar with the original Vancouver chain) went crazy for it’s Japanese sharing plates, communal tables and exuberant service. The first time I went, I spent an hour and a half waiting outside in the snow for a table, freezing my toes off. I was an unpaid intern at the time so I had no money for dinners out, but I was lured by the incessant buzz. It didn’t disappoint. The food was salty, rich and satisfying (a perfect fit for a pint of Sapporo), and the room felt raucous and fun (especially for a city as reserved as Toronto). The second time I went, I liked it just the same (even though the wait was still close to an hour).

Now, seemingly cashing in on the Japanese pub craze that Guu started, a new izakaya has opened: DonDon. I went to check it out the past weekend. Here’s my point-by-point comparison.

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