Guu with Garlic

Top choice japanese in Downtown & West End

One of Vancouver's best izakayas (Japanese pubs), this welcoming, wood-lined joint is a cultural immersion. Hotpots and noodle bowls are available but it's best to experiment with some Japanese bar tapas, including black cod with miso mayo, deep-fried egg and pumpkin balls or finger-lickin' tori-karaage fried chicken. Garlic is liberally used in most dishes. It's best to arrive before opening time for a seat.

Drinks-wise, go for the house-brewed Guuu'd Ale: a sparkling and surprisingly good pale ale made by a local craft brewer. Finish the night with a shot of shochu, a traditional distilled spirit, and you'll be looking for the nearest karaoke bar as soon as you hit the street.