Kingyo Izakaya on Denman – Hitsumabushi (Unagi)

Kingyo Green Salad

It was one of those rare self-extended long weekends; after a rather busy errands-filled Monday morning, we found ourselves craving for Japanese food and headed to Kingyo on Denman, a popular local Japanese izakaya which has been reviewed (and raved about) many times,on many food blogs, Urbanspoon and Tripadvisor.

I admit I actually frequent its sister restaurant Suika for evening gatherings more often; Though I’m already very familiar with Kingyo’s menu and flavors (or perhaps because of it), it somehow remains my go-to Japanese restaurant for weekend lunches in downtown Vancouver.

Their Hitsumabushi is the reason why I’m writing this review, as I do not recall having seen reviews on this particular dish often. The soy-sauce cooked eel was served in a sizzling stone bowl of rice with green onions, seaweed and special house broth.  This is Kingyo’s version of a famous Nagoya-area local dish.  Our waitress took her time to explain how I should enjoy it and I really appreciate her efforts: This is one of the aspects which I love about food, or rather the sharing of the “joy of food” with those who have a real passion for it. It is such a great common topic which breaks down all barriers and sometimes lead to the most interesting conversations; there is always something new to learn every day…

My second helping with condiments

Eating this dish is particularly interesting because its like a “four act” play or a symphony with “four movements”…each act uses the variations of the same basic ingredients to offer a slightly different kind of eating experience.  I might have missed if I had not asked our server about “recommendations” on how best to eat it!  I think it reflects the finest of dining traditions..the chef imagines the experiences and creates the opportunity with the ingredients and serving vessels presented in a certain way, the server helps to convey the opportunities, providing their recommendations if asked, and the diner, if they have the will and openness of heart, chooses to participate.  I am sure for this particular dish, this has been done perhaps thousands of times, each participant trying to “make it better’ as an experience for the diner.  I suppose, like most things great and lasting, it is done with full heart and a loving, sharing spirit..

To enjoy: 1st helping – scoop some unagi and rice into bowl and eat as is; 2nd helping – enjoy with added condiments to your taste (green onion, seaweed and wasabi) ; 3rd helping – this time poured the special broth over, it’s similar to having ochazuke; last helping – the bonus with Kingyo’s serving style and definitely the best for last..scraping the “burnt crispy rice” bottom and mixed with the broth…The flavour changes throughout as you add on each component, it was a thoroughly delicious and enjoyable experience. Some may beg to differ and say it’s different from Nagoya’s original, for now, this will do…

Kanazawa Katsu (deep fried pork cutlet) Curry with cabbage, onion pickles and rice..Oishii kata..

Of course there is still an old favourite, Kanazawa Katsu (Deep fried pork cutlet) Curry, a scrumptious rich-flavored curry dish (served with rice, cut cabbage and onion pickles) which Andy ordered as his main and quickly devoured…

For starters, we shared a Kingyo green salad, a simple and fresh blend of organic greens with avocado, tomato and veggie chips with a mixed vegetable dressing.

The standards and levels of consistency are definitely maintained at Kingyo; while I do yearn for new and exciting flavors at this old-time favourite; I realize through today’s experience: rather than always expecting the restaurants to change as quickly as fickle diners’ tastes; it’s good to seek ‘”new” favourites or new ways to experience old favourites.

Now I’ve found a new favourite at one of my “old” favourites , so what’s yours?



Kingyo – 871 Denman Street, Vancouver, BC


Authentic Japanese taste, eclectic shared plates and interesting drink menu; fair-sized portion and moderate-high pricing. Reservations highly recommended.  Friendly service and great ambience, lunch is a better time to avoid long line ups and try their specialties (must try Special bento box). Parking could be troublesome, mostly metered (free parking available on side streets).  

Kingyo Izakaya 金魚居酒屋 on Urbanspoon

Kingyo Izakaya 金魚居酒屋 on Urbanspoon

Sunday Lunch at Burgoo on West 4th Avenue (Kitslano)

Soup of the day: Roasted Cauliflower with garlic, apple, parsley and white cheddar It was delicious!

A brisk autumn day calls for comfort food; I was famished after my first volunteer stint at this past Sunday’s Farmers Market in Kits! After being surrounded by earthy vegetables and wholesome baked goods for close to 3 hours, I craved for something hearty…and Andy suggested we try Burgoo on West 4th Avenue (between Vine and Yew Street). This was our first visit at this location; the vibe is completely different from the Mount Pleasant (3096 Main Street @ East 14th Avenue), there were quite a few groups of finely dressed gal pals (in twos or fours, younger hipper versions of “ladies who lunch” ) having Sunday brunch and perhaps some shopping at the trendy boutiques (Gravity Pope, JNBY) in the area afterwards.

Although it was well after 1:30pm, the restaurant was packed and there were a few diners waiting ahead of us. We were greeted by a friendly hostess who promptly took our name/mobile number and advised us the wait would be approximately 20 minutes. Fortunately the restaurant is located in a great neighbourhood filled with interesting shops; so “the wait” was easy, we were contacted and seated within the stated time.

Brunch was available (Saturday and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm) but we decided to go with the regular menu, consists of Starters, Soups/Sandwiches/Salads, Bistro Classics and Seasonal Menu: Andy had the Bistro side salad (picture not shown) and the Kentucky Burgoo – a meaty (lamb, beef and smoked ham) stew with lima beans, corn, molasses, tomato and okra. According to him (he didn’t let me try so it must have been very good…), it was packed with flavour and a nice balance of savoury and sweet; he was “soaking” up the sauce with the French baguette which our server smartly suggested earlier as add-on to compliment our dishes.


I started with a cup of Roasted Cauliflower with garlic, apple, parsley and white cheddar (soup of the day; picture shown in header): It was a truly harmonious blend of all the fall flavours, the taste was “spot on”! It was perfect for a cold day; I am now inspired to recreate this soup at home.

My main was the Ratatouille Provencale, a medley of oven roasted vegetables in savoury tomato and garlic, baked with parsley, breadcrumbs and Chevre (goat cheese), finished with extra virgin olive oil: Tender vegetables with crispy baked bread crumbs and the garlic taste was bold! As a personal preference, a little less Chevre and garlic (both were a bit overpowering) would have been perfect. The serving was very generous and I had leftovers for dinner the next day.


Our waitress (I forgot her name!!) was very attentive and knowledgeable, from the prompt water refills to menu descriptions, she made us feel very welcome and well looked after.

Next time if you crave a homey bite but not up for cooking at home, it’s worthwhile to pay a visit.


Burgoo – various locations (

Burgoo on Urbanspoon

Check their website for standard menus, pricing and reservations policy. Cosy atmosphere, friendly service and good selection of “comfy” foods from around the world. Moderate pricing (reasonable and comparable to other casual dining bistros) with generous portions. Long line ups.
Parking at West 4th Avenue location: metered; interesting neighbourhood with unique food shops and boutiques.

Burgoo on Urbanspoon

Roman pizzas anyone? Lunch @ Trilussa on Main

The Vancouver – smoked salmon and organic salad

Riley Park – LIttle Mountain, particularly along Main Street, between East 16th to 33rd Avenue, is one of my favourite neighbourhoods in Vancouver; I swear I must have walked by Trilussa Pizza and Pane ( times. For reasons unbeknownst to me, I always assumed it was only a coffee house!  It was not until recently when my “twin” brought me to this wonderful unassuming little #pizza and #pane eatery, I realized how much I’ve missed since the summer of 2011! Pardon my ignorance, I recently looked it up on #Urbanspoon and realize they have a 97% approval rating from the community and received rave reviews from many fellow food bloggers.

The three of us ordered three different types of specialty pizzas (other than classics like Margherita) which they sell by the slice (squares or rectangles, in various sizes) or as a whole: the Vancouver (Smoked salmon, organic salad), Caprese (tomato/bocconcini/organic salad) >and the Attillo (mushrooms and mozzarella, picture not shown), served on a wooden paddle. They keep things authentic and simple: thin and crispy crust, fresh produce, nice cheeses, cured meats and olive oil. In every bite you can taste the flavours, every ingredient shines through.

Caprese – Tomato, organic salad and bocconcini (small mozzarella cheese)

Besides pizzas, they also offer panini, soups, and of course, coffee.  It is a fairly small place with not much seating, however the three times I’ve been there since late summer, somehow we always managed to find seating on a Saturday afternoon. Staff are very friendly; I can tell they are highly supported by their neighbourhood!  Everyone seems to know them very well, while dropping by for a bite, they also stop by to chit chat.

Little Mountain is a wonderful community filled with many hidden gems; whether you are an out of town visitor or a local, it is definitely worth your while to pay a visit.


#Trilussa (4363 Main Street, Vancouver, BC (Between East 27th and East 28th Avenue)

Trilussa Pizza & Pane on Urbanspoon

Fresh pizzas made with freshest ingredients, friendly service, reasonable prices and moderate portion sizes. Seating is limited. Menu and pricing available on-line (

Street parking is available (mostly metered, if you live in the neighbourhood, walking is the best way to get there)

Trilussa Pizza & Pane on Urbanspoon