Small plate dining is big across the city, but nowhere does it work as perfectly as in the multitiude of Izakaya-style Japanese restaurants. You'll find a concentration on west Robson and others spread out in the rest of the city.
But for my money if you only do one, Guu with Garlic is the one to try. Expect a 30 - 60 minute wait or more, a loud room with random shouting, and unfamiliar menu items (with English descriptions). Go with a few people, split around 2 or 3 plates per person, and try as much as you can. You'll be surprised at how cheap your bill is.
1698 Robson St.