Lim Ga Ne Restaurant – Bloor ★★★

Price: $10+

Surprised at this restaurant’s apparent anonymity as its located near Owl of Minerva and right across the famed Buk Chang Dong Soon Tofu restaurant. I had to suggest this restaurant to Urbanspoon, so for further reviews try Yelp or Google reviews. If you have trouble finding it, the outside exterior has orange signage and the interior is simply decorated with wooden furnishings. It’s a bit plain but typical of a cheap Asian restaurant, where food and affordability is the emphasis not decor.

I have been on a Korean food binge lately and came across Lim Ga Ne while in the area. Decided to come with my family because my mom wanted to try a variety of Korean dishes (she likes to cook). The first dish we received was a complimentary pancake appetizer, a nice yummy touch I appreciated. Then we had the bibimbap I usually love to order, which I sadly did not love at this restaurant. Felt it was a bit bland and missing a certain “jena se quai” – Korean style. Our third dish was hot noodles, also fine but nothing I would usually order as I typically eat that at home.

It was during this food fest that the bowls of rice my mom ordered arrived, we were given black rice aka purple/jasmine rice. For those of you who haven’t tried it, it is like sticky rice and has lots of nutrients. Black rice is something new to me as well but I would recommend trying it. 🙂

Finally we reach my last dish, the samgapsal! For about $35, you can get this combo with a complimentary stew. I chose kimchi stew because I love kimchi and thought it might taste good. I was wrong, so wrong. I would not recommend this when ordering, it tasted like kimchi and water… JUST THAT. However, the samgapsal was really good! The meat’s tender and soft, definitely filling for two or three people. Wrap up the meat with lettuce and kimchi, dip in sauce provided and let the foodie-liciousness of it take over! 😀

Service was good, my table was taking a long time to order but our server was nice enough not to show her impatience. Especially since it got noticeably busier later on.

Overall, I would definitely visit again if just for the samgapsal and rice dishes. I do suggest making reservations if you plan on dining in the evening though, I think it gets busier then.

Dress code: Casual, nice for friends and family. You will particularly enjoy it if you are familiar with the Korean language and pop culture. They only play Korean shows on their Television. No subs!! Haha.

Website: N/A
Location: 692 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON M6G 2T9
Telephone: (416) 535-0345
Hours: N/A

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Lim Ga Ne Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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GUU SakaBar ★★★★1/2

Price: Over $20, $6-8 per dish

Similar to GUU Izakaya review, GUU SakaBar has a more limited menu but basically is the same. They have Tatami mats, which is something different so I would visit just to see what its like.

I introduced a friend to this restaurant and now she’s a fellow GUU fan! Definitely foodie goodness! I suggest trying the GUU cocktail drinks such as Cherry Blossom (very sweet) and possibly Three Samurai (I see a lot of people having that recently).

Website: http://www.guu-izakaya.com/
Menu: http://www.guu-izakaya.com/sakabar/menu/
Location: 559 Bloor Street W, Toronto, ON, M5S 1Y6
Phone: (647) 343-1101
Hours:
Monday to Thursday: 5pm – 11:30pm
Friday to Saturday:  5pm – 12:30am
Sunday:  5pm – 11:30pm

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GUU Izakaya Toronto ★★★★★

Price: Over $20, $6-8 per dish

GUU = DELICIOUSNESS!! They are so popular that there is a slang for when you want to eat there. GUU-ING! As in “lets go GUU-ing!” Haha. Now, you either hate or love eating here. The reason being: its always packed, they don’t take reservations, line-ups are akin to clubs, its always loud and dish portions are small compared to what you are use to in North America.

To navigate your way through this and get the best “GUU-ing” experience possible..here are a few tips I would suggest following:

1) Keep your group small, the less people you have the easier it will be to seat you.
2) Go when they open, its easier to get in. Otherwise, you could be stuck waiting 20 mins+ for a table.
3) Order in one go. If possible, check the menu before going and know what you want. Its always packed so food takes a while to get to you. Keep in mind there is a 2 hour max seating time.

It’s really easy to rack up a bill but I suggest trying their Takoyaki – deep fried octopus balls ($5.00), Enoki Hotate Bacon – enoki mushrooms and scallop wrapped in bacon ($6.00), Yakiudon Noodles – pan fried udon noodles w/ beef and veggies ($7.80), Buta Kimchi Bibimbap – rice, spicy ground pork, kimchi, egg in a hot stone pot ($8.80) and for dessert Banana Tempura – fried banana w/ coconut ice cream ($6.00).

Great for casual dinner with friends and family, possibly dates if you don’t mind the noise. Note: If it is your first time, dont worry if you hear all the staff yelling when you come in or leave..they are just greeting and saying goodbye in Japanese. I previously visited with a friend once and she was startled by this.

Note: There is a new GUU location in Toronto, called GUU SakaBar. Their menu is a little bit more limited but still worth a visit because they have tatami mats.

Website: http://www.guu-izakaya.com/
Menu: http://www.guu-izakaya.com/under/menu/TorontoFoodMenu.pdf
Location: 398 Church Street, Toronto, ON, M5B 2A2
Phone: (416) 977-0999
Hours:
Monday to Friday: 5pm – 11:30pm
Saturday & Sunday:  4pm – 11:30pm

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Owl of Minerva ★★★

Price: Under $15

This is a Korean restaurant chain famous for their pork bone soup. I have yet to try it but I will on my next visit. I always order my favourite dish – bibimbap and get free side dishes like kimchi and pickles. If you are not familiar with bibimbap, it is a signature Korean dish. The word literally means “mixed meal” and is served in a bowl of white rice with a fried egg, vegetables, sliced meat and gochujang (chili pepper paste). You need to stir these together thoroughly just before eating. Don’t worry about overusing the pepper paste, it usually isn’t that spicy here.

The place is kind of small but its clean. Washrooms are on the second floor and are really drafty. To keep customers entertained, they also provide two TV’s playing Korean shows and popular kpop music too.

For casual lunches and dinner with friends and family.

Website: Not Available
Location: Various locations. Review for 5324 Yonge St., North York, M2N 5P9
Telephone: (416) 221-7275

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