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Ka Chi Brings Korean to Kensington

Posted by Tanja / Reviewed on November 16, 2007 / review policy

Along St Andrew's St, where Chinatown meets Kensington Market, a little Korean restaurant is busy winning over regulars from both sides of the neighbourhood.

I'd just left the Moonbean cafe in Kensington with intentions of getting some dumplings in Chinatown when Ka Chi caught my eye. Texting my partner who was en route, I spell out the change of plans and head inside to get a table for two.


We start with the Potato Pancake ($5.95), which is pretty much the same as a latka or plate-sized hash-brown. Instead of straight potato though, it's mixed with a colourful blend of chopped veggies and served with a soy-based sauce. Altogether it's really fresh and fluffy for a fried pancake, though naturally a bit oily. Still, we love it and would order it again in a heartbeat.

In terms of mains, we order the Glass Noodles with Vegetables ($7.95) and the Bibimbop with Beef and Fried Egg ($8.95) - 'cause no review is complete without it.

While that was being prepared we were treated to an assortment of seven different pickled Korean specialties (pictured at the top).

The glass noodles arrive first. The portion is generous but not ridiculous and it's topped with plenty of green pepper, carrots, cabbage and sesame seeds. I thought it could have used a pinch more salt, but coming from a spicy kimchee tasting, I wouldn't trust myself to be the judge of something so delicate at that moment.

Beef Bibimbop arrives next and looks amazing. The sizzling hot stone pot goes wild as I mix some chili sauce into the massive bowl of steamed rice, veggies and thinly sliced beef. The only weak spot of this dish was that the egg yolk was nearly fully cooked while the egg white was a little too raw on top. Reverse those two and this could have been one of the best bibimbop bowls I've had.



Brandon / July 13, 2008 at 03:25 am

Good restaurant, clean elegant place, good prices, very good food and would recommend to anyone in the Downtown Core craving for super good Korean food !
david / December 22, 2008 at 11:14 am
Best kimchi soup in town! Love this place, especially on a cold winter night.
Fiona / March 14, 2009 at 04:06 pm
i won't call it 'elegant', but definitely clean. authentic Korean food but often extremely cramped. quick service. one thing i particularly enjoy is their seaweed banchan.
kingmoski replying to a comment from Fiona / July 17, 2009 at 10:28 pm
Often extremely cramped? Sounds like a very busy place. must be try this place.
Quick service? Very good.....I hate those places with lazy waiters and waitresses. This place sounds like my kinda restaurant. Definitely I'll try very soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Sarah / July 22, 2009 at 10:57 am
Best Korean food, south of Bloor Street and North York. Great side dishes, lots of good ingredients in mains. Hot Tea instead of water. Fast, good service - the servers work like dogs, but look clean-cut and smiling and courteous. Taste-wise it is very very good, although slightly oily. I'm Korean, and i'd attest this is the Real Deal.
Michael / October 13, 2009 at 02:57 am
Still my favourite Korean restaurant in Toronto, as close as it gets, and I live in Korea! My fav place to go as a student.
M&T / December 30, 2009 at 03:38 pm
I crave Ka Chi. I think I'll go there now...
Korean Master / February 23, 2010 at 07:18 pm
This place is legit, however I don't consider it the best. It's difficult to say which place is the best since some places have better pork bone, some have better glass noodles, etc. IMO, for Korean dishes, these are my favourite dishes and places to get them:

Pork Bone Soup - Hana Korea (45 Baldwin St)
Glass Noodles (Ch/J/ap Chae) - SEOUL RESTAURANT (Bloor St W, somewhere in Korean town)
Buckwheat Noodle Soup - Ka Chi
Side dishes - Nak Won, lmao this place gives you 10 different side dishes, and there food is overall really good.

Courtney / May 9, 2010 at 08:03 pm
I come here every time I crave some Tofu Stew! It's excellent and the taste is great. The food is overall really good! I've tried a lot of the items on the menu (can't be bothered with their names), but I know one dish for sure that I love eating is the Chicken.. something. Anyways, its a great place to dine at, but only at the Kensington location. I tried the Ka Chi on Bloor St. W and their service was horrible, and not to mention they gave less food and portion!
mettle / July 13, 2010 at 07:25 am
yes, ka-chi is cheap, but not nearly cheap enough to excuse the mediocre food and the atrocious service. you don't have to look hard or far to find similar food and a thousand times better service.

if you've time, check out the following comments:;topic-671243
Dchiu / September 20, 2010 at 04:18 pm
Food is good. But service at the Kensington Ka Chi! Oh My GOD! First the kitchen was slow to serve up the food. When you're used to quick service at other Asian restaurants, it was an unusually long wait, And do those waiters even have brains?! The whole night was watching the waiters put other people's orders at the wrong tables. Everything our neighbours ordered ended up a table away. Luckily we anticipated what was happening and when our neighbours got some of our dishes, we quickly intercepted and got to eat before they started digging in. Unfortunately my pork bone soup ended up on our neighbours table, and as she started eating it, she realized it wasn't exactly what she ordered. The waiter was called over and realized that it was actually my order. Instead of taking the dish back to the kitchen and making me a new one, he actually tried to put an already eaten soup on my table, not once, but twice! He simply did not understand that you cannot serve a person a dish that another person has already tasted!
Anne / August 28, 2012 at 02:06 pm
I'm not sure about the Ka Chi in Kensington, but I had a great experience at the one in Korea town. The servers were gracious and attentative. My friends and I had arrived at their restaurant with luggage cases. They offered to bring it to the back so we had more room for our feet at the table. The food arrived quickly, and they were very polite and nice. I would definitely go back. :D
Rox / January 31, 2013 at 10:39 pm
Me and my bf stumbled upon this place while walking towards chinatown as it is in my hood and we have fallen in love with the place. They serve you very generous portions and the food is yummy esp. the chicken stew which we have had numerous times. They give you side dishes with the mains which is great. The service is very good and they are courteous and attentive. It's definitely one of our favorite places to eat now and esp. in cold winter days. I'm so glad to see it on this list as it definitely deserves its spot. Give this place a shot and you won't be disappointed. I think we'll be back again this weekend.
Anna / May 25, 2013 at 03:16 pm
Hi everyone,

I know this may sound shocking, but this happened to me and another mom. I feel the need to share this information with you and see if you've had a similar incident and what you did or would do in this situation.

We were having lunch at Ka Chi Korean Restaurant by Bloor and Palmerston in Toronto. We were with our toddlers. So at first when we arrived, we were told to sit at a certain table, but then we situated ourselves at a table we sat at before. Then someone approached us and told us we couldn't sit at that table because it's reserved for 8 people. That's understandable, but the restaurant wasn't even full.

We moved to a smaller table. It took them a while to give us high chairs, so we asked for them. I tried putting my toddler in the high chair they gave us, but the belt was broken. She kept standing up on her chair and I told her to stop, but she's a toddler, so she kept doing it. I had to ask for another high chair.

After we settled in, we ordered our food and chit chatted while our babies were eating. 30 minutes or so later, our babies were communicating with each other and had a little scream here and there. It only lasted for 2 seconds - not even. Then a gentleman approached us abruptly and interrupted our meal. He told us to leave and to never come back again. We asked him why? He said just take your stuff and leave - don't ever come back again, I'm the owner! So, he grabs the bill from my baby girl's hand and confronts the other mom, almost hitting her. I was so shocked and horrified at this person's behaviour. I felt discriminated and mistreated. I asked him again why we're being kicked out. He said, "Because you didn't do anything. Your kids are screaming and you didn't do anything!" That's because we weren't given a chance to tell our toddlers to tone it down. We were interrupted and told to leave right away and never come back with no apparent reason until I asked him for a reason. I was shaking at that moment and I'm shaking right now as I type this. So we left and of course, we'll never go back there again!
Alex / June 6, 2013 at 11:01 pm
i have a hard time believing this entirely - I have a feeling you are down playing your involvment in this situation. First off, i am surrounded daily by children who are unapprehended by their thoughtless, self indulged parents who neglect to administer proper discipline, thus allowing their demons to romp around as if they are the only ones in the world. Secondly, your flippant description of the so called appalling incident is difficult to believe. you were 'chit-chatting' and "our toddlers were trying to communicate" Really? Please, anyone who has been around a toddler would know that they only have two volumes: quiet and loud! unless your toddlers were trying to develop their skills of telepathy, i doubt they were "communicating" at a volume any less than a scream. Furthermore, as for the high-chair service you feel you were kept waiting for, you have to understand in asia, they dont have such things in their restaurants! I lived there for almost three years teaching and their culture does not afford such luxuries in their restaurants - toddlers (if thats the real age of ur child) sit with their parents on the FLOOR or the small stools provided at restaurants. So maybe you should take your ignorant ass out of your own head and read a book or two.

I think your review is just a self-loathing reflection on your own misguided parenting.
mo / June 7, 2013 at 10:59 am
Alex, that was incredibly rude and laden with assumptions. It sounds like you hate kids and hate life in general. Find a better way to spend your time than being rude to mothers.
city / July 1, 2013 at 08:04 pm
In defense of Alex, I have to say that Anna sounds like a person with an entitlement attitude and no sense of grace. I've seen her rant on multiple sites, which suggests she's an intolerant person focused on a campaign of vendetta, rather than one willing to take a look at what part she and her friend may have had in the incident. Give the restaurant owner a break! It's a hard business and it looks like he's got some things to learn. Alex is right in pointing out that in most places in the East, people don't use high chairs - they actually teach their kids to behave and sit in their laps or on a separate regular chair. We've been to Ka Chi 3 times, once at the old location and twice at the new one ( all on Bloor), and there's definitely been an improvement in service. The attendants now speak / understand English, and are unobtrusively attentive. Anna may want to write an update with some constructive criticism, meant to educate the owner on proper handling of challenging situations, so that both the customer and the restaurant benefit in the long run with the ongoing availability of great international cuisine in Toronto.
JCee / July 29, 2013 at 04:55 pm
Ever since they moved to the new location, Ka Chi is no longer the mom and pop style Korean restaurant that once made it so attractive. It is a much bigger bar/restaurant establishment and both the food and service were abysmal.
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