Korea House established itself in 1937 as the first of its kind in Canada - before the chains and pay someone to help you cook it yourself as if you couldn't do it at home BBQ restaurants stole the spotlight. Located in Koreatown at the corner of Bloor and Manning, it continues serving quality meals to loyal customers after almost 75 years.
A humbly casual, dark wooden interior welcomes us inside as Korean dramas play on a ceiling-mounted television.
Lunch specials can be had for $6.95, and dinners are mostly under $9 ‚ranging from $7.95 to $18.95 (Kalbi Beef Dinner, served with rice and miso soup).
To accompany snacks and meal, there are Korean beers ($4.95) or rice-based wines and spirits: Soju ($15.95), Baek Sae Ju ($19.95) or Mack Gul Ri ($19.95).
In typical Korean fashion, seven fresh and tasty complimentary side dishes (Banchan) are brought to our table while awaiting our order: kimchi (chili cabbage), chili cucumber, chili radish, bean sprouts, seaweed salad, cold stewed potatoes, and marinated tofu.
The Chef and Owner greets us and makes recommendations as we were a bit indecisive from staring at the vast menu of enticing options.
Here's what we ordered:
Soon Dae Kook $8.95 - Stewed Pig Intestine, Heart, and Tongue with Vegetables. Perhaps challenging for the unadventurous or texture-sensitive patrons, the spicy, sublime flavours radiating from this Korean blood sausage stew has us going back for seconds and thirds. The sausage is homemade too.
Ye Jeon Gam Ja Tang $8.95 - Spicy Pork Bone Soup. A generous amount of pork on the bone with potatoes and greens in a soothing, aromatic and subtly spicy broth ‚ brought to our table still bubbling in a stone bowl.
Stone Bowl Bi Bim Bob ("Bap") $9.95. Rice with mixed vegetables, beef and fried egg. Served in a fiery stone bowl and sizzling on arrival, this simple, traditional Korean dish was a hit. The owner squeezed in a healthy portion of spicy bean paste and mixed the combination for us to enjoy the flavours with the rustic aroma of gently seared rice.
LA Short Ribs Dinner $14.95 Beef Ribs (top photo). Delicious in flavour but a bit tough in texture, these ribs didn't exactly melt in our mouths, but we were still be eager to finish them. Served with rice and miso soup.
Korea House is exactly what I had hoped for: polite service, great food, and a pleasant atmosphere. I recommended it not just for the food, but for the service as they put that little bit extra effort to put a smile on our faces while satisfying our cravings.