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Restaurants

The Owl of Minerva (Koreatown)

Posted by Staff / Reviewed on November 1, 2011 / review policy

Owl of MinervaThe Owl of Minerva is the perfect place to go for those who seek cheap and delicious Korean comfort food. Rated by this site as one of the best 24 hour restaurants in Toronto, The Owl of Minerva also has a reputation for some of the best pork bone soup in the city. And luck for us it has multiple locations throughout the city, including this one in the heart of Koreatown.

Owl of MinervaThe atmosphere here is very casual and comfortable, and the service is quick and friendly. My friends and I decide to order a bowl of their famous pork bone soup also known as gamjatan ($6.20) along with a plate of spicy rice cakes, known as ddeokbokki ($7) to share.

The pork bone soup consists of large pieces of pork so soft and tender that the meat is literally falling off the bone while being submerged in a piping hot, savoury and spicy pork bone broth infused with garlic and chilli. This soup is garnished with thinly sliced green onions, white peppercorns and toasted sesame seeds.

Owl of MinervaEach bowl of soup is accompanied with a bowl of white rice and multiple small side dishes for the table to share known as banchan. Served room temperature, these side dishes perfectly complement the spiciness of the pork bone broth.

Today the banchan consists of traditional kimchi (fermented cabbage with a spicy sour kick), Korean potato salad (small chunks of potato, apple and carrots tossed in a kiepie mayo - a type of mayo that is sweeter and less vinegary than the North American version), Kongnamul (cold boiled bean sprouts sprinkled with sesame oil) and my favourite side dish of the night, Gamja jormin (diced potatoes that have been stir-fried in corn syrup, sugar and soya sauce).

Owl of MinervaThe plate of rice cakes consists of small roles of soft and chewy glutinous rice logs stir-fried with slices of cabbage and drenched in a thick, tangy spicy sauce. The rice cakes have the perfect chewy yet soft consistency one expects from rice cakes with a spiciness that complements the side dishes.

Owl of MinervaThe only complaint I have about the Owl is the cold draft from the front door which closes each time someone enters. Those of us seated closest to the entrance had to wear earing our winter jackets for the majority of the meal.

Owl of MinervaWriting by Tania Grafstein-Ho. Photos by Alan Wu.

Discussion

10 Comments

M.H. / October 14, 2009 at 09:50 am
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I visited this restaurant on October 13/09 at about 8:00pm and while eating saw mice running around on the floor. The owner was sitting right there in one of the booths and never moved or stuck his head out to say a thing. The girls there were just so apologetic but they couldn't say more. Its so funny because I was there the Friday before and found hair in my food, spoke to one of the girls and she asked me "IF" I would like to have it changed. Imagine That !!!
Mike / September 10, 2010 at 10:08 am
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This restaurant provides delicious, cheap food 24 hours a day, but it's not for the faint of heart. Don't count on the staff speaking english, or anything being clean, but count on it being the best meal you ever had for $7 at 3am
w. / November 8, 2010 at 10:09 pm
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FYI, this Owl of Minerva location on Bloor is NOT associated with the Owl of Minerva located in North York on 5324 Yonge, nor the one in Dragon City Mall at Dundas and Spadina. Completely different owner, has totally gone downhill since the restaurant has changed hands. If you want delicious Gam Ja Tang (Pork Bone Soup) I'd visit the North York location-- servers hardly speak English but the price is worth the fall-off-the-bone pork and delicious soup :)
pam / November 2, 2011 at 03:36 am
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W. is right. I spoke with the guy who actually started and owns the rights to the dragon city and north york locations. apparently someone who used to work for him tried to branch off by opening his own owl on bloor. the bloor location is using the the business name without any authorization or legal right. the actual owner is just too nice to go after the bloor st location and sue them. i was trying to convince him because i think people need to be aware that the quality or lack thereof of the food at the bloor st is at best mediocre when compared to the other 2 locations. the bloor st owl is tarnishing the business for sure.
handfed / November 2, 2011 at 02:55 pm
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Please, take a trip to your local hog farm, and then write about bone soup with tender meat that falls of the bone. *VOMIT*
handfed fail replying to a comment from handfed / November 3, 2011 at 09:24 am
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mmmmm i'm gonna eat extra just for you. if you dont like reviews of places that serve meat, don't read them, some of us enjoy eating pork and every other yummy animal. vegitarian food looks at tastes like as you say *VOMIT*
itchyone / November 16, 2011 at 04:04 pm
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still one of the best pork bone soups in the city. Can't say I've ever been there before 1am or sober ....... so its been damn good every time. If you're looking for pork bone soup, in a fancier environment, that tastes just as good .. and in koreatown ..... there isn't any. Better head up to Yonge and Finch area for that.
Sarah / April 30, 2012 at 06:18 pm
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Servers were racist and made comments about me in Korea thinking I wouldn't understand since I'm not Asian. When I confronted them (in Korean), they were horrible embarrassed. Food might be alright (though it wasn't the day I went), but the fact that they would say racist comments was what did it for me.
Apps / March 11, 2013 at 07:44 pm
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What they said wasn't racist. They said you're ugly.
Leaping_Beaver / May 9, 2014 at 05:28 am
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It's 5:22am and I'm starving so I'm off to fake OoM right now. It's a lil bit funky but I like the food. I'll say annyeong to them for you, Sarah.

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