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Restaurants

Sunrise House

Posted by Devon Scoble / Reviewed on November 15, 2009 / review policy

sunrise house torontoSunrise House is a newly opened bun-shik, or "minute restaurant" in Koreatown. And a $60 parking ticket is a painful thing, so when my sweetheart got one last week, I decided to treat him to some spice-therapy - dinner at Sunrise.

Fresh from the injustice of his ticket, my darling was awash with negative feelings, declaring "I just want to eat something crappy and not good for me!" Although I can't say our meal was crappy, it definitely satisfied his desire for unhealthy treats (ramen noodles, anyone?) And since it was Korean food, it contained enough gochujang to pepper his sadness with enhanced happy endorphins, ensuring that the glum bum who entered the restaurant exited a happy guy.

An authentic replica of the quick-cooking, no fuss home-food restaurants that keep Korea thriving, Sunrise House presents a classic menu of spicy soups, noodles, dumplings, fried rice dishes, pancakes and meats. Bonus: all prices include tax.

We spearheaded our ingestion-therapy by ordering three of our favourite Korean dishes: Kimchi and Seafood Pancakes, Kimchi Stew with Tuna and Ra Bokki (rice cakes and ramen noodles in red pepper sauce). Soon after, our server appeared with a tray full of banchan, or side dishes. "If you need more," she pertly declared, "call me". With these words the frowning corners of my lover's lips haltingly quivered upwards.

These six little side dishes were a feast in themselves and my hungry man and I tucked in with relish. Crispy bean sprouts, and two types of kimchi were tasty, but my favourites were soft, brothy potatoes in a salty chicken base and sweet-soy seasoned seaweed.

Barely had we started our appetizers when our brisk server returned with the mains, a bubbling pot of kimchi stew, our crispy pancake and the saucy noodles. Koreans aren't kidding around when they call these places minute-restaurants.

sunrise house torontoWe started with the pancake. It was golden-crusted and chock full of sea creatures - cuttlefish, octopus and soft mussels. Similarly, the kimchi stew was bursting with tuna, a rare treat in Toronto. Since canned tuna is relatively new to Korean cuisine, and since most Korean restaurants were founded by Koreans who have been in Toronto awhile, kimchi stew in this city usually features the traditional pork. I developed a taste for the modern tuna version during a 3-year sojourn in Seoul, and always feel grateful to the few Toronto places that serve it. A steaming mix of spicy stew, salty tuna and soft tofu, Sunrise House's version is just how I like it.

sunrise house toronto Our last dish, Dok Bokki was all pepper-pasted ramen and rice noodles. The noodles were perfectly springy, complimenting generous slabs of soft fish cake. The only thing missing were pieces of hard-boiled egg. Still, this dish more than the others achieved the real purpose: burning away my lover's sad thoughts and replacing them with a belly full of delicious, spicy treats. At $19 plus tip, the dinner had erased, at least temporarily, my sweetheart's worry about his ticket, and proved that smiles always come cheaper than frowns.

sunrise house toronto

Discussion

22 Comments

Christopher / November 16, 2009 at 01:59 pm
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I love love love this place and these people. Their "hae mul kal guk su" (wheat noodle soup with seafood) is so off the heezy I could write and perform an opera about it. A wintertime staple, I ate it three times a week when I lived in Korea. And it's cheap!
Parker / November 16, 2009 at 02:00 pm
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Happy to know the reviewer's sweetheart, darling, lover, hungry man, lover, sweetheart enjoyed himself.
ayl / November 16, 2009 at 02:18 pm
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rice cakes and red sauce! nomnom~~~
Sweetheart / November 16, 2009 at 03:54 pm
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somebody needs to tone down the love notes. stick to the review cuddlefish.
matts / November 16, 2009 at 04:46 pm
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ssso...does the tuna in the kimchi stew come from a can? My elementary reading comprehension failed me.
matts / November 16, 2009 at 04:47 pm
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I did understand that the writer's in love, though
sam / November 16, 2009 at 04:56 pm
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Nice pics of the food, but where's the luvah?
the real deal / November 16, 2009 at 08:50 pm
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Went to this place on the weekend. Very bad experience. Old rice. Frozen PC dumplings, they pulled out the bag right in front of my face. Oh might I mention that the men in this place seem to make their female workers cry??? Exactly never will return.
Her bf / November 17, 2009 at 03:44 pm
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Honestly the experience for me was amazing and btw that waitress that cried was my fault....that was my girlfriend...WAS being the key word... But pork bone soup is the best I've ever had in my life
katherine / November 17, 2009 at 03:45 pm
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I went there and it was amazing. Food was cheap good and no msg. As for the comment above I'm Korean and used to work at yonge and finch all restaurants use packaged dumplings from the restaurant delivery services. Overall amazing new look new food and new faces.
Sarah / November 17, 2009 at 09:46 pm
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Went yesterday afternoon after checking out this review.
Waitress provided great service - she was attentive :) !
Jennefer / November 19, 2009 at 09:33 am
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Oh, my god. Some of the best Korean we've ever had. Just fantastic. We had the seafood pancake, the tofu, pork and dumpling stew, and the pan fried chicken dumplings. The dumplings were a bit chewy, but the stew was out of this world. Letting the dumplings sit in the stew for a while made for heaven. Absolutely. The banchan were spectacular, and the seafood pancake was scrumptuous. Service was attentive and very friendly. Sitting there stuffed at the end of the meal, we got the bill and did a double-take. $18.50. Unbelievable. We will go back. Again and again. Yum.
Patty / January 16, 2010 at 02:40 am
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"With these words the frowning corners of my lover's lips haltingly quivered upwards."

LOL

Is this a review, or a Nicholas Sparks novel? The photos are terrible as well and make the food look horribly unappetizing.
FuManchu / March 8, 2010 at 01:26 pm
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I used to go to this place before it was Sunrise House. I think it was simply named "Korean Fastfood Restaurant". Different owners now I guess? I love Sunrise House... place is clean. Good food, best value for your money.
Deborah / April 3, 2010 at 09:46 pm
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Fabulous food, traditional tukbegae dishes and excellent, fresh panchan. Spotless and very good value. Try the chamchi kimchi chigae ... yum ... with a hae mul pajeon. The food is consistently good.
deborah / July 5, 2010 at 12:03 am
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i accidentally discovered this little restaurant one evening and have not stopped going back.
Mick / July 31, 2010 at 08:50 pm
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Sorry, "Bun-Shik" is a Sino-Korean word which literally means "Flour-Food".

It has come to be a generic term for traditional style Korean fast food, which most often include quick-to-prepare noodle dishes, rice flour dishes, dumplings and simple rice dishes.
pajeonsaram / December 9, 2010 at 03:55 pm
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i wish the reviewer wasn't so dopey-eyed and swooning about everywhere. yes boyfriends are neato but seriously. it's hard to concentrate on the food pics with my gorge rising and that's a shame because sunrise house is my favourite joint on the bloor koreatown strip.

i lived for five years in seoul and appreciate a decent set of side dishes, and sunrise house has the juice. adorable mom-n-pop style korean cooking that is major homestyle and delish. for a fancier ambiance or table cooking for visiting guests head to jinmirak a couple blocks west, but for a cheap as hell everyday korean meal? sunrise house beats em all.

next time you're waiting in line for spicy tofu stew at the corner of bloor and clinton and are like, gee it's cold and i can't seem to feel my toes, walk your butt a block over to sunrise house and order up A) the exact same tofu stew, B) deok bokki to die for, C) spicy squid on rice, D) killer bibimbap, E) green onion pancake, F) a big shared pot of chicken stew for your table. well not everything at once, but you get the picture.

sunrise house forever please stay in the fickle toronto restaurant business i don't want to lose your hot rice cakes.
Sandra / June 9, 2012 at 11:01 am
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Finally folks have discovered this gem. I've been going there since it opened. Be warned that these days there is a often a line up for dinner so you have to often wait outside. The wait times are not as epic as Gu but don't come starving as it could be up to 30 mins.
Hong / August 2, 2012 at 12:27 am
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I went to my dentist by subway exit at bathurst station,I bought a chocolate enclair and ate it before I was on the dentist chair. Having my teeth done my dendist reminds me to eat after 5pm, so I went window shopping on bloor towards Christie Staton. I walked into a korean restaurant behind four teenagers entered.
I order a seafood pancake (specified no fish) while I was waiting for my takeout I had Korean beer Hite.
The food order by the teenagers passed by me, after explained by the friendly waitress I order a Ra Bokki and finished everything including the six bowl of veggie even knowing that I was told to eat only after 5pm. The foods taste like home made food and I like it a lot who doesn't. The lady chef I guess the owner is very professional and home style friendly, the waitreess Stella is very dedicated I am very impress. I enjoy everything and left Sunrise House around 4pm. I will go back with my family and tell my friends about this. Thank you Sunrise House.
Kaytee / August 2, 2012 at 11:31 am
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Hey reviewer! Your line: "With these words the frowning corners of my lover's lips haltingly quivered upwards." clearly indicates that you are easily distracted, or, a very frustrated romance novel writer wannabee. Either way, you fail with the Blogto rules to WRITE ABOUT THE FOOD,THE RESTO, AND THE SERVICE ONLY. The comments do a better job describing this fine place.
Helen / June 30, 2014 at 08:13 am
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I am a chef and owner of a Korean restaurant in Europe, and have tried Korean food (NYC, LA, Korea, Japan, Germany, etc. etc.) for Korean food...and this place never disappoints. price is unbelievably reasonable. food is well seasoned, portions are hearty. Owner/cook is super kind and warm - she deserves all the praise and business. I send all my friends here when they ask for a recommendation for Korean food.

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