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If you’re Asian and grew up in the 90s, GaNaDaRa’s decor might bring back some memories. Remember those hilarious journals we used to get? The ones where there would be cute cartoon animals on every page and assorted “life lesson” quotes about love, relationships and happiness to help inspire whatever thoughts you were writing down? Morning Glory anyone? GaNaDaRa Montreal has a similar theme running – the walls are painted with at least two quotes that run in the same vein and feature some art that might trigger some childhood memories. I know they made me smile.
Not sure exactly what the deal is with cute Asian, specifically Korean, restaurants in Montreal lately. Something about the colorful, playful aspect of the decor and signage seems to reel customers in by the dozens. Omma sort of has the cutesy Korean vibe down to a T, but as you can probably guess, there’s a new contender for the title. Kantapia is a new Korean restaurant located at the busy corners of Parc and Sherbrooke that has been open for about a month now. We headed there for lunch one day last week to give it a try.
This is an okay spot for some quick, cheap and easy Korean food downtown. If you don’t care much for quality and place more emphasis on price, this may be the place for you. Because of the cold weather I was more in the mood for something warmer so I got a hot noodle soup with vegetables and beef to warm me up. My friends both got the stir fried noodles, one with beef and the other with chicken. To be honest, this time going to La Maison Bulgogi wasn’t anything to write home about. All dishes we had were on the blander side, and were fairly standard if not slightly below average expectations. The only dish I would go out of my way to recommend here is cold buckwheat noodle soup, ideal in the summertime. Bathed in ice cubes on the hotter days (I’m serious), it is quite the vinegar-y dish. It comes with a bottle of vinegar so that you can add as you like. That one is great. Otherwise though, you can choose to pass by here. Or not.
As we headed along Prince Arthur towards Frite Alors! for an easy, quick and hearty meal, Cochoo caught our eye with their gorgeous terrace. The great big wooden benches and arm chairs loosely tucked under the thick gold-yellow wooden tables just looked perfect under the glow of the Korean flag themed lanterns – plus we could enjoy the night breeze a little closer to home. After preliminarily checking out the menu, we decided to give the place a shot. Talking with the chef who too was sitting outside with his friends, we found out that the place has only been open for two months! We love what they did with the place, that’s for sure. So we had the yukke bibimbap which was served in a hot stone bowl with raw egg and meat inside that would cook as you mixed the food around. So cool! This came with a miso soup which had a heavier taste than I am used to, but was good nonetheless. We had a bibimbap combo that included a pork stew as well as another hot stone dish with cabbage, fiddleheads and a whole array of different veggies on top of rice. All in all, the place was warm and welcoming and the food was pretty good. Prices are more than reasonable and while the menu selection may be a little more limited, the place is definitely worth checking out if you’re into Korean food and in the area.
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