Located on the 2nd floor of Dragon City Shopping Arcade at Dundas and Spadina in the heart of Toronto’s bustling China Town sits Korean favorite, The Owl of Minerva. The menu reads, “the name of the restaurant is based on the owl that accompanies Minerva in Roman Mythology, a symbol of wisdom. The owl of Minerva takes flight with twilight closing in.” It makes me grimace slightly that a Korean restaurant name is based on a Roman Myth (so much thought has been put into the restaurants name, whereas down the street we have a restaurant with similar offerings called “Happy Korean Food Restaurant). What’s even more funny is the restaurants signage which features an ajima (Korean aunty) smiling and wearing a graduation cap. Puzzled face indeed.
I met Meaghan here after work and the place was packed with Asian couples in the 20-something range. We were immediately served traditional barley water and whisked ourselves through the menu. We were looking to eat a cheap and cheerful meal though were enticed by the more expensive BBQ Samgyeopsal offering. While fiddling through the menu I couldn’t help but feel transported back to my time spent living in Seoul. The walls were covered in Soju advertisements and photographs of the various dishes on the menu so you can just point and say, “I want that.” I thoroughly enjoyed the K-Pop acts playing on the flat screens throughout our meal. By far our favorite part of the night was when our young waiter asked us both for our ID. I hadn’t had my ID checked in ages it sort of startled us and made us both laugh.
We settled on sharing two items off the menu. Perfect for warming you up on a cold winters eve:
We each got a bottle of Budweiser (only $3.50 a bottle)!
Pork bone and whole potato soup, vegetable with korean spicy pepper and rice.
Stir fried beef, vegetables, noodles with soy sauce on a sizzling plate with rice.
The Bulgogi was nicely done; sweet and tender. The soup was not something I would order again simply because I don’t really enjoy the pepper paste or having to be so finicky removing meat off the bone. The best side dishes were the fresh pickled cucumber and bean sprout slaw. I would return for their ridiculously affordable 5 beer and 1 soju combo which includes a soup and runs about 30 dollars. I’d also be interested in testing out their BBQ’ing abilities. Throw that on my China Town to-do-list.