Review: Ka-Chi (Dundas Street)

Last week was a crazy busy week, in a good way but still a very busy week. I had an event or function every night, which is just how I like it – I love being busy! And because of it, I have a lot of reviews to write this week – which is great because I also love writing reviews. If you visited yesterday, you would have read all about Super Wave Korea 2011 and if you come back tomorrow, you’ll hear (or rather read) about the Say Kimchi Halloween K-pop Party. Plus there is another review coming up on a talk at the AGO on my personal blog, Toronto Thoughts.

But today’s review isn’t about an event – it’s a restaurant review. Recently, I’ve had a few people – from friends to blog readers – ask for Korean restaurant recommendations in Toronto. I do have a few and today’s review is hopefully the first of many. However, I’m not actually from Toronto– I just moved here for grad school and stayed for work (and of course, love it here). I’m still exploring and trying different Korean restaurants. So… if you want to recommend a great Korean restaurant in Toronto for me and my readers to try, please leave a comment or contact me through the Contact page (under the About tab). Any and all recommendations are welcome!

Who is today’s review about?

Today’s review is about Ka Chi restaurant on Dundas Street across from the AGO (Art Gallery of Ontario). I’d been there once before with a friend but had some time to kill (and was hungry) before the David Jaffe lecture at the AGO so I decided to stop in for dinner. I always feel rather odd dining by myself in a Korean restaurant because I know eating (along with just about everything in Korea) is a social experience but it certainly wasn’t a problem here. As soon as I walked in I was greeted in a friendly manner, seated and brought a menu.

Since I already knew what I wanted – dwenjangjiggae (된장 찌개), spicy soybean paste soup/stew – so I quickly ordered. Not long after I was brought a pitcher of freshly brewed loose-leaf Korean green tea with brown rice. As I waited for the tea leaves and brown rice to settle, I thought that the tea alone was worth coming back for. And that’s when I brought out my handy notebook to jot down some observations for this review and made a personal vow to never leave home without my camera (food reviews require pictures). The tea was just as delicious as it looked and was perfect for a chilly, wet night.

Portion size of the dwenjangjiggae was great – I couldn’t finish it but that’s not unusual. But even my guy friends would have been happy with it. And more importantly, the taste was delicious. There was just the right amount of dubu () – tofu – in it. But best of all, there was some sliced tteok (떡) – rice cakes – in the dwenjangjiggae which I absolutely love. Not all restaurants do this so it’s always an extra-special surprise. This is why I always dig to the bottom of my stew to see if any are there. The stew was also the perfect amount of spiciness – some of them in Toronto aren’t quite spicy enough for me but Ka Chi’s had just the right amount of bite.

As for banchan (반찬) – side dishes – there was kimchi (김치) – spicy fermented cabbage – of course, as well as japchae (잡채) – glass noodles in a slightly sweet, slightly garlicy sauce with veggies – but with bigger noodles, perhaps it has a different name then? I’m not sure about that. The other two banchan were oijee (오이지) – pickled cucumbers – and gamja jorim (감자 조림) – potatoes in a sweet soy sauce. And the best part, other than the yumminess, was my kimchi was refilled as soon as I emptied the dish! Great service!

Rating: 4.5/5 – the only bad thing was it was a little cold inside but that might have just been me… I’m always cold! I would definitely recommend them and will be going back soon.

Sorry for the lack of pictures – will bring my camera next time! 

 

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday – this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it’s taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I’m the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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