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GaNaDaRa:

A Bowl for Your Soul

RESTAURANT ASIAN KOREAN CONCORDIA GHETTO CASUAL <$20

The Pitch

Tucked away in downtown's Concordia University area just off the beaten path on de Maisonneuve is a four-year-old Korean eatery with no apparent name.  Sandwiched between a dry cleaner and a greystone, without so much as a sign or window sticker up front, the only thing giving it away is the perpetual lineup of diners outside.  We gave GaNaDaRa a try two summers ago and have not looked back, returning a handful of times since.

The Mood

Mood image

Being habitual lineup-avoiders, we have learned to dodge the crowd at this hotspot; an early lunch just shy of noon normally gets us off the hook.  Alternatively, one may opt for the takeout option by joining the queue at the cash which has the added benefit of not having to sit through the bizarre K-pop blaring from the overhead TV set!  As for patrons, they tend to be of the student variety, with an overwhelming majority of Asians; a good sign.

tagged:  STUDENT CENTRAL

The Food

Food Image

The Korean fusion menu lists pages of one-pot meals noodle soups, topped rice bowls along with pokable banchan-style appetizers and sides.  While we admit to not knowing enough about this cuisine to comment on the "fusion" aspect, we can attest that the fare here is comforting, filling, affordable and just what one of us needed to treat a pestering sinus infection.

Dak Ball thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Starter

Starter

$7.50

$7.50

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Dak Ball

Fried boneless chicken pieces in a sweet, sticky sauce.  The bites had this dry, hollow, popcorn-like texture which didn't appeal to us much.

Bulgogi Ramyun thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Main

Main

$9

$9

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Bulgogi Ramyun

This Korean cousin of Japan's ramen soup is GaNaDaRa's main attraction.  You can't go wrong throwing firm noodles, salty beef and a runny egg into that spicy broth.

Tuikim Dupbap thumbnail (click to enlarge)

Main

Main

$11.50

$11.50

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Tuikim Dupbap

Deep fried veggies and shrimp resembling tempura sit atop a generous helping of rice.  Thin slices of marinated ginger are thrown in for added pang.

tagged:  BUDGET-FRIENDLY LOOSEN YOUR BELT

The Service

Although service tends to be understandably lousy and student-oriented in these corners, at GaNaDaRa it's actually relatively polished considering the casual backdrop and how little you're paying.  The busy waiters will come back with your food rather promptly and almost assuredly in random order mains before starters.

tagged:  HUSTLE & BUSTLE IN & OUT

The Verdict

For a place that's virtually hidden to gather so much attention when its neighbors in a competitive area are struggling to fill tables is a sure sign of a winning formula.  GaNaDaRa has quickly become our go-to stop for a quick, cheap, no-fuss and soul-warming meal; making it a best-kept secret that struck a chord with the local student body.  We're not too sure what you crave when you're feeling down; but for us, you're pretty much looking at it.

tagged:  FAVORITE

Price per person:  $17.75

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514eats

Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink.  We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.

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