Recently, my wife and I decided to try something totally different for a dining experience. We had previously been to Korean BBQ restaurants in the Toronto area where you get a selection of meat and are able to BBQ it on a burner built into your table. This time we were looking for Ottawa's best Korean restaurants that serves up as authentic as possible Korean dishes.
We turned to Urbanspoon.com to see what was the highest rated yet easy to get to for us try.
Alirang (134 Nelson Street, Ottawa) came out at the top of the list of 18 Korean places currently listed on Urbanpoon. We arrived for dinner shortly after 5 P.M. to a restaurant just up from the Loblaws grocery store on the corner of Nelson & Rideau Streets.
The restaurant itself appears to be in an older traditional Ottawa home as you enter through the front door step and into the subdivided dining area with tables.
Service had been noted to be an issue on previous Urbanspoon posts. The only issue we had with service was after entering there was no sign if we should seat ourselves or wait to be seated. A pause and two minutes of awkward glances around seem to resolve this issue as we were greeted by one of the wait staff and sat.
We perused our menus to see what dishes we would like. Our waiter stopped by and dropped off the complimentary barley tea. This tea was interesting because instead of being served warm to hot it was luc warm and poured from a plastic water jug.
The Order: 1 Beef Bulgogi with rice (kimchi and other side dishes).
The order arrived within about 10 minutes after ordering. Impressive for the reported place that has service issues! Apparently, the restaurant has pulled up its socks in the service department.
The Beef Bulgogi was stir fried beef with sauce. Add it to a little rice and it's a winner. Pretty tasty stir fry style cuisine. The dish also comes with spicy kimchi that I dared to try. Not overly melt your tongue off spicy but there is a decent kick that will leave you reaching for the barley tea. Added to this is a cold potato dish dipped in some kind of sauce. My wife and I are unsure what this is called and wasn't one of our favourites.
Overall, Alirang was an interesting experience in a cuisine we do not normally enjoy on a regular basis. We enjoyed the experience with interesting food accompanied with great service guiding us through a Korean meal. It truly was something a little different.
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