Restaurant type: Korean, Asian
Prices: $4.50-$23 entrées, $10-$23 mains, $3-$10 desserts, wine bottles starting at $40
Date: Friday January 3rd 2020
Table of: 6
My favorite dishes: fried beef mandoo + beef ribs
My first collab of the year was a true Korean feast at the all-new Gaja restaurant with fellow foodie friends @queenkissy, @evanvanya, @randomcuisine, @dini_the_foodie_mtl and @smarkfoodie (we were invited as their guests). Gaja is located on avenue Bernard in the heart of the Mile-End, in between Park avenue and St-Urbain. You’ll find all your favorite traditional Korean dishes, like bulgogi, bibimbap, tok bokki and many more. The restaurant is also licensed and offers a nice list of wines, beers, cocktails and Korean alcohols too. Here are the many dishes we had the pleasure of feasting on:
- Pajun: Korean pancake with spring onions, carrots and kimchi
- Seafood Pajun: Korean pancake with seafood, spring onions, carrots and kimchi
- Fried beef and green onion mandoo (dumplings)
- Steamed pork and vegetables mandoo (dumplings)
- Oijing aw: deep-fried squid with horseradish lemon sauce
- Tempura shrimps: 5 panko shrimps with Japanese mayo
- Dol sot chicken bibimbap: crispy rice in a hot stone bowl, topped with chicken, pickled vegetables and raw egg
- Sesame rice: raw salmon sashimi and spicy Korean chili sauce, served on fresh salad and sushi rice with spicy sauce
- Sizzling beef bulgogi: sizzling beef, served on a cast iron plate with rice, kimchi and lettuce
- Galbi gooyi: grilled short beef ribs, served on a cast iron plate with rice, kimchi and lettuce
- Yachae bokum vermicelli: sweet potato noodles stir fried with vegetables in a sesame soy dressing
- Traditional tok bokki: stir fried rice cakes and fish cakes with spicy sauce
- Bodegas Dibon, Cava brut nature, Penedès, Spain, Macabeu, Xarello, Parellada
- Triple chocolate mousse cake
We had a really great time at Gaja and enjoyed many wonderful dishes. One of my favorite dishes was the fried beef dumplings (mandoo) which were SO GOOD. The filling was super flavorful and delicious and the outside was perfectly pan-fried. If you love dumplings, you’ll adore these ones. I also loved the grilled short beef ribs, which were excellent; perfectly seasoned, grilled and oh so tasty.
I enjoyed the majority of the other dishes as well. The Korean pancakes (pajun) were both very tasty but being a seafood lover, I definitely preferred the seafood one. The steamed pork and vegetables dumplings (mandoo) were as savoury as the beef ones, but I just preferred them fried to steamed. The sesame rice with raw salmon sashimi was very nice, kinda like a poke bowl, but the salmon could have used more Korean chili sauce. I also enjoyed the beef bulgogi, as the meat was very tasty, but it did not taste like bulgogi typically does or at least, has at other places I’ve had it (Korea included). I really liked the Yachae bokum vermicelli, I think I have a thing for sweet potato/glass noodles. The noodles were perfectly cooked and very nice seasoned.
The fried calamari and tempura shrimps were very standard; good but nothing out of the ordinary. I would recommend ordering the mandoos and pajuns over these two. Unfortunately for me, the bibimbap was underwhelming; it lacked overall in flavour and seasoning. I did not taste the tok bokki, as it is not a dish I eat.
We shared a nice bottle of cava with out meal which was great and ended the evening with a triple chocolate mousse cake which was very nice. We had a really nice evening at Gaja and I would recommend it as a local Korean restaurant for people in the area looking to satisfy some Korean cravings, as there aren’t many options in the Mile-End. They also have a very extensive wine list, so a great place to enjoy some Korean food with a good bottle of wine, which is not always the case! Enjoy (:
*This restaurant post does not contain my usual restaurant review criteria of restaurants, as this is a sponsored post where I was invited to the restaurant as a guest.
*All photos and comments are mine