One of the major food cravings I’m having during pregnancy has been Korean BBQ. Maybe it’s because of the salt, the scent of bbqing meat or just the indulgent flavour of fatty pork belly. Whatever the reason, I find myself daydreaming about grilled meat at least once a week. We’ve indulged a few times at our usual favourite spots and over the holidays I finally convinced Stephen to brave visiting the no reservation, no parking, known to have a line up hotspot, Daldongnae with friends visiting from out of town. We arrived around 6pm on a Wednesday and was lucky enough to grab a booth without a wait.

Service: All of the staff we interacted with were quite friendly and helpful. After placing our order, the grill was set-up right away was followed quickly by the raw ingredients. The server gave a description of how each meat was prepared and It was easy to refill side dishes and water. The steamed egg portion of the grill was also refilled for us without any prompting. The only hiccup was that it took a bit of time for us to flag someone down for the bill. If you do end up having to wait for a table, Daldongnae will take a number to call you at when one becomes available.

Atmosphere: The decor of Daldongnae was similar to that of Kookminhakgyo, both were decorated to feel like we were eating outside on the street with a very night market, street food feel. Lights were dim and soju poured at every boisterous table. I was happy we were seated at a comfortable booth instead of the round grill tables with backless stools. The stools were very useful to double as storage for jackets and bags as the restaurant was very cozy with tables packed tight and full of diners. By the time we left, there was a lengthy waitlist.

Food: Similar to most non AYCE Korean BBQ restaurants, there is a minimum of two orders for each type of meat. For the four of us, we ordered two each of Beef Rib Finger Meat and Pork Belly. There was also a good selection of other Korean dishes on the menu (seafood pancake, stews) but we were sticking to meat. As is, our order came with rice, a hot bowl of soybean soup, a typical selection of banchan and the grill heated up corn and cheese and steamed egg. This was plenty of food for us all.

The quality of both the pork belly and beef were excellent. The slices of pork belly were thick, fatty, and lightly seasoned. They rendered perfectly and made a delicious bite with lettuce, grilled garlic and either of the dipping sauces provided (a salty soy bean paste or salt and oil). I enjoyed the flavour of the beef and how it was marinated but the pieces came covered in sesame seeds, which burned and stuck to the grill. All of the side dishes were tasty and I liked how the grill was set up for the fat to drip into the kimchi and raw garlic.

Overall, dinner at Daldongnae was lively and tasty with great service. Our bill was pretty reasonable but I can easily see the price tag going up with a few bottles of Soju and side dishes. Parking was also painful.


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