Just open as of March this year, the Owl of Minerva in Mississauga is the first of its franchise to branch into this side of the GTA. I’m not entirely sure there’s a Korean in Toronto who doesn’t know of this restaurant, but I sure think there’s a world of Korean Enthusiasts (food, music, or otherwise) that should.
It’s not the fanciest place in the world, but the comfortable atmosphere and friendly staff certainly make up for it. Whether you go for a busy Saturday dinner or a slow late Wednesday snack, the service doesn’t waver in quality and is almost immediate. No matter what, you’ll be made to feel like they genuinely care about you and delivering the best food possible. They brag of delicious food that’s faster and cheaper than a meal at McDonald’s, and I have to say I certainly agree. I hail from Burlington, but for this reason, I have no problems with making the 30-minute drive or hour-long commute on a regular basis. It’s always friendly, fun and welcoming no matter what, and the waiters really do seem to love their jobs.
The thing that initially appealed to me was the K-Pop. I’d heard from a friend of a restaurant in Mississauga that played popular music program Inkigayo on the TV for customers to enjoy the new K-Pop songs while they have their meal, and as a huge K-Pop fan I was really itching to try it. I’m a little ashamed that it took me a few months to finally check it out, but I’m very glad I did.
I was pleased from the start—I have allergies and I’m an extremely picky eater, but they’ve never had issues with modifying the order for me. They even come back to clarify if they’re not sure, just so that no mistakes are made. The food is always well presented and hot, and on my last visit (a recent Wednesday night), there were three waiters, which was a little unnecessary considering the lack of business at the time, but it meant immediate service.
I usually get the Bibimbap (“mixed rice”) or the Soondubu jjigae (spicy tofu stew) but their real money makers are the Gamjatang (pork bone soup – over 40% of all sales), bulgogi and kalbi. I’m not much of a meat eater, but my friends are, and when their dishes arrive it always makes me want to try it.
They say not many come for the K-Pop (they insist it’s because of the delicious food!!) but for those who love Korean food and culture, I’d certainly recommend this branch in particular. Even if you’re a bit out of the way, it’s definitely worth the trek.