5461 Rue Sherbrooke O.
(between Décarie and Girouard)
Maru, which means “the top of the mountain” in Korean, now occupies the space that was formerly a Romanian restaurant. This family owned restaurant offers all the popular dishes such as beef bulgogi, bibimbap, kimchi, paejon seafood pancake, among other specialities.
One of my favourites is the spicy tofu ragout soup (sundubu jjigae) with seafood, beef or chicken, served with an egg on top, much like bibimbap. I also really like mandu-guk, which resembles wonton soup with home made dumplings (beef, pork or vegetable).
If soup’s not your thing, I highly recommend the royal bibimbap made with raw ground beef that cooks by mixing it up in the steaming pot in which it’s served. Or have one of the Korean BBQ items such as galbi beef ribs, or jeyuk bokeum pork stir fry with sweet spicy sauce.
There are also daily specials not on the menu, and when I was there, these were black cod stew, fried pork or fish, soondae stew made with pork intestines and potato noodles, and salmon hwaedupbap tartare with vegetables, flying fish roe and spicy sauce.
Besides the specials, most dishes can be made vegetarian and are served with the ubiquitous kimchi and other traditional fermented vegetables. Chef Jenny, who used to own the popular but tiny 5000 Ans restaurant, works here now and has more room to be flexible and experimental. I’d say the food is even better than at her old place. She’s mostly here evenings, so that’s the best time to come.
Maru is also fully licensed and offers a wine list featuring sake, soju and Japanese beer. And unlike some Korean establishments, they even have an espresso machine and serve and desserts including pumpking porridge, green tea and mochi ice cream, fried and wonton pineapple, and even a highly recommended homemade plain yogourt with honey and bee pollen.