Chatting it up at Barrio Coreano

Checking out Barrio Coreano

642 BLOOR STREET W TORONTO, ON
416-901-5188
Located beside BMO.
You can make reservations online
Playa Cabana Barrio Coreano Website

According to the website, this location is the “test kitchen for all four locations” (Source“About”)

So my friends and I decided to check out Barrio Coreano. I first came across this place in January, when my friend and I walked over to BMO to take out money before drinking at Sake. We saw the red hue of the decor, and was super curious. It took us 6 months, but we finally got to check it out.

Checking out Barrio Coreano
Checking out Barrio Coreano
Menu written on the wall.

We ordered the Soju Sangria ($10). It wasn’t on the wall, so I wasn’t sure how much it was. Had I known it was $10, I probably wouldn’t have gotten it. Now that I know, and tasted it, I wouldn’t try it out again. It wasn’t bad. You can’t taste the Soju, so if you hate the taste of Soju that is a plus for you. However I personally found that it was a little bland. It wasn’t watered down, as my friend and I could both feel it, but just felt like I was sipping water.

Checking out Barrio Coreano
Checking out Barrio Coreano
So I didn’t get to ask, as I didn’t order this (friend did for us to share). Since I didn’t hear, I’m not sure if this was the Chorizo Nacho and Guacamole. All I know is that the Gaucamole was a very generous portion (which makes sense if we paid $8 for it, if it was separate from the chips). The Nacho chips weren’t bad, but ours were pretty…oily? Something was a tad off about it, though it was still yummy in its own way. By the way, sorry for the horrible picture. The only one I had was completely red, so I tried to adjust it to show what it looked like…but because it was SUPER red, PS just couldn’t compensate for it.

Checking out Barrio Coreano
Grilled Calamari (no idea how much this was ~$14-ish)
This was okay. It was raved about by our waitress, and I can kind of see why. But maybe because our kitchen was busy, I personally found it bland (recurring theme for us).

Checking out Barrio Coreano
The hot sauces. Green is supposed to be super spicy, and the red one more mild. If you normally enjoy spices, the green won’t be too crazy for you. But you will feel the kick for sure. I liked it. I spread it over everything I ate.

Now to the Tacos

Checking out Barrio Coreano
I think this is the Chorizo Verde. If it is the Chorizo Verde, I liked it, as well as my friend. Didn’t have a crazy kick to it, in terms of spice of flavour. Even though it didn’t, it still intrigued our palette…so I guess we had that going for us.

Checking out Barrio Coreano
Fried Queso Chihuaha $5
I had this, and loved it. Now this isn’t for everyone…why? Its a fried block of cheese. lol. But I love cheese, and loved the crispy outer that contrasted with the squishy inner. Sounds weird, but I enjoyed it, especially with the green hot sauce.

Checking out Barrio Coreano
Baha Fish $5
Seemed like those who liked fish tacos in general, liked this one a lot. Friend ate two, and a few others preferred this to Carnita or the Kampungi.

Checking out Barrio Coreano
Chicken Kampungi $5
I’m pretty sure this is the Kampungi (could have mixed up the pictures), but could be wrong. If it is, then my friend was not a fan. I love eating Kampungi while out drinking with friends at a Korean Bar. But she felt that it was too mushy, and just lacked the right flavouring to appeal to her.

Checking out Barrio Coreano
In all honesty, I cannot figure out which one this is. I think this is the Spicy Carnita. But I could be wrong. All I do remember is that my friend wasn’t a fan. It was a little too overwhelming. If you like oily foods (since this is fried Taco), you may like it. I think I would have enjoyed it because of the feta…

Checking out Barrio Coreano
Fried Ice Cream $10
This was pricey, but I would order it again. It was oddly yummy! I have had fried ice cream in small bite size bits, but this was the first time I had a block. It was generally very gooey, but still managed to keep things on the spoon. We polished this off quite quickly, and a few of us agreed that we could technically have eaten a whole on ourselves…

The two main issues I had with this place?

  • It was INCREDIBLY LOUD. Almost so, that I had no idea how the waitress was able to keep her voice throughout her entire shift. I also struggled to hear my friends who were sitting right next to me, let alone across from me. Definitely not a place you want to go to if you want to chat and be intimate. Also if you have food restrictions, it will be hard to hear the explanations from the waitress.
  • The menus are written on the wall. I know it looks cool, but depending on where you are sitting you just can’t see it. Also it just has the name. if you need a description, then you need the server, and well even then you might not be able to heard it.

A few things to note…

  • If you go during the busy dinner session, be prepared to wait. It takes a while, so you will be waiting for a huge chunk of your meal. Better to get an appetizer to hold you over.
  • If you get your tacos staggered, you might want to consider not waiting for your friends. We waited til everyone got theres (at least for the first round), and by then a few of ours was super soggy. Figured it was because we waited so long. Then I noticed that it is a slight soggy to start off with (when I was eating my second one). So consider chatting with friends about this, and eating it as it comes.
  • If you run out of toilet paper, apparently there is a stash behind the mirror. That was what I was told when I told the waitress they were out. On that note, there is only one bathroom for each sex.
  • The servings are rather small. Like really. I think if my friend, who exercises a lot, but eats a truck load, could easy each 10 and still not be full :T So if you are like that, this place might not be the right place for you.
  • If you are looking for Korean Mexican Fusion, I can’t say that this will truly satisfy you. Being Korean, as well as a few others in our group, it was just a slight flavouring for some. However if you were to not tell me it was inspired by some Korean foods, I would not have been able to tell. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing. But I choose to accept that it is something different, and thus categorized as such.
  • Oh, careful with the stairs…

Yelp.ca||Urbanspoon
More images at Google since I didn’t take enough.

 

In the end, would I go again?

I know that the general review seems more negative, but I think I would go back. It is a little pricey for my own liking. However, the Chihuaha really appealed to me, as well as the Fried Ice Cream (reoccurring theme for me…fried…yum). If I were to check it out again, I would definitely go when it wasn’t as busy, so I could enjoy my meal properly. Once thing I do have to note, is that our server was awesome when it came to explaning the tacos to us, or anything on the menu. Because of that, we were able to figure out what we wanted, or didn’t want. The issue was that it was hard to decipher when another server brought our tacos, and wasn’t sure which was which. Which contributes to why I am still so confused about which picture fit which taco :T

Anyway, the whole experience has left me curious about the other locations…Must consider for when I have to choose the restaurant that we will all check out. If you have any place you could recommend 6 ladies to check out, let me know! I’m supposed to pick the place in September or October…and want to be prepared for it.

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