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Jan 23, 2009 09:21 AM

anju, 507 10 St SW, Calgary

Korean tapas? Anybody been yet?

This is in an sort of ill-fated location- an old house in the DT west end that's housed a couple of coffeehouses and most recently a wine bar that went under in a matter of months. But it's also steps from more than a thousand condo units- and a new concept for Calgary.

website says "opening soon" but it's definitely open.

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  1. John:

    The "history" with the location is not promising but as you suggested the concept and proximity to all of those potential customers is.

    What is Korean "tapas"? I hope it is not another excuse to purportedly sell "small plates" at a high price....especially cumulatively.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bob Mac

      "Anju" in Korean cuisine usually consists of food that is eaten when drinking alcohol is the main purpose of the gathering. Can be small or large dishes, but just those that are thought of as complimenting beer, such as the popular 'dubu kimchi' (slices of fresh tofu served with sauteed cabbage kimichi). Usually, they are not expensive dishes.

      It sounds like this place is going to be along the lines of what we see in Vancouver, at places such as Pojang Macha and Chungdam Ahn, where downing bottles of Hite beer, and cups of Makgeolli and Soju takes priority over eating. :)

      1. re: shoku_tsu

        This could do okay if the prices are right (depends what the business plan is re being upscale or downscale with the emphasis on drink). There is a big population of young Korean's living in the apartments in that area. From what shoku describes, Don Day at the 8th St CTrain Stn would be an equivalent and it is always seems packed (mainly because it probably only holds less than two dozen people). If it's going after feeding the young Korean drinking crowd, then I think it will be very successful volume wise.

        1. re: Harju

          Wow, so we're talking Korean Izakaya? I had no idea we had them in Calgary!

    2. The original comment has been removed
      1. Sorry, I should have linked that in my original post. Thanks!

        1. I teach a class of grade eight students who are all from Korea. I asked them if they'd heard of this restaurant and they burst out laughing. According to them the word "anju" has pretty ghetto connotations in Korean. I might check it out just to report back to them on my "anju" experience!

          10 Replies
          1. re: Jetgirly


            Since I know absolutely no Korean...."ghetto connotations" in what specfic sense?

            Have to chuckle remembering my dear old dad going into a neighbourhood casse-croute in east end Montreal looking to order "poutine" with the French equivalent of a "lady of the night available by the hour"....made the server laugh at least.....

            1. re: Bob Mac

              Nothing rude! They told me it was like, a dark, dirty bar with crappy bar snacks like peanuts and generic potato chips, sticky tabletops and sketchy customers. From what they told me, the literal translation of "anju" is "tapa" (but more in the Mexican "botana" sense than the North American notion of tapas), but the word is now also used to describe the type of bar mentioned above.

              1. re: Jetgirly

                LOL...sounds like my kind of place...especially the reference to "sketchy customers"....I have been called worse [smile]

                1. re: Jetgirly

                  I have no doubt that grade eighters would have a sinister concept of "anju" since it is associated with drinking. This Anju is more upscale with the main restaurant downstairs and a lounge area upstairs. I went there with a couple of Korean friends (adults, long past grade eight). They found nothing unusual or funny about the name; to them it simply means food served with alcohol and had no negative connotations. It's a nice place with good food, that seems reasonably priced (for Calgary). The emphasis seemed more on dining than drinking so I'm not sure it fits "anju" in the traditional sense. It was lunch time and we were the only ones so not the best time to assess the "atmosphere" of the place. Of course the menu is of course Korean flavoured but had a western bent. Contrary to my post above, the owners are not going for the young Korean drinking crowd. I was hoping for something a little more like Don Day, which for me is noisy, crowded, hot, bottles of soju, beer chasers and some food to wash it down (in other words, a great place to go every now and then)

                  1. re: Harju

                    Does either Don Day or Anju have anything suitable for vegetarians?

                    1. re: Jetgirly

                      Those kinds of places will usually have tofu (fried or cold), rice with sesame oil, and kimchi. But it's really about having appetizers with your beer (think "wing night", not 3 lambchops on a plate of arugula with your wine)

                  2. re: Bob Mac

                    aaah the pou"tain" instead of pou"ts-INe" lol at least the server took it well. :)

                  3. re: Jetgirly

                    It's probably meant to be ironic- like calling a nice restaurant "diner deluxe" sort of thing.