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AnJu Calgary

b
Beks Apr 23, 2009 05:16 PM

I noticed a thread on this place from a while back, but nobody talked about the food! Thought I'd start a new discussion.

Korean "tapas" spot open since December, in the little house on the west end of downtown that keeps changing hands. It was a coffee house for a while, before that it was a martini bar. Surrounded by vacant lots and new condos, it's not in the most vibrant of areas.

Okay, the skinny is, I've been to this place pretty much EVERY NIGHT for the last week and it just keeps getting better. Open late, cool space, delicious food and nice owners/staff. The food is downright addictive. Highlights include calamari with kaffir lime aioli, a kimchee and pork belly soup that I can't stop ordering, and rice noodles with sweet chili glaze (nothing like what you'd expect... just order it!!) and tasty tasty yam fries that demand a second order.

If you're one of those people who looks for late night options, GO THERE. If you aren't, GO THERE. It's awesome

507 10 Street SW
Calgary, AB T2P 2B8, Canada
(403) 532-9419

open til midnight during the week
open til 2 on weekends

  1. sarah galvin Apr 23, 2009 06:20 PM

    I have to agree. I ate there 3 times last week. I love the hot stone bowls. Price is good, too.

    1. c
      cmanten Apr 24, 2009 06:35 AM

      oooh can't wait! Going there at the beginning of May for a wine event .

      1 Reply
      1. re: cmanten
        pants Apr 29, 2009 07:19 AM

        i signed up for the wine event too!! can't wait

      2. h
        HBOO Apr 26, 2009 12:07 PM

        We are going to try Korean for the first time this week. My question about this place is: we have a 6 month old, is there space for him? By cool space, do you mean meant for adults only? He doesn't eat yet, and can just sit on our lap, but would this be a great choice?

        The other place we were considering was Seoul

        2 Replies
        1. re: HBOO
          j
          jojok Apr 26, 2009 06:41 PM

          If this is your first time trying Korean food, don't go to Anju.
          Plus you have a 6 month old, Anju is more for 20-40 crowd. Babies would not be a good fit.

          I would suggest try the regular Korean restaurants like Seoul or Koreana.

          1. re: HBOO
            s
            silentrage May 4, 2009 11:01 AM

            There are child seats available.

          2. sarah galvin Apr 27, 2009 03:08 PM

            I think it depends what time of day you go. If you go early, it's probably ok but I did not see any child seats, so I don't think they plan for this. You are better to go to the restaurant in the little strip mall beside Community Foods on 10 Av SW

            1. John Manzo May 8, 2009 01:15 PM

              First visit to Anju today, lunch, and am so glad I finally tried it! I arrived at around 11:30 and the very nice, gracious owner (her name is Anh) told me that the chef would be coming in around 15 minutes- same thing as happened on my first attempt for an early lunch, but this time I said, "well, let's chat!" and we did- she told me that she and her husband (Roy) are the owners, that business has been good, and we got to talk a bit about the menu... Roy showed up a few minutes later and I ordered one of the "An Ju" (there are several different plates; "An Ju" would be like tapas or appies; there are "sides" for a buck or two incl things like extra rice and kimchi; there are noodle bowls, there are stone bowls, there are "mains," there are deserts and there is a superb and interesting drinks menu too though I only had the delicious house-made, lightly sweet iced tea) and a bowl of ramen. Now the an ju I ordered was the "file fish" which was a sort of fish jerky in a little bowl, and a ramekin of Korean pepper paste to dip it into- this was a revelation, with the sweet-savory taste of a good jerky with a side of pleasant (really) fishiness, the pieces are thin and translucent too, and the whole experience of eating this little pile of morsels was completely bizarre and foreign to me but interesting and delicious. $5.

              My ramen had interesting and tasty spins too. The ramen noodles, I must first note, were delicious, nice texture. These were in a kimchi-accented broth (and their kimchi is house-made and LOVELY) with plentiful slices of pork belly and the whole thing was topped with a dollop of creme fraiche. Amazing- my only complaint was that I'd have liked more kimchi, more bit to counter how very smoothed-out the creme made the bowl, but that's a minor quibble and I loved this item. At dinner this would have come with kimchi on the side anyway so my complaint is minor. $13.

              Lunch was $20 with the iced tea ($2 and bottomless!) and it was a treat to have the place to myself (one reason why I always dine early or late, for lunch at least) and to be able to chat with owners who are doing such a briliant job in uncharted waters bringing something truly new to this city. Let's hope it continues to pay off!

              1. s
                snowpeas May 17, 2009 03:34 PM

                Recently been there. Ordered Prawn Hotstone bowl and lettuce wrap.

                * Presentation 8/10- I have to give credits for presentation. The food items on the menu were rather everyday food but the presenatation wa fantastic. (It is like you eat Mac & Cheese in a very nice bowl and pay $20 for it).

                * Taste: 3/10- Noticed that they used steamed rice from rice cooker for Hot stone rice bowl! The rice is supposed to be cooked in stone bowl at least half way through so that the rice maintains its crispiness. Noticed that they used regular canola oil as opposed to sesami oil that is tradionally used. Taste rather very bland.

                Chicken Lettuce wrap- it was oven cooked. koreans in general do not have ovens at home therefore it is usually sauteed or panfried. If you go to Korean restaurnat for wrap, it is expected that the meat is charcoal cooked so that you can taste the smokiness. Never seen oven cooked chicken was used for wrap for Korean restaurnat.

                * Service: 5/10 - Other than there was only 1 server on the second floor, it was good in general (better than the Chili club on 10th ave). Took 40 min until we get any food.

                * Ambiance- 9/10 very nice. it felt rather like a wine bar. But not sure if it is for Korean restaurant.

                10 Replies
                1. re: John Manzo
                  s
                  snowpeas May 17, 2009 05:32 PM

                  Hello John Manzo,
                  Bi Bim Bap is different dish from Hot stone Bowl.
                  You use steamed rice for Bi Bim Bop and Hot Stone Bowl means you cook the rice from the stone bowl so that the rice can have the aroma of the stone.

                  1. re: snowpeas
                    s
                    snowpeas May 17, 2009 05:43 PM

                    Just ask any of your friends that have been to Korea or ask the owner. Then it will be clear.
                    In many restaurnat in Calgary they do not cook it from the stone bowl for whatever reason but they still make it sizzle when it comes out and you can smell the sesami oil as well.
                    With the hot stone bowl rice in An ju, (It is not Bi bim bap- Bi bim bap meas rice mixed with veggis and others and come in "plastic" bowl as it is not supposed to be heated. We ususally eat this dish at home by putting leftovers from the fridge on top of rice from rice cooker and mix them with red pepper paste) they used Canola oil for whatever reason and it didnt sizzle as they did not heat up the stone bowl before it came out.

                    I will be more careful before attacking someone like you did.

                    1. re: snowpeas
                      John Manzo May 17, 2009 06:22 PM

                      There is a version of Bi Bim Bap served in a stone bowl. It's called dolsot bi bim bap but I don't have to explain this to an expert on Korean food.

                      The owners are a Chinese-Korean couple; the wife is the host and she is Chinese and the husband is the chef and is Korean. They aren't trying to create an authentic Korean experience but a more fusion one. You seem to only be evaluating them on authenticity when they are making no claims to it.

                      1. re: John Manzo
                        s
                        snowpeas May 18, 2009 01:00 PM

                        It was on the taste category in case you did not see it. My evaluation on taste is totally personal based on my personal experience. As a Korean National, I know what a good Hot stone bowl rice taste like.

                    2. re: snowpeas
                      s
                      silentrage May 19, 2009 11:10 PM

                      What did you order that was $20? As I recall the stone bowl is $13 and the lettuce wrap is $14. Which by the way is not everyday food. Have you gone to the market and bought endives? They are not cheap. Seems to me like the food there is VERY well priced. The $20 items on the menu are mackerel on the bone (a whole mackerel) black cod (hardly everyday food) and bison short rib (delish). I'm not sure if you are complaining about the presentation or what, but it seems like you felt like you were paying $20 because the food looked so good, but in actuallity you only paid $13 - $14. I'd say it's like you eat mac & cheese in a very nice bowl and pay a fair price for it. BTW, which other korean restaurant in calgary has chicken lettuce wraps?

                      1. re: silentrage
                        MeXx May 20, 2009 07:48 PM

                        I think we need a scan of the menu LOL.

                        1. re: MeXx
                          John Manzo May 20, 2009 08:19 PM

                          it's linked above I think- www.anju.ca

                          1. re: MeXx
                            c
                            cancowboy May 20, 2009 08:19 PM

                            http://www.anju.ca/ANJU_MENU.pdf

                            -----
                            Anju Restaurant & Lounge
                            507 10 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P, CA

                            1. re: cancowboy
                              John Manzo May 20, 2009 09:48 PM

                              even better :)

                              1. re: John Manzo
                                pants May 21, 2009 07:31 AM

                                yum! i'm excited for my wine dinner next week, that way we'll get to try lots of things - those events are a great way to try new restaurants, you get to taste a great range of the menu!

                      2. MeXx May 18, 2009 07:44 PM

                        Korean fusion huh? I agree it's nice to have something new and fresh in Calgary. I shall make a stop sometime, just like I should for Sura.

                        1. h
                          hsk May 18, 2009 09:17 PM

                          We tried to go a few weeks ago, phoning for a reservation we were told we didn't need one, they had lots of tables open. On arrival the (blonde) hostess tried to seat us upstairs at a coffee table/couch setup. When we said we were looking for dinner, not drinks (it was 7pm on a weeknight!!) she said "Did you make a reservation?". When I said no, she said it would be "a few minutes to put a table together". WTF??? The main floor (where the dining tables are) was totally empty, only one table taken. I couldn't stand the attitude so we left. I'll probably try it again some time but not real soon (I'm still mad).

                          1. o
                            overseastar May 23, 2009 08:56 AM

                            My friend and I tried the place yesterday and we are definitely going back again. As appetizer, we ordered the Anju Platter (1 side + 3 Anju) - $12.

                            Side - Seaweed salad
                            Anju - Crispy tofu, dried octopus, truffle yam fries

                            I'd recommend all but the dried octopus (it was really dry...but if you like beef jerky type of dry and roughness, you might like it better than I do). The yam fries were delicous and I couldn't stop eating them. Crispy tofu were just cooked right. The portion was larger for what we've expected.

                            As main course, we went for the kimchi ramen and stone bowl mussels. The kimchi ramen was really spicy and I'm not a fan of spicy food at all. But after tasting the noodles and gulping down lots of water, I got pretty use to it and it was delicious as well. The mussels were ok, but I wouldn't say it's a must-have, didn't really taste the ginger sauce or red onions as stated on the menu. Nevertheless, it was cooked perfectly.

                            As dessert, we shared the asian pear pie. And as someone previously mentioned, do order early if you don't wait want to wait +20 min for it. But it was worth the 20min wait because they made it from scratch, totally taste like it just came out of the oven!

                            So to conclude, I would highly recommend this place. The food are reasonably price. The place is really on the edge of downtown, and it's rather isolated...we went on a friday evening and it was pretty quiet there.

                             
                             
                             
                             
                            3 Replies
                            1. re: overseastar
                              pasaker May 23, 2009 12:27 PM

                              My husband and I went to Anju this past week and it was delicious. What we ordered was the Anju Platter for an appetizer consisting of the Seaweed Salad (or side) and Bleu Crab, Fried Anchovies and the Mixed Seafood Pancake as our Anju's.

                              The Bleu Crab was interesting, I like it personally though I'm sure it's not for everyone. It is a "Blue Crab" that you get, but it comes raw. The Fried Anchovies was my favourite. It's salty and sweet, once you get to the bottom of the plate, it get's sweeter because they add honey to it. The Seafood Pancake was nice and crispy around the edges, which was what I preferred and I think they add some wasabi to either the pancake or the dipping sauce.

                              My husband ordered their stone bowl which he picked the short ribs as the meat. I had the Lettuce Wrap with Berkshire Pork Belly. My husband stone bow was delicious. Had a good amount of meat and came with the chili sauce. My Lettuce Wrap was good, but the pork is fatty- like melt in your mouth fatty. It came with a chili sauce and some sort of salty oil...over all it's good- the veggies could have been a little fresher but I'm sure they'll get around to that.
                              I also ordered their "Bruised Heart" drink, which is Soju, Peach Schnapps, Aloe Vera Juice and Cranberry juice for $8, it was delicious... very very good.

                              I also want to mention that they have 1/2 price appetizers on Fridays and Saturdays between 11:45 pm to 1:00 am.

                              Definetly recommend this place, considering the area and the ambiance, the prices here are very reasonable. Definetly going again!

                              1. re: pasaker
                                alau2 May 23, 2009 02:03 PM

                                I love this place and can't wait to go back.

                                We had the blue crab too - definitely not a first date food. It's "cooked" like a ceviche, marinated in ginger, garlic and "Korean spices," said the co-owner. You really have to get your fingers in there, but if you like spice and crab, it's fab.

                                The fried anchovies were our favourite too!

                                1. re: pasaker
                                  MeXx May 25, 2009 11:31 PM

                                  Seafood Pajeon?? I'm soooo there!

                              2. pants May 26, 2009 07:19 AM

                                Went last night for the vine and dine dinner - loved it! will for sure go back for dinner.

                                we got to try a large selection of items, everything was very tasty.

                                we had:
                                anju platter - seaweed salad, grilled okra(loved this), green onion pancake, crispy rice noodle

                                prawn tempura w/garlic aioli

                                chicken lettuce wrap w/endive and vegetables

                                short rib, portobello mushroom and rice noodle soup (this one isn't on the menu but very nice, escpecially with the hillside estate merlot that was paired with it.

                                stone rice bowl w/salmon, grilled vegetables and red pepper paste (i really enjoyed this, we used to eat the rice stone bowls all the time at Hapa Izakaya in Vancouver - i quite like the different flavors in this korean version)

                                flatiron steak w/spicy sesame oil, sweet potato mash and bok choy - an interesting take on steak and potatoes - the meat was very nicely spiced.

                                i'd like to try some of the tofu versions of those dishes and definitely go back for more okra!

                                i hope they stick around, it's nice to have something a bit different that doesn't cost a fortune.

                                was anyone to the wine bar that was there previously? i'm curious if the Anju folks changed much, the wine bar didn't last long so i imagine the space was in good shape.

                                1. a
                                  alleycat81 Jun 17, 2009 08:49 AM

                                  Just wanted to echo what most people have posted about Anju.... YUMMY!! Great food, decent price.

                                  I was just in Calgary for a wedding and after researching on Chowhound, decided that the SO and I had to have a meal at Anju. Great late-dinner place (we got there at 10:30pm) and kitchen was still open. Entire restaurant was empty other than just us and the chef (I assume he was Roy... the owner/chef). Started off with the Anju Platter (Grilled Eggplant, Crispy Tofu, Truffled Yam Fries and Kim Chee). It was definitely larger than expected. Everything was so tasty. The Eggplant, though, was a little saucier than I would've liked it, but I would just have a bite of that and follow it with the tofu or yam fries. I had the Kim Chee Ramen, while my boyfriend had the Hot Stone Bowl with the Rib Eye. I loved the Creme Fraiche in the soup as it cooled the spices in the soup. My boyfriend who doesn't usually have an appreciation for good food and doesn't usually express enthusiasm was so impressed and agreed that this was a good restaurant pick on my part.

                                  Anyone in Calgary should definitely check this place out!! If I ever have to go to Calgary again, I would love to come back here!!

                                  1. Jetgirly Jun 21, 2009 07:41 PM

                                    Went the other night for dinner. Food was quite good, service was quite poor. We had reservations. We entered the restaurant and waited EIGHT MINUTES to be greeted at the door. There were two other groups waiting to be greeted as well. Two female servers repeatedly walked past the reception area without acknowledging the waiting people. We waited a long time to place our orders and the food took a very long time to come. We waited about thirty minutes to receive our appetizers and then another twenty minutes or so (after finishing the appetizers) for our mains.

                                    Service aside, when we finally got our food it was solid. We shared an anju platter, with "grilled japanese eggplant" (really good, great texture, nice glaze), "crispy rice noodle" (delish, my Korean students shared these with me once but Anju does them better- nice sticky, sweet sauce), "truffle yam fries" (no discernible truffleness and a bit undercooked, but still yummy) and kimchi (new to me, didn't love it but my friend liked it). We both had stone bowls- mine was the tofu one. I would have preferred if they hadn't used silken tofu, but the assortment of vegetables was pretty good and the rice was nicely sticky along the bottom of the super-hot bowl. Cocktails were pretty pricey (most in the $10-12 range) and a bit too sweet for me.

                                    Overall, I would return. On Friday and Saturdays they do half-price appetizers from 11:45 pm to 1:00 am- I will for sure return for appys with friends. If I do return for lunch or dinner, I'll make sure I'm not already starving by the time I get there, as it was quite the wait.

                                     
                                     
                                    1. h
                                      hsk Jul 22, 2009 10:14 PM

                                      We tried it last week, the food was really good but it's not really Korean. For starters the various sides or "tapas" that you can order are things that would be included as condiments (i.e. free with dinner) at every Korean restaurant I've ever been to ( they vary, but everything other than the blue crab and dried anchovies I've had at one time or another). The blue crab was great, a little messy but absolutely delicious, raw but "cooked" like ceviche. I'd never had it before, I could go back just for that. I thought the anchovies would be different that they were - dried and just tossed in something spicy. I'd had those fish before, I just never knew they were anchovies (which I love in caesar salad and on pizza).

                                      The dinner entrees were very good, the space was beautiful, the service was great. I'll definitely be back, just not when I'm craving Korean food.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: hsk
                                        b
                                        Beks Aug 4, 2009 09:53 AM

                                        I like that the reason it's not Korean enough is that you've had all the dishes at Korean restaurants before!

                                        1. re: Beks
                                          howlin Feb 22, 2010 11:13 AM

                                          i think hsk is making reference to korean banchan being included with the meals at every other korean restaurant .although restaurants charging for items preciously free is becoming the normal practice .anything to make a buck eh

                                          1. re: howlin
                                            h
                                            hsk Feb 22, 2010 08:05 PM

                                            Yeah that's what I meant. Charging for kimchee in a Korean restaurant is like charging for relish at McDonald's. Anju can get away with it because it's not a Korean restaurant, more like Korean-style fusion.

                                      2. Jetgirly Feb 22, 2010 10:51 AM

                                        Having company tomorrow and thought they might like Anju; looks like the menu has changed a bit and prices seem to have gone way up. Too bad!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: Jetgirly
                                          b
                                          Bex_03 Feb 22, 2010 01:21 PM

                                          The price isn't too bad. It looks like people were saying the stone rice bowl was $13 and now it's $15, which is pretty similar. I went the other night with my family (5 of us). We had about 10 dishes (ranging from $4 to $15), 2 rice, 2 seaweed salad, 5 drinks and 2 desserts. It came out to be around $160 which I think is pretty appropriate for this type of restaurant.

                                          I love the food at Anju, my only problem is the service. It really ruins a perfect meal when it looks like your waitress would rather be somewhere else. She was incredibly difficult to get a hold of (the restaurant is only so big...), would randomly disappear for long periods of time, and couldn't remember well...anything without constant reminder. And I know they don't have to do this...but smiling is nice sometimes. Cold, hard stares and blank expression...not so nice.

                                          1. re: Bex_03
                                            Jetgirly Feb 22, 2010 02:47 PM

                                            I swear that on my last visit the Anju platter was $12 and you could pick the things you wanted; now it's $20 and it's "chef's choice" with "no substitutions". The same things we got for $12 on the platter would cost twice that now if purchased individually, and there's no indication portion sizes would be different. That platter itself was a draw for me as a vegetarian, but not anymore.

                                            1. re: Jetgirly
                                              h
                                              hsk Feb 22, 2010 08:16 PM

                                              There are lots of Korean restaurants in Calgary where 5-7 side dishes come with the meal for free, and other than the occasional squid or fish dish (rare bcuz it's more expensive) they are always vegetarian. For mains you could have miso and tofu dishes, BBQ/hot pot with vegetarian items, green onion pancakes, jap chae without the meat - lots of choices.

                                              -----
                                              Anju Restaurant & Lounge
                                              507 10 St SW, Calgary, AB T2P, CA

                                              Dae Jang Geum Korean Restaurant
                                              1324 10 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T3C 0Z2, CA

                                              Seoul Korean BBQ
                                              4336 MacLeod Trail SW, Calgary, AB T2G 0A4, CA

                                              Koreana BBQ Restaurant
                                              7400 #17 MacLeod Trail SE, Calgary, AB T2H 0L9, CA

                                              Clubhouse Family Restaurant & Lounge
                                              5012 16 Ave NW, Calgary, AB T3B 0N3, CA

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