Another night out, another night of great dining.
Last night, my friends and I checked out the two ‘Ria’ restaurants in Sydney: Tokyo-Ria and Seoul-Ria. Tokyo-Ria is still a baby as it has only just opened and unfortunately, they are not off to a flying start. I had high expectations for this place because I’ve seen the development of this restaurant in World Square over the last few months and it looked like it was going to be a high-class restaurant.
The finished product is amazing to say the least visually-wise. It was a very well-put together restaurant with a truly modern and classy appearance and you just feel like you’re going to have a great dining experience as soon as you walk in there. And what a welcoming it was when we walked in there – we literally had 5-6 waitresses popping out from behind walls saying ‘welcome!’ in Japanese. Now, I know that’s pretty standard for a Japanese restaurant, but I’ve never felt such enthusiasm in their voices. It was nice to see but also very funny.
I haven’t even gotten to the food yet! This restaurant is certainly keeping up with the times having an electronic touchscreen menu set up at every booth. However, despite having the convenience of this, the prices we saw were not so great. First off, the choices were so limited and the meals were priced very high for the amount they were serving. A hot pot the size of a medium-sized bowl was $60. Since we were already seated, we decided we’d just have something small here and then have our main meal at another restaurant. We ordered kushi-yaki chicken skewers which came in a quantity of 2 very small skewers priced at $7 and a Tokyo-Ria style pizza at $18.
Now the food was not bad – the presentation was immaculate and it was genuinely very tasty. The skewers were nothing special, but they were the tiniest chicken skewers I’ve ever seen. The pizza was quite nice. It was essentially a seafood pizza with chunks of tuna and some prawns, capsicum and onion. It didn’t disappoint, but still, being in a group, it wasn’t enough to fill us up.
I hope they are still trying to get their feet off the ground as a new restaurant, because it did seem with their menu, among other things, needed some tweaking. I’m sure months down the track, and some hard work along the way, Tokyo-Ria will be just as successful as its partner restaurant Seoul-Ria, speaking of which, was our next stop.
Seoul-Ria is one of my favourite restaurants to eat out at in Sydney. I’ve been here a number of times and it truly is an ideal place to bring a bunch of your friends, sit down, have a conversation, have great food and experience some great service! At this restaurant, you get some decent-sized meals and affordable prices. Most of the meals are designed to be shared amongst a group of people as opposed to individuals. Here’s a tip: if you ever go with large group of friends, go for the hot pot. Hot pots range from about $30-$40 per pot. They give you a massive serving that could easily be shared amongst 5-6 people minimum. Plus, there’s quite a number of different hot pot options from which to choose.
We ordered the seafood pancake, sweet and sour chicken and bibim guksu (a cold noodle dish). The service is always fantastic here; our max waiting time was 10 minutes – they’re so quick! Not to mention the constant servings of side dishes, which by the way, are completely free. The seafood pancake is one of my favourite dishes to order here. It’s so simple and so delicious and is basically exactly how it sounds – it’s a pancake with seafood; a savoury pancake with calamari and prawns (yum!). Another favourite is the sweet and sour chicken. This is pretty much the Korean equivalent of the sweet and sour pork by the Chinese, but so much better. It’s spicy and the combination of the sweetness and tanginess with the crunchy texture of the chicken is awesome – love it! The bibim guksu is a very traditional Korean dish. For me, it’s not my thing – there’s something about the coldness of the dish that doesn’t rub me the right way. There are some definite unique flavours going on. I do recall there being julienned apple in the dish which makes for an unusual taste.
So there you have it! I recommend Seoul-Ria for sure for those spicy food lovers and if you want quick and efficient service with generous portions and affordable prices, this is the place to go. As for Tokyo-Ria, I’d like to think it’s not so impressive start will lead to something better and to the standard of its partner restaurant.
Until next time, food lovers.
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