Whenever my friends and I go to La Sema Korean Spa to spend the night there, we always have dinner at Ara Korean Restaurant. The location is convenient as it can easily be seen before you enter the parking lot.
We always frequent small Korean restaurants, and this is one of the biggest I had been to aside from K-Pub BBQ Restaurant in Bonifacio Global City. The restaurant occupies the whole building; it has two floors and function rooms for private events.
While we were waiting for our main dish, we were served side dishes consisting of soybean sprouts, boiled spinach, fried tofu with sauce, kimchi pancake, and kimchi. It is typical for Koreans to have side dishes with every meal. I have always enjoyed trying these as the set varies in each restaurant.
Based on my experience, they change side dishes according to what is in season. Here are the other side dishes we have tried on some nights that we had our dinner here:
Of course, kimchi will always be a mainstay in Korean side dish. When I first tried kimchi a few years ago, I did not like it. But I have grown to love this side dish and my tolerance for spicy food have greatly improved too.
We ordered samgyeopsal (thick fatty slices of pork belly meat) which is a popular Korean dish that most foreigners have grown to love, and this is our favorite Korean dish too. You can grill the meat with onion and garlic and dip it in soybean paste or in sesame seed oil mixed with salt and pepper. If you have higher tolerance for spicy food, you may include sliced green pepper and shredded onion when you wrap the meat with lettuce. For me, the meat tastes better with raw garlic.
We also ordered kimchi stew, spicy stir fried squid, and spicy fried pork.
Overall, food quality is average. I have yet to try their other dishes as we have always ordered our favorite dishes whenever we go here. What I love about this restaurant is its location, which is not too busy area in Makati and it is spacious too so it can accommodate big groups. It has a nearby parking lot, Korean spa, and Korean grocery store. They also give freebies depending on the dish you ordered as well as free dessert consisting of pineapple slices and cinnamon juice after each meal. There was also a time when my classmates from Elementary Korean 1 together with our Korean teacher were given free tickets to a mini concert of classical music artists. The tickets were limited and not all of us were given but the gesture was greatly appreciated.
Address: 7232 Malugay St. Bel-Air Makati City, Philippines
Landmarks: It is 5 to 10-minute walk from The Columns, RCBC Building, Makati Post Office, FEU Makati. It is within the same area as the Makati Golf Club.
Phone Number: (02) 817-1206
Restaurant Hours: 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Monday to Sunday.
Budget: P300 to P600 per person/meal (in group)