NOREN, a cute Japanese restaurant on rue Rachel, has opened its door lately, and went viral on social media due to its minimal, and clean decor. The food? They were delicious! Simple menu, yet comforting items that I wouldn’t mind to visit everyday.
The restaurant resembles a typical Japanese home restaurant, which doesn’t have a lot of seats. There are only chairs along the L-shape counter. The entire restaurant is bright and sunny, which made me felt relax too.
The diners can see the every movements in the kitchen while waiting for your meals. I was kind of surprise to see those portable gas stoves, but all the kitchen appliances are from Japan!
It was such a hot day, so my friend and I started with a refreshing drink: house soda with yuzu (left) and ginger (right) flavor. I liked the yuzu more as the ginger was a bit too sweet for me. They also have calpice, which is one of my childhood favorite drinks!
While waiting for our food, we munched on these marinated cucumbers and seaweed. It was crunchy and well-seasoned. Something that I make at home all the time too.
NOREN specializes in two items: okonomiyaki and tacoyaki. Okonomiyaki is a type of savory pancake originated from the Hiroshima area. It’s filled with cabbage, pork with their homemade sauce, mayo, seaweed flakes, and topped with a handful of bonito flakes and marinated ginger. I loved this, because it’s filled with a lot of cabbages, and who doesn’t like bonito flakes?
Tacoyaki is another specialty of NOREN. It’s those one-bite balls filled with squid pieces. NOREN has 4 sauces: classic, ponzu, cari, and mayo-chili. We opted for ponzu as they mentioned that the classic sauce would be similar to the okonomiyaki sauce. It’s also my first time having it with scallions topping, because normally, it’s with handful of bonito flakes. The tacoyakis were served tongue-burning hot. It was so soft and pillowy.
Besides the tacoyki and okonomiyaki as the staples on the menu, NOREN also has weekly specials. It was locomoco during the week that we went. It’s a classic family dish in Japan, as well as a Hawaiian dish. The plate consists of a meatball with caramelized onions, a sunny-side egg (so pretty!), a salad and served with rice. I didn’t have this as the meatball is made with a mix of beef and pork, but my friend said it was good.
After the meal, you can either have a dessert, which changes regularly or they do pour over for coffee!
Overall, I loved this cute spot on the Rachel. It is definitely a spot that I’ll keep going back for their okonomiyaki and tacoyaki. Nothing on the menu exceeds $9, so it’s very easy to just get one of each on the menu if you go with a friend. The restaurant owners are very friendly. The service could be a bit slow as everything is made on the spot, but the food will make up for it.
77 Rue Rachel O, Montréal
Tel: +1 (514) 397-1141