Ara is a Korean restaurant located on SW Murray Blvd in Beaverton, Oregon.
With the plethora of cuisines and great options in and around Portland, I rarely venture out of that area these days for food when in Oregon. But it's a special occasion for me when I get to hang with a good buddy that had recently moved back to the area.
My friend Peter Park, is a person I hung out with a lot during our law school days. He too loves food but is also a real estate broker in Portland with a website focusing on Portland neighborhoods and the local housing market. Look him up if you're seeking a house in the Portland area.
Recently, we both craved Korean food and hit up Ara for our fix. Upon scanning the menu, we had a bit of trouble figuring out what to order. Lots of tasty options, such as Bibimbap (in a stone pot), dumplings (boiled or fried), and numerous spicy dishes.
We started with an array of Asian appetizers. I'll take a big helping of that kimchi any day.
The first meal we tried was the Korean old style bento ($9.99), which includes a bed of rice, a fried egg, kimchi, gochujang, and what looked like some type of luncheon meat. Topped with nori (dried seaweed). An interesting Korean twist on the Japanese single-portion meal. This dish -- along with many others -- is only featured (to my knowledge) on the menu running from 7 PM and later.
Next up was the Kimchi Stew with Pork Belly ($8.99 lunch price; $12.99 dinner price). It's thinly sliced pork belly among a generous portion of kimchi and adding jalapenos. It comes with a side of white rice. Especially for those cold nights, this a welcome dish to have on the table. Delicious and flavorful, served in a stone bowl.
To me, the best dish was the Spicy Octopus ($17.99) with noodles. Small pieces of chewy octopus with vegetables and a bunch of gochujang again.
All the portions were nice-sized, and good service overall.
For me, my defaults likely would end up being the Beef Bibimbap ($15.99 lunch price; $17.99 dinner price, which they may have been apparently out of when we went, and the fried dumplings ($9.99 lunch price; $12.99 dinner price).
Ara is a darn good place to head to for Korean. 8.25/10