Arario is an almost-hidden gem
Easy to miss, hard to forget; that may be the best way to describe Arario Midtown, a Korean fusion restaurant impressing Reno residents from every neighborhood with its one-of-a-kind, multicultural cuisine.
Situated above Noble Pie on South Center Street, the second-floor eatery takes up corner real estate with a moderately sized indoor/outdoor space you might miss if you didn’t know it was there. Word is out though, clearly, and reservations are recommended as the kitchen gets busy, especially around dinner time.
The menu here is unlike any other in the city, starting with the cocktails. Beer and wine are both available at the full bar, but the way Arario dreams up signature cocktails is truly an art form, offering twists on classics and currently an Aperol Spritz heavy on citrus flavors of orange, lemon and lime, balanced by bubby prosecco and strong vermouth. It takes time to create perfection, however, so we recommend getting drink orders in fast and calling for round two before you take the final sips of your first drink.
For dinner, don’t skip the starters. Shareable plates are part of the charm of Arario, giving you ample opportunity to try many of its offbeat concoctions. The Edamame is especially good. Upping the ante on the Asian classic starter, Arario’s version is served with roasted garlic and Romano pecorino cheese, served nice and soft with bold flavors.
The Porky Pops are another unexpected surprise. Slow braised pork ribs are deep fried and slathered with your choice of sweet and spicy K sauce or garlic soy sauce, the latter of which provides a mild but flavorful taste that resembles crispy maple syrup, if you can imagine that.
For main courses, the menu is broken up into two sections: traditional Korean fare and fusion menu items. Each is indicated as organic, gluten-free, vegetarian or vegan, making sticking to a diet easier than deciding what to order from the varied menu.
Bulgogi—which means fire meat in Korean—is popular in many dishes, and you can hear it popping and sizzling from the restaurant’s open kitchen.
777 S. Center St., Suite 200, Reno, NV 89501
Monday, Wednesday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday 1 to 9 p.m.
If you came here for the fusion, don’t look past the bowls, which pack a lot of ingredients into an easy serving. The Ika Ika Bowl was my meal of choice on trip one to Arario’s. Served with a half-pound, grass-fed beef patty atop a mountain of bell pepper, sliced carrots and steamed rice smothered in black bean gravy. The finishing touches include a fried egg that oozes over the patty the second you slice into it and a power blend of vegetables, making for a filling and healthful meal that hits all of the major food groups.
Other menu standouts include a whole squid salad for the more adventurous eater, complimented with sweet corn and chimichurri; a Korean twist on the cheese steak sandwich dubbed the S.C.S.S. (Seoul Cheese Steak Sandwich) made with bulgogi, onion, mushroom, bell pepper and tomato before it’s smothered in pepper jack cheese and a garlic pesto aioli; and a gluten-free Miso King Salmon donning a miso soy glaze, dried fruit and seeds.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. She graduated from California State University Sacramento with a bachelor’s in English and is pursuing her master’s in Professional Journalism as we speak. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.