Atlanta Korean restaurants
- steve drucker
Here are a few we know (in no particular order). I've run into Korean friends from the food business at all of them from time to time.
The best bbq:
Haeundae(sp?) they bring live wood coals to your table. the side dishes are non-descript. Buford hwy, outside 285, in a little strip center with an x-rated movie theater.
Asiana Garden, Asia Square, Buford Hwy inside 285. full korean menu, sushi and bbq. definitely a scene. Open late.
Cho Sun Ok. Buford hwy,outside 285, next to Tower Liquors. My longtime favorite for home style, has trended steadily downhill over the last five years. Korean business colleagues from Chicago were recently terribly under-whelmed (they chose it themselves from web references about Atlanta's KoreaTown area).
One bowl meal:
Tofu House. Just inside 285 in an old fast food location. Mostly just soups/stews/jigae's. pretty good for its limited menu.
Lunch or Banquet:
Seoul Garden. Outside 285 about 2 miles in an old Western Sizzler. full korean menu and sushi. banquet rooms.
On my list:
Ilmee (sp?). Cobb Pkwy/US 41 in Marietta. A very small homestyle family run place that multiple reliable reports say is very good for their chicken and squid dishes. On my list to try.
There are a ton more places on the Buford Hwy corridor I haven't yet tried. Reports anyone? In general, I've had better Korean in Chicago and NY.
Woo Chon in Norcross has really good naeng myun noodles, and Alranda Gardens is a mighty weird joint (carpeted walls, Hello Kitty phones at every table, for instance) but has great one-pot jun gols. And definitely try Harue Cafe on Buford for coffee-shop food and cucumber soju cocktails.
Late post - just joined the list and loving it.
We have eaten at 88 Tofu House on Buford Hwy once. It was based on an AJC review, and is worth a return visit - assuming you like soup.
Il-Mee on North Cobb Parkway was visited once several years ago, and none of the four of us enjoyed the meal. Since they are still there, I may try it again soon. I drive by everyday and keep thinking about it.
Chai-Gol (I think was the name) was on South Cobb Parkway just south of a Mexican restaurant where the acceleration lane from eastbound South 120 Loop ends. I don't recall the new name, but it must have changed hands recently. We ate there more often than any other Korean restaurant. The food was always enjoyable.
We went to Cho Sun Ok (Chosun OK) this past weekend on our visit down from Chicago, and reading chowhound and The Blissful Glutton. Being Korean-American and frequenting the numerous Korean places in Chicago, we found Chosun OK to be good. Not perfect at everything, but I wouldn't say underwhelmed.
The Kalbi was actually very tender and had a good flavor when cooked on the wood coal grill. The samgyup sal uncured bacon was a bit on the thick side, and they could have used more salt in the sesame oil/salt dip, but the meat quality was decent.
The pajun was more scallion than seafood, but it wasn't billed on the menu as a seafood pajun.
And the steamed mandoo were actually quite nice. Soft skin with a filling that was a good mix of meat and vegetable/noodle.
The panchan were standard and good (spinach, kimchi, sprouts, stewed potatoes, mook jelly)
Overall, I've had worse in Chicago and Seoul, as well as better. I'd give it 3 out of 4 on the Korean food scale.
5865 Buford Hwy Ne, Doraville, GA
Hae Woon Dae is the bbq spot mentioned above, decent bulgogi, gulgogi, and open quite late (4am, I believe?) for those with a nightlife.
Sister restaurant is, I think, decidedly better food: Nam Chun Hong, in Seoul Plaza, on the East side of Buford Hwy just before International Plaza as you head north of the Buford Hwy 285 intersection. They pull their own noodles, and cha jang mien (black bean sauce) and jam bong (spicy seafood broth) are excellent ways to consume them. Don't skip the dumplings, steamed pork particularly. Very good service as well.
Recent post on Atlantacuisine.com says that Nam Chun Hong are no longer making their own noodles. I'm also told it's a Korean style "chinese restaurant".
So Kong Dong on Buford is a tofu house and very worthy of your patronage. They have fantastic tofu soups. Last time I was in there, clientele was 99% asian.