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I've been checking the boards on the old conversations about Korean restaurants.

Does anyone have any updated information about Korean dining experience in Montreal? I've only read about 3 restos: Man Na, Hwang Kum and the little korean restaurant in Snowdon (forget the name). I've heard mixed reviews on that third place. Don't go there, go there...Any other's besides those three?

I've only been to one Korean place in Old Montreal called Nagoya and I was pretty disappointed. It was trying to be more of a Japanese sushi place than Korean. Their bulgogi was much too sweet for my taste. Their kimchi was too mild and there wasn't much for choices. I grew up on southern South Korean cuisine which is more spicier and savory than the northern part of South Korea (which is known for milder and sweeter dishes).

I'm looking for place with a great bulgogi or kalbi (marinated beef), chaghamyun (black bean noodle dish)and kimchi chigae (kimchi stew).

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  1. I'd have to say that my two favourite places are Hwang-Kum House in NDG and Seoul in Westmount. I love the Kalbi at Hwang-Kum. So tender and tasty. The two places are very good in their own way. I can't speak to their authenticity since I am sadly but a gringo tourist in those places.

    1. I was just researching Korean BBQ joints to help out a recent Aussie transplant to Montreal, and besides Hwang Kum, found these:

      Korea House
      4950 Queen Mary - Snowdon Metro (Snowdon area)
      Montrealfood.com review: http://www.montrealfood.com/restos/ko...

      1858 Ste-Catherine W. - corner St-Marc, Guy metro (downtown
      )Mtl Mirror review: http://www.montrealmirror.com/2005/03...
      Hour review: http://www.hour.ca/food/food.aspx?iID...

      La Maison Bulgogi
      2127 Ste-Catherine W. - two blocks east of Atwater, Atwater metro (downtown
      )Mtl Mirror review: http://www.montrealmirror.com/2006/02...

      We went to Arirang last week and though the food was quite good, it was one of the strangest restaurant experiences any of the four of us had ever had. First the waitress said that two of the dishes we wanted to order weren't available. Then she came back and said they *were* available, but the one we'd ordered instead *wasn't.* Then the food arrived and was placed in front of us, and the (sole) waitress went off to take orders at another table. Only problem? She'd neglected to leave us utensils of any kind, and when we called her over to tell her, she made a gesture like "Yeah, I know you don't have cutlery or chopsticks, I'll get to it!"

      Extremely odd, to say the least.

      I'm looking forward to trying some of the others.

      1. The Quatre Saisons on St. Jacques opposite the St. Henri metro has good BBQ. Manna on Bishop has tasty and spicy kimchi chigae. La Maison Bulgogi on Ste Catherine West near Atwater has decent though uneven BBQ. There's a place on Cavendish below Sherbrooke in NDG whose name escapes me that has good food. Chez Bong on Mackay below Ste Catherine has good chaghamyun. There's a restaurant of the same name though of no relation in Chinatown on St. Laurent south of de la Gauchetiere in the basement that isn't that great.

        1. When you are talking about BBQ, do you mean the Yakiniku BBQ you cook yourself in the middle of the table or something else?

          1. Oh yummy! I can't wait to go and try these places.

            Thank you for the recommendations!

            1. I was at Maison Bulgogi a couple of weeks ago, they set up the BBQ in the middle of the table & you cook your own meat, it was fun (and delicious!) Lots of side dishes, I didn't even know what some were, but they were tasty! Recommend.

              1. Okay, today, I had to go to Snowdon.

                While there, I went to Korea House for lunch. I walked into the place and felt like I was transported back in time when I was still living in Seoul with my mother as a young child. The place looked like the neighborhood restaurant that we always used to go to. Nothing fancy. I would equate it to the Korean version of a diner.

                I found the food to be not great but, not very bad. You know - diner quality. It's the only analogy that comes to mind. It was just okay. The price was very good. I found the kimchi to be a decent commercial version, the bulgogi too sweet and not garlicky enough, the gimbap was lacking and the mandoo was not homemade.

                Having said this about the food, there was something about the place that I liked. I couldn't put my finger on it. Perhaps it was the comforting sense of familiarity. Although, I didn't try the kimchi jigae (kimchi stew), I suspect they probably make a good one. My theory is that every diner has just that one thing that they're really good at (i.e. hamburgers, pancakes, pies - whatever) and I think Korea House's thing is probably the kimchi jigae.

                I would return to this place for one reason and one reason only.

                I have to sate my curiousity to see if I'm right about their kimchi jigae.

                Other than that, I can't say that I can recommend this place to any other Korean. Sorry Korea House!

                1. so check it out !!!!!
                  Chez Bong in Chinatown, Montreal is THE best korean food i've ever tasted... not just in montreal, but toronto, New York, even Seoul.... one time i was there and there were korean tourists from korea and he says to the chef: "i've never had korean food like this even in korea.."

                  so check it out.. there's been a review in the Mirror last year and one giant one in La presse last month...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: annechoco

                    Chez Bong was just reviewed in today's Saturday Montreal Gazette by Sarah Musgrave. A mild recommendation by her. I was going to provide a link, but unfortunately the Gazette has just changed their policy again, the restaurant reviews are only available to Gazette online subscribers(it doesn't matter to me much, as I'm a Gazette subscriber & get their online subscription included).

                  2. There is a small korean restaurant on the corner of Chomedey & St. Catherine's (near Atwater) that has had good reviews.
                    I think that it is called Bulgogi...(good sign!)
                    Let us know what you find!

                    1. There's also a tiny tiny all-you can eat Korean BBQ house on Queen Mary right in front of Snowdon metro (Chinese owned). It was a year ago so I cannot remember the specifics but remember it being very decent for the price - under $20. The owner or chef was even trying out new ingredients to serve. Also house drinks such as soy was included in the price. Don't know if it is still there.

                      1. I find Chez Bong (St-Laurent, below de la Gauchetiere) to be fine for lunch but lacking in quality to be taken seriously as a restaurant where I'd take someone to dinner. I'm trying Man Na this evening and will report back.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: furtive

                          What about Maison Seoul on Sherbrooke W.

                        2. Recently went back to Quatre Saisons: oxtail soup, spicy tofu soup and mandoo soups were all good; the thing that bugged us is they are no longer offering free refills of banchan but are now charging 2$ per! Kimchi was tasty-spicy though.....
                          New(?) Kagopa on St. Jacques in auto body shop-land - former hole-in-the-wall with tiny karaoke rooms and yummy homemade bloodsausage, may or may not be same owners....must investigate.....

                          1 Reply
                          1. I used to swear by the Hwang Kum house, but when I went last they didn't offer me the spicy nappa kimchi and tried to dissuade me from getting a spicy cold noodle dish. I had to insist I could handle the spiciness and ask specifically for the nappy kimchi (which should be standard). But, when I last had their kimchi chigae, it was pretty good. The place across from Snowdon metro is quite good, and they sometimes cook the meat at your table for you. Last, Korea House in Westmount is ok, but their Korean Style seafood Shabu Shabu (fondue) is excellent and worth the money.

                            1. I like Seoul, but my current favorite is La Maison Bulgogi. The bulgogi is very well marinated. I don't normally order this dish as my mother's bulgogi is really fantastic, but their bulgogi is comparable to my mom's. And it is fun to cook it at the table. The pa jon (seafood pancake with green onions) is very good, especially the sauce it comes with.They do a very nice Squid/pork belly stir fry in chili sauce, and a very tasty dok bokki (rice cakes in chili sauce with pork). The pork neck bone/potato soup (kam Ja tang) is very good as well. The only dish I have been disappointed with so far has been the dolsut bibimbap, other than that I have been happy. I have not yet tried the chajangmyun. But even my very picky Korean mother liked the food in this place, enough even to ask for one of her recipes (A major sign of approval from my mom), And the kimchi is excellent. I have been often disappointed in the kimchi at other places.

                              1. There is a newish Korean place on Upper Lachine in NDG called Chez Hwang (no relation to Hwang Kum apparently), and I highly recommend it. All the BBQ items were great, the galbi and bulgogi were great, not too sweet, very tender and almost impossible to overcook. The dok-bok-gi (spelling!) called "spicy chicken" was also very good, regardless of the generic name. First rate kimchi, "Korean sour pickle" and other great sides were all enjoyable, and the service was attentive and informative. I also liked their pajun (seafood and green onion pancake) was much thinner and less greasy then the equivalent at Hwang Kum. This place is not busy (not the best location) and I hope people can stop by before it is gone.

                                5 Replies
                                  1. re: T.I.M.

                                    T.I.M., I seriously have to disagree. If you consider this good Korean food, you need to try some others - preferably outside Montreal. This is the worst Korean food I have ever had in my life. Just brutal. Not one person at my table had one good thing to say about the food.

                                    1. re: psychodad

                                      Maybe instead of posting sweeping statements about how horrible it was on every related thread, you could give some details as to why you found it so deplorable?

                                      1. re: mainsqueeze

                                        Let's start with the banchan dishes then. They were old and poorly prepared. The chapjae, for instance, was probably at least a couple days old. The color was almost grey and the smell was off. The taste was bland and off as well. The kimchi was dry, off color, bland, and terrible tasting all around. And for some strange reason, we found it in every single dish!

                                        I ordered the gamjatang. I have never seen kimchi in the dish, and I have eaten many a gamjatang over many years in Korea and Canada. The pork itself was poorly seasoned and smelled almost gamey - again, something I have never experienced. The broth was pure grease and sported the strangest shade of red/crimson I have seen in this dish. How did it get so oily?

                                        My wife, my mother in law, and my mom all shared a big pot of haemul jeongol which was cooked at the table. Again, there were massive pieces of kimchi in there, and we were all puzzled. There were also udon noodles and a raw egg ... hmm ok ... That's uh ... new. The actual seafood ingredients were not fresh either - rubbery from being in the deep freeze too long.

                                        My dad's kalbitang had no kalbi (only a few grams of shredded beef) and surprise also had kimchi in it.

                                        No one at the table finished, and we were all starving for anything edible after a long road trip from Toronto.

                                        1. re: psychodad

                                          What other Korean restaurants have you been to in Montreal? Do you have a favourite?

                                  2. Chez Hwang's address is 5545 Upper Lachine, kitty corner to Momesso's (great Italian sub shop).

                                    1. 황가네 Hwanggane is effectively a tasteful restaurant.
                                      I will try another farther in west 가고파 (gapopa), I've heard a lot of compliment about !
                                      6400-B, St-Jacques West.
                                      황금하우스 hwang-geum House on Sherbrooke West also have a nice reputation.

                                      It's funny to read compliments about Bulgogi house, any of my Korean friends and me love this place !?
                                      Chez bong is really appreciated but it's sino-korean food ;)

                                      5 Replies
                                      1. re: myamata

                                        Funny, I asked a Korean friend about Maison Bulgogi the other day, and he said "Oh, that place is horrible". I wonder if it is about regionality of Korean cuisine, or a matter of taste.

                                        1. re: emerilcantcook

                                          Could be many things... Did he say what he didn't like? No question that how your mother cooks may greatly affect your tastes. Also, some people react to the "dive" quality of the place. It isn't elegant, and that may affect the perception of the food.

                                          I would be very interested in your friend's recommendations! Always willing to try new places or revisit old ones in case things have improved!

                                          1. re: moh

                                            He said if he has to eat Korean food in this town (implying that most are mediocre), he would prefer "the one on Sherbrooke W", but he didn't know the name. I think he meant Hwang Kum, but not sure. This particular friend doesn't like spicy food as well (he is a Bangkok mild type), so I am guessing he grow up with a different type of cooking. I'll see if he has any other recco for us :)

                                            1. re: emerilcantcook

                                              Thanks Emerilcantcook!

                                              There are definitely Koreans who don't like spicy, although they are less numerous than the ones that eat chiles like there is no tomorrow.

                                              Also, I do find that there are still a lot of Koreans who prefer home cooked meals, unless they are in places like LA, Toronto, and perhaps Chicago, places that have a significant number of Korean restaurants and lots of choice. That's fair, although the good news is that Korean is becoming much more popular, and I find that the quality of restaurants in other places is improving!

                                        2. re: myamata

                                          Kagopa, happily, run by same owners, with a real sign, expanded and renovated dining room (with a big private dining room complete with old karaoke system from pre-renovated joint), real menus ( as opposed to a few options rattled off by waitress) and same delish bloodsausage.Hooray!

                                        3. We tried Seoul BBQ on Cavendish las night and were pretty pleased. They lady serving us was so nice. We had:

                                          • seafood pa jeon. We always order this at korean restaurants and compare. This one was slightly over cooked and extra salty. I wouldn't say it had a generous amount of seafood in it, but it was okay.
                                          • mandu gook (dumpling soup with egg): these dumplings were extra plump with lots of meat in them. Very good.
                                          • spicy chicken bbq: a bit dried out and not that spicy. It was okay.

                                          The banchan were really good! I especially liked their kimchi and the pickled cucumbers.

                                          2 Replies
                                          1. re: mainsqueeze

                                            We've never had a bad meal there, not even close. They're always super friendly, even when they're overwhelmed by the frequent Korean bus tours that descend upon them.

                                            1. re: bomobob

                                              Consistent service is definitely a plus, will be checking this place out! For now, I live close to Maison Bulgogi and love dropping by there while my laundry is done next doors. They are consistently polite, friendly, and bring the food promptly (within 15 minutes).

                                          2. So, it looks like this thread could use a little bit of an update. I've explored the Montreal Korean food scenc a little since first arriving in 2007. For awhile, Maison du Bulgogi was my go-to place. However, in the past year and half I find it seriously lacking especially in their beloved pajeon. Has something changed there and I missed it??

                                            Then it was Chez Hwang (Upper LaChine) for a bit. It was quite good. It was even recommended by other Korean friends. However, in the past six months they've had someone new cooking and the quality has gone downhill.

                                            Korea House (Snowdon) NEVER AGAIN. The food is inconsistent and the husband and wife owner team are the most miserable people I've ever seen. I once had a really good kimchi jigae there, but that was the one and only time. I suspect the cook left once the miserableness of the husband and wife became apparent.

                                            5000 ans on St. Denis. I was a bit underwhelmed by the place. I found everything too sweet. The worst part was that they were hesitant about my order. They kept asking me if I liked spicy food. I was a bit surprised because it's clear that I am of Asian decent and the food is not unfamiliar to me.

                                            Man-na on Bishop. Ummm...if you're looking for sub-par Korean food you're almost better off going to KimChi in the food court at the Eaton Centre.

                                            Chez Bong on Bishop. I've only tried the black bean noodles and it was good. Their radish kimchi was also well done. I have yet to try the location in Chinatown. I'm headed downtown on Friday and may go back there to try other dishes.

                                            Petit Tteokbokki on Sherbrooke near Concordia's Loyola campus. A bit disappointing when their specialty dish is one of the worst I've had in Montreal. This is a more of a neighborhood cafe with hints of Korean cuisine.

                                            Resto DaMoa. Little cafe near Concordia's Loyola campus. I've talked about this place before. Not a huge menu, but worth the drive for the homemade mandoo and stir-fried bulgogi. The mandoo is the best in Montreal and I don't say that lightly. I can literally eat dozens of their mandoo and never get sick of it. The stir-fried bulgogi is quite good as well, it's not as sweet as other versions I've tried. Their version of bulgogi is stir-fried with a mix of vegetables.

                                            My recent go-to place is Seoul BBQ on Cavendish in NDG. They have a really good array of banchan, well seasoned and their version of the potatoes is much better than Maison. Their kimchi is okay, but nothing to write home about. Their seafood pajeon has real seafood in it and vegetables! You can distinguish what these items are in the pajeon. As far as pajeons go, I find theirs to be best out of all that I've tried even Maison du Bulgogi's. However, I wish their dipping sauce was more than just soy sauce with a touch of vinegar.

                                            There a few hidden gems worth mentioning. The Korean grocery store next to Maison du Bulgogi and their sister store on Decarie near the Vendome metro sells gimbap, which I call the Korean version of sushi. Although, it is very different than Japanese sushi, it is quite good. I've turned a few friends onto it and they love it! Also very affordable. At $2 a roll, two rolls will fill you up! The rolls are made by the grandma. I just have this romanticized image of her making all these rolls in the back of the store.

                                            Additionally, the best kimchi hands down can be found at a place called Copacabana on St. Laurent (across the street from Moishe's). Their food in general is quite good, it's an Asian fusion restaurant. Their kimchi is very, very, very good. Unfortunately, they don't sell it and they should. You have to order a dish that comes with it. The chef is Argentinian who learned how to make it from his Korean friend. This kimchi is full of spice and the right kind of flavoring (i.e. mini shrimps). If you want to taste real homegrown kimchi this is the place. Kimchi should be spicy, garlicky, and have a subtle undertone of fishiness. This kimchi has it.

                                            As for Korean BBQs, as a Korean I tend to avoid these like the plague in restaurants. I have yet to see a restaurant that offers proper ventilation for these BBQs, which seriously affects the air quality in the restaurant. Additionally, if I wanted to cook, I would have stayed home.

                                            6 Replies
                                            1. re: calla0413

                                              Thanks for the update... Although it seems our korean scene is grim.

                                              Where would you suggest i go for good dolsop bibimbap. I know it's a pretty common food item in korea but for sentimental reasons i have been craving this dish since 2007. Can't really make it at home because of the stone pot.

                                              So where do you suggest?

                                              1. re: SourberryLily

                                                Goes to show that critiquing a restaurant is so subjective. I happen to love Chez Huang altho I do find their service inconsistant. Food is unbelieveably delicious in my opinion. Whereas Seoul BBQ on Cavendish is downright awful and I have been there a half dozen times ordering different menu items. Plus they are never busy in the half dozen times going there I can say that half we ate by ourselves. Oh and they don't serve Sushi so their signage is absurd.

                                                5000 ans on Monkland is a restaurant that I cannot even slightly suggest you eat at....it is the worst Korean I have experienced not to mention their seating arrangements are at park picknik benches.

                                                I won't comment on the other ones mentioned previously to you SourberryLily, as I have not been to any of those.

                                                Backing up to 5000 Ans on Monkland, which I visited because of the most recent Gazette review, does not give any Kimchi with their BBQ instead they offer up a plate of Bulgogi, yes that is right Bulgogi. Nada Kimchi and they are Korean,no?

                                                I cannot possibly understand how our Gazette under $25 critic could have recommended such a bad, bad restaurant.
                                                If you do go to Chez Huang make sure that you get the Miso soup that comes with most of their meals because sometimes the waitress forgets and yes, they do need another waitress I agree.

                                                1. re: blondee_47

                                                  Blondee_47 - unlike you, I had a great meal at 5000 Ans on Monkland recently. Food was delicious and plentiful, service was friendly. I didn't mind the odd seating and found the private booth very cozy. The complimentary iced barley tea was very refreshing. I had the bimimbap with grilled chicken and hubby had something with beef, though I can't remember exactly what.

                                                  A group of us had a very good meal at Hwang Kum on Sherbrooke. They don't take reservations so we got there at 6 pm and snagged a table for 9. Service was good, food was yummy. We shared 8 appetizers and a main dish each and it came out to $25 each including tax & tip. The only folks who weren't thrilled with their dishes were the two who ordered the conch - which turned out to be a cold dish. Not what they were expecting and they found it too chewy and just not very enjoyable. But everyone else was happy.

                                                  1. re: kpzoo

                                                    which is why Montreal is great in that we don't kill restaurants with our reviews...and that is probably the best part of our dining scene. Everything you mentioned is what turned me off...I'm feeling a television show here :)) (roger and ebert?)

                                                2. re: SourberryLily

                                                  IMHO the Best Bibimbap is at Kagopa on St-Jacques next to Classy Car wash (which, incidentally, has the least classy tag line of any business!)

                                                  Hwang Kum is also very good - go there for the best pajun.

                                                3. re: calla0413

                                                  I recently tried Miga and it was far better than the 2 recs that I checked out from the Toronto discussion on Korean food... Standard Korean but done well and BYOB. Very friendly service too!

                                                4. WHAT IS THE BEST KOREAN RESTAURANT IN MTL FOR VEGETARIANS?
                                                  I've been trying to find online menus, but I know these are small restaurants. Can anyone tell me which restaurant would be the best bet for 2 vegetarians dining out?
                                                  Our first Korean restaurant experience was a few weeks ago at Asiana in Burlington VT and they did up a fantastic bento plate with tofu instead of beef.
                                                  Thank you for your help.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: cats04

                                                    Miga has a vegetarian menu and will also prepare all their other dishes without meat by request. I have tried it a few times as I avoid beef and they'll substitute tofu if you want.

                                                  2. Black goat soup at Maison Bulgogi, I go every time I'm in town. Gamey, spicy, delicious. Use to have a big meaty rib in it but alas no longer, still good though. Apart from this soup I've never found MB to be anything out of the ordinary.

                                                    1. Petit Tokebi has some of the best Korean, and while I think the owners might be confused (I think they are sorely lacking in the concept of promotion), they have some very delicious beef udon dishes. I have never had a bad meal there.

                                                      Tokebi Restaurant
                                                      1195 Rue Crescent, Montreal, QC H3G2B1, CA