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korean restaurants-please help with recs

  • l

I need good Korean restaurant recomendations anywhere in the Bay area. More specifically, I'm looking for a place with great panchan and the full complement of Korean restaurant dishes (incl. najibokum). I do not want an Americanized bbq place (Brothers stinks!).

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  1. I still enjoy Han II Kwan, 1802 Balboa St. 415-752-4447

    1. Drive out of the City and go to Oakland. There is no KTown in SF (other than about 60% of Japantown), but there is a growing mile-long strip in Oakland that is filled with Korean stores and restaurants.

      Restaurants that will get mentioned frequently are Koryo and Sam Won. If you're really adventurous (and better yet have Korean-fluent people in your party), then try "gAHn-TOEng deh-zee" (SIC, capitalized letters represent phonetic English, the literal translation from Korean to English is "crazy pig"). Sorry, don't know the actual spelling, I just know how to get to their location on Telegraph, just below West MacArthur, next to a corner liquor store and across the street from a mortuary. It's been a number of months since I was last there, but they still did not have a sign and didn't seem to care.

      If you do make it there, order one of the combo meals, which will include a variety of raw meats and veggies that you will cook yourself on the tabletop grill along with a bottle, or bottles, of soju (aka Korean firewater). Key difference here is that instead of getting lettuce to wrap up your meat, veggies, rice and sauce, you'll receive thin rice wrappers which you flashgrill, then wrap around your meat, veggies and sauce.

      You'll get out of there stuffed, smelly (from the grilling) and soused for less than $20/person, tops (more likely $15/person).

      1. My favorite is Sahn Maru, also has been mentioned favorably on this board. The best panchan, in my opinion. My favorite entree there is the special chicken with sweet potatoes, cabbage and rice cakes...delicious. It's on the west side of Telegraph in Oakland, between 43rd and 44th (across the street from Koryo, which has fallen out of favor with me).

        1. n
          Niki Rothman

          Is Hahn's Hibachi on West Portal in SF any good?
          Their take-out menu that I picked up when walking by
          has the most hyperbolic bragging I've ever seen.
          One dish is called "Mountain of Meat"

          5 Replies
          1. re: Niki Rothman

            Hahn's hibachi is not a traditional Korean dining experience. I think the "mountain of meat" pretty much tells it all. Quantity - not quality.

            1. re: Niki Rothman

              my friend who grew up in Korea used to take me to Seoul Garden in Japantown.

              1. re: Niki Rothman

                Hahn's Hibachi is gringo Korean. Started by non-Koreans to serve westernized Korean food.

                1. re: soju

                  I have to clarify that Hahn's Hibachi was STARTED by true Koreans - my parents started this restaurant back in the 70's, and my halmunee (grandma) was the chef. Whoever took it over since has turned it into the non-authentic place it is now. Just needed to get that out there.

                  That being said, I second Koryo in the east bay.

                  Link: http://jennipah.blogspot.com/

                2. re: Niki Rothman

                  Anyone who watched the series "Cheers" will appreciate this:

                  "Hahn's Hibachi...is a trough!"

                  "Oh yeah??!!?? Well you tell me where you can get a better $1.99 steak, huh??"

                  Hahn's is entirely about quantity. Koreans universally shun Hahn's as a dining destination.

                3. go to Han Sung on El Camino in Santa Clara!

                  my fav!

                  1. I like Shin Toe Bul Yi (2001 Taraval), where you receive quite an array of panchan as well as complimentary scallion pancake (and sometimes we've been given complimentary grilled fish collar and a spicy, brothy tofu soup as well!).

                    1. maybe this is what you're looking for:

                      in the south bay ( Santa Clara )

                      Korea House ( on El Camino, near San Thomas ). It's a very popular place, tasty food, hearty portion. Eating there makes you feel you're eating at your favorite Korean auntie's house and you never leave hungry because she keeps bringing out those little dishes, we always have to beg her to stop bringing us more food.