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Oct 20, 2007 05:04 PM

Korean North of Steeles

There have been so many Korean resturants popping between Steeles and Hwy 7 on Yonge St the last couple of years. Can anyone recommend who's good and who's not?

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  1. My wife and I really like Han iL kwan, on Steeles just west of Yonge (across from the Canadian Tire), and Sariwon (on Yonge, north of Steeles). Both are a bit larger in size, very clean and has good kim chi selection plates. Plus their ingredients are quite fresh and dishes are well prepared. I usually have the LA Kalbi at Sariwon, and Dolsot Bi Bim Bap @ Han iL Kwan. A few people recommended Nakwon, which I'll be trying out soon...

    8 Replies
    1. re: Royaljelly

      I'm one of them :)
      I think they have the best banchan (side dishes) out of all the korean places i've been to ...
      I used to get dol soht bibimbap all the time there and also their seafood pajeon (korean pancake). They have a really huge and good goat stew too.
      A big plus for them is that they're open late til 2am.. good for late night runs when most everything else is closed!

      1. re: sumashi

        Pardon my ignorance, but whereabout is 'Nakwon'? My wife loves banchan more than the main dishes so it sounds like a great candidate to take her there!

        1. re: Charles Yu

          I think this is the address for Nakwon - 5594 Yonge St (just south of Finch). I might see you there. :)

          If you really want to try lots of those little side dishes, try Oh Geul Boh Geul on Yonge (across from the Dominion on Church - free parking at rear). We went for lunch last week, and I counted 12 side dishes in total (includes a potato pancake)... that's unheard of, since most places only give you 4-6 dishes to nibble on.

          1. re: Charles Yu

            Hey Charles, Hakwon is 樂園. Very good value to eat there. Spend around $60 for 5 persons, order beef BBQ, beef rib clear broth, Bi Bim Bap and Korean bear ..etc.

            Oh Geul Boh Geul, the one at north east of the intersection ? I think I like their BBQ even more than Nakwon, both restaurant has BIG portion for the BBQ !! (the portion of 2 is enough for 3).

            1. re: skylineR33

              Hello skylineR33 and Royaljelly! OK!! I'm sold on your Oh Geul Boh Geul recs., Will make time to try it out next week.

              1. re: Charles Yu

                Hope you like it ! One thing, probaby you also know, is the poor ventilation in these Korean BBQ restaurants. I still remember one winter, there were 15 of us BBQing at the back of the private room at "Oh Geul Boh Geul", we all smell like BBQ beef after the meal !

          2. re: Charles Yu

            yep.. just on the southwest corner of Finch and Yonge. It's the second restaurant from the corner... red sign with white writing!

            Nakwon also does the bbq-table thing.. they give you a hot plate and then the raw meat to cook at your table. They give lettuce so you can wrap the meat in it.

            I also tried their kkanpungi (fried chicken pieces?) ... not as good as Chowon up the street at the southwest corner of Drewry/Cummer and Yonge, which I would also recommend if you're in the mood for it. It's a huuuge plate...definitely for sharing. That's the only dish i've tried at Chowon so I can't comment on their other food.

            Royaljelly, let me know how Nakwon's banchan compares with Oh Geul.. I haven't been to Oh Geul before, but one of my friends said he liked Nakwon's much better.

            Nakwon's banchan includes kimchi, lil hard reddish beans?, soy beansprouts, seaweed, japchae, salad, potato.... not sure if i'm missing some or if I got them all.

            I don't recommend Soban, the big restaurant right beside Nakwon. Food is not good.

            1. re: sumashi

              I agree that the banchan at Nakwon was the most plentiful and diverse and was very good. The food was great, in general. I like the little booths.

      2. This might sound strange, but the offerings in the Galleria Korean Supermarket food court aren't bad..there's more than first meets the eye on the right-hand side, (where there are two Korean and one Japanese, I believe),and one more around the corner past the bakery.

        1. Just came from lunch @ Nakwon today (tuesday noon). First thing my wife and I noticed was a lack of any Korean speaking customers in the restaurant... quite a contrast to Oh Geul Boh Geul, which is packed w/ Koreans (for me, that's usually a good sign of authenticity). Nakwon also was surprisingly empty for lunch hour, only 4-5 tables.

          There were 10 Banchan side dishes, which included a lettuce salad (bland white dressing), little brown beans, green seaweed, dai kon strings, sprouts, overly large potato wedges (over cooked in middle), bean curd strips (too mushy), jap chae (they must've forgotten to add sesame oil, it was dry and flavourless), and 2 spicy dishes which I usually don't eat.

          Their menu is quite extensive, esp the lunch menu (in English and Chinese languages). Prices are very reasonable, for eg. my La Kalbi lunch was only $7.99. My wife's Dolsot Bi Bim Bap was $5.99. Unfortunately my kalbi was under marinated w/ the Korean BBQ sauce, meat quality was just ok. Plus it came in a bento style box, and the sides were the exact same as the other banchan dishes that were already on my table (talk about duplication). Rice was plain white, unlike the purple and white rice with beans and other goodies that Oh Geul serves. Bi Bim Bap was decent.

          Service was "catatonic" as my wife described (i.e listless). Overall a disappointing lunch meal and will not be going back. I'll stick to Oh Geul Boh Geul anyday.

          12 Replies
          1. re: Royaljelly

            sorry to hear about the disappointing experience royaljelly..

            i have to agree that the service isn't that friendly and it seems like a chore to get their attention without the little button, but i like the food there...
            the dol soht bibimbap is good and the lamb stew... also i never eat the potatoes, but i always thought most of the other banchan is good... jap chae is usually pretty alright.

            also strange that you said there were no koreans there because every single time i've been (usually dinner or late nights) , i am usually at the one or two non-korean speaking tables... the place is usually packed late at night..

            haven't been to oh geul boh geul yet so i should try it when i'm back in ontario...
            just wondering, do they use bulgogi-style beef in their bibimbap? (places that use ground beef irk me...)

            1. re: sumashi

              When my gf and I lived at Yonge & Finch Nakwan was one of our regular haunts. I've been there at least 20 times and it was quite rare to see many non-koreans, but of course we never stopped in for lunch. Like sumashi says - dinner and late night the place is quite busy, and we've never had a problem with either the service or the food.

              Our favorite when we went with friends was the $19.99 combo, which includes two (or three?) huge main dishes and 5(!) bottles of domestic beer. Our favorite main was the korean bacon (I've forgotten the name) and kimchi...spicy and tangy and bacony.

              I strongly suggest you give it another chance, going in the evening rather than during the day.

              1. re: Butterz

                I see quite a lots of chinese either speaking mandarin or cantonese eating there in some of my visits (including me). Maybe people think I am Korean ?
                Anyway, I like the restaurant too.

                1. re: skylineR33

                  I thought you were Korean. Sorry.

                  1. re: Butterz

                    The $19.99 combo does sound tempting... maybe I'll try them again for late dinner.

                    Oh Geul's food isn't perfect either, and the number of banchan items can greatly vary from 8-12 on any given day. For instance, there's this one lunch dish that's a large hotpot soup where you throw in a mish mash of ingredients... some of the items were just horrible, like sliced ham, hot dog weiners etc. That's one dish I'll never order again. I haven't tried their BBQ though, since I usually go to Sariwon for that (I love their ribs).

                    1. re: Royaljelly

                      $19.99 combo with 5 beers/1 bottle of soju is everywhere. Everywhere.

                      As for the "hotpot" - it sounds like boo-dae chi-gae, and it's supposed to have sliced ham and hot dog wieners. The dish has humble origins, when soldiers in the war didn't have anything else to eat. No need to slam the dish, because it is exactly what it's supposed to be. If you don't like it, then just order something else.

                      1. re: ghetto_scarlem

                        Yes, I had this kind of hot pot before, that restaurant is in Mississauga on Dundas street and mainly serves this kind of hot pot and we are the only non-korean in that restaurant. Ummm... it is really not something for my taste ...

                        1. re: skylineR33

                          You are thinking of Man Doo Hyang, at 169 Dundas E, I think. One of my favourite Korean restaurants. Their spicy squid and pork dish is awesome!

                        2. re: ghetto_scarlem

                          I'll admit that I'm a complete newbie when it comes to the origins of Korean dishes, and it's probably "comfort food" to those who are familiar with it, but I have a problem when a dish that comes with hot dog weiners and sliced ham in a boring hot pot soup base costs over $15 for lunch (serves 2).

                  2. re: Butterz

                    Just to note, that $19.99 combo that you're talking about is only advertised in Korean...!
                    I only knew about it after going there with Korean friends.... I instead of the 5 bottles of domestic beer, you can get one bottle of soju too.. Anyway, non-Koreans would have a hard time ordering that combo because every item is written in Korean...

                    1. re: sumashi

                      Is the 5 bottles beer combo just a lunch thing???

                      1. re: warlock

                        We got it at night, but I'm guessing you can get it any time of the day ...
                        It's written on a page all on it's own, but again, it's all in korean.