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Jan 17, 2008 05:22 PM

Best Korean in Chicago?

Anyone have a favorite Korean spot to suggest? It needn't be any chi-chi. In fact, the more mom-and-pop, authentic little store front the better. I just want some good bi bim bop.


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  1. Jin Ju in Andersonville is fantastic - one of my favorite restaurants, in fact. I don't think I'd call it "chi chi" but it's not a hole in the wall. It's a nice restaurant, entrees are in the low teens. The soju martinis are really good also. I love the Chop Chae as well as the Bi Bim Bap. The address is 5203 N. Clark St. Metromix has a review at

    2 Replies
    1. re: KevinAllTerrain

      Jin Ju is delicious (I would call it a little bit "chi chi", maybe more because I'm indignant that the Caucasian waiter corrected my pronunciation - I'm Korean) but you can find the same bold flavors for much less at nearly any restaurant in K-town. If you want to pay extra for lovely dishes, fancy drinks, and trendy atmosphere then Jin Ju is for you. Otherwise, look along Lincoln and Lawrence.

      1. re: heartofthevalley

        Jin Ju is not a Korean restaurant, in my opinion. It's like saying that Chipotle is authentic Mexican American food.

    2. My wife and I areKorean, and these are our favorite places to go:

      In the city area:
      Solga, on Lincoln between Peterson and California. Good variety of traditional Korean dishes, barbeque, and soups. Clean restaurant, usually pretty busy but has a parking lot which is key. Pretty good dol sot bi bim bap. Good naeng myun (cold noodle soup) as well.
      In the Northwest Suburbs:
      Cho Dang Tofu, on Algonquin Rd near Dempster in Mount Prospect (they have a website for directions, and another restaurant in Naperville). They basically specialize primarily in a very spicy tofu soup called soon du bu which is served boiling hot. Very very good. Clean, simple restaurant, but small. Good bi bim bap.
      Jigol Jigol (not sure of the English spelling), southeast corner of Roselle and Golf Rd in Schaumburg. Specializes in BBQ right at the table. We like it for the self-serve table for side vegetables that you grill with your meat. They have an all-you-can-eat special that is good if you have 4 people or more. New place, kind of chi-chi but definitely authentic. Feels more like Korean restaurants in the NYC/NJ area.
      Koreana - Salem and Golf Rd in Schaumburg - a little divey but they've renovated recently, our favorite dol sot bi bim bap. They also have good large casserole dishes served on table top pots for 2 or more.

      Have been to Jin Ju -- it's not bad, but it is kind of Americanized Korean food in how the food is prepared and served, to be honest.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Dporter

        Solga is great. It's my parents' go-to place when we have guests and want to take them for an authentic Korean meal that is a little fancier than the places we usually go. For a true hole in the wall, my favorite is the kalbi house on Kimball and Lawrence. I can't remember the name for the life of me but we've been going there since I was a baby. It's next to a day care center.

        1. re: Dporter

          absolutely awful. read reviews on here and decided to go. i was recently in korea and wanted korean bbq. the kid working must've been new. he knew absolutely nothing. they talked me out of actually bbq-ing and said it would be better to cook it for me. it wasn't even served the same way as in korea, with garlic, mushrooms, and onions. the meat was so chewy i spit it all out. inedible. they just offered to cook me more meat. gross!! they should have taken it off the bill. worst experience EVER! and there was NO ONE else in there!!

          Solga Restaurant
          5828 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

        2. My personal favorite is Kang Nam
          4849 N. Kedzie Ave.
          Chicago, IL 60625
          Very casual place, excellent food. Better in my opinion than San Soo Gap San. If you want BYO, Cho Sun Ok on Lincoln north of Irving is a good option.

          2 Replies
          1. re: jayh

            Cho Sun Ok is excellent, and very authentic. So authentic that we can't go without our Korean-speaking friend. It's his favorite Korean restaurant in the city.

            1. re: jayh

              So sad that Kang Nam has recently closed. They had the best bibimbop!

              San Soo Gab San is great for BBQ. So is Chicago Kalbi on Lawrence.

              Kang Nam Restaurant
              4849 N Kedzie Ave, Chicago, IL 60625

            2. I completely agree with the recommendations for Solga and JinJu. Jin Ju is less traditional but still excellent soon tofu. Solga has the best naeng myun and an awesome haemul pajun.

              1 Reply
              1. re: lvhkitty

                Don't know if you're looking for a place in the city, but Hanabi in Lincoln Park has a serviceable bibimbap.

              2. My favorite Korean spot is Amitabul,

                6207 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646

                3 Replies
                1. re: ALITIN

                  Our favorite restaurant of all in Chicago is Amitabul. Wondering if anyone has taken Amitabul's private cooking classes?

                  6207 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646

                  1. re: lgss

                    We called the other night. They no longer offer private cooking lessons. : - (

                    1. re: lgss

                      It's still the best Korean place in town