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Best Korean in Chicago?

l
las375 Jan 17, 2008 05:22 PM

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.

Thanks.

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  1. KevinAllTerrain RE: las375 Jan 18, 2008 10:13 AM

    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 http://chicago.metromix.com/restauran....

    2 Replies
    1. re: KevinAllTerrain
      h
      heartofthevalley RE: KevinAllTerrain Jan 21, 2008 06:43 PM

      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
        j
        jituji70 RE: heartofthevalley Oct 24, 2009 08:21 AM

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

    2. d
      Dporter RE: las375 Jan 18, 2008 06:26 PM

      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
        k
        Kwonton RE: Dporter Jan 19, 2008 04:04 PM

        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
          a
          asubean RE: Dporter Sep 12, 2011 03:52 PM

          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!!

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          Solga Restaurant
          5828 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60659

        2. j
          jayh RE: las375 Jan 24, 2008 10:02 AM

          My personal favorite is Kang Nam
          4849 N. Kedzie Ave.
          Chicago, IL 60625
          773-539-2524
          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
            t
            thelegalfoodie RE: jayh Oct 24, 2009 02:56 PM

            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
              geg5150 RE: jayh Mar 18, 2011 07:21 AM

              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.

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

            2. l
              lvhkitty RE: las375 Jan 25, 2008 07:07 PM

              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
                j
                jlklp RE: lvhkitty Jan 26, 2008 04:00 PM

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

              2. a
                ALITIN RE: las375 Oct 26, 2009 10:23 AM

                My favorite Korean spot is Amitabul,

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                Amitabul
                6207 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646

                3 Replies
                1. re: ALITIN
                  l
                  lgss RE: ALITIN Mar 13, 2011 03:45 PM

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

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                  Amitabul
                  6207 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60646

                  1. re: lgss
                    l
                    lgss RE: lgss Mar 16, 2011 06:17 PM

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

                    1. re: lgss
                      a
                      ALITIN RE: lgss May 5, 2011 08:57 PM

                      It's still the best Korean place in town

                2. a
                  alnery RE: las375 Mar 13, 2011 09:05 PM

                  Joongboo Market on Kimball south of 90/94. Eat in dining area inside a market cafeteria style. Good prices, great food. Sounds like what your looking for.

                  1. d
                    Dporter RE: las375 Apr 30, 2011 09:59 AM

                    A good Chinese-Korean place out in the 'burbs is Ming's. It's a restaurant inside the Schaumburg Radisson on Algonquin Rd just west of Route 53.

                    Not sure they do a good job of advertising themselves, but the Korean menu there is very good, especially if you're into the fried stuff - gambonkgee is really good and crispy there, and their ja jang myun and jamboong are both quite good too. Even the ool-myun is good. One non-Korean dish we love there is the salt and pepper fried squid -- you see that dish more on the east coast than here in the midwest. All the wait staff are Korean, even though it's technically a Chinese restaurant (they have separate Chinese and Korean menus). The Chinese fare is pretty standard stuff.

                    Great place to take kids because it's big, very clean (because it's maintained by the Radisson; used to be a steakhouse restaurant) and spacious -- and seemingly never busy, at least on the weekends (we hear they keep busy during the week with Korean Air Lines flight attendants and pilots who are on layovers).

                    1. s
                      SBakall RE: las375 Jul 9, 2011 06:25 PM

                      We have Korean food every week and hands down - THE BEST dolsot bi bim bop (served sizzling hot in a stone bowl) in the city is at Ban Po Jung located at 3450 W Foster Ave, on the East end of Northeastern University. It's owned by the cutest couple who work there every day.. The place is filled with Korean diners (always a good thing when in a Korean restaurant!) and the prices are very reasonable. Along with their many side dishes, they also serve up a free veggie pancake and a fried fish for each person. Don't let the looks of the fish fool you because it is absolutely delish!

                      You ask why I say THE BEST bi bim bop? Once you finish the bibimbop, underneath, is the most delicious crispy rice "crust" that just slips out easily from the bowl for that final delicious blow.. In fact, there have been times when I couldn't finish the bibimbop and had to scoop it out onto my plate just so I could attack the crispy rice crust below. Not sure what they do to their bowl, but this is the only Korean restaurant I've ever eaten this dish at where you don't have to jackhammer the crust out.

                      Enjoy!

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