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Mar 6, 2008 09:50 PM

Korean cuisine in Tokyo

On this coming trip to Tokyo, I may be interested to try authentic Korean cuisine instead of the usual yakiniku chains that I frequented. On the research done on the website, I came across two that received favorable reviews: one is Hallelujah , and the other is Jap Cho Ok . Just wonder if anyone has been to both places and provide any comparison between them. I will also appreciate if anyone can advise any great experience in other Korean restaurant in Tokyo. Thanks in advanced.

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  1. I have not been to either restaurant that was mentioned above, but I have eaten in a number of restaurants in the Shin-Okubo area of Tokyo which is Koreatown. All very unique and good, I will go back this weekend and get the names to list on this site. Okubo is much like visiting Seoul when it comes to food options.

    1. They're both quite good, but very different from each other. Jap Cho Ok is much more elegant and refined, while Hallelujah is more like home-style cooking. Hallelujah specializes in big, hearty winter dishes that come in large portions - it might be better to go there with a group of three or four people if you can. I'd probably recommend Jap Cho Ok as my first choice.

      5 Replies
      1. re: Robb S

        Thanks for the comparison. Most likely will go on a group of two or maximum three persons, so will probably follow your recommendation of Jap Cho Ok if we are in the mood to take a break from all Japanese package on this trip.

        P.S: your initials are the same as the writers on and Japan Times. Is this just coincident or are you one of "them"?

        1. re: FourSeasons

          Yes, I wrote the review of Jap Cho Ok that you linked to. (Which is why I didn't reply to your question at first; I thought it might be nice to hear a second opinion.)

          I'm glad to see someone checking out Korean restaurants in Tokyo by the way - they're too often neglected by visitors here who only want Japanese food.

          1. re: Robb S

            I have been a big fan of your website; I am grateful that you have done such a marvelous job to guide serious foodie like us.

            Just another question: how is the quality and varieties of the grilled beef in Jap Cho Ok? Do they use charcoal for grilling? How do you compare the quality of its beef with the Japanese style yakiniku such as Toraji chain?

            1. re: FourSeasons

              Thanks, I'm glad you found the site helpful!

              The quality of the beef at Jap Cho Ok is very good (and grilled over charcoal), although perhaps there's less variety than at someplace like Toraji, simply because the rest of the menu is so large. In fact I've only had the beef a couple of times out of about ten visits.

              My favorite dishes there include the sunde sausage, when they have it, the acorn paste (I forget what it's called), and the three kinds of garlic.

              1. re: Robb S

                I am now in the middle of an incredible food feast in Tokyo. I am so grateful to Robb S for this recommendation of Jap Cho Ok; I had a wonderful dinner a few nights ago in perhaps my best Korean dish. Dinner started with its house salad and 3 types of kimchee, followed by spicy squid, 3 types of garlic and green onion pancake. Then we had spicy kimchee tofu soup before the charcoal-grilled meat of bulkabi marbled meat, sirloin and ox tongue, and finished with abalone porridge. Every dish was fantastic, though surprisingly, the grilled meat was slightly below expectation as I thought I had better quality meat at the yakiniku chain Toraji that I frequented. But every other dish was above my expectation and all of us had really enjoyed the dinner. However, Robb S's favorite sunde sausage was no where in the menu, so I did not have a chance to try it. On further note, the medicinal liquor was something worth to try too. Overall, this is a place I will recommend to others who want to try Korean cuisine in Tokyo.

      2. On visits to Tokyo a few years back, I always enjoyed Hosenka in Azabu-Juban, especially for Korean soups and stews. I was a bit surprised when I tasted miso in the chigae, but I decided that I liked the Japanese interpretation of the Korean classic. It's on (thanks, Robb S).

        1 Reply
        1. re: david kaplan

          "La Bouef" (, incorrect spelling is right!) is the stuff of legends. You cannot reserve and I spent 2.5 hours in the queue (even though I arrived before they opened), but it was worth it. Out of the way yakiniku place which is just perfect and bizarre on so many levels, good value as well, and I have just found out that the Zagat rates it the second best yakiniku place in Tokyo, and one of the most popular restaurants per se.