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Jun 25, 2009 11:33 AM

Philly's Best Korean?

I'm in California, and I took as visiting friend from Philly out for a Korean dinner last night. He had never tried Korean before, but LOVED it, and said that he was sorry that Philadelphia (to his knowledge) had no Korean community and no Korean restaurants. Can he possibly be right? If not, where should he go?

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  1. We don't have many Korean places, but two I can think of are Pastoral and Giwa.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Buckethead

      we don't have any good korean or any big korean communities downtown, so he can be forgiven for his slip....

      there is also a hole in the wall korean joint called koreana off of 38th and chestnut. the food is auhtentic but they use a lot of shortcuts (probably because they are so cheap and fast), for insatnce the kimchi is excellent but they use frozen veggies in their rice dishes. random, but still v tasty (but is defintiely NOT a korean barbecue place).

      follow bigley9's links for a korean update. :)

    2. We have a significant "KoreaTown" In the Olney/East Oak Lane into Cheltenham area of the city (North 5th street to Cheltenham Ave. Here is a link to a recent discussion:
      and another with a link from someone who is apparently very involved with Korean food in Phila

      1. I second the rec. for Giwa... simple, fresh, spot on Korean food... 15th and Sansom Sts.

        1. Philly has a HUGE Korean community. A lot of Olney and the Oxford Circle areas have a lot of Korean restaurants and clubs. Castor Avenue in NE Philly has a great place at Magee Street.

          Sarah M.

          1. Out here in the western 'burbs we have August Moon in Norristown (Japanese and Korean) that has gas bar-b-ques at each table for grilling your own entrees. Also, in the strip mall on Township Line Road at DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell (the one with Sae Han Oriental Market), there is a small Korean restaurant at the other end, but the name escapes me. I've liked both but that's the extent of my Korean culinary exposure.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Chefpaulo

              Chef- I believe the place you are referring to in Blue Bell is Korea Garden. There is a second Korean restaurant that has opened up in Blue Bell on Skippack Pike - Gaya. I ate at Korea Garden years ago.. I have not eaten at Gaya.

              In Philadelphia, I think Kim's is the best place for Korean BBQ as they use wood for cooking which adds more flavor as opposed to the gas.

              1. re: cwdonald

                The restaurant on Township Line Rd in the same strip mall as the Korean market is To Dam Gol and it is much more of a hole in the wall than Korea Garden, but less expensive and more authentic.

                Korea Garden
                1720 Marlton Pike E, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003

                1. re: thehungrything

                  Right, Korea Garden is on 202. Of the three, I find Gaya to have the best food quality and it is large and comfortable. Korea Garden is hit and miss, I was there tonight and one dish we ordered was great, banchan were terrific but the octopus was gummy and awful.