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Korean in Tampa Bay

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TampaAurora Nov 5, 2009 05:55 PM

Where are the best Korean restaurants in the Tampa Bay area?

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  1. askdrtodd RE: TampaAurora Nov 6, 2009 03:36 AM

    I spent some time in South Korea, and haven't yet found any really good Korean food yet in the bay. The three restaurants I know of off the top of my head are:

    Matoi - 602 N Dale Mabry - mediocre, more of a sushi joint.
    Sa Ri One - Cypress near Dale Mabry - OK, not mind blowing or super-authentic
    ?? - On waters, west of the veterans, south side of the road - Ironically this was my favorite of the three, but I can't remember the name and google isn't helping me out.

    There's also one out by USF I believe, anyone eaten there?

    Best Korean in FL that I've had is in Orlando, called Shin Jung. Sometimes hard to get in there because of all the Korean people waiting to eat, which is a good sign.

    10 Replies
    1. re: askdrtodd
      Mild Bill RE: askdrtodd Nov 6, 2009 06:20 AM

      The real and original name of this Korean restaurant is Han Il Kwan, but when they moved from their old Cypress St. location to Waters Avenue they changed the name to Ginza... "Japanese Steakhouse" believe it or not...
      I'm not sure what that's all about, but they are my 'go-to' Korean joint!

      They have a nice lunch-time Sushi, and hot & cold Korean, buffet for $12.00 or so, as well as a full Korean menu...

      Nice folks and real good food...

      -----
      Ginza Japanese Steakhouse
      8104 W Waters Ave, Tampa, FL 33615

      1. re: Mild Bill
        askdrtodd RE: Mild Bill Nov 6, 2009 03:34 PM

        Ah yes, Ginza. It was the best of that trio, for sure, but still honestly the best I've ever had in FL was in Orlando, hiiiiighly recommend.

        -----
        Ginza Restaurant
        2215 Collier Pkwy, Land O Lakes, FL 34639

        1. re: askdrtodd
          rhnault RE: askdrtodd Nov 6, 2009 08:07 PM

          the boys had lunch today at Ginza and definitel enjoyed it

          1. re: rhnault
            Mild Bill RE: rhnault Nov 7, 2009 07:26 AM

            Yes we did...
            Yes we did...

            Ya like my De Niro?

      2. re: askdrtodd
        a
        andy huse RE: askdrtodd Nov 6, 2009 07:16 AM

        I sometimes get sushi at matoi. sa ri one was okay, i agree with the assessment above.

        1. re: askdrtodd
          l
          laboheme RE: askdrtodd Nov 6, 2009 07:25 AM

          Sa Ri One offers a good lunch bento box of Korean favorites at very reasonable prices. Has anyone been to Rice on Hillsborough? They are supposedly the only place in the Tampa Bay area with authentic Korean grills at the table.

          1. re: laboheme
            rhnault RE: laboheme Nov 6, 2009 07:32 AM

            I went a couple of years ago and thought it was overpriced and not that exciting. It is a buffet and they bring out the grilled meat.

            1. re: laboheme
              f
              FlyinHawaiian RE: laboheme Nov 7, 2009 05:29 AM

              Sa Ri One and Rice on Hillsborough, while not as good or as authentic as what you got in S. Korea, are the best that I've found in Tampa Bay.

              Thanks for the tip in Orlando (Shin Jung). I grew up in Hawaii and ate Korean food every week. I would definitely drive to Orlando to get my Korean comfort food.

            2. re: askdrtodd
              j
              jin jja RE: askdrtodd Jul 28, 2010 10:10 PM

              i think there is quite few Korean Restaurants in Tampa other than the three mentioned. Goryo on Fowler closed. But there is two on Hillsborough one call Han Ga Jok and the other called Rice Restaurant and Lounge. Han Ga Jok is almost across the street from Rice. they have Karaoke i think. Rice is the one with the grill at table BBQ and the only one with a website. www.ricetampa.com. I went to a wedding there.

              1. re: askdrtodd
                blitzchamp RE: askdrtodd Aug 17, 2010 12:51 PM

                If you're in Bradenton/Sarasota area then a good Korean restaurant you can go to is Sam Oh Jung. They have a pretty decent (though small menu). I tried their Galbi and Dak Bulgogi and both were pretty good. The place is known is known as a sushi restaurant (kinda like Matoi Sushi in Tampa) so you could have that as well if you like. It might be your only option in that area so I thought I'd mention it.. I just wrote about it today at http://bit.ly/bI8oQo so if you want pictures and some more comments check that out. The service was pretty good as well.

                -----
                Sam Oh Jung Sushi
                6032 14th St W, Bradenton, FL 34207

              2. askdrtodd RE: TampaAurora Nov 9, 2009 09:17 AM

                Ate at Ginza for lunch buffet today and was sorta disappointed, the food wasn't bad but there was hardly a selection, they had rice, miso soup, a chicken dish I didn't recognize, bul go gi, seafood pancakes, tempura sweet potato, a couple different kim chis, a seaweed salad, and a bunch of sushi that was all made with salmon/tuna/snapper/fake crab. It seemed dumbed down and americanized to me, but maybe I was just expecting too much. I think after eating at Jin Ho for the Indian Buffet last week I saw how great ethnic lunch buffets can be and was just underwhelmed with this one. Nothing was specifically bad, but absolutely nothing wowed me or made me want more.

                -----
                Ginza Restaurant
                2215 Collier Pkwy, Land O Lakes, FL 34639

                7 Replies
                1. re: askdrtodd
                  Mild Bill RE: askdrtodd Nov 9, 2009 10:10 AM

                  Right... That's all it is....

                  If you go in there for a casual lunch expecting that ----- Sushi & stuff for $12.00----- you can find happiness...
                  Everything tastes good and feels fresh---- although sometimes it's better stocked than others...
                  You get a tasty sushi fix, not a profound experience, and enjoy some other fun stuff...

                  The combo of their juicy Bulgogi & that nutty sticky rice is really tasty...

                  The usually available sliced fish cake in the cold-bar is really good, as well as a few other items...

                  It's just a good lunch if you're in the area....

                  With lunch buffets, I usually go in expecting less than this---- and if it's better it's a bonus...

                  1. re: Mild Bill
                    askdrtodd RE: Mild Bill Nov 9, 2009 10:36 AM

                    gotcha. if that's the case, there is no better deal in town than Jin Ho! At 8.95 that is an amazing deal and completely delicious food.

                    1. re: askdrtodd
                      rhnault RE: askdrtodd Nov 9, 2009 01:18 PM

                      isn't it Jai Ho?

                      1. re: rhnault
                        askdrtodd RE: rhnault Nov 9, 2009 04:10 PM

                        yes. sorry about that, I was in Korean mode haha

                        1. re: askdrtodd
                          rhnault RE: askdrtodd Nov 9, 2009 04:37 PM

                          I really want to tyr the Indian place

                          1. re: rhnault
                            askdrtodd RE: rhnault Nov 9, 2009 05:50 PM

                            do it! do it! do it!

                            trust the askdrtodd, it is mucho yummy.

                  2. re: askdrtodd
                    a
                    andy huse RE: askdrtodd Jun 6, 2010 09:38 AM

                    had dinner at Ginza last night, and it did not disappoint. For $17, the buffet of sushi (solid but not extraordinary), korean specialties (bulgogi and pork with fixins), and hibachi (raw ingredients include shrimp, steak, and stir fry veggies, etc., for grilling) is a great value, at least for this guy who can eat his share. I was happy as a clam. I went out of my way to try it and i'm glad i did.

                    -----
                    Ginza Restaurant
                    2215 Collier Pkwy, Land O Lakes, FL 34639

                  3. c
                    cheddarcheese32 RE: TampaAurora Nov 10, 2009 05:17 PM

                    Soul of Korea is near USF, I think, but I've yet to try it. When I went to Sari One, some time ago, I thought it was wonderful!

                    Soul of Korea
                    (813) 989-9030
                    7612 N 56th St, Tampa, FL

                    -----
                    Soul of Korea
                    7612 N 56th St, Tampa, FL 33617

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: cheddarcheese32
                      j
                      jmj1803 RE: cheddarcheese32 Jun 4, 2010 05:39 PM

                      My husband and I ate dinner at Soul of Korea tonight and were very satisfied with the meal. The restaurant has no ambiance, seriously, zero: mismatched chairs and booths and sparse decorations. They did, however, provide excellent service and a very decent meal. We ordered the kimchi dumplings, grilled spicy marinated pork, and kimchi stew pot. Great heat on all of the dishes. Given that it was only my second Korean dining experience, I can't really judge it against other restaurants, but it was a tasty meal.

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                      Soul of Korea
                      7612 N 56th St, Tampa, FL 33617

                    2. g
                      G8R Dan RE: TampaAurora Jun 9, 2010 09:29 AM

                      There is a small Korean restaurant on Hillsborough Ave (by Hanley Rd) attached to the S-Mart 1 Korean market. I don't even know the name, hoever my wife (Korean), the little one, and I have eaten there several times for both lunch and dinner and have not been disappointed with the food. Authentic (I lived in S. Korea over 4 yrs-so I know what I'm talking about.), spicy, flavorful, tasty (running out of adjectives) Korean food. Lunch is the best time to go, service was quick, food as described above. Dinner...service isn't so quick. Food is still spectacular, but service suffers. I think some of their dishes are better than Sa-Ri-One, but others are not. Wife loves the seafood soon-du-bu jigae better here than Sa-Ri-One. I think the Bulgogi is better at Sa-Ri-One, but neither is better than hers. Both are saltier than I like, but that is me. I think both rest spicy pork is tasty.

                      9 Replies
                      1. re: G8R Dan
                        askdrtodd RE: G8R Dan Jun 9, 2010 10:07 AM

                        I ate there with my wife the other day, went back again, agree with you pretty much spot on. It's good but not great, Shin Jung in Orlando is worlds better than both. Sa Ri One is right by my office so we go there every month or two, sometimes it shines but more often than not it's unimpressive. I was in Seoul/Daejeon/Busan for a couple weeks and ate like a madman, I haven't found anything that really hits home in Tampa yet.

                        1. re: askdrtodd
                          g
                          G8R Dan RE: askdrtodd Jun 17, 2010 09:54 AM

                          Nothing compares to eating there. LOVED the fish/seafood market in Busan when I vacationed there for a week many years ago. Awesome that you were in S. Korea for a few weeks. My mother-in-law arrived last week for a few eeks this summer (not the best time to come, but she wanted to) and I have to push myself away from the table every night. Had homemade nang-myun last night. Eating leftover bulgogi, cucumber kimchi, puchingae, and gochujang bulgoki for lunch. She made a spicy fish soup with some mahi-mahi bones that I caught last weekend. All I can say is the broth was out of this world.

                          1. re: G8R Dan
                            askdrtodd RE: G8R Dan Jun 17, 2010 04:19 PM

                            soooo.... what time is dinner? ;)

                            1. re: askdrtodd
                              Mild Bill RE: askdrtodd Jun 17, 2010 04:29 PM

                              I was just getting ready to post; "I think I can speak for Todd when I say; we want to come over!"...

                              LMAO!

                              1. re: Mild Bill
                                a
                                andy huse RE: Mild Bill Jun 18, 2010 12:02 PM

                                yeah, that's not very nice, Dan.

                                1. re: andy huse
                                  g
                                  G8R Dan RE: andy huse Jun 18, 2010 07:49 PM

                                  I apologize. Just to add fuel to the fire. She made ox tail soup for dinner tonight. Again, adjectives do no justice the depth of taste of the broth and the tenderness of the ox tail. It was a simple meal with only two types of kimchi for side dishes. Season with salt, pepper, and sesame seeds as you like. If you want, dip the kimchi in the broth and let the broth pick up a little spiciness of the kimchi. It adds another layer to the broth. Guess I can update you on what I eat tomorrow night. LOL! Just kidding. I'm very grateful my mother-in-law is here with us this summer. She is happy to be here (I think) even though the weather is not cooperating.

                                  1. re: G8R Dan
                                    askdrtodd RE: G8R Dan Jun 19, 2010 04:50 AM

                                    All summer she's there? Like we could have our next chowdown with you? I'll gladly throw in however much $ necessary... :)

                                    1. re: askdrtodd
                                      g
                                      G8R Dan RE: askdrtodd Jun 20, 2010 08:43 AM

                                      No, only a few weeks. I wish I could. Space is tight here. Interesting thought though. I'll only update if something is out of this world. Mostly she cooks the basics like ji-gaes and such with the side dishes.

                                    2. re: G8R Dan
                                      a
                                      andy huse RE: G8R Dan Jun 21, 2010 07:23 AM

                                      i didn't read beyond sorry. it just ain't right.

                        2. p
                          Penelope7 RE: TampaAurora Aug 12, 2010 08:02 PM

                          Has anyone tried Yoyo Sushi at 300 State St E, Ste 110, Oldsmar? I've seen their menu and they have a small selection of Korean specialties. They are somehow related to the salad bar Secret Garden in downtown Tampa.

                          -----
                          Secret Garden
                          505 N Florida Ave, Tampa, FL 33602

                          Yoyo Sushi
                          300 State St E Ste 110, Oldsmar, FL 34677

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Penelope7
                            askdrtodd RE: Penelope7 Aug 13, 2010 06:13 AM

                            How is secret garden? That's on my list too. I understand they have sushi?

                            1. re: askdrtodd
                              rhnault RE: askdrtodd Aug 13, 2010 06:47 AM

                              It is pretty much a regular salad bar with some california rolls and some type of sesame noodle concoction. You pay by the ounce. I worked in that building for 5 years and would go get the salad bar occasionally. Not mind blowing but a decent salad bar.

                              1. re: rhnault
                                askdrtodd RE: rhnault Aug 13, 2010 10:12 AM

                                oh. well meh then. I can go ahead and scratch that one off the list haha.

                          2. askdrtodd RE: TampaAurora Aug 17, 2010 01:02 PM

                            For you korean food lovers, there is a Tampa meetup group that's meeting tomorrow at a Korean restaurant and making a bunch of dishes, cost is 20 dollars, details and signup/RSVP info here:

                            http://www.meetup.com/lets-cook-and-e...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: askdrtodd
                              askdrtodd RE: askdrtodd Aug 19, 2010 05:59 AM

                              Oh man. You guys (with the exception of the two anonymous 'hounds that showed up) really missed out on this one. Best 20 bucks I've ever spent.

                               
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